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Watchdog: No bias in EPA's study on mining in Alaska fishery

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A government watchdog found no evidence of bias in how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study on the potential effects of large-scale mining on a world-class salmon fishery in Alaska's Bristol Bay region.

The inspector general for the EPA also concluded in a report released Wednesday that the agency did not predetermine the study's outcome. The state of Alaska and the owner of the proposed Pebble Mine, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., were among those who asked for an investigation.

The EPA, petitioned by Alaska Native tribes and others to protect Bristol Bay, launched the study of the watershed in 2011. It concluded that large-scale mining threatened one of the world's most productive salmon fisheries and posed risks to Alaska Native cultures that rely on fish.

Canada mining company suspends work, cuts jobs in Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold said Tuesday it is suspending work at a site in Greece and laying off 600 workers following protests by local residents and a spat with the country's leftwing government.

The Vancouver, Canada-based company said it was halting operations at a gold mine at Skouries, on the Halkidiki peninsula, one of four major Greek sites where the company is involved.

CEO Paul Wright said a further 500 jobs were also likely to be cut later in the year.

New gloom for Rockies coal with Arch bankruptcy filing

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The beginning of bankruptcy proceedings for the nation's second-biggest coal company cast another dark cloud over the economy of Wyoming and other states in the top coal-producing region.

St. Louis-based Arch Coal Inc. says its Chapter 11 filing won't affect employee pay or benefits while the company reorganizes its debt. The company says the bankruptcy process will not result in mine closures or layoffs, and coal deliveries will continue without interruption.

Longer-term, the company isn't ruling out closures and layoffs, depending on the coal market.

Deal averts Montana coal mine shutdown

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A central Montana coal mine reached an agreement Monday with environmentalists and state regulators that is intended to avoid a major shutdown as a declining coal market leaves the future of some mining companies in doubt.

The deal comes after a state review panel rejected an expansion permit granted to the Bull Mountain Mine in 2013, threatening to halt most operations if the dispute could not be resolved.

The panel said a Montana agency failed to consider the mine's long-term potential to contaminate water supplies used by nearby ranches and residents. The agreement gives state regulators six months to look again at the effects from the underground mine.

11 workers die in latest mine collapse in China

BEIJING (AP) — Eleven workers trapped underground in a coal mine collapse have died, authorities in central China said Thursday, the latest in a series of mining disasters.

The miners were found Thursday afternoon, a day after the mine in Shaanxi province collapsed, Yulin city's propaganda department said in a statement. The reason for the collapse was under investigation, it said.

The rest of the 49 miners who had been working in the privately run mine escaped.

Mining industry deaths at all-time low in 2015

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Federal officials say U.S. mining industry deaths reached an all-time low in 2015.

Preliminary data from the Department of Labor says 28 miners were killed on the job, down from 45 in 2014, a 37 percent reduction. There were 11 deaths in coal mines, another all-time low mark.

Nevada recorded the most fatalities with four, followed by three deaths in Pennsylvania.

Malaysia to ban bauxite mining in Pahang for 3 months

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's government said Wednesday it will ban the mining of bauxite in central Pahang state for three months from Jan. 15 to regulate the industry after its unfettered growth last year caused sea and air pollution.

Bauxite mining began in central Pahang state in 2013 but production surged from mid-2014 amid strong demand from China after Indonesia banned bauxite exports and India raised ore tariffs. Bauxite is an aluminium ore and the world's main source of aluminium.

The mining sparked a public furor after it was blamed for contaminating the sea and some rivers in Pahang's capital of Kuantan, turning the waters red again last month after heavy rains. The water pollution first occurred in May last year. The transportation of the red earth by dozens of lorries also kicked up dust and caused unhealthy air, officials said.

EPA wants toxic Nevada mine on Superfund list

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Fifteen years after U.S. regulators started assessing damage and health risks at an abandoned Nevada copper mine, the Environmental Protection Agency is moving to add the contaminated site to its Superfund National Priority List, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Rural neighbors of the World War II-era mine that has leaked toxic chemicals for decades won a $19.5 million settlement in 2013 from companies they accused of covering up the contamination — some of it radioactive — near Yerington about 65 miles southeast of Reno.

EPA backs final environmental review for PolyMet mine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says the final environmental review for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine adequately addresses comments it made about earlier drafts of the massive document and says its remaining concerns can be addressed later.

The EPA weighed in Monday with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as the public comment period closed.

State official who clashed with EPA over mine spill resigns

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's top environmental official is stepping down, months after he clashed with federal authorities over a massive spill of toxic wastewater from an inactive mine in southwest Colorado.

Mike King's resignation was announced Thursday and takes effect Dec. 31. The executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources had led the agency since 2010. His departure comes on the heels of the resignation of Hickenlooper's lieutenant governor and appears part of the regular string of exits of veteran officials as the administration moves into its final years.


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