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Freegrass

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Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« on: August 16, 2022, 09:45:51 PM »
I didn't find a threat on mining here, so I made this new one about it. I think it's an important topic that needs to be discussed as we continue to dig up more rare-earth and other minerals. The impact on geopolitics and the environment is enormous.

To start off this discussion, here's a good video about it that explains the challenges we face.

When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again...

vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2022, 05:26:29 PM »
Sulfur Shortage: A Potential Resource Crisis Looming as the World Decarbonises
https://phys.org/news/2022-08-sulfur-shortage-potential-resource-crisis.html

A projected shortage of sulfuric acid, a crucial chemical in our modern industrial society, could stifle green technology advancement and threaten global food security, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.



The study, published in the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) journal The Geographical Journal, highlights that global demand for sulfuric acid is set to rise significantly from '246 to 400 million metric tons' by 2040—a result of more intensive agriculture and the world moving away from fossil fuels.

The researchers estimate that this will result in a shortfall in annual supply of between 100 and 320 million metric tons—between 40% and 130% of current supply—depending on how quickly decarbonization occurs.

A vital part of modern manufacturing, sulfuric acid is required for the production of phosphorus fertilizers that help feed the world, and for extracting rare metals from ores essential to the rapidly required green economy transition, like cobalt and nickel used in high-performance Li-ion batteries.

Currently, over 80% of the global sulfur supply is in the form of sulfur waste from the desulfurization of crude oil and natural gas that reduces the sulfur dioxide gas emissions that cause acid rain. However, decarbonization of the global economy to deal with climate change will significantly reduce the production of fossil fuels—and subsequently the supply of sulfur.

This study, led by researchers at University College London (UCL), is the first to identify this major issue. The authors suggest that unless action is taken to reduce the need for this chemical, a massive increase in environmentally damaging mining will be required to fill the resulting resource demand.

Study lead author, Professor Mark Maslin (UCL Geography), said: "Sulfur shortages have occurred before, but what makes this different is that the source of the element is shifting away from being a waste product of the fossil fuel industry.

... they prompt crucial questions about whether it would make economic sense to invest in alternative production methods, given it is not currently possible to predict how quickly the supply of sulfur as a waste product from oil and gas desulfurization will decrease as decarbonization of the global economy is only just starting.

Sulfur: a potential resource crisis that could stifle green technology and threaten food security as the world decarbonizes, Geographical Journal (2022)
https://rgs-ibg.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/geoj.12475
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vox_mundi

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2022, 02:59:03 PM »
Rare Earths Processor Buys Rights to Mine In Greenland
https://techxplore.com/news/2022-08-rare-earths-processor-rights-greenland.html

One of the world's few rare earths processors outside China has bought exploration rights to mine in Greenland, opening an avenue for diversifying supplies of the minerals critical for advanced and green technologies

Toronto-based Neo Performance Materials, the rare earths processor, said Monday it plans to develop the Sarfartoq deposit in southwest Greenland and will send the ore to its facility in Estonia in Eastern Europe. It's one of only two plants outside China that processes rare earths to a high degree.

Neo aims to have the mine running in two to three years. It will be the company's first major mining project. CEO Constantine Karayannopoulos said that by opening the mine, he hopes to shield the company from volatile rare earth prices, which have shot up in recent years due to supply disruptions and strong demand.

Karayannopoulos called it "business, not geopolitics." But in recent years, rare earths have attracted the attention of policymakers in Washington, Beijing and other capitals given their importance to the global high-tech supply chain. The U.S., Europe and Japan call their dependence on China's rare earths a "national security risk" and have sought to diversify their supply.

Meanwhile, supplies of rare earths have shrunk, and some mines are raising ethical and environmental concerns. Mining rare earths is a dirty business when done cheaply, and China, the world's largest miner, has shuttered many mines in recent years to curb environmental damage.

... Some of that mining has been outsourced to Myanmar, where a lack of oversight is masking a dirty secret. An Associated Press investigation this month found the Myanmar mines are linked to environmental destruction, the theft of land from villagers and the funneling of money to brutal militias, including at least one linked to Myanmar's secretive military government. The AP traced rare earths from Myanmar to the supply chains of 78 companies, including major auto makers and electronics giants.

