Weekly Nugget

⛏️  Do We Have Enough ____ ?

Check out this week's Nugget for the latest challenges the Mining industry faces as we make the transition towards green energy!

⛏️  Do we have enough ___ ?

More mining is necessary for the green energy transition. I know, it's not a shocker to any of us! However, when we start talking about bringing more mines online to support the demand for metals, we also start talking about “we don’t have enough ____.” Fill in the blank with funding, community support, employees, etc. So be sure to vote in this week’s poll because I’m curious - what’s the highest priority to get “enough” of? 

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Jess Scanlan

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Will Western Mines Have Enough Water?

As the U.S. pushes to secure domestic mining of critical metals like copper and lithium for the green energy transition, much exploration is occurring in the arid West where water scarcity is a growing crisis. Mines there are pumping out groundwater to prevent flooding underground operations, and while some facilities recycle water, experts worry removing aquifer water will impact supplies and habitats. Though companies tout technologies to reduce water use, critics say mining water regulations lag, especially in states like Arizona. With climate change exacerbating droughts, experts warn the drive for green tech minerals is colliding with the need to protect diminishing water.

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A ‘Dirty’ Job That Few Want

Mining companies are struggling to attract young workers, imperiling the supply of metals critical for the energy transition. Enrollment in geology and mining programs has dropped sharply in recent years as college grads avoid the industry's "dirty" reputation and accusations of worker exploitation. With over half of current miners nearing retirement, companies warn of production delays without more skilled hires. The industry also has failed to attract women, who make up just 12% of the global mining workforce. To counter these challenges, miners are expanding recruitment, hiring locally, and using social media outreach. But some say more fundamental change is needed, like taking accountability for past environmental and human harm, along with transparency about sustainability. While mining is essential for clean energy, companies must evolve to attract idealistic young talent.

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US Needs Shift In Perspective On Mining

The U.S. needs more domestic mines to supply the critical minerals necessary for the energy transition, like those used in EVs and solar panels. While the U.S. must partner with allies, more mines are needed at home. But mining's history of pollution has fueled public distrust. There's now an opportunity for a new approach with mines built to strict, protective standards and strong community support. Reprocessing old mining waste could supply critical minerals while funding cleanups. Winning support in Native communities with ties to mineral-rich lands will require massive work. Though challenging, establishing a secure domestic supply chain will hinge on persuading local communities that new, responsibly operated mines can benefit them.

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World Battles To Loosen China’s Grip On REEs

The world's biggest rare earths suppliers outside China are facing challenges increasing refining capacity needed for clean energy technologies. Technical complexity, partnership problems, and pollution concerns have hampered Western efforts to reduce reliance on China's 87% share of global refining. MP has pushed back targets to refine its own rare earths in California to late 2023. Meanwhile, Lynas' plans for a U.S. refinery have collapsed as it struggles with its Malaysian operations. With China able to control prices and supply for economic advantage, breakthrough innovation is needed in West for more sustainable refining methods. But cleaner solutions are likely years away, underscoring China's continued dominance despite surging Western demand for rare earths like neodymium for electric vehicle motors.

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Scale-Up Of Critical Minerals Required For Green Energy Transition

A report from the Energy Transitions Commission finds sufficient natural resources exist for the renewable energy transition, but large investments and policy support are required to scale up supply of key minerals fast enough to meet rapidly growing demand this decade. The transition will require a massive buildout of wind, solar, batteries, EVs, and electrolyzers, needing huge increases in metals like copper and aluminum. Total resource requirements are manageable but production must expand quickly and responsibly. Without action, lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt, neodymium and copper could face significant supply shortfalls. Recommended solutions include accelerating new mining projects, building diverse and secure supply chains, enforcing high sustainability standards, and aggressively pursuing recycling and technological innovations to ease pressure on primary supplies.

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⚒️ Mining Data Digest Snapshot

Screen Shot 2023-10-06 at 2.51.10 PM


Nickel Shaw (Wellgreen) Ni-Cu-PGM Project, YT

Company: Nickel Creek Platinum Corp. (TSX:NCP)

Geography: Canada

Minerals: Nickel, Copper, Platinium, Palladium, Cobalt, Gold

Date: 10/06/23

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The Nickel Shäw Ni-Cu-PGM Project is located in the Yukon Territory, Canada, approximately 317 km northwest of Whitehorse. The project is focused on the development of the Wellgreen deposit, which hosts Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources of 436.7 million tonnes at 0.26% nickel and 0.13% copper. An additional Inferred Resource of 114 million tonnes at 0.27% nickel and 0.13% copper is estimated for the Wellgreen deposit. The Project also includes the Arch deposit with an Inferred Resource of 3.2 million tonnes at 0.35% nickel and 0.17% copper. The Nickel Shäw Project is currently at the Prefeasibility stage of development. Mineral Reserves are estimated to be 307.7 million tonnes at 0.26% nickel and 0.13% copper.

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❓Prospector Poll

What factors are most important to expand mining operations in a sustainable way that supports the transition to green energy?

Each week we want to get your opinion about the mining industry. We'll release the results with next week's Nugget! 

Prospector Poll 10.11

Last Weeks Results:

Q4 is officially here - what are your goals for finishing out the year?

Prospector poll results 10.10



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