Cause of Gas Leak That Killed 2 Colorado Miners Is Sought

November 18, Monday, federal mine safety inspectors were trying to determine the cause of an accident that killed two miners and injured 20 others near the mountain town of Ouray in southwestern Colorado.

According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a foreman and a miner at the Revenue Virginius Mine, which conducts underground gold and silver mining, were overcome by gas in an area where an explosive had been detonated.

Officials said, the fallen miners, identified as Nick Cappanno, 34, of Montrose, and Rick Williams, 59, of Durango, died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mine rescue teams searching for the men detected fatal levels of the gas, and 20 miners were taken to hospitals, said Amy Louviere, a spokeswoman for the mine safety agency. Nonetheless all have been released.

Star Mine Operations of Denver was the owner of the mine; the mine has been cited for many federal safety violations from the time when the company began operating it in 2011. A lot of of the violations involved the misuse of electrical equipment and machinery, or a failure to follow safety precautions, federal mine safety records show.

On Oct. 22, which was the latest incident, federal inspectors cited the company for failing to secure gas cylinders safely and for using defective equipment.

According to the mine safety agency, the rate of workdays lost to nonfatal accidents at the mine was more than double the national average for each of the past two years.

Rory Williams, the mine’s manager (not related to Rick Williams) did not return phone messages right after but according to The Watch Newspaper in Telluride, the defended the mine’s safety record.

The miners who died were equipped with self-rescue and oxygen devices, Mr. Williams said at a news conference Sunday night. Equipment malfunction was not suspected as having played a role, he added.

As of this year the two deaths brought the number of mining fatalities in the United States to 36.

Investigators were trying to gather into whether the mine was sufficiently ventilated.

Ellen Smith, the owner and managing editor of Mine Safety and Health News, which tracks mining accidents, said there did not appear to have been any warning signs of potential gas leaks.

There were other concerns, she said. On four occasions this year, complaints about hazards were lodged, according to federal records.

Those complaints resulted in a single citation. But Ms. Smith said the fact that miners had repeatedly raised concerns was unusual, especially at a relatively new operation.

Gas leaks are not rare in underground mining; however they do not usually cause as mugh deaths as blasts or cave-ins.

Bruce Dial, a former federal mine inspector, said it was possible that the minors had encountered carbon monoxide that had lingered for years from previous mining operations. Another possibility, Mr. Dial said, was that carbon monoxide released by the mine’s own operations may have built up.

 

Guy Scott Tells Mining and Energy Conference: We Are an Intelligent Government

The introduction of Statutory Instrument No.32 is not meant to “kill” the mining sector or is it a form of exchange controls but is aimed at ensuring that the proceeds from the mineral resources benefits the Zambian people said VICE President Guy Scott.

Government would ensure that taxes remitted by companies were thoroughly scrutinized so that they could fully benefit the nation said Dr Scott.

“Some sectors feel we are going backwards by claiming that we are introducing exchange controls but I want to tell you that we are an intelligent Government that wants to ensure that the resources are properly managed through the implementation of the SI 32,” he said.

Dr Scott said while speaking during the 3rd Zambia International Mining and Energy Conference (ZIMEC) in Lusaka yesterday, it was sad that more money continued to leave the country through tax avoidance hence the need to intensify policies that would ensure transparency in the industry.

Issues globally with the on-going Group of eight nations meeting on taxation and transparency in Northern Ireland being timely as it would assist countries like Zambia find a lasting solution to the challenges Dr Scott further added.

“We are very in line with this meeting and we expect that we will have increased transparency and access to offshore bank accounts,” he said.

Government would continue to create an enabling environment for investors in the mining and energy industries saying the sectors were key in national economic development, Dr Scott said.

He further said that investors should also ensure they ploughed back to the communities they operated in through job creation and other corporate social responsibility activities.

“Government was not elected by the people of Zambia to extract 750,000 tonnes of copper a year but to see to it that the minerals are beneficial to the people of Zambia. If it was important, we would not allow for the extraction of minerals but we allowed it because the minerals are supposed to provide jobs, taxation and other multiplier benefits,” Dr Scott said.

