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Archive for May, 2008

A short piece to kick off the weekend.  Here is a link to a posting in the Canadian Lawyer Magazine about Lee Harrs who left a standard law firm to work as a lawyer in the mining industry.  No comment is needed, other than that this article proves that mining is more diverse than even the most optimistic of us ever has knowledge to admit or report.

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Shamelessly trading on his famous name, a junior member of the Kennedy clan who is a lawyer working for The Natural Resource Defence Council has sent a “terse” letter to the Premier of Ontario telling him to snap to attention and change the 1800s law that enables Vancouver-based mining juniors to go onto aboriginal-claimed lands to seek uranium and platinum.  The full story and supporting documents are at this site: Wild Lands League 

This story is beginning to assume the proportions of a Disney comedy with a Tim Burton twist of tragedy, all over-animated by Pixar.  It is nigh on inconceivable that grown men could act thus: obdurate; venial; and arrogant.  And I include that upstart Kennedy kid in the league. 

Normally proud Canadians at dinner are quick to tell you how much they abhor Americans and their imperialism.  Yet here we have these same anti-Americans glibly adulating a young US lawyer.  What is wrong with this picture?

let the pilgrims and indians live together in peace and harmony

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Here is a topic we may not see discussed at the October Vail Conference called Tailings & Mine Waste ’08:  Reworking old tailings and waste rock dumps for economic value.

PUNK ROCK!!!The obvious questions is: should we call on them to have a whole workshop session devoted to the topic?   I submit that such a session would be far more interesting and valuable than another paper on leaky liners, geochemical attenuation, slope failure risk assessment, sustainable development, responsible mining, ethics, or other excuses for acid mine drainage. 

The waste rock dump from the open cast mine...This truly radical idea is prompted by the following announcement that hit my in-e-mail box this morning:

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Pricey Harrison is a most appropriately named politician: she has just announced a move that would significantly increase the price of energy in North Carolina.  There is no word yet whether Pricey’s high-priced bill will get the support of other state politicians. 

Mountaintop removal mine in southwest Virginia

She was prompted to introduce the bill to ban the use in North Carolina of coal from mountaintop mining by watching a movie about poor people being moved in adjacent states to make way for new coal mines.  North Carolina does not produce any coal by mountaintop mining, preferring to import such coal—fifty percent of its daily use—from neighboring states.

The local energy companies are already seeking rate increases of up to six percent to make up for higher coal costs.  If they have to forgo mountaintop mine coal, they may have to increase cost well over twelve percent. 

This rather obscure little scrap will, I predict, provide a perfect opportunity for us to see whether people really are prepared to pay more for so-called environmentally-friendly energy.  Stay tuned for Dolly Parton and Pricey Harrison.

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Flic Flac (Spreepark)

To be bold; to dream; to create the perfect conference. 

Nobody will do that, for perfection is not the goal of conferences.

So I dream of the perfect conference on tailings and mine waste.

When you're in love, even waste rock dumps are lovely...No papers submitted by random authors.  Only invited papers.  Here are some, I would solicit:

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Salt MineHere is a link to an interesting site I have not hitherto seen.   Found it while searching for blog comments on Ecuador’s new mining law.  Sadly my Spanish is no where good enough to read the law, but then if you are investing in mines in South American, no doubt you are fluent in that language, so able to read the law.  The site is inca kola news.

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A warning for travellers working for mining companies:  don’t do important work on your computer in the plane.  Yesterday I sat for three hours on a plane from Denver to DC.  One row up and across the aisle was a middle-aged man and his computer screen in full, loud view.  All the flight he worked on his computer putting together a risk assessment evaluation for a new mine. 

His categories included: political risk; regulatory risk; financial risk; construction risk; stakeholder risk; ore reserve risk; shaft operation risk.  For each he filled in little boxes of dense text and assigned a number.  Every so often he would change mode and bring up a chart that plotted a bar presumably with a height proportional to the risk. 

Seems construction and ore body risks were the biggest risk factors at this mine–at least at first.  As the flight proceeded he kept massaging the regulatory risk, each time making the bar jump up a little until finally as they announced our final descent into the nation’s capital he packed up in satisfaction: the regulatory risk was now highest. 

I wonder if it constitutes insider information, to now go and sell shares in that company where obviously they have a low grade ore-body and a questionable construction program but are going to blame any short-falls on the regulators? 

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The Alberta Court of Appeal recently overthrew a ruling by a lower court (the Queen’s Bench) that John Chiasson was the victim of discrimination when he was terminated by Kellogg Brown & Root – basically denied a job at Syncrude, for smoking cannabis.  

I have previously described the facts of this case and decried the silly ruling by the lower court.   Another detailed evaluation of the most recent finding by the appeal court is at this link.  

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The Pew Campaign for Responsible Mining has three great posters.  I downloaded and printed one and now it hangs in my office. 

Ulysses S. Grant in Albuquerque delivering the proclamation (more…)

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lucid vailYesterday I noted that the conference on Tailings and Mine Waste ’08 has extended the deadline for abstracts to mid-June and papers to mid-July.  This being a blog and me being me, let me suggest some topics for papers. 

Waterfalls & Footbridges, Vail, Colorado

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