Sunday, January 29, 2017

I'll look at the history of iron ore and it's progression over time. I think it will provide insight to understand this industry and it's processes.

There are people in industry that care and their are oligarchs and American billionaires that don't. I'll explore the abuses and the pollution.

Ready for a good laugh.

ALCOA chose to move their smelting plant to Iceland to avoid any problems with Kyoto Protocol. Did they take the bull by the horns and look for a better and more efficient smelting process as the UAE has done? No. The American tin foil maker found out that Iceland is geothermal and is exempt form Kyoto Protocol because it did not produce carbon dioxide pollution.

That is an American company for you. Find a way to cheat and make it a hero's tale. NOT. Alcoa is no more a global hero than any metal production in Third World countries. Alcoa is a Third World aluminum producer and should be followed with intense scrutiny by the global community.

Alongside a glacier-fed fjord by the Norwegian Sea, (click here) Bechtel carved out a job site to construct Alcoa’s first primary smelter in 20 years. Fjarðaál was the largest private investment in Iceland’s history and Bechtel’s first experience in the island nation near the Arctic Circle. 

Designed as a zero-waste-to-landfill project, the Fjarðaál smelter is among the most environmentally sustainable facilities of its type. Mirroring our customer’s environmental commitment, Bechtel worked closely with vendors and suppliers to ensure the return of reusable materials, and we contracted with local firms for recycling. In the end, more than 90 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.  For our efforts, Bechtel earned Iceland's highest environmental award, the Conch....

The Icelandic people were and are furious about this Alcoa mess. Guess how they can brag about being environmentally responsible. Go ahead, guess. 

They ship everything in and out of Iceland. The metal to be smelted is brought into Iceland by boat, the product is shipped out of Iceland along with all the waste products. Of course there is no landfill issue, because, Alcoa dumps their waste elsewhere. 

I haven't investigated the possibility, but, it is my guess there has been a boat accident somewhere that resulted in pollution from the Alcoa Iceland plant. Where does Alcoa take it's pollution? Probably China.

February 3, 2016
By Reuters

New York (Reuters) - The U.S. government (click here) has granted aid to workers at Alcoa Inc's Intalco aluminum smelter in Washington state, after they complained that Chinese dumping threatened their jobs, according to a federal ruling.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) granted Trade Adjustment Assistance to the 500 workers at the 279,000 tonne-per-year facility, which is slated to suspend production at the end of the second quarter, in a letter signed late last week and published on Tuesday.
The program provides payments and job training to workers who lose their jobs because of competition from abroad.
The ruling in favor of the Alcoa workers could serve as evidence in a potential trade case as tensions with China's aluminum industry build.
The approval also comes as low aluminum prices have forced U.S. smelters to stop or slow output, and U.S. production in 2016 is expected to be the lowest since the years immediately following World War II....

Remember this because what follows this entry is laughable.

This is the UAE working to solve the problems of smelting to make it more efficient and less polluting. Got that? There are people in this world that actually cares about people and the natural world while making money for investors. 

EGA (click here)

27 January 2017

UAE’s Emirates Global Aluminum (EGA) (click here) filed for four new patents on products and procedures it believes will increase the firm’s productivity and enhance its operating efficiency. Each of the four new patents are improvements upon the Hall-Héroult process for smelting primary aluminium.
The first of the four patents is for a cathode block assembly that incorporates a bi-metallic insert of copper and aluminium that optimizes current collection, necessitating less voltage than the standard steel cathode collector bar. The new cathode block also allows for a more even distribution of the current collected by the cathode, making the cathode last longer and the operating cell more stable.
The second patent is for a copper cathode contact inserted on top of the steel cathode collector bars. Such copper inserts decrease the voltage drop of the cathode, which translates into an improvement in energy consumption. This cathode incorporates a non-contact zone between the inserts and the cathode bar at the end wall of the cathode bar, which is a process previously patented by EGA that decreases the cell’s energy consumption by lengthening the path of the current to the collector bars. This makes for a more even distribution of current and, as a result, a pot that is more stable.
The third patent covers a split anode riser busbar system. This system balances electrical current distribution in the cathode collector bars, minimizing magnetohydrodynamic instabilities and allowing the proper anode-to-cathode distances to be maintained. This lowers electrical resistance and therefore lessens electric consumption, improving overall cell operation.
The final patent filed by EGA is for a busbar system that makes start-up and shut-down of a potline easier. The system utilizes temporarily used crossover busbars (“TUCBs”) that are able to start and end an electrical connection in a reversible fashion. This setup allows for the shutdown of a section of potline independent of the rest. It also allows for pots or potlines to be started up section by section instead of requiring the entire system to be started....

One panda joins the world while two are wrongfully lost.

January 18, 2017

Baltimore (WJZ) The National Zoo (click here) said Wednesday, Bao Bao, the zoo’s giant femal panda, is preparing for her departure to China.

