Past, present and future progress requires mining

Metal and mineral needs are constant, constantly evolving, requiring new mines

John M. Clema

Civilization’s progress has always been heavily dependent on farming and mining. The Stone Age didn’t end because mankind ran out of stones.

Instead, the discovery, mining and processing of metals like copper, bronze and iron, followed by the development of steel, led to progressively sharper, more effective tools, improved construction techniques, and other engineering and technological achievements. Nonmetallic minerals have also been and remain vital to civilization and progress.

Minerals – or their scarcity – have precipitated wars, but more often have led to certain countries becoming dominant in manufacturing vital products such as computer chips.

Factors that first influence mining feasibility include the grade of the ore, its location and access to the deposit. Low grades that may have made mining initially less feasible may become feasible over time as prices for those particular minerals increase.

Until the last few decades, mining in the United States was not only considered necessary, but was supported as an honorable effort by hardworking men and women who risked their lives to extract the ores. As attitudes about mining and miners changed, potential mineralized areas were increasingly made off limits to mining – even before any effort was made to evaluate mineral prospects.

Refusing to assess an area’s mineral potential and alternate uses is foolish and contrary to sound public policy. It makes valuable resources inaccessible to industries and societies that need them for vitally important technologies, job creation, government tax and royalty revenues, national security and modern living standards. Shunning our mineral wealth forces America to import minerals from countries that pay far less attention to environmental safeguards and worker safety standards than we do.

For example, to protect forests from exaggerated mining risks, Montana has failed to commission a reasonably sized mine for over 30 years. During the same period, its ideology-based land management practices resulted in tens of millions of acres of timberland and wildlife habitats burning, scarce topsoil washing away, and many rivers, streams and lakes being polluted. While millions of acres of Montana forest burn every year, America purchases timber and lumber from Canada.

The defunding and closure of the US Bureau of Mines, increasing restrictions on patenting mining claims, and unnecessarily burdensome regulations on already patented claims have crippled the nation’s hardrock mining industry. Meanwhile, other government agencies (such as the US Forest Service) acquired broad environmental mandates and hired personnel who oppose mining and have blocked new exploration and mining permits.

Many experts believe we are in an economic war with China, and various activist groups, legislators, regulators and judges support this for their own individual reasons. Requirements for rare earth and other critical metals are likely one of the significant factors leading to American companies like Apple moving their manufacturing to China.

Today the United States produces only about 40% of the copper and other metals that our industries require. Scarce and rare metals are generally found in smaller deposits that require underground operations that are of little interest to large mining companies but could be profitably mined in America, especially Alaska and our western states.

For instance, the Chinese currently control 80% of global tungsten mining and marketing. The USA has no active mines for this essential metal, which has the highest melting point and tensile strength of any metal. It is used in high-speed cutting tools, wear-resistant super-alloy coatings, cell phones, amour-piercing bullets, metallic skins on hypersonic weapons, and many other applications.

A mining consortium that I was involved with made a major tungsten discovery back in the 1970s in Montana. Data from drilling cores was excellent but was lost when the company closed. For more than eight years we have been trying to get a permit to redrill this site – but constantly changing rules and decisions have prevented us from moving forward. For example:

1) Federal Land is administered by different agencies operating under conflicting rules that are interpreted by officials who have no mining experience or interest in exploration and mining projects that would enable the United States to compete better with countries like China.

Reconstituting a Bureau of Mines with uniform rules that apply throughout the country, overseen by people with knowledge of the mining industry, would help overcome these problems.

2) Mining claims currently require yearly fees, while awaiting a Permit for Land Disturbance from government agencies. The process can drag on for years.

A time limit should be set for the government to grant a permit. While mine development is progressing, yearly fees should be abated unless progress is halted or other unforeseen developments occur. Mine development should generate yearly reports to the Bureau that should be stored as part of the information on the particular site. Once a discovery has been established, the claim should be patented to establish firm ownership and royalties based on production.

