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Can Mining in Minnesota Reduce Child Labor in the Congo?

Cobalt has become a controversial topic in the debate over copper nickel mining in Minnesota’s Duluth Complex. This metal, which is used in the lithium ion batteries in laptops, tablets, and electric cars, has become a lighting rod because most of the cobalt produced in the world comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where some of the cobalt is mined using child labor. Virtually everyone has a cellphone, laptop, or tablet that has a battery requiring cobalt. This has led many people to ask the question, can mining in Minnesota reduce the demand for unethically mined cobalt in...

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This Year in Energy and Environment: 2019 Edition

With 2020 upon us, I'd like to reflect back on 2019 because it was a banner year for energy and environmental issues here at Center of the American Experiment. Here are some of the highlights from each month. In January, American Experiment submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service in support of the lease renewal for the Twin Metals Minnesota mine. Since then Twin Metals has submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. We also covered the fact that wind and solar were not working during Polar Vortex in real time, highlighting the dangers of relying upon...

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Great News! Twin Metals Submits Its Mine Plan to State and Federal Agencies for Review

Yesterday, Minnesota took another step toward unearthing prosperity when Twin Metals Minnesota formally submitted its mine plan to state and federal agencies for review. According to the Twin Metals press release: "This marks the culmination of more than a decade of engineering, hydrogeological, environmental and engagement work including the evaluation of dozens of project configurations and technologies that maximize environmental protection." "Submission of the project starts a multi-year scoping and environmental review process that will thoroughly evaluate this proposal. The review process will include additional baseline data collection, impact analyses, and multiple opportunities for public input." The move was predictably decried by anti-mining...

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Good News on Polymet! Minnesota Court of Appeals Rules Environmental Groups Can’t Move the Goalposts

There is good news on the Minnesota mining front, as the Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge by anti-mining groups seeking to invalidate Minnesota's rules for non-ferrous mining. This is a big deal, because anti-mining groups, including the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, were trying to overturn the entire regulatory framework for how Minnesota's Department of Natural Resources evaluates and regulates mines that produce copper, nickel, platinum, cobalt, and other metals we depend upon every single day. Had this challenge succeeded, it would have been a massive blow to Minnesota's economic future, and a loss for the environment, as well. Minnesota...

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Why Are Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith Sponsoring Minnesota Anti-Mining Legislation?

Mainstream news outlets in Minnesota rarely tell the tale of how the Obama Administration incorrectly broke decades of protocol by cancelling mineral leases of Twin Metals Minnesota and sought a 20 year moratorium on mineral exploration in the Superior National Forest during his lame duck session. The inappropriate actions of the Obama Administration were reversed  by President Trump, but unfortunately, Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith are supporting an action that would force the National Forest Service to prevent any action that would advance mining in this area, according to documents obtained by Mining Minnesota, pictured below. While Senator Smith's position...

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Sunday Funnies: Cobalt Mining in the Congo for Renewable Energy Sources

There's more than a twinge of hypocrisy among liberal environmentalists that want to stop responsible mining for copper, nickel, and cobalt in Minnesota at all costs, yet demand that the state transition to 100 percent carbon free electricity without nuclear or large hydro. Wind and solar power use enormous amounts of copper and nickel and Minnesota has the largest undeveloped reserves of these metals in the world. It's our responsibility to mine them responsibly, not to export environmental damage, and our conscience, to developing countries.  ...

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Exclusive: Tesla Expects Global Shortage of Electric Vehicle Battery Minerals – Sources

It never ceases to amaze me how special interest groups who push for more renewable energy also oppose mining for copper, nickel, and cobalt in Minnesota. These sources of energy require enormous amounts of materials, but where will they come from if not Minnesota? Countries with few, if any, protections for the environment or miners. Some "environmental justice," eh? The following article originally appeared in Reuters:  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tesla Inc expects global shortages of nickel, copper and other electric-vehicle battery minerals down the road due to underinvestment in the mining sector, the company’s global supply manager for battery metals told an industry conference...

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Minnesota Now Fifth-Largest Mining State, It Could Have Been Number Two

According to the United States Geological Survey, Minnesota mined $4.05 billion in non-fuel minerals in 2018, making it the fifth-largest state for mining, in terms of the value of minerals sold (excluding coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium). This is after Minnesota was in sixth place last year. Few people in the Twin Cities metro realize just how important mining is to Minnesota's economy, and to the nation's security. In 2018, mines in Minnesota and Michigan shipped 98% of the usable iron ore products in the United States with an estimated value of $4.1 billion. Minnesota has traditionally accounted for approximately...

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