Mining

Mexico says mine firm lied about chemical spill

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's top environmental official said Tuesday that a mining company lied about a spill of millions of gallons of acids and heavy metals that contaminated two rivers and a dam downstream.

Environment Secretary Juan Jose Guerra Abud said the mine falsely claimed the spill earlier this month was caused by unusually heavy rain. Officials say a construction defect at a holding pond allowed mining waste to flow out.

BHP plans asset split, posts $13.8 billion profit

SYDNEY (AP) — BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, said Tuesday it plans to split off some of its smaller assets into a separate company, as it posted a $13.8 billion annual profit.

Melbourne, Australia-based BHP said the reorganization will allow it to concentrate on its mainstay iron ore, copper, coal, petroleum and potash businesses.

The new company, which will have BHP's current chief financial officer Graham Kerr as its CEO, will include some of BHP's assets from five countries, including aluminum, nickel, manganese, silver and coal.

Mexico says mine slow to report huge acid spill

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A civil defense official says a private mine in northern Mexico did not immediately report a massive acid spill, allowing it to flow into a river that supplies water to tens of thousands of people.

Carlos Arias, director of civil defense for the northern state of Sonora, said the spill at a copper mine near the U.S. border was caused by defects in newly constructed leaching or holding ponds.

Such ponds hold the overflow of acids used to leach metal out of crushed rock. But Arias said a pipe either blew out or became unseated on Aug. 7, allowing about 10 million gallons (40,000 cubic meters) of mining acids to flow downstream into a river.

Study: Oceans more tainted with man-made mercury

WASHINGTON (AP) — In much of the world's oceans, levels of the metal mercury are double to triple what they were before the industrial revolution, a new study says.

Researchers found there's more mercury from human sources — mostly burning fossil fuels and mining for gold — than scientists had thought.

The study assessed inorganic mercury, which in the ocean gets converted into the toxic methylmercury found in seafood. When pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children eat too much methylmercury-tainted seafood, there's an increased risk of nervous system problems in the developing child.

Ad targets Murkowski for backing Pebble Mine

Source: 
The Hill

Tribal advocacy group Nunamta Aulukestai is running an ad across Alaska for a week, targeting the state’s Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski for her support of the controversial Pebble Mine project in Bristol Bay, The Hill reports.

Next Pebble Mine move officially rests with EPA’s McLerran

Source: 
E&E

Even though debate about barring the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska has gone all the way to the White House, the official recommendation to Environmental Protection Agency water officials about the project's future will come from EPA's Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran, E&E reports.

Mining deaths on rise, 22 in first half of 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Twenty-two miners were killed in accidents during the first half of 2014, compared to 18 in the first half of 2013 and 19 for the same period in 2012.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration on Monday released its mid-year summary of fatal accidents. The report shows eight coal miners died in the first half of the year. While that number is about on par with recent years, the number of workers killed in other types of mining, 14, prompted safety officials to launch a new training and enforcement effort in May.

House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing on critical minerals

Washington, July 23, 2014, 2:00 pm

House Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee hearing, "American Metals and Mineral Security: An examination of the domestic critical minerals supply and demand chain." Expert witnesses. 

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.

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