Visualizing the Journey of a Mining Entrepreneur
Mining may be an industry nearly as old as humankind itself, but the process of how a patch of ground becomes a mine is no different from the modern start-up.
It takes someone with vision, knowledge, capital, and especially social skills to navigate the hurdles and pitfalls in order to move their project forward and become a true mining entrepreneur.
This infographic sponsored by Cartier Resources takes a look at the journey of a mining entrepreneur, from inspiration to market success.
1. Inspiration: Seeing Value Where Others Do Not
This is where all great businesses start…a great idea! There are several ways to find inspiration in mining and mineral exploration, such as:
- An old mine that was closed because of low prices
- A geological trend that could continue onto a new property
- A unique geochemical pattern that could hint at more below
- An old property with a new geological insight
Real World Example: Uranium in Moose Pasture
Mine engineer and prospector Arthur Stollery had staked 83 claims in the Elliot Lake camp of Ontario. He sold his claims to Stephen Roman for $30,000 and 500,000 shares of Consolidated Denison, now known just as Denison Mines.
Those claims contained the largest uranium deposit in the world at that time and turned Stephen Roman and Denison into a major mining powerhouse.
2. Learning: Prospecting and Target Generation
At this stage, a mining entrepreneur needs to start building the case on how to test their idea. This starts with a theory about the location of new mineral deposits and will need to find a place to start exploring.
In order to start, the explorer first needs to find clues to support the theory. This is done through several techniques:
- Metal detection
- Prospecting with hand tools
- Electromagnetic prospecting
- Geochemical prospecting
All data collected through these processes is typically mapped and will help determine the location of where to drill.
Real World Example: Chile’s Copper Deposits
David Lowell, the world’s greatest mine finder, came up with a model to find low-grade copper porphyry deposits. He would go on to uncover some of the world’s largest copper mines such as the Escondida deposit in Chile.
3. Start-up: Proving the Value with Drilling
Drilling is one of the most important stages, and it can also be one of the most expensive. It is drilling that locates and defines economic mineralization. It is the ultimate test for all ideas, theories, and predictions.
There are three types of drilling:
- Auger drilling
- Rotary percussion drilling
- Diamond drilling
Drilling pulls up samples of the earth below and hopefully contains the valuable metals in enough quantities to make an economic deposit. However, it can be hit or miss and requires expert judgement as to whether there is further potential.
Real World Example: Falconbridge Nickel Mine
The original owner of the Falconbridge claims was the Thomas Edison of lightbulb fame, who gave up his hunt for nickel when his exploration drilling encountered quicksand. Thayer Lindsay bought claims, did further drilling and developed the company’s first nickel mine which helped build the city of Sudbury, Ontario.
4. Scale-up: Building Relationships
Now, if you have drill results that prove there is an economic ore body, you have to start building relationships to finance further studies.
- Cost estimates
- Operating costs
- Reserve calculations
Real World Example: Iron in the Far North
Jules Timmins purchased the mineral rights to the Ungava region in northern Quebec in 1941. He confirmed the size of an iron resource and a company. The iron ore was high quality and near the surface, allowing for low cost open pit mining but the infrastructure and financing challenges were large. Timmins raised the capital to build a 560-kilometer railroad, a shipping terminal, and the iron ore mine at a cost of nearly $300 million.
5. Champion: Going to the Market
If a mining entrepreneur has discovered something of value, it is time to go to market to sell or to raise money to build a mine. The entrepreneur has to champion the work in order to sell the property or develop the mineral property to bring his discovery to the next stage.
Real World Example: From Prospect to Asset in the Yukon
Shaun Ryan, a successful prospector and mining entrepreneur, began staking claims and then optioning the district to several explorers.
One of his claims became the Coffee deposit, developed by Kaminak Gold before Goldcorp bought it. Another claim, the White Gold property, went to Underworld Resources, which was bought in 2010 by Kinross for $139 million.
End of the Road or Beginning of the End?
If a mining entrepreneur has made it this far, he or she can count themselves lucky, as few make it this far.
But for those that do not, the mineral exploration process is a learning process and the knowledge acquired could be the next inspiration or opportunity for another mining entrepreneur.
Ranked: Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities
Roughly 25% of all GHG emissions come from electricity production. See how the top 30 IOUs rank by emissions per capita.
Emissions per Capita of the Top 30 U.S. Investor-Owned Utilities
Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.
Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.
This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.
Per Capita Rankings
The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.
Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.
|Utility||Emissions Per Capita (CO2 tons per year)||Total Emissions (M)|
|Berkshire Hathaway Energy||14.0||57.2|
|American Electric Power||9.2||50.9|
|Florida Power and Light||8.0||41.0|
|Portland General Electric||7.6||6.9|
|Pacific Gas and Electric||0.5||2.6|
|Next Era Energy Resources||0||1.1|
PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020
Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.
TransAlta emits 25.8 tons of CO2 emissions per customer, the largest of any utility on a per capita basis. Altogether, the company’s 630,000 customers emit 16.3 million metric tons. On a recent earnings call, its management discussed clear intent to phase out coal and grow their renewables mix by doubling their renewables fleet. And so far it appears they’ve been making good on their promise, having shut down the Canadian Highvale coal mine recently.
Vistra had the highest total emissions at 97 million tons of CO2 per year and is almost exclusively a coal and gas generator. However, the company announced plans for 60% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the highest total emitter, this transition would make a noticeable impact on total utility emissions if successful.
Currently, based on their 4.3 million customers, Vistra sees per capita emissions of 22.4 tons a year. The utility is a key electricity provider for Texas, ad here’s how their electricity mix compares to that of the state as a whole:
|Energy Source||Vistra||State of Texas|
Despite their ambitious green energy pledges, for now only 1% of Vistra’s electricity comes from renewables compared to 24% for Texas, where wind energy is prospering.
Based on those scores, the average customer from some of the highest emitting utility groups emit about the same as a customer from each of the bottom seven, who clearly have greener energy practices. Let’s take a closer look at emissions for some of the bottom scoring entities.
Utilities With The Greenest Energy Practices
Groups with the lowest carbon emission scores are in many ways leaders on the path towards a greener future.
Exelon emits only 3.8 tons of CO2 emissions per capita annually and is one of the top clean power generators across the Americas. In the last decade they’ve reduced their GHG emissions by 18 million metric tons, and have recently teamed up with the state of Illinois through the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Through this, Exelon will receive $700 million in subsidies as it phases out coal and gas plants to meet 2030 and 2045 targets.
Consolidated Edison serves nearly 4 million customers with a large chunk coming from New York state. Altogether, they emit 1.6 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from their electricity generation.
The utility group is making notable strides towards a sustainable future by expanding its renewable projects and testing higher capacity limits. In addition, they are often praised for their financial management and carry the title of dividend aristocrat, having increased their dividend for 47 years and counting. In fact, this is the longest out of any utility company in the S&P 500.
A Sustainable Tomorrow
Altogether, utilities will have a pivotal role to play in decarbonization efforts. This is particularly true for the top 30 U.S. IOUs, who serve millions of Americans.
Ultimately, this means a unique moment for utilities is emerging. As the transition toward cleaner energy continues and various groups push to achieve their goals, all eyes will be on utilities to deliver.
The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.
The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet
The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills.
The Road to Decarbonization: How Asphalt is Affecting the Planet
Asphalt, also known as bitumen, has various applications in the modern economy, with annual demand reaching 110 million tons globally.
Until the 20th century, natural asphalt made from decomposed plants accounted for the majority of asphalt production. Today, most asphalt is refined from crude oil.
This graphic, sponsored by Northstar Clean Technologies, shows how new technologies to reuse and recycle asphalt can help protect the environment.
The Impact of Climate Change
Pollution from vehicles is expected to decline as electric vehicles replace internal combustion engines.
But pollution from asphalt could actually increase in the next decades because of rising temperatures in some parts of the Earth. When subjected to extreme temperatures, asphalt releases harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere.
|Emissions from Road Construction (Source)||CO2 equivalent (%)|
|Excavators and Haulers||16%|
Asphalt paved surfaces and roofs make up approximately 45% and 20% of surfaces in U.S. cities, respectively. Furthermore, 75% of single-family detached homes in Canada and the U.S. have asphalt shingles on their roofs.
Reducing the Environmental Impact of Asphalt
Similar to roads, asphalt shingles have oil as the primary component, which is especially harmful to the environment.
Shingles do not decompose or biodegrade. The U.S. alone generates ∼12 million tons of asphalt shingles tear-off waste and installation scrap every year and more than 90% of it is dumped into landfills, the equivalent of 20 million barrels of oil.
But most of it can be reused, rather than taking up valuable landfill space.
Using technology, the primary components in shingles can be repurposed into liquid asphalt, aggregate, and fiber, for use in road construction, embankments, and new shingles.
Providing the construction industry with clean, sustainable processing solutions is also a big business opportunity. Canada alone is a $1.3 billion market for recovering and reprocessing shingles.
Northstar Clean Technologies is the only public company that repurposes 99% of asphalt shingles components that otherwise go to landfills.
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