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Mining The Earth: 21 Oct 2014

Mining The Earth:

*Everywhere.  So, Peabody Energy is going to the G20 meeting with its “Advanced Energy for Life” message, an attempt to tie coal to “benevolence, altruism and empathy for the world’s poor.”  Burson-Marsteller is reportedly doing the pr work; they did the same for the tobacco industry until 2010.  Peabody is already holding meetings and workshops in Australia, touting the new message.

*North America. Grandmothers for the environment:  Charmaine White Face (Oglala), coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, addressing  “dangerous abandoned uranium mines” and the grass-roots effort to clean them up;  Sharon Day (Ojibwe) holds annual water walks, this year “near the headwaters of the St. Louis River in northern Minnesota”, where sulfide poisoning from an iron mine has created a 140-mile long dead zone:  Josephine Mandamin (Anishinabe) of Thunder Bay, Ontario, who “has walked more than 10,000 miles . . . circumnavigating each of the Great Lakes.”

*CA.  Robertson’s Ready Mix owns the only mine at Banning where there’s a measure on the November 4th ballot to “approve a general tax on rock, sand and gravel mining” in Banning. Robertson’s Ready Mix is accusing the city of financially promoting the measure, which is against the law, and has sued.

*IA. The Iowa Policy Project is providing a series of presentations “on the potential impacts of frac-sand mining on communities”, working with the Winneshiek County Protectors and the Allamakee County Protectors.  Winneshiek County now has a moratorium on frac sand mining through Oct 15, 2015, and Allamakee County has imposed restrictions.

*MN.  Frac sand mining is a hot election issue in Houston County, MN this year, with the two candidates for County Commissioner in District 4 arguing over which one will issue tougher regulations governing frac sand mining, if elected.   They point to the negative impacts of frac sand mining on MN communities.

*MN.  Ray “Skip” Sandman (Ojibwe), Green candidate for MN’s 8th Congressional District (here and here), is opposed to copper sulfide mining, including Polymet Sulfide’s plans for an open-pit copper, nickel and other metals mine.  He also opposes the Enbridge pipeline extension.

*OH.  Good grief:  “About 40 percent of Ohio’s natural treasures—its state parks, forests and wildlife and nature preserves—could be undermined in the quest to remove valuable coal, oil, natural gas and other minerals . . . from 18 state forests, 24 state parks and 53 natural areas”.  A recent Ohio Supreme Court ruling also opens the door for strip mining coal, too.

*WI.  Native wild rice might have been lost if the Crandon mine (copper, zinc and other sulfides) had not been stopped by a coalition of environmentalists, Sokaogon Ojibwe and other indigenous peoples on downstream (Menominee and Mohican), leading ultimately to the 2003 purchase  of the mine and its assets for $16.5 million using Mole Lake Ojibwe-Forest County Potowatomi casino revenue.

*WI.  The Independence City Council has postponed a permit for the Superior Silica Sands  to mine frac-sand at the Guza Pit mine since they’ve discovered “that contaminated waste water from the sand washing process was going into retention ponds that lacked the proper lining.”   Independence also tried   to annex “a long-narrow strip of land to extend its boundary to a large mining site miles away . . . in connection with” Superior Silica Sands’ project.  Such annexation attempts have gotten some townships riled up, perhaps enough for court action.

*WI.  Frac sand mining’s impacts on the communities of Tunnel City in Monroe County, Blair in Trempealeau County, Pepin and Stockholm in Pepin County, and Howard in Chippewa County: for some, a bust as hills morph into piles of sand and property values decrease, while others enjoy some benefits.

*WI.  Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s administration has not only “scaled back” the environmental impact requirements for mining permits, but the ability of the public to comment on them, too.  A 29-page online petition regarding such changes is before the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for its Oct 29th meeting.

*CanadaSecwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors torched a bridge leading to the Ruddock Creek Mine in BC.  Imperial Metals (owner of the Mount Polley mine) is majority owner of Ruddock Creek Mine (zinc and lead).   Meanwhile, a group of Secwepemc women, youth and children interacted with an Imperial Metals employee at the mine site (Video).  The Secwepemc Ts’ka7 Warriors warned Imperial Metals:  “Leave our Lands and do not come back.”

*CanadaWolf Lake and Eagle Village First Nations wrote the Quebec government “demanding a moratorium on mining toxic rare earths in Quebec”, in particular Matamec Explorations’  Kipawa project in northwest Quebec which has “the potential for significant negative effects on aboriginal rights and title, the environment and our culture.”

*Canada.  Proposed chrome, nickel, copper and platinum mining in northern Ontario, according to the Matawa First Nations, will require diesel-based electricity generation which is “prohibitive of economic development and poses serious environmental impacts.” Residents support projects “making use of renewable-energy sources” and “a steady stream of electricity” to local communities.

*Canada.  “In all development, First Nations must be consulted and accommodated.  The time when only economic arguments justified the completion of projects is over.”  That from Mike McKenzie, Chief of the Uashat mak Mani-utenam Innu. “The times of bits of mirror for 100 beaver pelts are gone.”  Thus went the press conference about hydroelectric, forestry and mining resources in the region.

*Bolivia.  Video inside “the mountain that eats men”—and women and children, as well.

*Peru. Photographer Sean Hawkey went  into the Peruvian Sotrami mine, took photos of the miners, then processed them using “antique equipment and lights”—and silver from the Sotrami mine.  The miners were fully engaged in the project.  Click on the link; you’ll be glad you did.

*England.  Generations of Yorkshire men have worked in the Hatfield Colliery, but there’s little  prospect of future generations doing the same.  Cheaper coal is being imported “from Russia, Colombia, the USA and beyond.”

*AustraliaAustralian National University is quitting investment in fossil fuels, an action described as “democracy up against crony capitalism, science up against ideology and renewable energy against the old polluting industries.”  PM Tony Abbott reacted quickly, calling the decision “stupid”.

*Australia. The “National Day of Divestment” is underway, with claims of “more than 1,000 bank customers switching  accounts from the ‘big four’ banks.” Mining operators promise response “with characteristic vigour.”

*Kazakhstan.  They’re moving ahead with plans  to “award 50 to 100 exploration licenses” for mining primarily coal, gold and copper.   By 2017, the mining industry is expected to be worth $30 billion.  40,000 people are already employed in the coal mines.

*The Moon. They’re now discussing mining on the moon.  I distinctly remember purchasing acreage on the moon from a fellow wearing a funny hat in Sproul Plaza back in the 70s.  Now, where is that deed . . .

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