This Morning in Metals: Trump signs executive order to boost mining industry

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mining

Sunshine Seeds/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: President Donald Trump signed an executive order declaring a national emergency for the mining industry; Vale this week announced the suspension of one of its iron ore operations; and the site of an old steel plant in Chicago is getting a new look.

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Trump signs executive order to boost mining

President Trump announced the signing of an executive order that declares a mining industry national emergency.

“Today, President Trump is signing an Executive Order and declaring a National Emergency to expand the domestic mining industry, support mining jobs, alleviate unnecessary permitting delays, and reduce our Nation’s dependence on China for critical minerals,” the executive order reads.

The order sets the stage for the Department of the Interior to use the Defense Production Act to fund mineral processing.

Furthermore, the action will cut down on “unnecessary delays in permitting actions,” the order says.

In 2017, Trump signed an order laying out a federal strategy to ensure the U.S.’s supply of critical minerals.

The U.S. has long sought to curb its dependence on China for a wide variety of critical minerals. China, for example, dominates the global rare earths mining and processing sectors. More than 80% of global rare earths output comes from China.

Vale suspends Viga operations

In addition to Trump’s executive order, Earlier this week, Brazilian miner Vale announced the suspension of operations at its Viga concentration plant.

“Vale informs that it suspended, in the night of September 24th, the disposal of tailings and the execution of works at the B7 dam, located in the municipality of Jeceaba, MG, in compliance with the decision by the judge of the Court of Entre Rios de Minas district regarding the Public Civil Action filed by the municipality of Jeceaba,” the miner said Monday.

Vale estimates the impact of the suspension will be 11,000 tons of iron ore fines per day. The firm says it plans to contest the court decision.

Old Chicago steel plant site to serve as industrial park

The old Republic Steel plant in Chicago is getting a new look as an industrial park, per Chicago’s ABC 7.

According to the report, the 2.3 million-square-foot industrial park on the former steel site will be Chicago’s largest industrial project in nearly two decades.

“Our City, particularly our Southeast Side, has long been a hub for industrial and manufacturing innovation,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a release.

The Republic Steel plant opened in 1910 and closed permanently in 2001. Since then, the plant site has laid vacant.

Ford Motor Co. will be the first tenant in the new Commerce Park industrial park.

The automaker will use the completed 360,000 square-foot building on the site for pre-assembly work on components. Those components will then be delivered to Ford’s nearby Chicago Assembly Plant.

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