Highland Valley Copper Tailings Dam
Credit: Gord McKenna

The Highland Valley Copper Tailings Dam near Logan Lake is the largest open pit copper mine in Canada

A weekly roundup of news and views on energy, mining, forestry, and more

Buoyed by the bounce-back in commodities prices, Teck Resources Ltd. has become the best-performing Canadian stock in seven years. The country’s largest diversified miner has risen fivefold on the S&P/TSX Composite Index to a market value of $16 billion this year, the biggest year-to-date gain of any stock since 2009. The key to Teck’s success has been the rally in commodity prices, especially in metallurgical coal, used in making steel, and zinc. Met coal more than tripled to a record $245.50 per metric ton as of Monday, after a surprise output cut from China which moved to help lift prices for struggling miners and curb pollution. (Globe and Mail)

A Vancouver company developing technology aimed at cleaning up mining processes has reached the semifinals of a $20-million international competition. Terra CO2 Technologies is one of 27 teams advancing in the Los Angeles-based NRG Cosia Carbon XPrize, a global competition to develop breakthrough technologies to convert the most carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas and power plant facilities into products with the highest net value. Terra CO2 Technologies is currently developing technologies to address two environmental problems: excess atmospheric CO2 and acid rock drainage. By converting CO2 and reactive mine wastes to stable compounds, Terra’s technology aims to reduce or eliminate the long-term stewardship costs associated with acid rock drainage, providing major cost savings for mines. The technology also aims to capture CO2, cutting costs related to carbon taxes or cap and trade policies. Terra is owned and financially supported by Strategic Metals Ltd. (Terra CO2 Technologies)

University of Victoria researchers are investigating the potential of west coast waves on Vancouver Island as a future source of renewable energy. The university’s West Coast Wave Initiative is launching a fifth monitoring buoy next month to measure the energy potential. Brad Buckham, the director of the initiative, told the CBC the area is a world-class resource for future wave energy development. “You’re not going to find very many locations that are better,” he said. “It’s like a two- or three-storey building coming at you.” Wave power uses the oscillations in a wave to drive a turbine. Buckham said with adequate B.C. power already coming from relatively clean hydroelectric generation, there is currently little appetite for taking on the risk of shifting into a technology such as wave power. (CBC)

Think climate change is a new problem? Far from it. A short news clip from a 1912 New Zealand paper has gone viral as an early example of scientists making the connection between greenhouse gases and global warming. “The furnaces of the world are now burning about 2,000,000,000 tons of coal a year,” stated the Rodney and Otamatea Times. “When this is burned, uniting with oxygen, it adds about 7,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere yearly. This tends to make the air a more effective blanket for the earth and to raise its temperature. The effect may be considerable in a few centuries.” See Quartz for more examples of early warning bells. (Quartz)

An enormous amount of edible food is routinely thrown out by Walmart, revealed a former worker for a company subcontracted by the grocery giant. Daniel Schoeler recently told CBC that on every shift at almost every store, he saw loads of what appeared to be perfectly good food dumped in the trash. CBC Marketplace launched a national investigation and learned of large amounts of waste at other Walmart stores across the country. In the Toronto area, they repeatedly found outdoor garbage bins piled high with everything from produce to baked goods, frozen foods, meat and dairy products. (CBC)