Biden should help clean up the developing world’s exotic mining tragedy

The enormous amounts of money being allocated for solar and wind — and the never-ending extensions of the tax credits for them — shows that energy policies in Washington and California continues to support the environmental degradation and humanity atrocities in the foreign countries that are supplying the exotic minerals and metals to support wind turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries.

By Ronald Stein

Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure, Irvine, California

Reducing America’s emissions is a major goal of President Elect Biden’s Platform, but it should not be implemented by “leaking” environmental degradation and humanity atrocities to foreign countries that are supplying the exotic minerals and metals to support green electricity. Biden has an opportunity to follow the lead of the United Nations and Amnesty International as the efforts to achieve net zero emissions must not be built on human rights abuses or on non-existent environmental regulations in foreign countries.

Biden’s “war on pollution”, will require worldwide transparency of supply chains, and environmental and labor protection laws and standards to control the environmental degradation and humanity atrocities occurring around the world from the mining in the foreign countries that dominate the supply chain of the exotic minerals and metals to support wind turbines, solar panels and EV battery construction.

The dark side of renewable wind, solar, EV batteries, and biofuel energy is that they are not clean, green, renewable, or sustainable. They are horrifically destructive in foreign countries to their vital ecological values that will last for generations to come.

At the end-of-life cycles for wind turbines, solar panel, and EV batteries, Biden has the opportunity to seek decommissioning, restoration, and recycling standards in foreign countries down to the last dandelion, just like we have for a decommissioned mine, oil, or nuclear sites in America.

Climate change remains one of the most serious threats to the integrity of life on earth. But we still need the world to have compassion for the trade-off to eliminate fossil fuels too quickly as it will allow the continuation of 11 million children in the world dying every year. Those fatalities are from the preventable causes of diarrhea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth as many developing countries have no, or minimal, access to the thousands of products from oil derivatives enjoyed by the wealthy and healthy countries.

Biden can share with the world their need to comprehend that energy is more than intermittent electricity from wind and solar. Ever since the discovery of the versatility of products available from petroleum derivatives, and the beginning of manufacturing and assembly of cars, trucks, airplanes, and military equipment in the early 1900’s, the world has had almost 200 years to develop clones or generics to replace the crude oil derivatives that are the basis of more than 6,000 products that are the basis of lifestyles and economies around the world.

The social needs of our materialistic societies, both stateside and worldwide, are most likely going to remain for continuous, uninterruptable, and reliable electricity from coal, natural gas, or nuclear electricity generation backup to the intermittent renewables, and for all those chemicals derivatives that get manufactured out of crude oil, that makes everything that’s part of our daily lifestyles and economies.

The key to wealth and prosperity is continued access to the thousands of products made from oil derivatives, and reliable, continuous, uninterruptable, and affordable electricity. The ‘unreliable’, wind and solar threaten both wealth and prosperity.

America has only about four percent of the world’s population (330 million vs. 8 billion). Biden knows that oil and gas is not just an American business with its 135 refineries in the U.S. but an international industry with more than 700 refineries worldwide that service the demands of the 8 billion living on earth.

The unintended consequences of Biden’s goal of getting rid of fossil fuels in America by 2050 is that it would result in importing the fuels and products from foreign locations that have significantly less stringent environmental controls.  That plan will work, but with higher costs to the American consumer, and may put America at a national security risk with increased dependance on foreign countries for the products and fuels for America’s economy.

Biden need not reinvent the wheel requiring transparency of worldwide environmental laws and labor laws as the U.N. trade body, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD,) has already issued a report breaking down some of the unintended negative consequences of the green shift, or emission “leakage”, to foreign countries, which include ecological degradation as well as human rights abuses.

Additionally, Amnesty International has documented children and adults mining cobalt in narrow man-made tunnels),  and the exposure to the dangerous gases emitted during the procurement of these rare minerals, not to mention the destruction of the local ecosystems when the wastewater and other unusable ores are let loose onto the environments they have no choice but to live in because their wages are so infinitesimally small, it should cause us to take a step back and examine our moral obligations to humanity. 

America could promote sustainable mining in those developing countries to restoring the land to a healthy ecosystem after the mine closes and by leaving surrounding communities with more wealth, education, health care, and infrastructure that they had before the mine went into production. Like the mining in America, the mining in developing countries must be the objective of corporate social responsibilities and the outcome of the successful ecological restoration of landscapes.

America’s passion for green electricity to reduce emissions must be ethical and should not thrive off human rights and environmental abuses in the foreign countries providing the exotic minerals and metals to support America’s green passion.

Ronald Stein, P.E.

Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure

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January 10, 2021 2:12 pm

Elon Musk recently became richest man in the world, partly thanks to sweat and tears of these poor kids. Oil is ‘mined’ by big grown up men and women who know what they are in for as Mr. Middleton will tell you, hot or cold he loves doing it.

Last edited 2 years ago by vuk
Patrick MJD
Reply to  Vuk
January 11, 2021 2:48 am

That’s not entirely true. He became the richest man on this rock by selling “green” credits to other car makers as he has “cornered” that market (Thanks to Govn’t). He makes a loss on every car sold, but he makes a profit for every “green credit” other car makers buy from Tesla enabling Tesla to “turn” a profit (NOT by making and selling cars). If that is not a scam I don’t know what is. But Musk’s and Telsa’s time is coming to and end where he will have to compete with real carmakers.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 11, 2021 10:29 am

Very good reason that the Apple was not interested in buying up Tesla few years back, apparently now Apple is talking to Hyundai about a tie-up.

January 10, 2021 2:20 pm

AWS (Amazon Web Services) has shut suspended Parler’s account, causing Parler to have to suspend operations.
AWS is owned by Google.

Reply to  MarkW
January 10, 2021 2:36 pm

No: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is owned by…Amazon.

Reply to  MarkW
January 10, 2021 3:45 pm

Yes, this being precipitated by President Trump being banned from Twitter. Democrat cancel culture is in the process of silencing non-leftist views and are purging many allies from Twitter and YouTube, for example.

Politically, their rush to impeach or use the 25th amendment too indicates some fear of an imminent response from the President because the Biden administration is set to take charge in only 10 days. These behaviors belie an insecurity over a truly honest and fair election.

January 10, 2021 2:20 pm

Sadly, Biden will not help clean up the developing world’s exotic mining tragedy, because he will be concentrating on enriching himself, his son and his family with tribute money from Ukraine, China and the corrupt dictatorships of Africa.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
January 10, 2021 3:49 pm

It would be nice to see justice served. The left gives lip service to inequity and then they support a candidate and family with known incestuous and pedophilic tendencies that has enriched themselves by the means you describe.

Last edited 2 years ago by Scissor
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
January 10, 2021 4:52 pm

I think Joey should get a shovel and broom and start cleaning…make himself useful for a change…now he appears to have trouble walking but it’s the effort – the image – from him that we need – go to it Joey!

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
January 10, 2021 5:50 pm

Mr. Biden is just a puppet. If he is not removed from office because he is physically unfit, he will do whatever his political masters and whatever his hateful vice president tells him to do. And he won’t have the mental fortitude to do anything about it.

But do expect the media to change. Whereas before they spewed nothing but lies and hate against a president, now they will worship the president and spew more lies, but lies that make their god look better. And I do mean worship. Mr. Biden or Ms. Harris could punch a different puppy every night on live TV and the media will never condemn it. The virus now has one job left. The media will make sure Biden gets all the credit for saving us from the “killer virus”. Worship the man who saved us from the killer virus. (And now that our new god has saved us from the killer virus, it will be time for him to retire in peace.)

Meanwhile, we will lose more and more liberty. Fraud will make sure the United States is a one-party government. Which will only make the corruption and hypocrisy worse. Remember that in war, the first casualty is the truth.

Reply to  Wade
January 10, 2021 8:37 pm

Biden is no god, at best a travelling evangelist. The Chief Evangelist (his own term) is Baal Gates, the Holy Profit that brings us the holy water from the New Jerusalem, that all men will have to obtain once a year, directly from the source, or perish, as the Good Book tells us.
Who is the god that will rule us with an iron rod? This is not a facetious question. We are alredy required to ritually cleanse ourselves at every public portal, we isolate from sinful society, we cover our blasphemous mouths, we sacrifice our blood to the Prophets of the Coming Reset (PCR), also known as the Program for Communist Revolution.
Wake me up when we start rounding up virgins for delivery to the New Temple in New Jerusalem.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
January 10, 2021 5:59 pm

Is the plan for “environmental justice” to funnel billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to impoverished kleptocracies in the hope that something good happens? The only “clean-up” will be by their bureaucratic elites padding Swiss accounts.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 10, 2021 7:25 pm

I think that’s the plan. The Western Democracies tax their poor people, and send their money to rich dictators in third world countries.

Yes, it’s true, it is the poor people who pay the taxes in Western Democracies. The Leftists tell us the rich corporations pay the taxes, but they don’t pay any taxes, they just pass any increased costs from increased taxes along to their customers in the form of higher prices.

