Friday, June 28, 2024

Biden administration blocks Ambler road in Alaska

 Ambler road decision now expected by end of 2024 

The Biden administration on Friday blocked the construction of the proposed 211-mile Ambler road used for accessing minerals in Alaska.

The Interior Department has announced plans to retain protections for 28 million acres of land scattered across the state that the Trump administration had sought to open for mining and oil and gas drilling. These lands include unique habitats for three major caribou herds, migratory birds, as well as the Pacific salmon.

“Today, my administration stopped a 211-mile road from carving up a pristine area that Alaska Native communities rely on, in addition to steps we’re taking to maintain protections on 28 million acres in Alaska from mining and drilling. These natural wonders demand our protection,” US President Joe Biden said on X.

The Ambler road would provide access to untouched deposits of copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold in northwestern Alaska. The two-lane, all-season gravel road would have run through the Brooks Range foothills and the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, crossing 11 rivers and thousands of streams before it reached the site of a future mine.

Ambler Metals' suspended access road permits in legal limbo
The route of the proposed Ambler Access Project in Alaska. (Credit: Trilogy Metals.)

The Trump administration approved the project permit in 2020. After Biden’s election, the Interior Department ordered a new analysis, citing inadequate environmental impact studies by the previous administration. In April, the department recommended against any proposed version of the road.

The decision is another setback for Ambler Metals, formed in 2019 by Trilogy Metals (TSX, NYSE: TMQ) and South32 (ASX, LON, JSE: S32), to explore the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP) in Alaska’s Ambler mining district.

The UKMP projects, consisting of the Arctic and earlier-stage Bornite copper assets, have a combined resource of 8 billion pounds of copper, 3 billion pounds of zinc and 1 million ounces of gold equivalent.

The proposed mine is expected to produce more than 159 million pounds of copper, 199 million pounds of zinc, 33 million pounds of lead, 30,600 ounces of gold and 3.3 million ounces of silver over a 12-year mine life.

The Interior Department, however, argues that the road would disrupt habitats, pollute salmon spawning grounds, and threaten the hunting and fishing traditions of over 30 Alaska Native communities.

MINING.COM requested a comment from Ambler Metals about the Interior Department’s decision, but the company did not respond by press time.

"Don't Know What He Said"- Donald Trump's MIC DROP Moment At CNN Debate ...

New York Just Banned Evictions…

Thursday, June 27, 2024

The Lost Century: And How to Reclaim It

Hedge funds’ bullish copper bets run into China’s slowdown 

As copper surged to record highs last month, several senior Chinese traders started trying to contact western hedge fund managers whose names they’d only read in the press. For years, the veteran traders’ privileged insight into their own economy had given them an edge in the copper market, where China accounts for more than half of global demand.

But now they were bewildered. Everything in China pointed to a market that should be slumping, and yet prices were soaring on a wave of speculative money. What were they missing?

The approaches – direct and through intermediaries, to fund managers like Pierre Andurand and Luke Sadrian who had made a splash as some of the market’s biggest bulls – highlight the tug of war that has gripped the copper market in the past few months.

On one side are bullish fund managers in London and New York, who have plowed tens of billions of dollars into copper with an eye to future shortages. On the other are Chinese purchasers, more focused on the here and now, who have rarely if ever been so gloomy.

For the Chinese traders, it has been a humbling experience. The downbeat mood at home had persuaded them to bet against international copper prices. Then a wave of investor buying pushed prices to a record, and traders who fancied themselves the smartest players in the market were wiped out.

“This year has been tough for Chinese traders,” Tiger Shi, managing director at broker Bands Financial Ltd., said in an interview last week. “Their vaunted information advantage over the Chinese physical market didn’t bring them the rewards they imagined.”

But now, as the dust settles on last month’s frenzy, the importance of the Chinese market has reasserted itself. Prices have dropped about 13% from the peak above $11,100 a ton, as speculators sharply reduced their bullish bets in the wake of the surge — with much of that reduction driven by trend-following funds, according to traders.

Without western investors buying, all eyes are back on China, and a copper market that several industry insiders say is still the weakest they’ve ever seen it.

The tug of war between the two is likely to determine where copper prices go next: If tentative signs of a recovery in Chinese buying are sustained, some copper bulls believe the market could be gearing up for fresh record highs in the second half of the year.

