mining

Guest host Brian Hardzinski talks with Joshua Landis about an important victory for Kurds in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, and why Kurds have done so well when Arabs have not against Islamic State militants.

Then Suzette Grillot talks with David Deisley and Rob Perreault about resource extraction in Latin American countries.

Miners at work in the Bolivian town of Potosí.
Christophe Meneboeuf / Wikimedia Commons

For nearly two centuries, the city of Potosí in the highlands of what is now Bolivia was the crown jewel of the Spanish Empire. From the mid 14th until the early 16th century, the Spain used the silver mined from Potosí’s Cerro Rico – or Rich Hill – to fund its empire

Oklahoma State Capitol
Joseph Novak / Flickr

There’s only about a month left in Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session, and if bills haven’t made it out of the chamber they started in by now, they’re dead.

Nils Dougan / Flickr.com

Members of the House Utility and Environmental Regulation Committee looked into the permitting process for non-coal mining in Oklahoma after attempting legislation last session to change and balance the process.

Lawmakers heard from the Department of Mines on the current application and appeals process before hearing from citizens, who express their concerns with the department’s informal conference process.

Steel Plant, Anshan, Liaoning, China, February 2009.
Sonya Song / Flickr

In May of last year, it looked like impoverished areas of eastern Oklahoma would be getting a lifeline. Coal mining, once a vital industry there, was on a comeback thanks to increasing international demand. The prospect of hundreds of new jobs had people in the area excited when StateImpact first visited Heavener, but things have changed since then.

Gypsum embedded in the landscape at Gloss Mountain State Park in Major County.
Chip Smith / Flickr

Here’s what seems like a mundane factoid about the Sooner State: Oklahoma leads the nation in gypsum mining.

Mildly interesting, right? Actually, it’s fascinating, as The Oklahoman‘s Mike Coppock explains:

The next time you bit down on a Twinkie, know there is a good chance part of it was mined out of a mesa south of Little Sahara State Park.

Nils Dougan / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Department of Mines has been chosen to receive a nearly $108,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Mining Safety and Health Administration.

The $107,800 grant was announced Thursday.

The money is to be used to provide federally required training to miners. The grants cover training and retraining of miners working at surface and underground coal and metal and nonmetal mines, including miners engaged in shell dredging or employed at surface stone, sand and gravel mining operations.

A sinkhole near the Tar Creek/Picher Superfund site in Northeast Oklahoma.
Janice Waltzer / Flickr Creative Commons

A Native American tribe in Oklahoma is poised to become the first tribe in the country to lead and manage the cleanup of a federal hazardous waste site.

The Quapaw Tribe is cleaning up a site where a Catholic church and boarding school that tribal members attended once stood. The land was later leased to various companies and mined for lead and zinc. When mining stopped, large piles of leftover mining waste were left behind. This caused health problems for residents.

An active aggregate mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

This isn’t the first legislative session some Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing for a severance tax for mining limestone and sand, but it’s the first time the idea has gotten this far.

On Monday, the House Appropriations and Budget Committee passed HB1876, which would allow up to a five percent tax on the production of limestone, sand, and other aggregates. It now moves to the full House for consideration.

Piles of crushed limestone along railroad tracks near Mill Creek, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week, StateImpact reported on what the passage of State Question 640 in 1992 did to tax policy in Oklahoma.

“You need to have a supermajority in the House and the Senate and the governor has to sign it,” Alexander Holmes, a Regent’s Professor of Economics at the University of Oklahoma, said. “I’m still betting that if you reduce the taxes, you can never make them go up again.”

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