3) If a mining project is abandoned, vital mine and ore body data are frequently lost, and getting mining underway again by a new operator can be stymied for years.

In such cases, previous rights to the claim should be forfeited; regulations should require that data generated by the mining project be turned over to the US Geological Survey and/or new Bureau of Mines, so that it is not lost and is stored for potential future projects; and new permits should be issued in a timely manner under guidelines just suggested.

4) Federal and state government agencies have largely prevented the discovery and development of rare earth and other critical minerals resources, by limiting access to potential sites.

Instead, efforts to find, mine and process vital minerals should be supported and encouraged by people who have adequate knowledge and backgrounds to understand the importance of such deposits and how companies today can conduct all needed operations in ways that protect wildlife habitats and air and water quality. Establishing a new Bureau of Mines with a staff that includes miners and engineers would be an important first step.

Only by making these changes can lawmakers and regulators help ensure the independence and future success of the United States, its defense and high-technology industries, and its security – in the face of growing dependence on foreign sources for the vast majority of its critical minerals. With increasingly powerful countries like Russia and China supplying many of those minerals, and forming strategic alliances, American mineral independence is more vital now than ever.

John Clema is a professional geologist with decades of experience in mining.

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49 thoughts on “Past, present and future progress requires mining

    • Wow, this reactor sounds great. Where can I see one?

      Oh, it does not exist. Never been built, not even a prototype. Not even a proof-of-concept reactor. Apparently. Seaborg has no actual experience building or operating anything.
      Well look at this:

      Denmark’s Molten Salt Reactor developer Seaborg Technologies announced, via its Facebook page, that it had received an investment valued at “several millions” of Danish kroner from a Silicon Valley investment firm called PreSeed Ventures.

      And

      The investment allows Seaborg to move forward with preliminary experiments to validate its CUBE reactor design concept.

      Look at that, they are going to “validate” a “concept”.
      That is exactly what they have, a concept.
      Let me know when they are making steam.

      • TonyL,

        A quick google search would give you all the details you might want to know about Oak Ridge’s MSR, which operated in the 60’s. Not sure how you can say the concept’s never been validated.

        rip

        • I know all about the Oak Ridge reactor. Also a less well known one about the same time-frame in CA. These two are very specifically *not* the ones the commenter, Walter Horsting, was referring to. I specifically *was* referring to the vaporware reactors Walter Horsting brought up.
          Validation?
          I quoted directly, so as to avoid confusion. I guess it does not work sometimes. I will try again, with an explanation.

          The investment allows Seaborg to move forward with preliminary experiments to validate its CUBE reactor design concept.

          Note: “validate its CUBE reactor design concept”
          A concept which needs validation. a “CUBE reactor design”, which has not been validated.
          I hope that clears up the confusion.

          In general, I grow weary of people throwing stuff out there like it is an off-the-shelf product that you can just buy and put to work, when in reality said product does not exist. Not even as a prototype. Nothing.

  1. Mr. Clema’s points also apply to the oil & gas industry. “Leaving it in the ground in case we need it later” is just about the stupidest concept in mankind’s long history of stupid concepts.

    • Striving to attain improved efficiency when we consume oil and gas is a noble and valid pursuit.

      With that aim in mind, now is the time for mankind to continue consuming oil and gas. We have the infrastructure in place now, once that’s dismantled it will be extremely difficult to replicate. Oil and gas will power us through the present and provide mankind the means to develop a future beyond fossil fuels (if necessary). We are in the midst of the Oil Age.

      The unintended consequence of burning fossil fuels is an increase of atmospheric CO2, making the Carbon Cycle more robust. This additional CO2 is freely distributed around the globe for all to access. The plains of Mongolia, the fish in the Sea of Japan, the olives in Greece all benefit from increased CO2.

      CO2 feeds Carbon Based Life Forms.

    • “Leaving it in the ground” is both an advocacy/lobbying tactic and a play on the uneducated audience it is intended for.