Geoff Sherrington
January 10, 2021 2:23 pm

In the history of Mining, for much of the time all mining was conducted by the methods that you now decry. Machinery on a large scale is fairly recent and usually of a high capital cost that few emerging economies can afford.
While we can sympathize with your emotional reaction, do keep it in the perspective of known history. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
January 10, 2021 3:08 pm

In the history and development of modern society, the Industrial Revolution is fairly recent.
In the history of western civilization, the abolition of slavery is fairly recent. While we can sympathize with your emotional reaction, do keep it in the perspective of known history.

“Machinery on a large scale is fairly recent and usually of a high capital cost that few emerging economies can afford.”
Which is why mining companies do their own capital investments in new projects.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
January 10, 2021 3:17 pm

For most of the history of man on this planet, machinery on a large scale did not exist. So it’s not surprising that people failed to take advantage of equipment that did not exist.
However, in the here and now, such equipment does exist, which is a quantitative difference from what happened before.

January 10, 2021 2:39 pm

“America’s passion for green electricity to reduce emissions…” Passion? I don’t know anyone who even pays attention to green electricity other than complaining about ugly windmills and solar cells. I only hear interest from activists, politicians, producers and investors.

David Kamakaris
January 10, 2021 2:40 pm

For the green machine’s dream of a wind and solar utopia powering a multi-trillion dollar economy to come true, we need an epic-scale increase of mining activity within our borders to supply the raw materials necessary for that dream. We have the minerals within our borders, but I suspect, after the recent presidential election, the political will to allow such mining activities is in severe deficit. That is, unless you expect the Chinese to supply that demand. Could that possibly be Biden’s strategy?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 10, 2021 4:32 pm

Biden has no strategy. He has never had one. That has been his appeal to those who fund him and why he was appointed (not elected) President instead of any more qualified candidate. It is his utter lack of morals, ethic or imagination and willingness to do anything if it’s sufficiently enriching that has put him where he is. He’s even more of an empty suit than Obama was.

David Kamakaris
Reply to  Rory Forbes
January 10, 2021 6:31 pm

“Biden has no strategy”.

Point received and understood. So what about the green apparatchiks who are pulling his strings behind the scenes?

Rory Forbes
Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 10, 2021 7:00 pm

There really is no “there” there. Although apparatchiks abound at the superficial and public level. They don’t exist in any authoritative sense. “Climate crisis policy” is just window dressing for global redistribution of wealth and bolstering the power of the CCP. The “experts have known for nearly three decades that there is no such thing as anthropogenic climate change or global warming. It has been a fraud for years. No real scientists believe it.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 10, 2021 7:44 pm

I just had a rather disturbing image, of Biden sitting on Kamala’s lap, one of her hands not visible, while Joe’s lips move.

Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 11, 2021 9:57 am

The green apparatchiks have an agenda. Joe Biden is their strategy. 😁

Reply to  David Kamakaris
January 11, 2021 7:17 pm

It’s much, much more than the green apparatchics, they are just the useful idiots:

Last edited 2 years ago by yirgach
January 10, 2021 2:59 pm

The reality is you can’t make changes as quickly as social justice warriors would like. Else the kids picking up lumps of cobalt today might become some of the 11 million children who die of hunger next year.

Clyde Spencer
January 10, 2021 3:28 pm

“… the exposure to the dangerous gases emitted during the procurement of these rare minerals, not to mention the destruction of the local ecosystems when the wastewater and other unusable ores are let loose onto the environments

Just what might those unnamed dangerous gases be? The masthead picture appears to be a typical artisanal cobalt mining operation. Where is the wastewater? How do the miners use water in those narrow tunnels? And, just what are those unusable ores?

This kind of vague hyperbole has one purpose: To propagandize by appealing to emotion. It has no educational value — quite the opposite!

Last edited 2 years ago by Clyde Spencer
Smart Rock
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 10, 2021 10:44 pm

The main dangerous gas in those mines would be radon-222. It’s produced during the decay of the uranium that often accompanies copper and cobalt in the African Copper Belt. Radon-222 has a short half life of 3.8 days and decays into polonium-218, whose half-life is 3 minutes. Both decay steps emit alpha particles, which are really bad for your health.

The biggest health/safety issue (to me) would be the lack of proper ground control – mainly this is lack of decent roof supports. These artisanal mines are shallow and the rocks are weathered, soft and lack strength.

These artisanal mines are in or around large abandoned copper mines. The additional environmental impact of the current small scale mining would be negligible.

I suspect Ronald wrote that passage from memory and got some details not quite right. Or copied it from an article written by a journalist.

The ethical objection to the Congo artisanal cobalt mines is not so much the conditions that the child miners are obliged to work in; it’s the fact that they are child miners. In 1843 Britain made it illegal for children (and women) to work in mines, and presumably this caught on in other developed countries. So we think of children working in mines as rather barbaric.

