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Archive for January, 2008

This is a pretty serious and technical posting. No scandle here; yet. Hopefully this is all about continuous performance improvement in the world of heap leach pad design; maybe.

The Proposed Carmacks Copper Mining Project, Yukon Environmental Assessment Act, Additional Information Requirements asks for ten sets of data about heap leach pad reclamation, namely: 

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Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra visiting Kazakhstan to enjoy a midnight banquet with its president has the bloggers running eloquent.  Here are a few of the choice comments:

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Web-based fun

Sometimes a website is just too good not to share.  Here is a link to one I love.  Don’t be alarmed: just click with a little patience on the ladders.  Enjoy.  It is related to mining–I promise. 

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In the New York Times, we learn of Clinton having greatly helped Giustra sew up the rights to mine uranium in  Kazakhstan.  In return Clinton got $31 million.  The story is long and involved and everybody denies everything.  Just witness this typical quote:

A spokesman for Mr. Clinton said the former president knew that Mr. Giustra had mining interests in Kazakhstan but was unaware of “any particular efforts” and did nothing to help. Mr. Giustra said he was there as an “observer only” and there was “no discussion” of the deal with Mr. Nazarbayev or Mr. Clinton.

So that you know who Mr.  Nazarbayev is, here is a brief description of his eating with Bill Clinton and Frank Giustra:

Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.

I bet Hillary was not told about the dinner or post-dinner entertainment. 

This story leaves me at loss as to whether to be delighted to see a Canadian saying something nice about an American, or to glory in Canada once again getting control of mining resources in a country run by a nasty fellow (shades of Canadian love for Cuban nickel), or to be impressed by Bill’s insatiable energy, or to pity Hillary trying to control her husband, or to make a passionate plea for voters to sweep ‘em all out and get in a fresh face, even though the fellow is so much younger than me. 

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I am delighted to have come across a new blog related to mining.  I have added it to my blogroll, but here is the link.

The blog is by a skinny chap about my age who grew up around Sudbury, Ontario, worked awhile in the mines, got educated, and took to writing.  Now he has, like all old men, started a blog to ensure PPP (perpetual posthumous presence.) 

He writes well, if a trifle dry.  You can almost hear respect for authority ooze from every word.  But then, unlike me, he is a commercial writer and cannot afford to offend.  Also he is obviously a gentle, gentleman Canadian.  And there are differences: just watch BBC, CBC, and Fox reporting on Hillary Clinton.  I, incidentally, prefer Fox, much as I might abhor their politics.

Regardless, it is fantastic to see another sober blog reporting and recording mining events, opinions, and history.  This is no zero-sum game.  The more blogs on a topic, the more there is to read and write and argue about. 

So I welcome him; I will follow his writings; and I will comment for your alternative perspective enlargement. 

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The good news is that South African mines should be back on line when Escom resumes power supply.   The amazing news is  that the shortages occurred in the first place.  Here is a piece from a friend in South Africa who knows more about what is going on than I do: 

Namibia [mining] is doing surprisingly well given Africa’s track record.  Way better overall than South Africa which, in spite of its wealth, is now short of power.  It seems the politicians decided that a white paper presented to parliament 10 years ago requesting funds for the Eskom parasital to build more power stations was nothing more than a White supremacy plot and tossed the white paper into the can (probably they didn’t understand what a “white peper” really is.  Now Eskom has had to tell the gold mines and the platinum mines to shut down for two weeks to save power while they nurse some of the old powerstations back to service.  The mines have no power - no work no pay agreements with the unions so the mine workers are not getting wages during this period.  The chickens are coming home to roost.  I am told that the new ANC leader, Jacob Zuma, who is as corrupt as the best of them in Africa but who is a more hard line black nationalist than the incumbent, is just waiting to get his hands on the country’s parliament so he can implement more Mugabe-like actions, and that there is talk by the government of dismantling the Skorpions – an FBI copy that has been hunting down corrupt politicians.  It was set up by the ANC government but obviously no one told the Skorpion leadership that they are only to investigate non-ANC corruption.  Now it is all getting too hot for the ANC leaders…  The press are having a field day with all of this; so now there is also talk of muzzling the press.

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There is a foot or more of snow outside my study window.  It has been coming down for over 24 hours.  The hill that leads to the townhouse complex and the local Community College is too steep for buses to negotiate–cars are worse.  So the College is shut down and I am at home snow-bound.  A trifle unusual for Vancouver, but we can always blame it on climate change. 

Being surrounded by so much snow set me dreaming of California–another place where a reputation for sun is belied by frequent snow; can you imagine the Grapevine of I5 closed because of snow? It happened last week.  So I  decided to see if there is a nice property for sale, a nice mining property for sale on the InfoMine Property Exchange

There are about ten mining properties for sale in California. Eddy Gulch Mine, Klamath, Mt. Laurel is north of the that most beautiful route 299.  Interesting history too:

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Grants, New Mexico is a beautiful setting: blue sky over red rocks and that eternal brown desert.  A small, silent town of rugged folk.  When I lived and worked in Albuquerque, my youngest daughter took ballet lessons and every Christmas the dance school took their production of the Nutcracker on tour to Grants.  Being an able bodied male I was deputized to drive out hoards of giggling girls, set up the Xmas tree that grows big on just the right bar of music, and worst of all, dance as a party guest in the opening scene. 

Then I was free to await the right bar of music to plug the lights in to make the Xmas tree “grow” and read the strange books I found lying around the dressing room of the local theater.  The strangest was by a Scottish clergyman who set out to prove that Henry VIII’s break from Rome was part of God’s plan for the advance of the Anglo-Saxon race.  But that is New Mexico for you.  I love it.

Now I read that uranium mining may make a comeback in the area.  I know the area well, for we closed the uranium mill tailings piles in the area: Ambrosia Lake being the most representative.  I would happily go back to help them reopen the mines and get the town going again.  Not sure I want to be part of the resuscitation of culture, aka dancing in the Nutcracker.

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A vast dose of flu contracted in the sun-drenched blue skies and powdered snow of a mine in Northern Alberta brought me down this weekend.  I missed the origami lesson and the local live opera.  Instead I finished the book, started on the small plane flying over white plains from Edmonton, The Subtle Knife, the second in the Golden Compass series.  It ends only to introduce the third of the trilogy, the war against the Authority. Key to the war is the subtle knife of a metal so wondrous that it cuts all: material, immaterial, flesh, or spirit.  From what mine this metal came and by what miracles of metallurgy it was wrought we do not learn. But we do learn the reason for the war, which seems to be so true in the tiny arena of mining:

There are two great powers, and they have been fighting ever since time began.  Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other.   Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger and those who wants us to obey and be humble and submit.

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Here comes a mining-related law suite that will expose the best and worst of the mining industry and the litigation industry.  Attorneys for heirs of seven of the miners killed last August at the Utah Crandall Canyon Mine filed suite Wednesday against the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). 

So ultimately my daughter and son-in-law will have to pay the heirs for the transgressions of Bob Murray. Seems downright unfair.  And of course I will blog in anger about it.

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