He said the mining industry should support local industries by buying locally produced equipment unlike the current trend where all equipment’s was imported.

“We want locally value-added content in the inputs used by the mines. We want local industries to process steel boards and other equipment used by the mines, that way more jobs will be generated from the mining industries.

“It does not make sense again for local enterprises to import equipment and supply it to the mines but it is better to have foreign firms that are established in the country and are engaging local people to produce the equipment,” he said.

The conferences which was held two days aimed at creating a platform for stakeholders in the energy and mining sectors to engage on issues that would enhance the mining and energy sectors.

Over 300 delegates and mining giants including Mopani copper mines Rio Tinto, First Quantum Minerals, among others was attracted by the conference organized by AME Trade in partnership with Association of Zambian Mineral Exploration Companies.

The mine would continue to invest in Zambia, with the mining firm investing over US$2billion to date, Mopani Copper mines chief executive officer Danny Callow said.

“Mopani will remain a committed partner in Zambia as demonstrated through the expansion drive and infrastructure upgrade we have embarked on,” he said.

Mr Callow said copper production was expected to increase to 1.5 million tonnes by 2016 due to expansion projects being undertaken by various mines across the country adding that the expected production capacity would only be sustainable if reliable energy and good road and railway infrastructure were enhanced.

He said Government and the mining firms should continue to dialogue on various policy issues if the industry was to be fully developed.

Making Progress with Biodiversity for Mining Rehabilitation

The pioneers in progressive mine rehabilitation is one of the greatest assets in departmentalizing mining stereotypes. Environmentally friendly procedures and more and more miscellaneous ecosystems are becoming the standard as companies regard local ecosystem rehabilitation as a part of the on-going mining process.

To better understand these progressive rehab techniques, here are some words from Idemitsu Australia Resources Corporate Sustainability and Environment Manager Dr. Jan Green and Parsons Brinckerhoff Team Manager, Alex Cockerill.

“There’s an increasing focus on establishing complex and diverse natural ecosystems as part of mine rehabilitation,” she says. “With progressive rehab, it takes a much shorter time after the mine closes before the original flora and fauna can take over naturally.”

Her existing project is a 6- to 7-year-old mine that will sooner or later go back to a box gum woodland with white box gum trees. She explains that one of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the mining as it happens.

A strict schedule of clearing between summer and autumn allows species, for example, to nest in the winter and raise young in the spring. Cockerill says the team salvages hollow logs and timber for the provision of supplementary fauna habitats within the rehabilitation, and collects the seeds of local species of plant from the adjoining forest for propagation in a nursery.

By means of local species, it provides them a better chance of growing for the reason that the topsoil is recreated with greater accurateness. Sequentially, local fauna, from invertebrates to birds and mammals, are attracted to familiar landscapes.

“With the progressive establishment of increasingly complex vegetation structure and diversity these ecosystems encourage more local species back onto the mine site,” Cockerill explains.

“It’s then supported by biodiversity monitoring to target measurable performance criteria throughout the life of the mine and rehab,” Dr. Green says.

Dr. Green believes progressive rehab should be the norm and there’s good reason for that.

“We are mining in a state forest and to rehabilitate progressively is part of the approval conditions,” she admits, “But progressive rehab is better in terms of the environment and community acceptance.”

Deserted mines and plateaued soil heaps are not natural and can take expanded time to renew because of erosion. But gradually rehabilitated mines have extra defiance to erosion. This is because spoil piles are benched with draining slopes and layered with mulch.

“Importantly, progressive rehabilitation limits the time the ecologically valuable topsoils are stockpiled”, Cockerill says. “Reusing these topsoils progressively will maximise the survival of soil biota and the potential natural regeneration from the forests, soil and seed bank.”

But the biggest challenge may be communication. It is difficult to fight misinformation, especially when it comes to mining and the environment explains Dr. Green. “The most important thing you can do is to engage with the local community, the regulators and interested groups to design and deliver a landscape that everyone has had the opportunity to discuss,” she says.

Mining and the Environment

Even though we always say there could be such a thing as responsible mining, sadly, mining can often have distressing effects on the environment.  Mining necessitates the use of many seriously harmful chemicals such as, Mercury, Cyanide, Sulfuric acid, Arsenic, and Methyl mercury. These can have acutely dangerous effects on water.