But if weak Chinese orders persist, it would suggest that the soft patch is not just a result of delayed buying, but an indicator of poor underlying demand. Prices could fall even further — back to $9,000 or even $8,000 a ton, according to the most bearish traders.

It’s a dynamic that’s likely to dominate conversations as more than 1,000 smelter executives, traders, bankers and analysts are set to gather in Hong Kong this week for the London Metal Exchange’s annual Asia party. It’s traditionally an occasion for western investors to glean insight into Chinese fundamentals, but this year Chinese traders are likely to be just as interested in better understanding their counterparts.

It’s also a sign that, after more than two decades in which China’s industrialization and urbanization has been the major driver of the copper market, the situation is evolving as the electrification of everything gobbles up greater volumes of copper the world over.

Among Chinese copper traders and the fabricators who shape raw metal into pipes, wires and other parts used in everything from air conditioners to power transmission cables, the mood remains overwhelmingly gloomy.

“Business is shrinking significantly. The physical sales business is very bleak”

Even though some of the people Bloomberg spoke to in the past two weeks said they had seen a recent uptick in demand, they were reluctant to suggest that the market is turning around.

“This could be the most difficult year during my over-a-decade industry history,” said Ni Hongyan, vice general manager at trading firm Eagle Metal International Pte. “Business is shrinking significantly. The physical sales business is very bleak,” she said.

The data paints a similar picture. Copper in Shanghai’s tax-free bonded zone has been selling at a highly-unusual discount to London Metal Exchange prices for more than a month. That was painful for many Chinese merchants, who consider the second quarter the peak season for fabricators to purchase and prepare raw material stocks after the annual political meetings of the country. Instead, copper inventories on the Shanghai Futures Exchange have risen by 78% since the end of Chinese New Year to a record high for this time of the year.

A senior executive at one of the world’s top metals traders said the market for refined copper in China was weaker than he had ever seen it – “by a distance.”

Short squeeze

The disconnect between the Chinese market and western investors had been building for several months. Investors and analysts fell over one another to make the most bullish prediction for copper prices amid forecasts of soaring demand from the energy transition, and challenges boosting mine production. A series of reports estimating massive amounts of copper needed for artificial-intelligence data centers added to the frenzy.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said copper was in “the foothills of what will be its Everest,” predicting prices would average $15,000 a ton next year, while Andurand called for copper to hit $40,000.

The situation came to a head in May. As copper prices in China lagged international prices, many domestic traders had been placing bets that the gap would narrow, going short the international copper contracts and long the Shanghai market. After their brokers refused to put on new short positions in London to avoid being exposed to volatility during a week-long Chinese holiday, some traders placed bearish bets on the Comex in New York instead.

But as investor money kept piling in to the market, particularly US copper futures in New York, the Chinese traders were caught in a short squeeze. Faced with rising copper prices, their cash flow was running out and they had no choice but to give up, causing an unprecedented blowout in New York futures that saw them trade far above other price benchmarks.

Since then, however the Chinese market has reasserted itself.

Chinese copper exports hit a record 149,000 tons in May. LME stocks in South Korea and Taiwan — the locations closest to China — have been rising. And traders have been rushing to ship copper to the US to arbitrage the difference in prices – though none of it has yet appeared in Comex-registered inventories.

‘Not there yet’

In compiling this account, Bloomberg spoke to more than a dozen senior figures in China’s copper trading industry, most of whom who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Many of the traders gathering in Hong Kong this week will still be nursing their wounds. The past six months could be among the worst performing period in their copper trading careers, several said.

For the wider market, the key question is what happens next.

In China, some traders say there have been tentative signs of a pick-up in buying in the past couple of weeks, a move which, if sustained, could put a floor on prices. Inventories of copper on SHFE have fallen for the past two weeks, albeit by a modest 14,000 tons. Beijing is also set to announce more long-term policy support for the economy at a key Communist Party meeting next month, which is seen boosting demand for raw materials like copper.

Wang Wei, general manager at major copper trader Shanghai Wooray Metals Group Co., which sells refined copper to hundreds of Chinese fabricators, said that demand was “rebounding a bit,” although only to return to similar levels as a year ago.

But there are still reasons to worry about China’s underlying copper consumption. Property is a key driver of copper demand, and the weakness in the Chinese sector is likely to continue as a drag, according to Eugene Chan, trading manager at Zhejiang Hailiang Co. There are also some indications that high prices are spurring a greater push for substitution of copper for aluminum.