... Plans for another rare earths mine in Greenland failed after voters put in power a left-leaning government that blocked development. The site had high concentrations of uranium, raising concerns over how radioactive waste would be disposed.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― anonymous

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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2022, 04:27:40 PM »
Thanks for posting this Vox! That's exactly why I opened this thread. Us greenies have to face the fact that all that new "clean" tech has a dirty side attached to it... Climate deniers on the extreme right love to use these facts to bash the green revolution... And who can disagree with them? It's a serious problem we have to deal with...
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again...

NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2022, 07:50:31 PM »
It's a serious problem we have to deal with...

In general, once.  Because recycling, even of REE, is evolving very quickly and will eventually provide the vast majority of the REE we require for our ongoing vehicle renewal.

Contrast this with fossil fuels where we dig them up, continuously, burn them and then pollute the atmosphere with them for decades or centuries to come.

The extreme right want to deflect the fossil fuel burning issue by conflating it with a one time cost (or at least an initial high cost followed by a very low cost thereafter), with the manufacturing of fossil fuel vehicles.  Completely ignoring the ongoing pollution of fossil fuel emissions.

Whilst it is right to try and ensure that these metals are mined in as clean a way as possible, it is wrong to support the extreme right in their attempts to delay action on CO2 emissions which are going to destroy the liveable biosphere of the planet.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2022, 09:14:30 PM »
It's a serious problem we have to deal with...
it is wrong to support the extreme right in their attempts to delay action on CO2 emissions which are going to destroy the liveable biosphere of the planet.
Not sure how you got to that conclusion, that I'm somehow supporting the extreme right. Please withdraw that lie! That was completely unnecessary and offensive. All I'm saying is that we need to come up with answers to those arguments, because you're not making much sense at the beginning of your post either. The amount of rare- earth metals that we'll need to electrify all the cars in the world, and to build all other clean technologies that we need, is massive! Recycling will help us a little, but it'll take 100 years before we can stop digging them up on a massive scale. So we better do it right, without polluting the entire planet.
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NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2022, 10:15:56 PM »
Not sure how you got to that conclusion, that I'm somehow supporting the extreme right. Please withdraw that lie!

When you present the product of extreme right propoganda as something which should stop the progress towards renewable energy and zero emissions transport, you support their agenda.

Back at the beginning of the millennium there was a strong movement to educate scientists to stop them being manipulated by the media.

The media would ask "was this event caused by Global Warming".  Well of course the answer is "the cause of no single event can ever be tied down to Global Warming".

What the scientists were encouraged to say was.

"This is the wrong question.  Turn it around.  Would this event have happened if we had not caused Global Warming.  To which the answer is Almost Certainly Not".

You see this is a true statement which cannot be challenged.  It is a 5 sigma event.  Not absolutely certain but almost so.

So when you present these hit pieces about the mining of rare earth minerals, you have to remember that they are specifically produced with an environmental slant to make the person in the street think that EV's are doing more harm than good.

The producers of these "concern trolling" pieces are the far right.

So I won't withdraw what I said.  I will clarify what I said.  Make absolutely certain of whom it is that are pulling your strings when you find articles like this.

This sort of thing was rife in the late 90's.  It is much less so now as people have become more aware of the reality of the situation.

Yes there is a need to govern the actions of the mining companies.  But this kind of thing is going on all over the world every day.  Not just for critical EV materials.  We should address bad mining companies for ALL the materials they do this with.  Not just EV materials.  Then we will see the true size of the problem and understand that focusing on EV materials is for the benefit of the Fossil Fuel industry.  Not for humanity.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2022, 10:59:32 PM »
Not sure how you got to that conclusion, that I'm somehow supporting the extreme right. Please withdraw that lie!
When you present the product of extreme right propoganda as something which should stop the progress towards renewable energy and zero emissions transport, you support their agenda.
When did I say we have to stop the progress towards renewable energy? We should not. To accuse me of supporting right wing propaganda is ridiculous. If you would have read some of the things that Vox posted, you would have known what the problem is. Stating a problem is important. It's the truth. It's a fact. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away...