Because these chemicals are used the whole time of mining process, consequently these chemicals will seep into the ground.  Because of the chemicals seeping underground the groundwater becomes polluted and even if pipes were used to dispose of the chemicals, the chemicals often leak from the pipes.

What is causing it to become more of a burden is that these chemicals are often disposed in close by bodies of water, thus causing water pollution.  Moreover, when this happens worse part is, when the chemicals are released into the bodies of water, it frequently results in the loss of aquatic plants and animals.  When run-off of the chemicals takes place above ground, it is harmful for nearby vegetation and plants.

Gold mining has equally devastating effects on water.  The process that is required in mining gold has negative effects on water.  River dredging is just one way which gold is mine.

River dredging is a method in which gravel and mud is suctioned from a specific part of the river.  The gold will then be sifted out of this gravel and mud then the gravel and mud will be returned to the river.

Most of the time, the gravel and mud is returned to an area of the river that they did not originally come from.  Making the natural flow of the river disturbed resulting to deaths of multiple fishes and plants in the river.

Water and land has no much of a difference when it comes to the consequences mining gives.  The process of mining alone entails a large area of land is cleared.  Mining means digging through the earth to find the minerals or substances for which they are seeking.  Worst, mining often requires large-scale deforestation.

In addition, deforestation means loss of numerous types of animals, and wildlife.  Besides deforestation, large areas of nearby vegetation must be cut and trimmed to clear a road for the mining workers to even reach the area that they are mining.

Recurrent deforestation of neighborhood areas can put the whole species at threat for becoming scarce, or shoddier, extinct.  When vegetation is not detached through the procedure of mining, it dies because of land pollution from the chemicals.  What’s more, when the chemicals soak into the soil, it makes the soil inappropriate for new plants to grow in it.  No organisms can live in the polluted soil; it will die due to the pollution.

The process of mining results in a type of liquid waste in some occasions.  Instead of being properly disposed, this liquid waste is sometimes disposed in the mining pits.

This frequently takes place in countries in which the mining policies are not as firm as other countries.  When the pit becomes overflowing with this liquid waste, it turns into a sluggish and hazardous pool of liquid.  It is hazardous because diseases normally develop in it.

 

 

 

Guatemala’s Highest Court Denies Justice to Indigenous People Affected by Mining

The country’s highest court upheld the 1997 Mining Law against a constitutional challenge brought by the Western Peoples’ Council (CPO) for lack of prior consultation with indigenous peoples, reported by Guatemalan national press last March 1 of this year.  Finally after the complaint was filed, the ruling comes out and it is against Guatemala’s international human rights obligations.  It also represents a hold up from a 2011 Constitutional Court decision that ruled in favor of the right of Guatemala’s indigenous majority to consultation on legislative proposals that could have an effect on their lands and natural resources.

Frequent conflicts had been repeatedly ongoing due to Guatemala’s mining sector.  These conflicts caused an increase in threats, criminalization and violence in the past recent months.  Despite having over 400 mining licenses issued and more than 700 pending, the tension was caused by lack of respect for free, prior and informed consent.

Guatemala is obliged to respect the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consent for any project that could adversely impact them, and to consult with them before passing laws or administrative initiatives that would affect their rights this is all under Guatemala’s Peace Accords, the American Convention on Human Rights, and as a signatory to the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples, as well as having endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

“This ruling is a contravention of Guatemala’s international obligations to respect indigenous rights and an unwelcome reminder of how the Guatemalan legal system continues to deny justice to the country’s Mayan population,” said Kris Genovese, senior attorney at the Center for International Environmental Law.

More than a year ago back in December 2011 the Constitutional Court overturned the government’s attempt to regulate prior consultation on the basis that it had not been consulted with indigenous peoples first.  This is supposed to be the first step toward respect for such rights but then again this month’s ruling is a disappointing turn around.

“Not only is this ruling a negation of justice, it is a negation of the existence of indigenous peoples’ right to participate as political actors,” said Francisco Mateo Rocael, representative of the Western Peoples’ Council. “We knew the odds of winning were against us in this case. Despite our strong legal arguments, economic and political powers continue to influence how justice is carried out in Guatemala.”