      A similar wives tale is to buy farmland since they aren’t making more of it. This tale requires total ignorance of what it takes to make farmland productive, the holding costs, the risk set of the operation, etc.

      One thing I’ve learned about resource and scarcity ignorance is that a) there is an unending supply of ignorance, and b) the ignorance is split about evenly between advocacy-driven (bias/religious) ignorance and human linear trend thinking or whatever the technical term is for that.

      The only cure for the ignorance is decadal or generation scale time shifts. We no longer dwell on the scarcity of aluminum (WW2) or natural rubber or Arab oil crisis.

      • Good points. I remember the “ain’t making anymore farm land ” times. Many people bought into that notion and lost their shirt buying it when the price shot up in the mid 1970s. The land prices shot back down once it was realized that there is plenty of farmable land if you scrape the rocks off and pipe some water to it. I hope to live long enough to see the money spent on space exploration that only serves to satisfy some few people’s curiosity to a national plumbing system that would move the water out of people’s houses and off farmland and onto dry areas of the country that could use it.

  2. Current restrictions are obviously a lingering reaction to the abuses of the mining industry in past decades and centuries, which cannot be denied.

    Unfortunately, mining regulation has never been up to anywhere near the degree of scrutiny that regulations for most other industries have had to manage through for the last 40 years. Given the miniscule amount of regulation, the natural reaction has been to simply not let new mines proceed. The mining industry and its protectors in Congress are really at fault for that.

    Set up a sensible mine regulation program with sensible standards, comparable to that used in most other industries, and it should become much easier to get mines permitted.

    We need a strong mining industry here in the US and all other nations … but we also need mining to be responsible, safe, and one that minimizes damage to the environment and to other important resources. Practices like lopping off the tops of ancient mountains in the coal country of Appalachia is one that wins coal mining vast legions of opponents, and rightly so. Ditto with the vast wastelands left behind in the form of polluted tailings piles, large swaths of formerly productive streams destroyed by hydraulic mining operations, and vast areas of contaminated groundwater and streams as is common in many of the old mining districts in the Rocky Mountain region.

    It won’t be easy to regain trust, but it can be done, but not by relying on the 1872 mining law as it stands now.

    • Agree with all you have said. It is also a damn shame that Black Lung has hit industry workers so hard. This should have been a relic of an earlier age. Absolutely no excuse for that today.

      Bring back the Bureau of Mines, properly regulate the industry for safety and pollution control, and let the mines operate where minerals are found.

    • The Surface Mine Coal Reclamation Act would be a good starting point. The SMCRA program has been in effect since 1997 and has resulted in the reclamation of coal mines, compliance with water and air requirements while mining is active and has provided the funding and program requirements to clean up “pre-law” abandon coal mine environmental issues. It has not been easy nor perfect, but it has accomplished a lot of environmentally good post mining out. I have been involved with coal mining environmental regulations and the clean up of legacy lead-zinc mining clean up under the EPA superfund program. A well thought out evolving regulatory scheme is much better than an EPA lead cleanup both in outcomes and dollars.

      • RDuncan

        Implicit in the concept of reclamation is that the only acceptable condition for land is the condition it was in (or close to it) before mining started. That is, tress and shrubs are the highest value use. However, there are many individuals in the country who like to collect minerals as a hobby, or for research purposes. Usually, an old mine dump provides access to samples of the original ore and associated minerals. Unfortunately, if the mine site is ‘reclaimed’ by covering it with dirt, then mineral collectors are prevented from collecting, in favor of, at best, hikers. What has happened to the concept of “multiple uses” of public lands? It seems to me that the idea has been hijacked by those who view mountains as being an outdoor terrarium suitable only for viewing.

        Another issue is that as technology changes, minerals that originally had no value, and ended up on the dump, may become economically valuable. However, if the original dump minerals are buried under dirt, grab samples to confirm the presence of the potentially valuable ore are not available. To then have to mount a drilling program increases exploration costs. If a former mine appears to be a viable deposit, the costs of opening up sealed tunnels and shafts increases the overall costs of opening the mine over what it would have been if not ‘reclaimed.’ All so that the sensibilities of someone walking by are not offended by aesthetics that differ from what the hiker expected.