“The financial market flood of net new length has become a trickle. Without that incremental macro-driven buyer, it comes down to whether the underlying physical market can support the current price,” said Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets. “We have to reset to a level to bring these buyers back, and we’re not there yet.”

Codelco copper output falls behind target in May, document shows 

Chile’s state mining giant Codelco, one of the world’s largest copper producers, fell further behind its production target in May, an internal document obtained by Reuters showed, underscoring the challenge to revive output at a 25-year low.

The mining firm, which has yet to publicly release data for May, produced 103,100 metric tons of the red metal in the month, some 8.6% below its target of 112,800 tons, the previously unreported June document revealed.

The firm produced 484,500 tons of copper in the first five months of the year, 6.1% off its target, the document showed.

Codelco, which is battling hard to revive production, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters Graphics

Codelco, which posted production in April below 100,000 tons for the first time in at least 18 years, has been hit by a deadly accident at its Radomiro Tomic in March, which led to a stoppage at the site amid the investigation of the incident.

The company’s CEO has pledged that it will boost output this year after its worst performance in around a quarter of a century in 2023, affected by delay to major projects. The company has shaken up its leadership in recent months.

It is also pushing ahead with its new Rajo Inca project to extend the life of its small Salvador division and plans to begin partial operation of an expansion of its El Teniente underground mine in October-December this year.

Reuters Graphics

(By Fabian Cambero; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Nick Zieminski)

Capstone produces first saleable copper concentrate at MVDP in Chile 

Capstone Copper (TSX: CS) (ASX: CSC) has produced its first saleable copper concentrate at the Mantoverde development project (MVDP) in Chile as the mine advances commissioning and ramps up to full production levels.

Mantoverde is a multi-pit mine located in the Atacama region of Chile, about 56 km southeast of the city of Chañaral. It is a jointly owned operation between Capstone (70%) and Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials (30%).

Capstone’s chief executive John MacKenzie said the first saleable copper concentrate production at MVDP represents “a significant milestone” for his company, adding that the mine remains on track and on budget with its previous guidance.

The MVDP is designed to expand on the mine’s existing production from approximately 35,000 tonnes of copper (cathodes only) to a run-rate of approximately 120,000 tonnes. This is expected to occur sometime in the third quarter of 2024, Capstone has said.

This expansion required a new plant to process sulphide material from the open pits into copper concentrates; previously, the Mantoverde operation only processed oxide ores. The concentrator plant was completed in late 2023, with the whole project costing $870 million.

Overall, the MVDP is expected to enable the mine to process 236 million tonnes of copper sulphide reserves, which represent approximately 20% of total sulphide resources, in addition to the existing oxide reserves, over a 20-year life.

Meanwhile, the company is also analyzing an optimization of the sulphide concentrator to sustain an average annual throughput of up to 45,000 tonnes per day (current capacity is 32,000 tonnes per day). A feasibility study for the optimized project is expected in Q3.

Shares of Capstone Copper traded at C$9.66 apiece by 11:40 a.m. ET for a 3.6% gain. The Americas-focused copper miner has a market capitalization of C$7.3 billion ($5.3bn).

Supreme Court Pauses EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ Rule That Cracks Down on Smog

 Supreme Court Pauses EPA’s ‘Good Neighbor’ Rule That Cracks Down on Smog 

The Supreme Court voted 5–4 on June 27 to temporarily put on hold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “good neighbor” rule that cracks down on states whose industries are said to be contributing to smog.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the Court’s majority opinion.

Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson dissented.

The Supreme Court held that the emissions-reduction standards established by a federal plan would probably cause irreversible harm to several of the affected states, unless the plan was stayed until it could be reviewed by the lower courts.

The nation’s highest court stayed the plan, pending review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Led by Ohio, the states said the regulation was costly and could lead to blackouts, while the EPA said the rule was urgently needed to fight air pollution.

The coalition of states also said the EPA’s plan is an illegal overreach that undermines the principles of the federal Clean Air Act, which allows states leeway to propose their own air pollution control measures.

The plan is reportedly in effect in 11 states; courts have blocked it in 12 states.

The case, known as Ohio v. EPA, came as the Supreme Court has become increasingly reluctant in recent years to side with the EPA in legal battles.

In 2022, the nation’s highest court held in West Virginia v. EPA that the federal Clean Air Act doesn’t give the EPA widespread power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, which a popular theory says contributes to global warming.