A group of Canadian parliamentarians and one Canadian senator traveled on a trip sponsored by the company to Guatemala together with the Chairman of the Board of Goldcorp in August 2012 just after a month subsequent to a hearing on the constitutional challenge contra mining law.  Goldcorp is one of the biggest gold manufacturers in the world and has one of its most cost-effective mines in Guatemala’s northwestern highlands.  The Canadian group congregated with the Guatemalan legislative commission charged with mining legislation in the country during the three-day junket.

“We don’t know what took place behind closed doors, but the timing was crucial given that the Constitutional Court decision was due,” says Jen Moore, Latin America Program Coordinator at Mining Watch Canada. “While it is Guatemala’s obligation to respect the rights of indigenous peoples living there, we also need to ask what role Canadian interests might have played behind the scenes that run contrary to Canada’s responsibilities to promote respect for indigenous rights as well.”

The Western People’s Council, or CPO, will now forward this case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  The CPO is a coalition of indigenous authorities and institutions from seven departments of Guatemala.  They have already well thought-out nearly 60 community referenda.  This referendum will give indigenous communities the right to vote and decide whether or not to accept development projects on their lands.

Shelved Expansion Plans Reignites

by Iron Ore Rebound

Many shelved expansion plans reignited after bottoming three months ago iron ore prices bounced back. China’s vast demand for resources like iron ore which occurs only once in a century mining boom sustained Australia’s economy.

Speculations were assumed that the mining boom was over after iron ore prices
dropped to a three-year low in September. It reached for as low as or even below
$US90 a tonne.

According to commodity analyst Jonathan Barratt, who runs Barratt’s Bulletin, “I think
it was a lot of concerns obviously with what was happening in the [United] States,
concerns about the Chinese economy, concerns about more supply coming onto the
market. There was just an overall general amount of nervousness.”

With the Purchasing Managers’ Index coming in at 51.5 last month, it only proves that
China is picking up. And according to the latest survey of the Chinese manufacturing
industry by HSBC shows it is picking up. As China’s economy picks, iron ore prices
have also surged back to $US145 a tonne. Since may 2011 this has been the best
result. This shows that the industry is expanding modestly

Jonathan Barratt says the Chinese economy appears to have bottomed.

He then observed, “We’ve had a changeover in government, and the new leaders of the
Chinese Community Party have an expansionist view.”

“China believes that it’s got to expand in order to placate its people, and obviously by
expanding it requires primary imports.” He added.

He says developments in India are also driving the iron ore price.

“We’ve actually seen 93 mines actually shut. The Supreme Court of India actually shut
the mines due to the fact that they were contaminating ground water. Now that in itself

has caused a supply restriction to the market, which has certainly helped the market,”
he observed.
“Now that was a bit of a surprise, so we will probably will see a little bit more lift in the
price of iron ore.”

And over December, iron ore prices have jumped by around 25 per cent.

That has seen iron miners, kick-start mothballed operations, although miners are also
keeping a close eye on rising costs. Every company must also try to remember to
prevent scam.

Jonathan Barratt expects prices to stay high because big miners like Rio Tinto and BHP
Billiton have shelved some expansion plans.

“We found it quite incredible that a lot of the big miners actually pulled back on their
projects, where they actually shelved a lot of expansionary views, which in my mind was
very short-sighted,” he said.

“Because effectively what they’re going to do is they’re going to also cause a crimp in
supply, because they’re not going to meet market expectations and that should further
sustain prices at these levels.

“So you’re going to see the economies pick up. They’re going to demand and they’re not
going to see the supply out there to meet that demand, so prices will continue to trade
higher.”

Prevent scam in mining, this also costs money and is also as frustrating as price hikes.

Blackhawk Mines : Mining Scam Prevention

Mining is the process of extracting ore or minerals from the ground.  People started to practice mining many years ago.  At first it was thought to be very helpful to mankind but as the years go by and as we discover many things to mine, the disadvantages of mining also evolved.