Quote
Plans for another rare earths mine in Greenland failed after voters put in power a left-leaning government that blocked development. The site had high concentrations of uranium, raising concerns over how radioactive waste would be disposed.
https://techxplore.com/news/2022-08-rare-earths-processor-rights-greenland.html
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be cause

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2022, 11:24:55 PM »
every day I see friends sharing photos from mines in Africa and Chile and exploding buses etc .. it's never been so easy to divide and conk her .
2007 + 5 = 2012 + 4 = 2016 + 3 = 2019 + 2 = 2021 + 1 .. it's 2022 !

  don't panic  ..   life's not organic !

NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2022, 11:27:31 PM »
When did I say we have to stop the progress towards renewable energy? We should not.

OK granted.  Perhaps I'm just too sensitive to misdirection from the fossil fuel lobby.

For that I apologise.
Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2022, 11:41:55 PM »
When did I say we have to stop the progress towards renewable energy? We should not.

OK granted.  Perhaps I'm just too sensitive to misdirection from the fossil fuel lobby.

For that I apologise.
Thank you. We have to understand their arguments, and come up with good answers. If we can't come up with good answers, we lose the debate, and that's what the FF industry really loves, because then they win the argument, and it becomes much more difficult for us greenies to convince the masses. And that's the last thing we need...

That's why I'm also against those idiots that glue themselves to museum pieces. It's the worst thing you can do if you want to convince the unconvinced...

Our problem is that we don't have ships dumping barrels of nuclear waste into the ocean. Greenpeace really made a difference with their little boats back then. The climate debate is a lot more difficult to explain to people, and sometimes you just have to admit that it's a difficult problem to solve, that we'll have to dig up a lot of minerals, and use a lot of energy to build all the things we need to change the world... It's not all rosy...
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again...

oren

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2022, 08:20:32 AM »
Agree with last post. Answers are needed (and are usually easy to come by.)
And today's pollution is mostly invisible and slow-acting, though no less harmful.

KiwiGriff

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2022, 09:35:19 AM »
We have to dig it up once.
it is not used up, once introduced into the economy it can go around and around indefinitely.
With fossil fuel its mined then burned... that is it.
A recent argument I had on line about lithium battery's.
We already recycle about 99% of the lead in lead acid battery's
Once we have enough lithium based battery's to support the industry we will recycle a similar proportion.
The basic laws of Physics tells us the amount of fossil  fuels  recycled is and must always be zero.     
 
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P-maker

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2022, 01:07:01 PM »
Freegrass,

Please abstain from using expressions such as:

"us greenies trying to convince the masses"

You are holding on to the wrong end of the stick, when you try to make a distinction between 'us' and the 'masses'.

Mining in Greenland is in itself a difficult undertaking, and doing it in sustainable way is a particular challenge, despite the waste hydropower resources available just 'around the corner'.


Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2022, 03:06:39 PM »
Freegrass,

Please abstain from using expressions such as:

"us greenies trying to convince the masses"

You are holding on to the wrong end of the stick, when you try to make a distinction between 'us' and the 'masses'.
It was just a facetious little comment. Don't take it too seriously...
When factual science is in conflict with our beliefs or traditions, we cuddle up in our own delusional fantasy where everything starts making sense again...

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2022, 08:53:29 PM »
Interesting video on deep sea mining.
The things we want to destroy to become green...    :(
Ties in nicely with the battery discussion on the GH2 thread, and why I don't like them if they require rare earth minerals...

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SteveMDFP

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2022, 09:45:11 PM »
Ties in nicely with the battery discussion on the GH2 thread, and why I don't like them if they require rare earth minerals...


There are many, many chemistry combinations that can power batteries.  Many do not use any rare earth elements or chromium, or other problematic metals.  Nobody ever said lithium was the optimal metal to use, it was just the only chemistry that was available in bulk at the time that Musk wanted to provide virtual power stations for Australia.

Personally, I'm a fan of Sadoway's liquid metal batteries.  I'd call it molten metal, myself.  Very long life, and simple construction.  He just needs  better investment to finish getting it off the ground.  See:


NeilT

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2022, 10:57:00 PM »
Not only that but on the batteries thread we've got a lot of information about flow batteries.  Which also work with Grid level storage.  But have few or none of the material or life issues that Li have.