        In my opinion, not all abandoned mines should be considered automatically to be suitable for reclamation. Acid mine drainage is sometimes a problem for water quality. Those instances should be remediated. However, that doesn’t require full reclamation.

      • RDuncan,

        Close. SMCRA was actually passed in 1977 with President Carter’s signature (Ford had twice vetoed it.) Most states already had reclamation laws but this set a national minimum standard for reclamation. The act also eliminated the US Bureau of Mines, distributing its many functions into the newly-created Dept. of Energy (fossil fuels, except for coal reclamation), the Interior Dept. (non-fuel minerals investigation and availability determination), the Mine Safety and Health Admin., or MSHA (mine safety and miners’ health) and the newly-created Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement, or OSM (coal reclamation via SMCRA enforcement).

    • Duane – August 7, 2019 at 7:11 am

      Practices like lopping off the tops of ancient mountains in the coal country of Appalachia is one that wins coal mining vast legions of opponents, and rightly so.

      and rightly so …… WHAT, ……. Duane.

      And just what is the “redeeming social value” in saving a “mountain top” from being removed?

      Of course you probably don’t realize, ….. or could care a feces less, ….. that central West Virginia and Charleston, the Capital of the State would not now have a functioning airport …… iffen two (2) “mountain tops” were not lopped off in the late 1940’s and used as “fill dirt” to create enough “flat land” for an airport facility.

      And there are now dozens of great Shopping Centers/Malls in WV as a result of “mountaintop removal”.

      So, what are your “future plans” for all the mountaintops in Appalachia, ……. Duane? Use pictures of them as Calendar Art and make a fortune selling them to illegal immigrants?

      Duane, there is no easy access to them other than “climbing” to the top via your arms and legs. Some are really great for growing “wacky tobacca” because the local Sheriff and ATF is too lazy to climb to the top looking for it.

      • Sam . My brother in law is one of concerned with the mountain tops. He’s to lazy to climb up them so he tears up the vehicle I gave him driving up them in Tennessee. He’s not concerned at all about earning a living or how he will get to the stores to buy stuff he don’t need with the money given to him by the government, when he breaks the vehicle . Some people in this world you just cannot help or understand their thinking.

    • Duane,
      Sadly you are a victim of the group thinking that believes that government regulation is an essential and necessary ingredient of progress.
      If you had actual hands-on experience in the extractive industries, you would realise that one of the biggest impediments is, as John Clema notes from bitter experience, the abject ignorance of the bureaucracy.
      No extractive project can proceed without change to its surroundings. It is childish to equate this damage with destruction, rather than with progress. But, that childish logic is typical of the Green movements that so often infiltrate the comfortable chairs of the bureaucracy.
      In some 4 decades, the mineral team I helped manage in Australia found a dozen or so new mines. The new, original wealth from these (in 2015 $Australian and 2015 commodity prices) was over 60 billion and continuing. We were forced to walk away from several prospects that we thought could add about half that much again, primarily from the adversity of Sovereign Risk. Nothing, except the continuation of the half-forgotten stupid reasons for denial of access, prevents these mothballed prospects from reactivation. Such a move, if applied nationally, would be one on the more rapid and less risky ways to inject new wealth in our ailing economy.
      Yes, there would be visible damage to the environment, though we are quite good at restoration. You have to put the value of a visible scar on the environment against the tremendous new wealth. There is no contest. Extraction wins in this globally mature, highly competitive activity.
      The protest you express is the clear mark of the whinging loser. You might consider shutting up and sticking to what you know.

