Mining Matters – A clear path forward for Pebble

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Feds advance Alaska’s Pebble gold and copper project with release of draft environmental review
Alex DeMarban, Anchorage Daily News, February 20, 2019

The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled the first-ever draft environmental review of the controversial Pebble gold and copper project. The report is a key step in the regulatory process and will lead to a 90-day public comment period for the Southwest Alaska mine that has been in the works for more than a decade, the U.S. Army Corps said Wednesday.

Mineral import reliance US Achilles’ heel
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, February 15, 2019

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, called on Congress to pass legislation that will curb the United States’ increasing dependence on foreign countries for its growing mineral needs. “Our nation is headed in the wrong direction on mineral imports. [It] is our Achilles’ heel that serves to empower and enrich nations, while costing us jobs and international competitiveness.” As Murkowski noted, minerals are fundamental to life as we know it and the building blocks of a robust economy. Yet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2017 the United States imported 50 percent of 50 mineral commodities, including 100 percent of 21 minerals.

America is losing battery metals arms race
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, February 15, 2019

The second article outlines how this reliance may impact the auto and energy storage industries in the United States, highlighting a message that Simon Moores, the managing director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, delivered to ENR members. “He [Moores] said the growing number of electric vehicles hitting the markets, coupled with an increasing demand for electric storage for other uses, is driving unprecedented growth for lithium-ion batteries and the four key materials that go into them – graphite, lithium, cobalt and nickel. The United States is currently heavily dependent on imports for all four of these materials and risks being left behind as traditional petro-fueled automobiles give way to a future dominated by battery powered electric vehicles… Those who control these critical raw materials and those who possess the manufacturing and processing know-how, will hold the balance of industrial power in the 21st century auto and energy storage industries.”

Draft study on Alaska LNG to be released at the end of the month
Hank Davis, KTUU, February 20, 2019

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is scheduled to release a draft version of the Alaska LNG pipeline project Environmental Impact Study at the end of this month. It’s been a decades-long process to get to this point, with the $43 billion, 800-mile long pipeline, which would transport natural gas across the state.