The Chinese company that buys the hand-picked cobalt ore from the miners makes enough from the cobalt that it could afford to move in and set up a modern, industrial scale mining operation that could pay semi-decent wages to adult miners in semi-decent working conditions. Then the kids could go to school.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Smart Rock
January 11, 2021 10:28 am

You are right that radon is dangerous. However, I’m cynical enough to suspect that radon wasn’t even on the author’s radar. Environmental cancers typically have a latency of several years. The adults and even children may not live long enough to present with cancer. But, the question that should be asked is, “Is there any evidence that the artisanal miners are developing lung cancer at rates higher than the general population of the Congo?” If so, I have not read about it. Long-term, I suspect that the dust that they breath may impact their lung capacity when they get old, should they be lucky enough to actually live that long.

Yes, cave-ins are a definite risk that they face. However, they don’t have the knowledge to properly timber the tunnels, and they probably wouldn’t want to take the time to obtain logs to do so. If they did, they would be facing another problem of deforestation. It is probably a lot like motorcycle riders who did and still do object to government telling them they have to wear helmets. These are people who are desperate to maximize their income in a short time, just to survive!

Yes, from our enlightened perspective as ‘moderns,’ it seems barbaric that children should in any way participate in providing food or income for the family. And, of course, the 1843 enlightenment had nothing to do with eliminating cheaper labor in mines so that the male head-of-households might earn better wages.

The Chinese are not stupid. If they could produce cobalt at the same or lower costs by mechanizing, why would they not do so? Artisanal mining is common thoughout the world. Everything from gold, emeralds, jade, diamonds, and ‘coltans,’ are scavenged from what the mechanized mining missed. The ‘pickers’ on the ground are getting the 2% that the mining stream missed and wouldn’t be worth the diesel fuel and equipment maintenance to try to recover. It provides the local people with an opportunity for income they wouldn’t otherwise have, and provides the world with a little more of resources it wants.

Is it a perfect world? Not by a long shot. But the progressives who think that they are a lot smarter than everyone else have come up with proposals on how to reform the world based in limited knowledge seasoned with a dose of wishful thinking.

January 10, 2021 3:32 pm

Life cycle plans should be in place, and prefunded prior to ANY extraction, ANYWHERE. Unlike most US extraction. Recognizing our past failures here is probably why Biden has a domestic oil and gas plugging initiative in his infrastructure plans. Way too late for many/most of the US operator’s to meet their generations old, shirked, responsibilities. And I’m sure you’re also hyper red about the 13 figures worth of comparably shirked international oil and gas asset retirement obligations, since they are orders of magnitude higher than those in this article.

That being said, I’m with you on our responsibility to stop purchases of ANY extracted materials processed under generally unaccepted labor and environmental practices. Here or there….

Last edited 2 years ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 10, 2021 4:09 pm

When you decide to display your ignorance, you sure do go all out.

These so called “lifecycle” plans have been the law for many decades.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MarkW
January 10, 2021 9:10 pm

However, Third World Countries rarely have the capital to accomplish reclamation. The artisanal miners do what they do out of desperation, not because that is their preferred way of surviving. Most artisanal mining requires a minimum of tools, no education, and they are often lucky to put enough food on the table. They don’t have enough left over to post a bond for reclamation. They are the modern-day equivalent of subsistence farmers who only have an alternative to subsistence farming because people like him buy gold jewelry and smartphones. Bigoilbob sounds like the typical urban liberal that is out of touch with reality and has no appreciation for the difficulties that most people in Third World Countries labor under. They also typically suffer from a bad case of Kruger-Dunning Syndrome.

January 10, 2021 3:39 pm

Here comes stimulus 3 or 4 for COIV, stimulus for good voting, stimulus for cold weather, and stimulus for Africa.

Dave Fair
January 10, 2021 6:40 pm

Absolute, mindless SJW B.S.

The dog barks, but the caravan moves on.

Advanced economies require inexpensive energy. Barking green dogs will not generate a population’s desire to deviate from economic development. Given the choice between economic growth and future speculative climatic benefits, guess how voters will react. Government propaganda is designed to distract the populace from the reality of their own benefits from the use of FF and nuclear.

Peta of Newark
January 10, 2021 9:23 pm

Them miners seem happy enough – proud of what they do – no obvious baby-making hang-ups – no social distancing – no obvious illnesses – no Smart Fones – no social media – not obviously dead.
Wonder why..
… warm sunny weather???
… maybe that cobalt has a disinfectant effect?
… or digging in the dirt helps your immune system?
… getting ‘exercise’ is good for you?

