SEC's conflict minerals rule violates 1st amendment: Appeals Court


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out a so-called "conflict minerals" rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which had mandated that companies state whether their goods may have originated in the strife-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, E&E reports.


Glencore buys oil-explorer Caracal for $1.35B

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss-based commodities giant Glencore Xstrata Plc says it is buying oil exploration firm Caracal Energy Inc. for about 800 million pounds ($1.35 billion) in cash.

Glencore says it has reached an agreement to buy all outstanding Caracal shares for 5.50 pounds each, a 61 percent premium on the Canadian-based firm's stock price Friday.

US mining deaths up in 2013, injuries down

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Federal mine safety officials say the number of mining deaths in the nation totaled 42 in 2013, up six from the previous year.

The preliminary numbers were released Thursday by the Mine Safety and Health Administration. It reports that the 20 coal mining deaths last year were unchanged from 2012, but deaths at other mining operations were up by six, to 22.

The 2013 deaths were driven by 15 mining fatalities in the fourth quarter of the year. The overall injury rate dipped to a historic low.

McCarthy stands by Bristol Bay mining review

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday defended her review that could potentially restrict or ban surface mining near Alaska's sensitive Bristol Bay, despite complaints that it has put a cloud over the proposed Pebble Mine.

McCarthy's decision to consider a ban on mining in the area came under strong questioning from Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, at a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on EPA's budget. Murkowski argued that EPA was moving ahead with the review before any formal permit application by Pebble developers.

Rio Tinto to give away Pebble Mine project shares

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A major shareholder of a company behind a contentious Alaska mine project on Monday announced it was giving its shares away to two Alaska charitable organizations, at least one of which belongs to a larger group that has come out publicly against the project.

London-based mining company Rio Tinto announced plans to give its $16 million worth of shares in Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. to the Alaska Community Foundation and the Bristol Bay Native Corp. Education Foundation.

Families remember victims of WVa mine disaster

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Friends and families of victims of a West Virginia mine explosion have met to remember lost loved ones and seek justice.

Wednesday's gathering outside the Charleston federal courthouse commemorated the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. Saturday is the four-year anniversary of the explosion that killed 29.

Massey Energy owned the mine and was later sold. Former CEO Don Blankenship released a documentary this week disputing his company was at fault. Victims' families say the film was like pouring salt in a wound.

BHP Billiton hints at more sell-offs

The Wall Street Journal

BHP Billiton isn't commenting on a report that it may sell off about $19 billion in assets, but the mining and commodities giant acknowledged Tuesday that it is looking at simplifying its portfolio as commodities prices slump, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Environmental Protection Agency

EPA begins process to stop Pebble Mine in Alaska

The Obama administration on Friday invoked rarely-used powers under federal water pollution law to prevent a massive copper and gold surface mine from being developed in southwest Alaska's salmon-rich Bristol Bay watershed.

"It's just an extraordinary set of circumstances in Bristol Bay that really deserve this special type of consideration," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters.

EnergyGuardian Photo

EPA starts process that could restrict Pebble Mine

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking the first steps toward possibly restricting or even prohibiting development of a massive gold-and-copper prospect near the headwaters of a world-premier sockeye salmon fishery in southwest Alaska.

The federal agency will ask the state and those behind the proposed Pebble Mine to make their case for the project.

Noting tech needs, mining companies seek graphite

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Tear apart an electric car's rechargeable battery and you'll find a mineral normally associated with No. 2 pencils.

It's graphite.

And experts say the promise of expanded uses for "pencil lead" in lithium-ion batteries — used in cars, cellphones and tablet computers — as well as a decrease in supply from China has helped touch off the largest wave of mining projects in decades.


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