Mining the Earth:
*Everywhere. As resources become more scarce, chances of bringing populations up and out of extreme poverty decrease—while the chances of more people being thrown into extreme poverty increase. People must consume fewer resources and accelerate recycling activities if that dismal scenario is to be avoided. Rare earths are particularly troublesome since “they are critical in the automotive, electronics and renewable sectors”, demand for them is escalating—and “supply shortages are predicted.”
*Everywhere. The copper mining industry has a big problem. High grade copper deposits have been mined so thoroughly that mining companies must process much higher tonnage of lower-grade ore to achieve desired yields. That processing leads to more arsenic, antimony and bismuth use which, in turn, result in higher penalties and lower profits.
*US. During last year’s Solar Vortex home heating increased, resulting in a sharp increase in carbon pollution–“the steepest on record in the last 25 years.” There was also a 4.8% increase in the use of energy from coal. Those are contributing factors to doubt about the US’ ability to achieve the goal of a 17% cut in emissions by 2020.
*AZ. The San Pedro River is in danger of drying up due to over-pumping. Right now it’s under additional stress of E. coli from all the livestock that live along the river, and continuing contamination of the flood plain from the Buenavista Mine disaster in Sonora, Mexico.
*MN. strong appeal in the Winona Daily News for voters to support County Commissioners who will protect against frac sand mining plans, including horizontal tunneling into hillsides.
*NM. Opponents of a gravel mine on La Bajada Mesa say the operation “will destroy the mesa’s scenic views and produce dust and noise from blasting.” Santa Fe County Commissioners voted to establish a moratorium on mining applications, but the mining company maintains that action was illegal.
*OK. Working together, the Cherokee Nation and US Department of Interior have transformed “about 100 acres of former abandoned coal mines in Sequoyah County to a swath with lush bluestem and other native grass, a 25-acre lake and wildlife.” Financing consisted of $2 million of an “abandoned mine land reclamation award” from Interior, which receives the funds from coal companies.
*WV. A study conducted by WV University’s May Babb Cancer Center “strengthens” the suspected link between mountaintop coal mining and “high cancer rates in nearby communities” due to “chronic exposure to coal dust particles blown into the air by explosions and massive machinery used in the mining operation”.
*Canada. Resource companies will be required “to publish what they pay to foreign and domestic governments, with a plan to include First Nations governments after two years.” First Nations are concerned that the legislation will actually “infringe on their jurisdiction and undermine benefit agreements they reach with resource companies.”
*Canada. Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, BC, lost its fight against Kinder Morgan’s $4.81 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion plans. Canada’s National Energy Board ruled against Burnaby, but Burnaby’s Mayor said the city “would now carry this fight to a federal court.”
*Canada. Seven years ago, they were all jazzed about that $60-billion “natural resources treasure trove” in Ontario’s so-called Ring of Fire. Well, that was then and this is now and those “lofty expectations” will probably not materialize. First of all, it’s kinda hard to do much mining where there are no roads, no power. Second, those local First Nations people who actually live there aren’t exactly rolling out any red carpet.
*Canada. Two Innu First Nations communities in Quebec were granted the right by the Quebec Superior Court to sue the Iron Ore Company of Canada for violating their rights and disrupting “their way of life for over 60 years”. Since then, the government has shown interest in involving the Innu in Plan Nord which includes development in Innu territories in Quebec and Labrador.