Senate Energy Dems raise concern on coal leasing program

The New York Times

Investigators for Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said in a report that the Bureau of Land Management's coal leasing program has allowed some companies to pay low rates for leases and benefit from low royalties at taxpayer cost, The New York Times reports.

Enzi touts GAO report as support for coal lease program

The Hill

In contrast to Democratic arguments that a GAO report highlights problems with the federal coal leasing program, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said the $1 billion in leasing revenue detailed in the report proves the economic necessity of the program, The Hill reports.

Eastern Kentucky coal jobs take big hit in 2013

Lexington Herald-Leader

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet said in a report that coal operators in eastern Kentucky laid off 2,232 employees in 2013, a 23.4-percent decline, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

Senator: US coal sales might have cost taxpayers

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Congressional investigators have found problems with federal coal sales that might have cost taxpayers $200 million or more in lost revenue, a senator said Tuesday.

Citing a new report by investigators at the non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., called for the sales to be suspended until the problems are rectified.

More than 40 percent of U.S. coal production — or about 450 million tons a year — comes from public lands leased by the government to mining companies under the century-old Mineral Leasing Act. Those leases bring in more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

Safety violations noted at Nevada gold mine

RENO, Nev. (AP) — An assistant U.S. secretary of labor has criticized a Nevada gold mine for failing to protect its workers after federal inspectors issued more than 60 citations and orders involving health and safety violations subject to more than $200,000 in potential penalties.

A review issued Wednesday noted that Veris Gold USA Inc., owner and operator of the Jerritt Canyon mine in Elko County, didn't have to report an electrical explosion and fire that injured two employees there on Dec. 19 because inspectors for the Mining Safety and Health Administration were already on site documenting infractions.

The violations included blocked emergency escape routes, faulty pressure relief valves and improperly stored hazardous chemicals at the operation that has 120 workers about 50 miles north of Elko, the mining administration said.

Martin Marietta buying Texas Industries for $2.06B

NEW YORK (AP) — Martin Marietta Materials is buying Texas Industries in an all-stock deal worth $2.06 billion, creating a leading supplier of aggregates and heavy building materials with a strong presence in large, fast-growing markets like California and Texas.

Martin Marietta said Tuesday shareholders of Texas Industries will get 0.7 shares of Martin Marietta for each share held. Based on Monday's closing price, that amounts to $71.95 per share, a premium of less than 1 percent from Texas Industries' closing price of $71.54.

Martin Marietta will also assume $700 million in Texas Industries debt.

Senate Energy hearing on Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013

Washington, January 28, 2014, 10:00 am

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds hearing on Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. Energy Department, Interior Department witnesses. 

Platinum miners strike in South Africa

RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AP) — Tens of thousands of platinum miners in South Africa went on strike Thursday, demanding higher wages in a protest that is disrupting one of the country's major industries.

Protesters from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union sang and danced outside one mine shaft in Rustenburg, the center of major platinum operations. Some wore hard hats, and one donned a zebra mask.

South Africa is the world's leading producer of the metal, which is used in medical, electronic and other industries.

Big miners cut exploration budgets again, could trigger price hikes


Major global mining companies have cut their investment budgets for the second year in a row, and China's relentless demand looks set to continue, which could herald price increases in precious metals, Bloomberg reports.

Omnibus rider blocks EPA from tightening mine waste rules

The Hill

A Republican rider on the omnibus spending bill would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from clamping down further on mining companies dumping waste in streams, The Hill reports.


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