Compare to the UK right now..
Pale frightened timid people hiding in their houses, utterly paranoid, overdosing on video-games, Trash TV, Comfort Food, Booze, freezing cold weather and people dying in droves

Maybe Joe should concentrate on..
… getting some Global warming going
… opening up the Ozone Hole – UV light is a potent disinfectant
… starting a few bare-knuckle cobalt mines around here. Coal, copper, lead or iron-ore will suffice
… get some more diesel cars on the road, they make lotsa lovely ozone
… get the kids outside and playing in some dirt AND their parents##
… follow the Chinese example – they started this virus thing but now their economy is romping away

maybe, the best way to ‘Clean Up’ is actually to Get Down And Dirty

## Something very noticeable when I used to visit the local playground with my autistic friend Sara.
English kids, as per the ones who attempted to trash my truck with me & her inside it, were always at the park without any sign of parental presence.

This part of the world has a strong Polish presence and the Mums, Dads, Grand-parents, friends were always there with their kids.
Not dominating or controlling, just ‘being there in case’ but most especially, they made time to be with their kids. They joined in the play and the games.
They pushed the swings, helped the roundabout go round, played on the Pirate Ship and let them conclude whatever games were playing.
sara can’t yet read or write, BUT, she was learning the rudiments of Polish – GOT to be one of the ‘More Difficult Languages’ of this world

The only time English ‘guardians’ were seen was with an angry scowl on their faces, fingers & faces buried in a smartphone as they rushed through to drag their kids away, regardless of what the kids were doing or said.

Just One More Little Clue showing how much trouble we are in here

January 11, 2021 4:09 am

America is littered with toxic sites of former mines..

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
January 13, 2021 5:59 pm

Yes, many of them do have acid mine drainage, which can be mitigated. Others are benign and provide opportunities for mineral collectors to collect on the dumps and even in the tunnels. You have to understand that these mines were in production before there was a good understanding of the potential long-term consequences. However, with a small population, and still having an unclosed frontier, there wasn’t any collective perception of a problem. It is only the ‘woke Karens’ of the world that get excited because they have something to complain about.

Bill Rocks
January 11, 2021 6:17 am

Paragraph 5: “Climate change remains one of the most serious threats to the integrity of life on earth.”

I disagree.

Reply to  Bill Rocks
January 11, 2021 8:24 am

I would agree, but only if we are discussing the next glaciation.

January 11, 2021 9:16 am

Does anyone think Biden is capable ofunderstanding this?

January 11, 2021 9:16 am

“…energy policies in Washington and California continues to support the environmental degradation and humanity atrocities in the foreign countries that are supplying the exotic minerals and metals to support wind turbines, solar panels, and EV batteries.”

While I agree with this sentiment in theory, I believe that Africa ought to be taking the necessary moral, ethical, environmental, lawful, and educational steps to protect from the exploitation of their resources.
The problem to overcome is that of third world greed and ignorance. The UN is in bed with the CAGW doomsayers so that influence is no longer reliable, and neither seems to be the African Union. The continuing problem among African States is leadership. The tribalist seem to have all the guns and no care for anything beyond the little square they abuse to secure their own immediate wealth.
Had Africa better leadership perhaps relative American policy would reflect that, but who could reasonably stand in front of the oncoming train that is global Climate anxiety? If an educated and energy secure EU or the United States can not or will not lead rationally and effectively. How is some schmuck who does the resource mining on his hands and knees, in a toxic environment that will kill him before he’s thirty years old, supposed to manage?

Walter Sobchak
January 11, 2021 11:17 am

Do you think that liberals actually care about the suffering and damage they inflict on poor people in Africa?

If so, you are fool. What they really care about is impoverishing, demoralizing, and humiliating the working class in America so that are enserfed and become so servile that they will be happy with any crumbs the Mandarins allow them.

Last edited 2 years ago by Walter Sobchak
January 11, 2021 2:20 pm

Wish the climate alarmists would explain how they’re recycling the old wind turbines and solar panels once they become useless. They both take and use far more energy then they provide. They still can’t store excess energy – use it or lose it. Nuclear power is now safe and saves thousand’s of lives.

Alberta Ed
January 22, 2021 1:35 pm

Biden is more interested in silly symbolic gestures than anything substantive.

paul mcfarlane
January 23, 2021 3:52 pm

Global warming aka climate change is the greatest and most successful hoax in the history of mankind based far more on religious tenets such as faith, hope and trust and acceptance without evidence rather than on proven science and scientific protocols such as observational evidence, double blind studies and statistical corelations.

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