      • Geoff Sherrington
        August 7, 2019 at 2:32 pm

        Yes, you’re quite right. However I think a greater problem with the youth of today and particularly the Green youth is that they have absolutely no idea of how world economies work. They don’t understand that we need to continually create wealth so we and our country can buy things we need from others, especially those overseas. All wealth creation is unnecessary and evil to them.

      • Government regulations most certainly ARE necessary to protect public interests from greedy careless private interests.

        It’s called human nature. That’s why governments exist at all – to protect the common interests from the greedy personal interests.

        It’s not “group think” – it’s called “common sense”. Which you apparently lack.

        • Duane,
          From the Declaration of Independence:
          “… certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, …”

  3. To quote a very popular old country song, courtesy of John Prine:

    “And daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    Well I’m sorry my son but you’re too late in asking
    Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.

    Then the coal company came with the world’s largest shovel
    And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
    Well, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken
    Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man”

    That is the public perception – and reality – of the legacy of mining in the United States.

    It didn’t help when the EPA was trying to figure out how to clean up the water pollution from an old gold mine near Silverton, Colorado a couple of years ago … and ended up in a mine blowout that turned the Animas and San Juan Rivers red for hundreds of miles downstream. EPA got blamed for causing the blowout, but they were only working there to try and do something about old pollution left by gold miners from more than a century ago.

    • The EPA was negligent in that debacle. They had been warned, but ignored prudent advice not to proceed with their plans. “We were just trying to help” is not an acceptable excuse when something like this happens and should not have gotten them off the hook. If any private company had done what they did, people would have gone to jail.

      • EPA would never have been involved in the first place were it not for the greedy negligence of the gold mining industry there in Silverton.

        Have you ever been there, seen the old abandoned mines .. the mountain streams that are nothing but flowing cesspools of polluted waters, with the rocks in the stream bed discolored by mining pollutants, the massive tailings piles. If you haven’t seen that, then you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        Mining can be accomplished without creating massive environmental damage … but miners won’t do it without being forced by the People to do so.

        Every other industry in America is much more heavily regulated than mining. And that industry is mostly thriving (other than impacts put on them by Trump’s current stupid and destructive policy of starting trade wars with basically the rest of the world – which is killing the stockmarket, killing American exporters, actually INCREASING the trade deficit, and has resulted in lower GDP growht than under Obama (just 2.1% last quarter, with CBO projecting just 1.8% next year).

        Americans are better than any other people on earth in producing goods and services with minimal pollution. But mining doesn’t. And that is why mining is being restricted all over the USA.

        Whine all you want about regulations, but without them, mining will not thrive again.

    • Multiple errors were made. See the following report.

      Technical Evaluation of the Gold King Mine Incident
      San Juan County, Colorado
      U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation Technical Service Center Denver, Colorado October 2015
      “The evaluation team offers the following recommendations:
      1. Because of the complexity of reopening a flooded abandoned mine, a potential failure modes analysis should be incorporated into project planning.
      2. Before opening an abandoned mine adit, review mine maps, production records, dump size, and local history about the mine to evaluate the potential volume of mine workings. If the volume is large, consider what would happen if there were an accidental release and what could be done to protect against it. A downstream-consequences analysis should be a part of every complex mine remediation.
      3. Water conditions within the mine should be directly measured prior to opening a blocked mine. Indirect evidence is insufficient if the potential for a blowout exists.
      4. Where significant consequences of failure are possible, independent expertise should be obtained to review project plans and designs prior to implementation.”

      • No errors would have been made by EPA if the miners hadn’t polluted the hell out of that mining district, which is now an active Super Fund site.

        You want to blame the first responders for being inefficient and making errors in cleaning up the carnage, instead of blaming the terrorists .. to use a metaphor.

        • Duane
          You betray your ignorance of mining and geology. When the mine was abandoned, the water draining from the mine was probably reasonably clear. However, the pyrite in the walls of the tunnels oxidized, mixed with the water, creating sulfuric acid. The iron from the pyrite went into solution, creating the orange, acidic discharge. In an ideal world, the original owners would have properly sealed the mine and/or back-filled with limestone to neutralize the acid when they shut down. However, in those days, they really didn’t understand what might happen in the future. And, they were operating in an environment where largely uneducated individuals would create the laws controlling the operations within individual mining districts. Many mines shut down suddenly when they unexpectedly ran out of paying ore. It is less than an ideal situation, but I think that you are being overly critical of your ancestors.