Bao Bao was born at the zoo on Aug. 23, 2014, and the first cub to survive birth since 2005 at the time.

“As part of the Zoo’s cooperative long-term breeding agreement with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, all cubs born at the Zoo move to China by the time they turn 4 years old,” the zoo said in a statement

China owns all giant pandas in U.S. zoos and requires that cubs born here be sent “home” about the time they reach breeding age.
“Bao Bao is very special to us at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo,” said Brandie Smith, associate director of animal care sciences. “She was the first surviving cub born at the Zoo since 2005. She’s captured the hearts of people all over the world who watched her grow up on the panda cams, and she has been an ambassador for conservation. We are sad to see her go, but excited for the contributions she is going to continue to make to the global giant panda population."
Bao has been living apart from her mother, Mei Xiang, since March 2015. Giant pandas are solitary in the wild, and cubs separate from their mothers to establish their own territories between 18 months and 2 years old, the statement said....
Bye, bye to "Bao Bao" as he joins his new future in the bamboo forests of China.
January 19, 2017
By Zhao Yusha
Chinese netizens (click here) expressed their outrage after a Shanghai zoo announced on Thursday that two pandas died in December 2016, and slammed the zoo for exhibiting the pandas despite their illness.
The Shanghai Wildlife Park announced on its Sina Weibo on Thursday that 21-year-old panda Guo Guo died on December 26, 2016 because of acute pancreatitis and multiple organ failure.
The mother panda was quarantined for treatment on December 19 shortly after she showed symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache and discharged intestinal mucus.
Following the announcement, netizens who have visited the zoo blamed it for the pandas' deaths.
"I went to the Shanghai Wildlife Park in December and Hua Sheng was clearly sick. Why did you insist on exposing her to the public?" said a Net user codenamed "yimiaoyishijie."
Many also wondered why the zoo announced the deaths about a month later....

Smelting is the primary industry when looking to metal production.

Metals when discovered are not pure. They have to be refined and the way that is done is through smelting. The term smelting is a general term and does not spell out the particular pollutants by particular processes of each metal. 

Mined ores are processed to concentrate the minerals of interest. (click here) In the case of metal ores, these mineral concentrates usually need to be further processed to separate the metal from other elements in the ore minerals. Smelting is the process of separating the metal from impurities by heating the concentrate to a high temperature to cause the metal to melt. Smelting the concentrate produces a metal or a high-grade metallic mixture along with a solid waste product called slag.

The principal sources of pollution caused by smelting are contaminant-laden air emissions and process wastes such as wastewater and slag....

Understanding the smelting process is important to understanding the pollution. One has to realize metal is a component to infrastructure. It is not the metal production that is the focus, it is the pollution and the lack of will to end the pollution. 

Smelting metal takes a great deal of energy. That energy and how it is obtained for the process is important. But, the bottom line with metal production is that this is the year 2017 and the industry is till polluting.

I can only hope Dr. Ernest Moniz had the opportunity as Secretary of Energy to assess and offer opinion on improving the standards and infrastructure of metal production. All to often politicians will jump to conclusions about environmentalists and conservationists as people that want to stop all polluting industries. Well. Environmentalists and conservationists live in the world, too. The same world so many Americans live in. All that is demanded is the industry practice responsibility fir their employees and protection of the environment. It is the protection of the environment most often viewed as to much of a cost burden to pursue.

One of the amazing aspects of Dr. Moniz time at the Department of Energy is his approach to energy efficiency. Industries such as metal production uses a great deal of energy. The energy as well as the production itself can be equally as polluting. There are answers to ending pollution from such operations. It takes gifted people to solve those problems, but, there are answers.

These industries have CEOs that only see the bottom line through old methods of production when they could be making more money for stockholders by streamlining and cleaning up their pollution from both the energy they need and the production process.

I want to go into more detail about metal production from the ground level, so I will pursue same next week with an initial focus on what happens in mining to the transport of the rock.
January 22, 2017
By Kenneth R. Rosen

Windham, N.Y. — See the mailbox? (click here) This is hallowed starlet ground.

Painted to imitate a big top circus tent, the mailbox on Jenny Vidbel’s property hints at the lives she cares for on her farm in the Catskill Mountains. Down in the fields, a group of horses convened at the edge of woodland during a recent visit. From her house, Ms. Vidbel monitored them and a variety of the animals roaming about 70 acres. She is a third-generation circus trainer and the overseer of recently arrived retirees — more than two dozen horses, a few pigs and a rowdy cluster of dogs from the Big Apple Circus.

It was on this farm more than three decades ago that Ms. Vidbel, 41, entered circus life, a result of her grandparents’ love for performing in circuses and training animals. Ms. Vidbel performed with the animals at Big Apple for more than six years.