BTW, Lithium is not required from the nodules.  It mainly comes from brine evaporation or rock mining.  Barring additional work on clay's which is currently in development.

We cannot point to Li batteries and nodules and say "See GH2 is a far better option".  Because so are a lot of other options.

It just so happens that the grid level storage which is going into high volume is mainly coming from Tesla and Tesla is Li based.

When the east coast of the UK became largely disconnected due to lightning and other issues, it could have been a lot worse, bar a flow battery which was sitting connected to the grid.

I agree that GH2 will have a place in a world awash with renewables which will need varying longevity of storage.  But to claim it is "far better than batteries", general, because of very specific issues with NMC batteries, is stretching the reality a bit.

But it's good right?  I agree that GH2 has a place.

Where it does not have a place is Greenwashing and that seems to be a large chunk of the energy suppliers focus with it.
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Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2022, 11:31:25 PM »
Not only that but on the batteries thread we've got a lot of information about flow batteries.  Which also work with Grid level storage.  But have few or none of the material or life issues that Li have.

BTW, Lithium is not required from the nodules.  It mainly comes from brine evaporation or rock mining.  Barring additional work on clay's which is currently in development.

We cannot point to Li batteries and nodules and say "See GH2 is a far better option".  Because so are a lot of other options.

It just so happens that the grid level storage which is going into high volume is mainly coming from Tesla and Tesla is Li based.

When the east coast of the UK became largely disconnected due to lightning and other issues, it could have been a lot worse, bar a flow battery which was sitting connected to the grid.

I agree that GH2 will have a place in a world awash with renewables which will need varying longevity of storage.  But to claim it is "far better than batteries", general, because of very specific issues with NMC batteries, is stretching the reality a bit.

But it's good right?  I agree that GH2 has a place.

Where it does not have a place is Greenwashing and that seems to be a large chunk of the energy suppliers focus with it.
I thinks its better if you move this to the GH2 thread Neil. I'll give a response there tomorrow. I'm a little bit tired now, and ready to go to bed.

I don't have a real problem with batteries. I should have been more specific in saying that I'm against Lithium Ion batteries. I thought everyone understood that. But I guess I should have been more clear about that. My bad...

But like I said, lets continue that discussion on the GH2 thread tomorrow. Time to go zzz now...
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Human Habitat Index

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2022, 06:49:54 AM »
Hemp – batteries

With over 50,000 uses for the hemp plant claimed it may come as no surprise that none of the plant need go to waste. Researchers are using so called waste fibres and fines from the decortication of the stem to create lower-cost energy storage.

Alternet Systems, a company dedicated to energy storage and EV tech, has purchased land in New York to grow and process hemp as a component in supercapacitors, a form of energy storage that can be charged much faster than lithium-ion or any other type of battery.

https://ihempwa.org/batteries/
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kassy

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2022, 04:33:53 PM »
Well Freegrass there is a green alternative.  ;)
Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

Freegrass

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Re: Mining rare-earth and other minerals
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2022, 04:44:39 PM »
Well Freegrass there is a green alternative.  ;)
I would almost get excited to see them go up in flames... 🤣

Quote
By heating the hemp bast for 24 hours at 350 F, then adding even more heat afterwards, Mitlin found they can turn the bast into carbon nanosheets, just like the conventional graphene nanosheets. In a 2014 interview with American Chemical Society, Mitlin noted: “We’re past the proof-of-principle stage for the fully functional supercapacitor,” he says. “Now we’re gearing up for small-scale manufacturing.”
Quote
supercapacitors have been left on the sideline due to their extremely high cost and their low energy density. While lithium-ion batteries can hold 100 to 200 watt-hours of electricity per kilogram, supercapacitors can only hold about 5 watt-hours per kg.

This makes supercapacitors worthless as energy storage for renewable systems, as they can’t hold enough energy to really be useful. However, in situations where short bursts of high energy are needed, supercapacitors are the perfect fit. For example, supercapacitors in hybrid buses equipped with regenerative braking are able to quickly harness that energy produced during braking, then immediately release it seconds later to help the hybrid bus accelerate.

Cannabis truly is an amazing plant... :)
Thanks for that HHI!
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