    • I would invite anyone who thinks that the US has it the worst in pollution to revisit the terrain in the former Eastern European Countries. In 1992 I rode from Germany to Prague via a small road starting just north of Regensburg. Upon crossing the boarder into the new Republic we discovered about 25 Km of land with dead trees, no birds and all the streams were emerald green. It was an area where the former regime had mined coal with zero regard for anything. There was another town covered with magnesium dust from the smelting operation. During the previous regime a German company had offered to clean the town in exchange for being able to truck the dust out. The offer was refused.

      Today, there are only a couple of people with lung problems. /sarc

      It’s interesting that the protection of the environment is writ so large by those whose political system has not only repeatedly destroyed it, but also the population living in it.

  4. EVs are going to hit the resource wall, and do a fabulous Crash and Burn.
    Let me order up a Prophesy of the Future:
    1) EVs cause a huge run-up on demand in certain metals, which causes –
    2) A huge surge in mining development of these metals to meet demand, meanwhile –
    3) The price of EVs soar, in response to the skyrocketing price of critical materials, leading to –
    4) EV sales collapse, causing –
    5) Demand of these critical metals to collapse as well, just as –
    6) The metal producers flood the market with metals which are suddenly no longer in demand.
    7) Prices collapse, output collapses, all the mines go bankrupt, EV maker are already bankrupt.
    8) Big Smoking Hole In The Ground

    Sounds Like A Plan.

    • TonyL,

      I just read two stories on Mining themed outlets that describe the drop in ore prices related to increased mining activities: Lithium and Cobalt. Though that could change with increased demand.

    • Lithium is an abundant resource that until recently was used in ceramics, some glasses, greases, chemicala etc and four or five mines supplied the market for a century. Today there are ~400 new projects because of anticipated demand.

      A number of these were mined for only their tin or tanralum content and spodumene, the chief hardrock ore mineral comprises ~20% of the ore went to tailings. In what was Katanga province in southeast DR Congo, the worlds largest deposits occur and tin was mined from just the top 10m from 1910 to 1990. They left huge “waste” piles comprising well over a 100million tonnes of -1/2″ material.

      Recent drilling across a couple of veins intersected up to 200m of pegmatite ore assaying 1.6% Li2O to depths of over 100m. The two “deposits” known are closely spaced composites of multiple veins of up to 2% Li2O aggregating 500m in thickness and extending 5km in length each (Manono to the northeast and Kitolo on strike to the southwest). These contain 100million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent, a major Li-ion battery chemical raw material. Double this for a feasible 600m deep pit with such mineable widths. This would make enough for 1.6 billion Teslas (I consulted on the metallurgical testing and conceptual tailings re-processing scheme).

      • +Gary Pearce , guess that puts the lack of resources argument to rest. When I hear those arguments I’m reminded of the dozen or so “peak oil” events we’ve seen disproved in the past 150 years. None the less, until nuclear fusion is perfected, deployed and in operation (not in the next 50 years) here’s hoping, for the sake of the environment and the economy, that EV’s continue to be a niche market for the rich and famous.

  5. In an earlier era I was disgusted by a site visit to a prospect northwest of Butte MT only to find a moonscape of clear cut timber land with a tiny green speck of land in a ravine. The prospect was in that ravine and it had a one-armed U.S. military veteran camped there and mining black sand from a vein with a fire hose and screen process. This vet told me he was being harassed by U.S. Forest Service personnel for his tiny operation in that small ravine surrounded by the moonscape. That is a fact as disgusting as it was. I doubt regulatory disconnect has changed since then, except for more dogmatic influence in federal agencies.

