Taseko is laying off between 40 and 60 mine workers at its Gibraltar mine in British Columbia after plans to restart mining in one of its existing pits were delayed. Courtesy of Taseko.

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Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, where we catch you up on some of the news you may have missed. This week’s headlines include a new framework for mining in the Yukon, large miners having difficulty reducing Scope 3 emissions and the imperiled future of environmental research.

Predatory short selling made the news not long ago because of GameStop, but it has been an issue that junior mining companies have had to deal with for some time. In response to growing concern from public companies, Canada is turning its attention towards regulating the practice. The Ontario Capital Markets Taskforce is recommending new prohibitions against “pump and dump” schemes and releasing misleading or untrue statements about public companies, in addition to other changes.

Alamos Gold is seeking US$1 billion from the Turkish government after the mining licence for the company’s Kirazli project was not renewed. The non-renewal came following demonstrations by protestors and environmental activists who claimed that the project would have severe environmental consequences, a charge that Alamos denies. Alamos says the $1 billion figure represents the value of its Turkish assets.

Iamgold has begun a staged recall of employees back to its Westwood gold mine west of Val d’Or. Approximately 437 workers were originally sent home last November, when a seismic event forced the suspension of underground operations. Iamgold says it will decide in the second quarter as to whether it will proceed with a possible safe restart of underground mining in the second half of 2021. 

ELYSIS, the joint venture between Alcoa and Rio Tinto, has selected Rio Tinto’s Alma smelter in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec, for the first installation and demonstration of its inert anode technology at full-scale. The joint venture is focused on a process that eliminates all greenhouse gas emissions from the aluminum smelting process, replacing them with oxygen. The demonstration will be funded by a $20-million investment from the Quebec government.

Taseko will be laying off between 40 and 60 mine workers at its Gibraltar copper mine in south-central British Columbia, as reported by My Cariboo Now. According to Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb, the company wanted to restart mining at one of its existing pits, but regulatory red tape has caused an 11-month delay in the process, resulting in the lay offs. The lay offs will go into effect on April 27.  

A new report from the Yukon Mineral Development Strategy Panel has provided an updated framework for mining in the territory, with a focus on respecting the rights of Indigenous people, as reported by Canadian Mining Journal. The report outlines seven guiding principles, such as broad collaboration, considering future generations and operating within the spirit and intent of modern treaties and agreements. The entire report can be read at yukonmds.com.

Mining companies have made big promises to curb their emissions in the future, with many mining giants setting targets to go carbon neutral by 2040 or 2050. However, as reported by The Globe and Mail, Scope 3 emissions – indirect emissions present in a company’s supply chain – have proven more difficult to rein in. Sustainability-minded investors have begun to pay attention to Scope 3, and according to Glencore’s outgoing CEO Ivan Glasenberg, big miners will begin spinning off or selling their high-emissions assets, such as those dealing with coal, oil and iron, to clean up their supply chains.

Massive cuts to Laurentian University has potentially put ground breaking mine waste research into jeopardy, as Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk, a microbiologist focused on bioleaching and mine remediation, was among those let go in the downsizing, as reported by Northern Ontario Business. Mykytczuk was working on applying microbial communities to tailings or waste rock in order to remove metals and acids that could potentially leach into the environment. For her part, Mykytczuk says that she will not give up, and that she plans to proceed with the commercialization of her work.

Canada’s 2021 budget was released this week, and special attention was placed towards meeting and surpassing the country’s climate goals. A big part of that is the widespread adoption of battery-electric vehicles, as well as the rare earth elements that help create them. As such, the budget includes an investment of $36.8 million over three years for research and development for critical mineral processing and refining. Other items of note include $319 million over seven years for research into carbon capture technology and $40.4 million over three years to support hydroelectricity and grid interconnection projects in the North.

CarbonCure Technologies, a Nova Scotia-based clean tech company, has won the international NRG COSIA (Canadian Oil Sands Innovation Alliance) Carbon XPRIZE competition for technology that converts carbon dioxide into useable products. CarbonCure’s technology uses recycled carbon dioxide sourced from other industries and integrates it with concrete powder, where it crates with calcium ions to form into a mineral that strengthens the concrete. The company will take home a grand prize of US$7.5 million, alongside the US$500,000 awarded to each finalist earlier in the competition.

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