With the permanent closing of the Big Apple Circus, which it announced last summer after failing to secure financing for another season, the animal performers became unemployed. Animal advocates worried that they might end up in shelters where they could be euthanized. Instead, the animals have come to live with their Big Apple Circus trainer, Ms. Vidbel.

They retire, and that’s it,” she said. “I’m going to give them this in return for their whole life and make sure they have a great retirement.”...

Third World countries need to stop settling for First World throw away companies.

September 1, 2016

Trucks carry dangerous dust by passing the houses of the residents.

The Collective Stop Pollution (click here) Imphy-Sauvigny-les-Bois has eighteen members. Each of them individually filed a civil complaint against Harsco Metals and Minerals. 

Within the Collective, they are finally eighteen to have individually filed a civil complaint, against the company Harsco Metals and Minerals. Leaning for that on a report of inspection of the industrial site by the services of the State. PV noting that several rules relating to the protection of the environment had not been complied with in the mandatory terms of the authorization to operate this site....

The health of the Chinese and Brazilians have just gotten worse. Metal production in many parts of the world is antiquated and dangerous.

January 23, 2017 
By GlobalNewsWire

Camp Hill, Pa. -- Harsco Corporation (HSC)(click here) announced today two multi-year contracts for steel mill services in China and Brazil totaling more than $100 million over their duration.
 Harsco’s Metals & Minerals division has been selected by China’s second largest steelmaker, Hebei Iron and Steel Group, to take over an increased range of onsite mill services at its Tangshan Stainless Steel works, where Harsco already provides environmental services relating to the commercial sale of the mill’s slag co-products. With the new contract, Harsco now adds onsite slag handling, metal recovery and briquetting to its responsibilities. Tangshan Stainless produces premium-grade steels for the auto and consumer markets.
Included within Harsco’s services to the Tangshan works will be its patented steam box technology for steel slag processing. Harsco’s technology provides for faster cooling times, reduced water and energy consumption and more efficient slag sizing than conventional methods. Its environmental benefits include the full capture of open atmospheric emissions, together with the opportunity to utilize the clean steam and heat generated from the steam box.
In Brazil, Harsco has been selected by one of the country’s largest fully integrated steelmakers to extend Harsco’s long-standing services for onsite scrap handling, slag transport, metal recovery, and melt shop support. Harsco has been providing continuous support to the mill’s flat steel operations for more than three decades, and to its mini-mill since its inception in 2014....

The incidence rates represent the number of injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers and were calculated as:...

(N/EH) x 200,000, where 

N = number of injuries and illnesses
EH = total hours worked by all employees during the calendar year 200,000 = base for 100 equivalent full-time workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year)

Iron foundries (Private Industry) - Nonfatal (click here)
     Incident rate in 2012 was 11.4 
     Incident rate in 2013 was   9.9

Steel foundries, incident rate in 2013 was 8.0

To the left - Furnace operators and molders at Excel Foundry & Machine, in Pekin, Illinois, pour molten iron into the ladle before casting bushings, January 19, 2012.

There are new international standards for human safety. 

This new code, (click here) which reflects the many changes in the industry, its workforce, the roles of the competent authorities, employers, workers and their organizations, and on the development of new ILO instruments on occupational safety and health, focuses on the production of iron and steel and basic iron and steel products, such as rolled and coated steel, including from recycled material. It does not deal with the mining of raw materials for iron and steel production nor does it deal with the fabrication of commercial steel products. The original code of practice on safety and health in the iron and steel industry was adopted in 1981....
January 25, 2017

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s American Trail team (click here) is celebrating the arrival of a female gray seal pup, born Jan. 21 at 12:43 a.m. to mother Kara. Keepers are closely monitoring the pup, which appears to be nursing, moving and bonding well with mom. At 33 years old, Kara is the oldest gray seal to give birth in a Zoo. This pup is the third for Kara and 26-year-old father, Gunther.
Animal care staff are cautiously optimistic that the pup will thrive, and Kara is caring for her pup without interference. The pup weighed 37 pounds as of Jan. 24. Around three weeks of age, the pup will wean and shed her white lanugo coat, revealing a gray and mottled pattern similar to that of the adults. Once she is weaned, keepers will slowly introduce the new pup to the other members of the colony. She will join the Zoo’s adult gray seals and two harbor seals, Luke and Squeegee, on exhibit and public view in the spring.
Keepers suspected that Kara was pregnant based on her physical changes, appetite and weight gain, among other cues. They have trained the seals to voluntarily participate in radiographs and ultrasounds with veterinarians present as part of their routine medical care. An ultrasound in August confirmed Kara was pregnant, and animal care staff have been conducting bi-weekly ultrasounds to track the pup’s development....
For the most part (click here), investment in metals as a commodity isn't and hasn't been the best idea.