In 2023, in Sackett v. EPA, the Court voted to rein in the power of the EPA to regulate wetlands.

In the case at hand, on Dec. 20, 2023, the Court declined to block the smog regulation itself but agreed to expedite consideration of the case.

Oral arguments were heard on Feb. 21 in Ohio v. EPA. The same hearing also covered three other applications filed against the EPA by Kinder Morgan Inc., the American Forest and Paper Association, and U.S. Steel Corp., which were consolidated.

The EPA finalized its “Federal ‘Good Neighbor Plan’ for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality” regulation on June 5, 2023, despite the objections of states and energy companies.

The plan imposes emissions standards on 23 “upwind” states.

According to the agency, cross-state air pollution, also called interstate air pollution or transported air pollution, is emitted at an “upwind” location and then blown to a “downwind” location.

The plan is supposed to address the interstate effect of air pollution under the Clean Air Act’s Good Neighbor Provision in 42 U.S.C. Section 7410(a)(2)(D), which requires upwind states to make sure their emissions don’t hinder the ability of downwind states to meet federal air-quality standards.

The EPA toughened ozone standards and ordered states to file updated state implementation plans, or SIPs, demonstrating how they would comply with the new standards.

This new top-down regulation sparked opposition in many states, which are litigating against it.

Courts have blocked the program in 12 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia, according to the EPA.

In Ohio v. EPA, the D.C. Circuit previously declined to stay the Good Neighbor Plan while litigation was proceeding.

No court has yet issued a final ruling on the EPA’s disapproval of the SIPs or the Good Neighbor Plan.

Enforcement Blocked

In the new opinion, the Supreme Court blocked enforcement of the EPA rule at least until the D.C. Circuit reviews the case.

Justice Gorsuch’s opinion was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh, along with Chief Justice John Roberts.

The Clean Air Act is supposed to be about states and the federal government working together to improve Americans’ air quality, Justice Gorsuch wrote.

The law assigns states “primary responsibility” for developing plans to achieve air quality goals, however, if a state fails to prepare a legally compliant plan, the federal government is sometimes allowed to step in and assume that authority for itself, he wrote.

The federal government said it would reject more than 20 states’ plans for controlling ozone pollution and would impose its own uniform federal plan, so this case is about whether, in adopting that plan, the government complied with the Clean Air Act, he continued.

The Supreme Court ruled in Train v. NRDC (1975) that because the states have primary responsibility for writing compliance plans, the EPA has “no authority to question the wisdom of a State’s choices of emission limitations,” the justice noted.

As long as a SIP complies with the Act, the agency “shall approve it” within 18 months of its submission, but if a SIP falls short, the EPA “shall” issue a federal implementation plan, or FIP, for the noncompliant state unless the state corrects its SIP first, Justice Gorsuch wrote, citing another precedent.

At one point, several states and industry groups challenged the FIP in the D.C. Circuit.

The states said the Act allows the courts to reverse any action taken regarding an FIP that is “arbitrary” or “capricious,” and argued that the EPA’s decision to apply the federal plan to them even after many other states had dropped out met that standard for reversal, he wrote.

“Because each side has strong arguments about the harms they face … our resolution of these stay requests ultimately turns on the merits and the question [of] who is likely to prevail at the end of this litigation,” he wrote.

“We agree with the applicants that EPA’s final FIP likely runs afoul of … long-settled standards.”

In her dissenting opinion, Justice Barrett suggested the Supreme Court’s order in this case was ill-considered.

“Our emergency docket requires us to evaluate quickly the merits of applications without the benefit of full briefing and reasoned lower court opinions,” Justice Barrett wrote.

“Given those limitations, we should proceed all the more cautiously in cases like this one with voluminous, technical records and thorny legal questions.”

The court’s order “leaves large swaths of upwind States free to keep contributing significantly to their downwind neighbors’ ozone problems for the next several years” while the case is being litigated, she wrote.

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Monday, June 24, 2024

"They'll Erase You" - Super Elites, Invention Secrecy Act, Tesla, UFOs |...

U.S. DOE Approves the Safety Design Strategy for Radiant Industries, Inc. Microreactor 

The U.S. Department of Energy has reviewed and approved the Safety Design Strategy for Radiant's Kaleidos microreactor in the National Reactor Innovation Center’s Demonstration of Microreactor Experiments test bed at Idaho National Laboratory.


