Weekly Nugget

Critical Mineral News And Upcoming Live Chat

Reserve your spot for our chat with "The War Below" author Ernest Scheyder, and get all the latest mining industry news in this week's Nugget!

💬 Upcoming Live Chat With Ernest Scheyder!

Who else has "The War Below" on their reading list? Join us in a LIVE virtual chat with the author, Ernest Scheyder, on February 21st! We look forward to "digging" into his experience as a journalist, as well as the journeys he had while writing this book. We hope to see you there!



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Jess Scanlan

Head of New Media

🎧 On The Rocks

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📰 In The News

USGS Releases Mineral Commodity Summaries 2024

The U.S. Geological Survey's latest Mineral Commodity Summaries report shows that U.S. mineral production contributed over $105 billion to the U.S. economy in 2023, a $4 billion increase from 2022. The annual report provides key data on domestic and global supply and demand for critical nonfuel minerals. The 2023 report highlights that U.S. mines produced commodities worth $105 billion, including industrial minerals, natural aggregates, and ferrous and nonferrous metals. Crushed stone accounted for 23% of total U.S. mine production value. The mineral commodities report covers over 90 nonfuel minerals that are vital to the U.S. economy and national security.

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Pentagon Plans AI-Based Program To Estimate Prices For Critical Minerals

The U.S. Department of Defense plans to develop an artificial intelligence program to estimate prices and predict supplies of critical minerals like nickel and cobalt, aiming to boost transparency in global metals markets. The program, run by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, intends to construct "structural prices" for metals based on production costs and other factors. While not intended to set official U.S. prices or replace futures exchanges, the program aims to offset risks that market opacity poses to national security. The effort reflects broader attempts to increase U.S. production of minerals vital for defense manufacturing and the energy transition.

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Top Producers Push For Silver’s Inclusion As Critical Mineral

Top silver mining companies are lobbying the Canadian and U.S. governments to add silver to their critical minerals lists, arguing that silver demand is increasing for industrial uses like solar panels and electric vehicles. In a letter to Canada's natural resources minister, 19 mining CEOs said designating silver as critical would position Canada as a preferred supplier to allies. They contend that silver's reputation as widely available has blocked its consideration despite supply limitations. The push comes as both countries are updating their critical minerals lists and methodologies. The mining industry argues current assessment methodologies underestimate silver's importance, citing growing industrial demand and constrained supplies. The outcome of these lobbying efforts remains uncertain as officials say quantitative formulas determine which minerals make the lists.

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Coal-Based Products Could Replace Sand In Concrete

A study by Rice University found that graphene derived from metallurgical coke could replace sand in concrete, providing a solution to the escalating global sand crisis driven by urban growth. Concrete production is extremely resource intensive, accounting for 8% of carbon emissions worldwide. Sand mining to meet concrete demand has severely damaged ecosystems. Tests showed the graphene concrete matched strength of standard concrete while being 25% lighter. The graphene flakes can serve as aggregate, eliminating the need for sand. Though not yet economically viable, the discovery demonstrates potential alternatives as sand resources dwindle. The lower carbon and more sustainable concrete could benefit global urban expansion expected by 2050.

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AME Roundup Conference Confronts Industry’s Thorniest Issues Head-On

A panel at the AME Roundup mining conference in Vancouver confronted tensions between resource development and Indigenous rights in British Columbia. Activist Nikki Scuse criticized the province's antiquated free-entry staking system as inconsistent with its commitment to UNDRIP principles and duty to consult. She shared cases of staking disrupting Indigenous lands and tourism. AME president Keerit Jutla acknowledged reform efforts underway but defended BC's strong regulations and the industry's environmental stewardship. He advocated transparent, context-specific consultations, concerned some NGOs may overshadow Indigenous agendas. The clash of perspectives highlighted mining's need to balance economic priorities with social license and environmental sustainability.

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⚒️ Mining Data Digest Snapshot

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Rainbow Lake Project

Company: Volt Lithium Corp

Geography: Canada

Minerals: Lithium

Date: 01/26/2024

View On Prospector


The Rainbow Lake Project outlines a comprehensive three-phased development plan for two areas, Muskeg and Keg River formations, aiming to extract 3.7 million tonnes of Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LHM). The capital expenditure requirements are categorized by phase and area, totaling $1,548.7 million. Operating expenditures are detailed for each phase, with annual costs ranging from $2.66 million to $53.32 million, depending on the production target. 

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❓Prospector Poll

Does Silver have a place on the US and Canada’s critical minerals lists?

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Last Week's Results

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