by S. Moore A. & Bridges, June17, 2019 in ClimateChangeDispatch
The recent threats by Beijing to cut off American access to critical mineral imports has many Americans wondering why our politicians have allowed the United States to become so overly-dependent on China for these valued resources in the first place.
Today, the United States is 90 percent dependent on China and Russia for many vital “rare earth minerals.”
The main reason for our over-reliance on nations like China for these minerals is not that we are running out of these resources here at home. The U.S. Mining Association estimates that we have at least $5 trillion of recoverable mineral resources.
The U.S. Geological Survey reports that we still have up to 86 percent or more of key mineral resources like copper and zinc remaining in the ground, waiting to be mined.
These resources aren’t on environmentally sensitive lands, like national parks, but on the millions of acres of federal, state and private lands.
The mining isn’t happening because of extremely prohibitive environmental rules and a permitting process that can take 5-10 years to open a new mine. Green groups simply resist almost all new drilling.
What they may not realize is that the de facto mining prohibitions jeopardize the “Green Energy Revolution” that liberals so desperately are seeking.
How is this for rich irony: To make renewable energy at all technologically plausible, will require massive increases in the supply of rare earth and critical minerals.
by World Nuclear Association, updated July 2017
Production from world uranium mines now supplies 90% of the requirements of power utilities.
Primary production from mines is supplemented by secondary supplies, formerly most from ex-military material but now the products of recycling and stockpiles built up in times of reduced demand.
World mine production has expanded significantly since about 2005.
All mineral commodity markets tend to be cyclical, i.e. prices rise and fall substantially over the years, but with these fluctuations superimposed on long-term trend decline in real prices, as technological progress reduces production cost at mines. In the uranium market, however, high prices in the late 1970s gave way to depressed prices in the whole of the period of the 1980s and 1990s, with spot prices below the cost of production for all but the lowest cost mines. Spot prices recovered from 2003 to 2009, but have been weak since then.
The quoted spot prices through to about 2007 applied only to day-to-day marginal trading and represented a small portion of supply, though since 2008 the proportion has approximately doubled, to about one-quarter in the last decade. Most trade is via 3-15 year term contracts with producers selling directly to utilities at a significantly higher price than the spot market, reflecting the security of supply.* The specified price in these contracts is, however, often related to the spot price at the time of delivery. However, as production has risen much faster than demand, fewer long-term contracts are being written.
by Christina Lamb, March 21, 2019 in GWPF/SundayTimes
Exploited by Chinese firms, workers as young as nine risk their lives to feed the world’s growing hunger for cobalt.
by Michigan Technological University, February 22, 2019 in ScienceDaily
Until now, carbon dioxide has been dumped in oceans or buried underground. Industry has been reluctant to implement carbon dioxide scrubbers in facilities due to cost and footprint.
What if we could not only capture carbon dioxide, but convert it into something useful? S. Komar Kawatra and his students have tackled that challenge, and they’re having some success.
by Michigan Technological University, August 2, 2018 in ScienceDaily
Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries.
Pan, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University, earned his graduate degrees in mining engineering. It was his idea to adapt 20th century mining technology to recycle lithium ion batteries, from the small ones in cell phones to the multi-kilowatt models that power electric cars. Pan figured the same technologies used to separate metal from ore could be applied to spent batteries. So he gave his students a crash course in basic minerals processing methods and set them loose in the lab.
by University of the Basque Country, July 19, 2018 in ScienceDaily
A study conducted in mining areas in Asturias by the Animal Ecotoxicity and Biodiversity group led by Dr Pilar Rodriguez, through collaboration between the Department of Zoology and Animal Cellular Biology and that of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology of the UPV/EHU’s Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Limnology Laboratory at the University of Vigo has enabled progress to be made in this field and has proposed the ecological threshold concentration for 7 metals (cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc) and two metalloids (arsenic and selenium). The study included a number of non-contaminated localities belonging to the reference network of the Nalón river basin as well as other highly contaminated ones. This is a basin with a long history of mining activities due to the high levels of metals naturally occurring in its rocks.
by Paul Driessen, February 26, 2018 in WUWT
America has had its share of oil-centered energy problems and disruptions. Now it faces potential renewable energy and high technology crises, because of its heavy reliance on imports of the rare earth and other strategic minerals that are the essential building blocks for wind turbines, solar panels, computers, smart phones, medical diagnostic devices, night vision goggles, GPS and communication systems, long-life batteries and countless other applications.
by Connaissances des Energies, 28 juillet 2017
La Banque mondiale a présenté le 18 juillet une étude soulignant les énormes besoins de minerais et de métaux associés à la transition « bas carbone » dans le monde. Un aspect souvent ignoré de cette transition.
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