Monday, June 17, 2024

Saudi Arabia Just DITCHED The US Dollar.

De Beers plans return to marketing roots as split from Anglo American looms

 De Beers diamond sales rise as demand recovers from COVID-19 hit 

De Beers, which created the global market for diamond engagement rings through its “A Diamond is Forever” campaign, is shifting back to its marketing roots as its parent company Anglo American (LSE: AAL) moves to sell it off.

Its new ‘Origins’ strategy is part of a wider pivot back towards natural diamonds, announced on May 31. The move makes sense because marketing has always set the diamond sector apart from other mineral industries and the industry risks losing its way if it becomes focused only on mining and turns away from the demand creation side, New York City-based diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky told MINING.COM’s sister publication, The Northern Miner.

“Marketing is what moves the needle,” he said. “You can throw money at the problem, you can create demand if the products are marketed properly. You have to look at it as a luxury product, not as a commodity.”

In announcing the divestiture of De Beers on May 14, Anglo said the move would give both companies “a new level of strategic flexibility to maximize value” for Anglo American and the government of Botswana, which each hold 85% and 15% stakes, respectively, in the diamond company. The Botswana government also indicated on June 10 that it wants to increase its interest in De Beers. High capital needs and declining diamond supply present further challenges in the diamond sector, analysts say.

Anglo’s announcement of its De Beers plans, as well as plans to sell off its South Africa-based Anglo American Platinum (JSE: AMS) and its steelmaking coal assets was triggered by BHP’s (ASX: BHP) unsuccessful, multi-billion-dollar acquisition bid in mid-May.

‘Growing desire’

De Beers is also suspending its Element Six lab-grown diamonds (LGD) subsidiary for jewelry to focus instead on synthetic diamond technology for industrial applications, it said in May. Production for the Lightbox LGD brand will stop in a few months, De Beers CEO Al Cook said in a June 13 interview with diamond news site Rapaport.

“The outlook for natural diamonds is compelling,” Cook said in a news release, adding that the company’s new approach will involve “growing desire for natural diamonds through the reinvigoration of category marketing, embracing new approaches that maximize reach and impact.”

Cook explained to Rapaport the need to tell better diamond stories is greater now that “there are more diamonds above the surface of the Earth than below the surface. Every year, diamond mines are closing.”

De Beers first entered the synthetic diamond jewelry market in 2018. In setting up a solid difference between mined and lab-grown diamonds, the company initially offered Lightbox jewelry for up to 80% less than its competitors’ prices.

Slowing sales, production

The stronger emphasis on marketing also comes as De Beers grapples with lower sales, with Cycle 4 rough diamond sales, at $380 million this year, down by 20% from last year’s Cycle 4 period of $479 million, the company reported on May 23. The Cycle 4 period approximately covers two weeks in May. Cook said the sales were due to the seasonally slower second quarter and less trading in India during the elections.

Production declined 8% to 31.9 million carats in 2023, from 34.6 million carats in 2022. First quarter output this year, at 6.8 million carats, was down 23% from the year-earlier figure of 8.9 million carats.

The wider industry is also facing the challenge of lower demand, especially in the United States and China. Amid the slow demand, De Beers cut the price of 0.75-carat stones by 4% to 6% at this year’s fourth trading session, according to a May 7 report from Rapaport. In the first sale of the year, the company cut prices by about 10%.

The issue of declining production could be expensive for De Beers to deal with, BMO Capital Markets diamonds analyst Raj Ray implied.

“From mining business point of view, not having a parent company like Anglo American backing De Beers could have some serious implications for diamond supply going forward,” he said.

Rough diamond supply has dropped to around 120 million carats from 150 million carats in 2017-2018, Ray said. It’s expected to drop even more in the next four to five years.

Amid the supply constraints, De Beers has invested $1 billion in expanding the life of its flagship Jwaneng mine in Botswana, and $2.3 billion to move underground the Venetia mine in South Africa.

“The next 12 to 24 months don’t look great for the rough diamond industry,” Ray said. “Anyone looking at De Beers will have to acknowledge (that). There’s huge capital investments that are needed over the next few years across mines to be able to maintain supply, forget about growing supply.”

But despite that hurdle, Ray and Zimnisky both see De Beers maintaining its 30% share of the global diamond market.