  6. Progress or monotonic change to the past, present, and future. We need development to improve the state and quality of life, while conserving principles of individual dignity and intrinsic value of human life, reconciled with natural imperatives.

  7. I’ll believe that Climate Change is not a primarily ideological / political issue when the alarmists start pushing nuclear power. Until that happens, it is all just a power grab with no serious concern about the climate.

  8. While I don’t know who John Clema is he certainly sounds like “a professional geologist with decades of experience in mining”. How rude is this: rare earth ore is mined at Mountain Pass, in California, then shipped to China for processing, and then, IF YOU ARE LUCKY, sent back to the USA for utilization. John is correct about the need for a coherent set of Natural Resource (there, that includes David) laws and rules over all of the USA.

  9. “Instead, the discovery, mining and processing of metals like copper, bronze and iron, followed by the development of steel, led to progressively sharper, more effective tools, improved construction techniques,”
    ________________________________________________________

    Flintstone tools are way sharper than any tools made from metals. Precise cutting edges today are still today made from ceramics.

    The advantage of metal constructions / tools are ductility and higher malleability.

  10. “Instead, the discovery, mining and processing of metals like copper, bronze and iron, followed by the development of steel, led to progressively sharper, more effective tools, improved construction techniques,”
    ________________________________________________________

    Flintstone tools are way sharper than any tools made from metals. Precise cutting edges with high durability till today are made from ceramics.

    The advantage of metal constructions / tools are ductility and higher malleability.

  11. +Gary Pearce , guess that puts the lack of resources argument to rest. When I hear those arguments I’m reminded of the dozen or so “peak oil” events we’ve seen disproved in the past 150 years. None the less, until nuclear fusion is perfected, deployed and in operation (not in the next 50 years) here’s hoping, for the sake of the environment and the economy, that EV’s continue to be a niche market for the rich and famous.

  12. Mining has been at the heart of almost every dramatic human advance. Since Flint mining began with Neanderthals. Without mining minerals, humans do not evolve or progress. They just get static … same ole same ole
    And remain no better than Neolithic hunter / gatherers

    • So true. The widespread adoption of coal, then oil, which led to electricity, made cheap, widespread and abundant energy available to everyone and revolutionized society and humanity. In the last 300 years, life expectancies rose from about 50 to 85 or so. People were able via machinery to multiply their work effort many-fold, leading to undreamed-of affluence. This in turn funded modern sanitation, medical research, transportation and communication networks, highly productive manufacturing and farming, public education for all, and virtually all of modern society. Even the poorest people in the developed world today have access to this cheap and abundant energy. They live lives far superior to past royalty, not to mention the vast majority of past laborers who worked every waking hour just to feed their families.

  13. So true. The widespread adoption of coal, then oil, which led to electricity, made cheap, widespread and abundant energy available to everyone and revolutionized society and humanity. In the last 300 years, life expectancies rose from about 50 to 85 or so. People were able via machinery to multiply their work effort many-fold, leading to undreamed-of affluence. This in turn funded modern sanitation, medical research, transportation and communication networks, highly productive manufacturing and farming, public education for all, and virtually all of modern society. Even the poorest people in the developed world today have access to this cheap and abundant energy. They live lives far superior to past royalty, not to mention the vast majority of past laborers who worked every waking hour just to feed their families.

  14. The US will be in serious trouble if China ever decides to really put the screws to us. They have been quietly buying mineral assets globally for the last 20 years (zinc in the NW Territories, copper in Central Africa, coal in BC etc.) Our regulatory process pendulum has swung way out of control. It took 17 years and a trip to the Supreme Court to get permits for Kensington – a gold mine that mines exactly the same veins and host rocks as the mines that Juneau Alaska was literally built on to no ill effect. And because of the abominable K-12 education many receive, not only can they not identify geographic areas or “products of Norway”, they have no idea that everything they touch from their toothpaste to their kitchen sink requires mined materials…… Sad.

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