There is, of course, demand for all these metals. Metal production will always have a market, it is just that the abundance of metal isn't the issue; hence, lower commodity costs.

...Basic metal (click here) production experienced a boom in recent years due to a significant increase in commodity prices. New investments, in most developing countries in the form of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment), created new possibilities for employment and development. Fuelled by the high prices for metals, mergers and acquisitions considerably changed the industry, creating new global players in a sector that had, until recently, been characterized by numerous small (often state-owned) enterprises, 

Falling prices for most metals indicate that the growth experienced in the sector has likely come to a halt, suggesting the potential end of the so-called “supercycle” and the return of the cycles that characterized the industry in previous decades. Uncertainties as to employment and its nature in the sector have also been fuelled by calls for the industry to change production processes in ways that would reduce its carbon footprint. Work is being undertaken on assessing the implications of these changes....
January 28, 2017
By Robin Ganzert

The world’s fastest cats (click here) are sprinting toward extinction, with half of the global cheetah population expected to be wiped out in the next 15 years, according to a new report released last month. But as cheetahs and other vulnerable animal species race to outrun the mounting threats to their survival, public support is in danger of slowing for the zoos and aquariums that stand on the frontlines of wildlife conservation.
Of course, there are bad actors, with so-called “roadside zoos” — exploitative establishments known for the gross negligence and abuse of animals — as some of the most egregious cases-in-point. However, it’s inaccurate and irresponsible to conflate these barbaric enterprises with the ethical zoos and aquariums around the world committed to improving the lives of animals, both in human care and in the wild.
Modern zoos and aquariums are leading global efforts to protect the lives of wild animals at a time when they’re more vulnerable than ever before. Our planet is currently facing what scientists call the “Sixth Extinction,” with a rapid rate of species die-offs that rivals the extinction wave that killed off the dinosaurs. A recent report from the World Wildlife Fund warned that without swift and substantial human intervention, more than two-thirds of the world’s wildlife could be gone by the end of the decade....
Still working from Kyoto Protocol.

The term metal production (click here) refers to all of the processes involved in the conversion of a raw material, such as a metallic ore, to a final form in which the metal can be used for some commercial or industrial purpose. In some instances, metal production involves relatively few steps since the metal already occurs in an elemental form in nature. Such is the case with gold, silver, platinum, and other so-called noble metals. These metals normally occur in nature uncombined with other elements and can therefore be put to some commercial use with comparatively little additional treatment.

In the majority of cases, however, metals occur in nature as compounds, such as the oxide or the sulfide, and must first be converted to their elemental state. They may then be treated in a wide variety of ways in order to make them usable for specific practical applications.
It's Sunday Night

Ivanka's picture, which was taken before she attended an exclusive dinner party, has been branded insensitive. Do tell.

29 January 2017
By Mark Hodge

The First Daughter, 35, was pictured wearing a £4,000 ($5019.60) Carolina Herrera-designed metallic silver gown alongside her husband Jared Kushner before the pair attended a swanky dinner in Washington D.C.

On Friday, (click herePresident Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim countries from entering the US over the next 90 days.

The brash billionaire also slapped a ban on refugees, including women and children, from entering America which will last for 120 days.

The ban has resulted in protests outside airports across America as scores of people wait in limbo over their future....
Protesters gather outside Terminal 4 at JFK airport in oPpposition to the ban
"From the Ritz to the Rubble" by Arctic Monkeys (click here for official website - Thank you)

Last night these two bouncers and one of em's alright
The other one's the scary
And his way or no way, totalitarian

He's got no time for you
Looking or breathing
How he don't want you to
So step out the queue
He makes examples of you
And there's nowt you can say
Behind they go through to the bit where you pay

And you realize then that it's finally the time
To walk back past ten thousand eyes in the line

And you can swap jumpers and make another move
Instilled in your brain you've got something to prove
To all the smirking faces and the boys in black
Why can't they be pleasant?
Why can't they have a laugh?

He's got his hand in your chest
He wants to give you a duff
Well, secretly I think he wants it all to kick off
They want arms flying everywhere and
Bottles as well it's just
Something to talk about
A story to tell you

Well, I'm so glad they turned us all away we'll put it down to fate
I thought a thousand million things that I would never say this morning
Got too deep, but how deep is too deep?

This town's a different town today
Said, this town's a different town to what it was last night
You couldn't have done that on a Sunday

That girl's a different girl today
Said, that girl's a different girl to what you kissed last night
You couldn't have done that on a Sunday
Of course not

Well, I'm so glad they turned us all away we'll put it down to fate
I thought a thousand million things that I could never think this morning
Got too deep, but how deep is too deep?

Last night what we talked about
It made so much sense
But now the haze has ascended

Last night what we talked about
It made so much sense
But now the haze has ascended
It don't make no sense anymore