Politicians Subvert Federal Approval Process

Executives from Antofagasta Minerals flew to Washington, D.C., during May to meet with Minnesota lawmakers about the company’s proposed Twin Metals copper mine. Antofagasta owns Twin Metals Minnesota (TMM), which hopes to open a copper mine south of Ely, Minnesota, near the Boundary Waters wilderness area. The group met with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Crosby, who represents the region, and they reportedly gave him an update on what the company is committed to do as far as protecting the Boundary Waters. They also met U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-St. Paul) and well…she was not as hospitable.

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Reversion to the Mean

One of the expressions we are hearing more frequently from mining companies when they talk about high-quality assets these days is the ability to return the cost of capital, make money, generate cash flow, etc., “throughout the commodity cycle.” Many of the people making these statements believe that metal prices have now reached the bottom of the cycle. That generalization could be made easily looking at the last five years. Looking at 15 or 25 years, however, that benchmark for Tier 1 designation rises substantially.

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The Energy Debate

Reliable, low cost power is taken for granted in most of the developed world. As society’s fascination with de-carbonization grows, the debate becomes more intense, especially for the mining business. Mines and mills produce a viable product, provide meaningful, high-paying jobs, and they also consume a lot of power.

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Set Challenging, Yet Attainable Goals

The takeaways from the keynote session at this year’s Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) annual meeting, which was held during February in Phoenix, were clear and informative. Outgoing SME President Steve Gardner was the emcee, and prior to the keynote, he introduced Phillips S. Baker Jr., CEO, Hecla Mining. Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Hecla sponsored the session.

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From the Editor

Steve Fiscor, Editor-in-Chief, EMJ, Engineering Mining Journal
Steve Fiscor heads a world class group of writers and editors serving the mining and construction markets. He has served as editor-in-chief for E&MJ since 2003 and Coal Age since 2001. He writes articles on mining and processing, organizes the technical programs for several conferences, and produces many of MMI's ancillary products.