EPA proposes to block Alaska mine over salmon risk

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed restrictions Friday that would essentially block development of a planned massive gold-and-copper mine near the headwaters of a world premier salmon fishery in Alaska.

The announcement came as the EPA was being sued by Pebble Limited Partnership, the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine, and the state of Alaska for allegedly exceeding its authority.

Remade Alcoa earnings report buoys Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Alcoa Inc. (AA) on Tuesday reported a second-quarter profit of $138 million, reversing a year-ago loss, and the results beat analysts' expectations.

The company reported strong results in its engineered-products business, which makes parts for industrial customers, while looking to cut costs in its aluminum-smelting segment.

Lawsuits seek to stop work at mines in 3 states

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Coal industry representatives say lawsuits against mines in three Western states could have consequences across the U.S. as environmentalists seek changes in how mining is approved on federally owned reserves.

In civil cases unfolding in Colorado, New Mexico and Montana, the group WildEarth Guardians asserts coal companies benefited from lax oversight by federal regulators.

The group says the U.S. Department of Interior approved mining plans without enough public involvement, and gave little heed to the pollution caused by digging, shipping and burning coal. The group asked the courts to stop mining until the plans are re-done.

17 coal miners die after blast in west China

BEIJING (AP) — Seventeen coal miners have died after being trapped by a weekend gas explosion in northwestern China, an official news agency reported Monday.

The miners were trapped Saturday by the explosion at a mine 120 kilometers (70 miles) from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, the Xinhua News Agency said. It said Monday they had died and the cause of the incident was under investigation.

China has the world's deadliest mines, although the safety record has improved as regulators strengthen enforcement of safety rules.

Murray Energy pledges fight on EPA carbon rule

The Hill

While not committing to a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, a Murray Energy Corp. spokesman said the mining company is prepared to fight the agency's proposed limits on carbon emissions at existing power plants, The Hill reports.

Palladium reaches 13-year high as strike continues

Palladium settled at its highest price in more than a decade as a mining strike in South Africa continues to pinch production of the metal.

Palladium for September delivery rose $5.60 to settle at $860.15 on Wednesday. That's the highest settlement price since February 2001, according to FactSet data.

Negotiations to end the nearly five-month strike ended earlier this week without an agreement. The strike started Jan. 23 and has squeezed supplies of the industrial metal, which is used to make catalytic converters that filter car exhaust.

Troubled mining industry now resurgent in Midwest

WHITE PINE, Mich. (AP) — A way of life dating back more than a century appeared over in Michigan's Upper Peninsula when the last copper mine closed in 1995, idling more than 1,000 employees and turning this once-thriving company town into a forlorn outpost.

Now a Canadian company is planning a new mine at the site a few miles from Lake Superior, where screeching gulls hover over empty buildings and parking lots are littered with broken glass. If Highland Copper Co.'s plans go forward, the area will be astir once more as underground ores are blasted, hauled to the surface and crushed at a mill to extract valuable minerals.

White Pine's impending rebirth is almost miraculous to local residents who have borne the brunt of its demise, but it's part of something even bigger: a surprising resurgence of a mining industry that once was an economic pillar in three Upper Midwestern states but has been in serious decline.

Sierra Leone president fires deputy over mining

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone's president has fired his chief of staff over his negotiating of a mining agreement and granting another company the right to log unlimited amounts of timber.

The statement from President Ernest Bai Koroma's office late Monday said Richard Conteh's negotiation of the mining agreement exposed the government to "potential loss of revenue." Conteh also allegedly issued an order allowing one company to export unlimited amounts of timber instead of the 30 containers stipulated by the president.

As chief of staff, Conteh, who was previously finance minister, was charged with overseeing projects initiated by the president and monitoring the performance of the other ministries.

Spat between Indonesia, Newmont intensifies

The Wall Street Journal

In the latest developments in a dispute over copper exports, Indonesia has slammed Newmont Mining for declaring force majeure – which allows it to back out of contracts without penalty – and says the company isn’t moving quickly enough to comply with local regulations, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Ex-Montana gov, others seek money for mine access

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A group of investors that includes former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is seeking $10 million from a mining company in exchange for access to a huge copper and silver reserve — a move the company's chief executive said Wednesday was "extortion" and included a threat to stir up negative publicity for the project.

Schweitzer, who has hinted at a 2016 presidential run, rejected the accusation and said he had been making a good-faith effort to resolve the dispute with a cash and stock settlement.


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