“They’ll continue to be the pre-eminent producer in the world,” Ray said. “Anyone who will buy (De Beers) will continue to fund its projects. I don’t see any significant drop in production from the De Beers portfolio.”

Going solo?

Once De Beers formally leaves Anglo as part of the company’s restructuring, which CEO Duncan Wanblad has said could take 18 to 24 months to complete, the diamond miner will face the prospect of being purchased or going alone.

Zimnisky said either option has its own difficulties.

“This is something Anglo has wanted for a while,” he said. “They wanted Anglo to become more of a pure play copper producer, or a green infrastructure buildout commodity producer hoping it would lead to a higher valuation for the company. That said, De Beers is a complicated business and not easy to sell. It has (the) Debswana joint venture, which is the crown jewel of the company.”

Ray agrees that few potential buyers would have interest in a company like De Beers whose business requires massive capital investments. An IPO is also unlikely, he said.

“There’s little interest in the diamond sector from an equity perspective. I don’t see how in a potential IPO there’s enough interest in a new diamond story,” he said. “This has to be a private sale or consortium that needs to come in and take a longer-term view of the diamond sector. There could be growth expected in the retail segment. That’s where I think anyone taking a look at De Beers would see the value.”

Both analysts also see the De Beers sale having minimal impact on the junior exploration sector for diamonds.

“In order to stimulate exploration across the industry you would have to see a notable diamond price recovery,” Zimnisky said. “Prices have been flat for almost a decade now.

Union at BHP copper mine in Chile accepts contract, averting strike

 BHP's Spence mine in Chile strikes early labor deal with supervisors union 

The union representing workers at BHP’s Spence copper mine in Chile accepted a contract proposal by the company on Friday by an overwhelming margin, averting the risk of a strike.

Around 93% of union members voted in favor of the proposal, with the other 7% voting to strike, a tally provided by the union showed.

The three-year contract will give workers a “significant raise” in terms of salary and benefits, the union said in a statement.

Earlier this week, workers and the firm had reached an initial agreement that required a vote by union members to go into effect.

The union represents more than 1,100 workers at the copper mine located in northern Chile. Their previous collective agreement expired on May 31.

BHP had previously said that the Spence mine, which produced 249,000 metric tons of copper last year, was operating as normal while the firm was in negotiations with the union.

“The company appreciates the willingness for dialogue, respect and effort to build a sustainable and beneficial agreement for both parties,” BHP said in a statement.

Chile is the world’s largest copper producer.

(By Fabian Cambero and Kylie Madry; Editing by Leslie Adler, Sarah Morland and Aurora Ellis)

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This School Helps Poor Kids Succeed, Teacher Unions Try To Shut It Down

Thursday, June 13, 2024

2 Texas Men Sentenced in Scheme to Sell Iranian Oil to China

 2 Texas Men Sentenced in Scheme to Sell Iranian Oil to China 

Two Texas men were sentenced on June 11 to 45 months in prison over a scheme to sell U.S.-sanctioned Iranian petroleum to China, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Wang Zhenyu, 43, a Chinese citizen and permanent U.S. resident, and Daniel Ray Lane, 42, a U.S. citizen from McKinney, Texas, conspired with three others to evade U.S. economic sanctions against Iran from July 2019 to February 2020, the DOJ said in a June 11 statement.

They attempted to buy sanctioned oil from Iran, masked the oil’s origins, and sold it to a refinery in China, according to the DOJ.

“Wang, Lane, and their co-conspirators’ scheme to make millions also would have enriched Iran, one of our government’s foreign adversaries, in direct contravention of measures meant to protect American interests and national security,” U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said in a June 11 statement.

Mr. Wang reached out to several parties in China and “brokered a contract of sale” with the refinery, according to the DOJ. He also arranged bribery payments to Chinese officials to facilitate the illegal transaction.

Mr. Lane agreed to help launder the proceeds from the oil sale and “offered to use the mineral rights that he sold through his business, Stack Royalties, to conceal the Iranians’ profits, and even purchased a cash machine to count the millions of dollars of laundered proceeds quickly,” the DOJ stated.

Mr. Lane was president of Stack Royalties, a private firm based in Dallas.

The five conspirators also sought to obtain Antiguan passports to open Swiss bank accounts to launder their proceeds.

They planned to start with a 500,000-barrel shipment of Iranian oil “but intended to increase the shipments to one or two million barrels a month for a year or more,” the DOJ stated.

