Category Archives: Extractive Industries

EPA To Gut Mountaintop Mining Rule That Protects Streams

Common Dreams
by Renee Schoof and Bill Estep

Mountaintop coal mines, such as this one near Mud River, W.Va., generate large amounts of waste. "With less than two months left in power, the Bush administration is determined to cement its legacy as having the worst environmental record in history," Earthjustice said in a statement. "This is a sad day for all people who are thankful for the clear mountain streams and stately summits of the Appalachians."(By Michael Williamson -- Post)
Mountaintop coal mines, such as this one near Mud River, W.Va., generate large amounts of waste. "With less than two months left in power, the Bush administration is determined to cement its legacy as having the worst environmental record in history," Earthjustice said in a statement. "This is a sad day for all people who are thankful for the clear mountain streams and stately summits of the Appalachians."(By Michael Williamson -- Post)

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday approved a last-minute rule change by the Bush administration that will allow coal companies to bury streams under the rocks leftover from mining.

The 1983 rule prohibited dumping the fill from mountaintop removal mining within 100 feet of streams. In practice, the government hadn’t been enforcing the rule. Government figures show that 535 miles of streams were buried or diverted from 2001 to 2005, more than half of them in the mountains of Appalachia. Along with the loss of the streams has been an increase of erosion and flooding.

The 11th hour change before President George W. Bush leaves office would eliminate a tool that citizens groups have used in lawsuits to keep mining waste out of streams. Mining companies had been pushing for the change for years. Continue reading EPA To Gut Mountaintop Mining Rule That Protects Streams

How the mobile phone in your pocket is helping to pay for the civil war in Congo

Telegraph
By Mike Pflanz in Goma

More than 80 per cent of the world's coltan is in Africa, and 80 percent of that lies in territory controlled by Congo's various ragtag rebel groups, armed militia and its corrupt and underfunded national army.
More than 80 per cent of the world

After two hours, drenched in sweat, he tugs on a cord tied to his waist and is pulled back to the surface, carrying with him a 30 kilogram sack of raw columbium-tantalite ore.

Few people have heard of this rare mineral, known as coltan, even though millions of people in the developed world rely on it. But global demand for the mineral, and a handful of other materials used in everything from cellphones to soup tins, is keeping the armies of Congo’s ceaseless wars fighting. Continue reading How the mobile phone in your pocket is helping to pay for the civil war in Congo

Amazon Increasingly Oily

By Milagros Salazar*
LIMA, Aug 28 (Tierramérica) – More than 180 oil and natural gas fields extend across the western Amazon, shared by five South American countries and threatening biodiversity and indigenous lands, warns a study by U.S.-based organisations.

Peru is the most worrisome case: 72 percent of its jungle territory overlaps with plans for exploiting fossil fuels, says the report “Oil and Gas Projects in the Western Amazon: Threats to Wilderness, Biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples”, published Aug. 13 by the open-access online scientific journal PloS ONE. Continue reading Amazon Increasingly Oily

China to seal $9bn DR Congo deal

BBC

A pending contract between China and Congo will give Congo $6bn of desperately needed infrastructure – about 2,400 miles of road, 2,000 miles of railway, 32 hospitals, 145 health centres and two universities. In return, China wiii get a slice of Congo’s precious natural resources to feed its booming industries – 10m tonnes of copper and 400,000 tonnes of cobalt. More