 

The definite advantage of mining is that it brings large amount of profits for the companies doing the mining and jobs for the people.  It supplies raw materials that provide convenience to daily living.  But more disadvantages come along with mining.  The downsides of mining are:  deforestation and pollution after these two is a chain reaction that will only cause troubles to human.  Pollution is just one thing; the damage to both underground and surface environments is as shuttering.  Another thing is the depletion of resources rather than the reuse of existing materials, or use of materials readily available on the surface, these said minerals will take hundred of years in order to generate again.  Plus the dangers that it will cause to men, cave-ins, explosions, gas, radiation sickness, black-lung disease, asbestosis, and silicosis.

 

India is a very rich country in terms of natural resources.  Mining industry is a major economic activity which contributes significantly to the economy of India.  Mining started here ages ago so it is not surprising that deforestation and pollution are very common in the country.  Due to the growing number of tribulations mining caused, the country struggles for solutions.

 

India is the largest producer of sheet mica, the third largest producer of iron ore and the fifth largest producer of bauxite in the world.  India’s metal and mining industry was estimated to be $106.4bn (£68.5bn) in 2010.

 

However, the mining in India is also infamous for human right violations and environmental pollution. The industry has been hit by several high profile mining scandals in recent times.

 

India suffered so much, what sad is that the people who makes the sufferings are her people as well.  What the government should understand is that they must be focus on issues at a    time; they must give proper distribution of tasks his people so that they may be able to perform their jobs suitably.  Those mentioned earlier were just part of the story; another issue in mining is the scams and frauds.  Scam prevention can only happen if one knows how scam works.  Although mining fraud is rare today, but, as in any type of business, there would still be people who will try to steal money from other people.  Here is how you can prevent yourself from being scammed.

  • If there is any pressure buy right away, forget it.
  • The company has a secret or proprietary process to extract gold, silver, or platinum from rock that conventional tests cannot detect.
  • Instead of selling shares of stock, the company is offering to sell the ore itself, and extract the metal from your ore for a fee. This is known as a “dirt-pile scam.” By not selling shares, the promoters are avoiding regulatory oversight, making it much easier to take your money.

 

 

Blackhawk Mines: Copper demand expected to rise

Two of the biggest mining firms in the world, Rio Tinto PLC and BHP Billiton Ltd are teaming up to invest over USD 4 billion to boost their copper output, according to their announcement on Tuesday.

Rio and BHP have staked their investment on a high copper demand worldwide as they approve plans for USD 4.5 billion expansion of their Escondida mine in Chile. BHP is even reopening their copper mine that has been out of commission since 2009 due to the global fiscal crisis.

The mining site that will produce molybdenum concentrate and copper is expected to have a yearly production of around 60,000 tonnes. Moreover, BHP expects that this resumption of operations will provide for 650 new jobs.

Majority of the money is set to be invested in the Escondida operation located in the southeastern part of Antofagasta, Chile. In addition to this, BHP is also planning to resume its operations at the Pinto Valley in Arizona before the year ends.

The recovery in ore grades combined with current work at Escondida should aid them in their target production of over 1.3 million metric tonnes by 2015. This is exclusive of the 60,000 tonnes of copper concentrate that the Pinto Valley is capable of producing yearly, according to BHP.

Last year, operations at Escondida was distracted by labor strikes and lower grade ores but Rio and BHP announced that output is anticipated to increase from 2013 due to the higher grade ore in the main pit.

Escondida is a joint venture between Rio and BHP with a total stake of over 87%. Almost 8% of the total world production comes from it.

Production of copper has been steadily decreasing worldwide for the past few years, triggering an aggressive pursuance for a big copper prospect like the Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia and the Olympic Dam in South Australia.

 

BHP is planning to release USD 2.6 billion on 2 projects to increase their mining output while Rio (with their USD 1.4 billion stake) and Japanese consortium JECO’s respective stakes are going to take care of the rest.

Companies in the mining industry are aggressively investing in minerals and key metals as they maintain an optimistic view that demand from China and other developing countries will continue to grow. In order to improve their overall output by 80%, the biggest copper mine is showing optimism regarding the long-term demand for metals.

Last year, the mine’s produce amounted to more than 700,000 tonnes of copper.