According to the DOJ, Mr. Wang believed that they could make $1.5 million in profit for every 500,000-barrel shipment.

Mr. Wang and Mr. Lane were convicted for attempting to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The three co-conspirators were sentenced in January. Nicholas Hovan received a sentence of 12 months plus a day, and Nicholas Fuchs and Robert Thwaites each received 10-month prison sentences.

at the White House in May 2018 that “America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail.”
In April, President Joe Biden signed the Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum Act and Iran-China Energy Sanctions Act of 2023 into law as part of a foreign aid package.
Iran’s oil exports reportedly grew by about 50 percent in 2023 to a five-year high of roughly 1.29 million barrels per day, with most of the shipments going to China.
In this year’s first quarter, Iran exported 141.7 million barrels of oil, a 28 percent increase over the same period in 2023, according to the Washington-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Late last month, Tehran announced that it had approved a plan to increase its oil output to four million barrels per day. Iran is a major crude producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
China and Iran signed a 25-year cooperation agreement in 2021 to strengthen their economic and political alliance. The two nations agreed to deepen their strategic cooperation in August 2023, following a meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

ABS directory of California tanker / container / ro-ro terminals subject to air emission regulations 

ABS assembles a directory of California terminals required to comply with CARB 2020 At-Berth Regulations.

ABS assembled a directory of California terminals required to comply with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2020 At-Berth Regulations. This document is strictly provided as an aid and may not include all relevant facilities or details, and no representations or warranties, whether express or implied are provided. A detailed review of the requirements and compliance options available for ocean-going vessels and additional resources can be found on the page linked below.
The information within the directory was compiled as of March 31, 2024.



Shoplifting is Changing NYC… Permanently

G7 Leaders Reach Deal to Unlock Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine

G7 Leaders Reach Deal to Unlock Frozen Russian Assets for Ukraine 

PUGLIA, Italy—Group of Seven (G7) leaders reached an agreement on June 13 to utilize frozen Russian assets in their continued support of the war in Ukraine.

The G7 will provide Ukraine with a loan using frozen Russian assets as collateral. The total sum is unclear at this time, but the United States has committed $50 billion alone. The risk will be shared among the other G7 nations.

Senior Biden administration officials told reporters that the loan will begin this year, and emphasized that this effectively makes Russia pay for the loan rather than the taxpayers in the United States and G7 countries.

“Russia pays,” said one senior administration official. “The income comes from the interest stream on the immobilized assets, and that’s the only fair way to be repaid. The principle is untouched for now. But we have full optionality to seize the principal later if the political will is there.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a post on X, had expressed hope that the asset deal would be finalized Thursday.

“The entire Ukrainian people, including our warriors, see that the G7 will always support Ukraine,” he wrote. “I am grateful to our partners for their belief in us and our victory.”

In the run-up to the crucial summit, the G7 finance ministers held discussions about the legality of using some $300 billion worth of frozen assets kept in European accounts as collateral for providing a loan to Ukraine for reconstruction. France was believed to be the main holdout on the plan.

President Biden mentioned before leaving France last week that he had reached an agreement with Mr. Macron on a plan to use the frozen Russian assets.

When asked how the United States was able to overcome concerns about the use of sovereign assets, the senior administration official said they asked, “What’s the alternative” if Ukraine was insufficiently financed?

“What would be the chilling effect it would cause across Europe and the rest of the world,” he asked. “What would be the signal to autocrats that they can redraw borders by force? Those are the costs, I think, we all agreed are unacceptable, and that’s why we acted.”

The senior administration official also said that the funds would be used in multiple ways in Ukraine, including humanitarian support and reconstruction support. However, he also said that there were “certain jurisdictions” that preferred to have their money earmarked for military support.

The agreement was reached a day after the United States announced expanded sanctions on more than 300 entities and individuals designed to “ratchet up the risks that foreign financial institutions take by dealing with Russia’s war economy,” according to national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

Following his meetings with G7 leaders on June 13, President Biden will sign a 10-year bilateral security agreement with Mr. Zelenskyy, signifying a continuing U.S. commitment to support the war-torn country against Russian aggression.

This is the 50th summit meeting of the leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, and Canada—the seven most advanced economies in the world—and, along with the war in Ukraine and Russian assets, discussions are also expected to cover the war in Gaza, economic security, AI, migration, climate change, and food security.