operation oaxaca: into the blue.

we chose our target market. (022)

Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez
9 min readMar 2, 2024

this is carlos.

the time arrived.

i must reveal the north star of operation oaxaca.

could it change?

yes, definitely.

yet i doubt that.

because i’m staying in this game until my village is safe and sound.

that could last a lifetime.

so what?

this world is nothing but a mortal test from God.

He wants to see what i make of myself.

and He gave me a mission, that i cannot fail Him as long as i got the energy.

so, where should operation oaxaca go to stay alive for decades to come?

well, go where the resources are.

a business/company is just ‘money in’.

so in the ‘metal ions’ game, how do we make money?

the most profitable things we can make from extracting heavy metal ions are the metals themselves plus the sludge for agricultural applications.


so we return to the same spot:

use what you got.

and here’s the answer:

since mines are meant to dig up precious metals like copper, gold, silver, zinc, etc.,

the mines also leave sludge and mine tailings behind.

but in those mine tailings, there are heavy metal ions in the waste.

those ions can include lead, copper, zinc, gold, silver, cadmium, magnesium, aluminum, calcium, arsenic, etc.

some are good for us humans and the environment, and some are not.

but the point is this.

there exists a potential market that i can tap into using my filter:

extracting as many heavy metal ions from the mining waste and selling the metals, so that:

a) we do not depend on other countries for metals (even when we have them right in front of our faces.

b) so that no unnecessary mines have to be opened up and damage neighboring villages (like what’s happening to oaxaca, mexico).

and this article will prove point a) and point b).

there is a spot for us.

a few are already playing the game.

time to add one hot fella in the arena.

but first, lemme read to you guys the playbook.

and the prerequisites to understand the game.


mining ores 101.

mining is done for many reasons & intentions.

one of the objectives is to find precious minerals like gold, silver, copper, etc.

most of these precious minerals are found in ores.

ores are solid materials (like rocks) containing precious metals/minerals.

gold ore | source

the process of extracting precious metals from ore is called “extractive metallurgy”, and the overall process is as follows:

  1. separate the ore from unwanted rocks.
  2. the minerals (gold, silver, etc.) are separated from the ore.
  3. separation methods progress because most minerals are not pure metals.

large pieces of the ore feed are broken through crushing and/or grinding.

this process extracts leftover waste from the ore extraction that is released into the environment and contaminates our water sources.

the process below is known as “hydrometallurgy”:

(leaching) → metal ions are extracted from their ore by water/acids/bases solutions.

leaching breaks down the material structure of the ore and allows for other reactions to occur to the precious metals.

the common reaction is for these “free metals” to give up their outermost electrons (outer shell).

most heavy metal ions lose two of their electrons.

this causes the heavy metal ions to be very reactive and cause damage inside human organs if consumed.

copper electrons | source

let’s use copper as an example.

copper has 29 electrons.

it has one electron in its outer (last) shell from the 29 protons in the nucleus.

the goal for any atom is to get rid of extra electrons that do not fill the entire valence shell.

copper’s 4th shell needs 32 electrons to be full. the outer shell only has one.

electron number requirement | source

an atom is positively charged when it loses electrons (cations).

the copper ion has a cu+ charge when it loses its outermost electron.

but the common copper heavy metal ion loses two electrons from the atom.

it loses the outermost electron and an extra electron from the third shell (counting from the nucleus.)

losing an electron from a full electron shell requires an immense amount of energy.

this energy comes from the extraction metallurgy process used to extract the minerals from the ore.


the heavy metal ion configuration (Cu2+) occurs in other valuable heavy metal ions like lead (Pb2+), cadmium (Cd2+), nickel (Ni2+), etc.

heavy metal ions are soluble in water because their positive charge attracts the oxygen atom of the water molecule…

and allows for the transportation of heavy metal ions throughout a water source and the human body.

sodium ion reaction with H2O

the most dangerous reaction of heavy metal ions occurs in the body:

heavy metal ions can bond to sulfhydryl groups which are found in proteins (muscles in the body) and enzymes.

these metals bind to the enzymes preventing them from working properly and stopping/altering their metabolic process.

just so that we are on the same page BEFORE entering the research on the valuable metals/minerals industry,

this is the list of the permitted intake of heavy metal ions that’s recommended by the world health organization (w.h.o.), in (mg/L):

nickel — 0.02 mg/L

copper — 2 mg/L

zinc — 3 mg/L

lead — 0.01 mg/L

cadmium — 0.003 mg/L

chromium — 0.05 mg/L

but throughout this whole operation, i know one of you was thinkin’:

could we boil heavy metals out of water?

the answer is ‘no’.

the boiling point of water is 100°C (212°F). But the boiling point of lead is 1,749 °C (3,180 °F)

the water will boil first before the heavy metal ions.

ok, so that’s the basic info run. now, onto the reason why you’re here.

cost of metals: (feburary 2024)

metric ton = 1000 kg.

aluminum was worth $2193 per metric ton.

copper was worth $8339 per metric ton.

iron ore was worth $135.80 per metric ton.

lead was worth $2086 per metric ton.

nickel was worth $16,104 per metric ton.

tin was worth $25,100 per metric ton.

zinc was worth $2515 per metric ton.

troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams.

gold was worth $2034 per troy ounce.

platinum was worth $926 per troy ounce.

silver was worth $22.90 per troy ounce.

why should i care?

there is a clean energy transition occurring by 2050.

we will lead low-carbon technologies by that time to combat the climate change crisis.

but to do so…

we will need lots of minerals to produce the low-carbon technologies.

more mining and mineral recycling must be done.

but why do we need more minerals? and how much?

let’s do the big three:

wind, solar, batteries.


a single wind turbine needs the following minerals:

  • copper (4.7 tons)
  • steel (335 tons)
  • concrete (1200 tons)
  • rare earth elements (2 tons)
  • aluminum (3 tons)
  • small amounts of zinc & molybdenum

the grade of steel for wind turbine components is typically S355, and the top two elements are iron and carbon.

other elements (in percentage) used in the wind turbine steel are:

  • carbon (~0.22%)
  • manganese (~1.6%)
  • silicon (~0.05%)
  • phosphorus (~0.05%)

global wind power is expected to grow to 2 terawatts of energy by 2030.

in 2023, about 1 terawatt of energy was used.


70% of a photovoltaic cell will be glass.

10% is polymer.

7% is aluminum.

4% is silicon.

1% is copper.

<0.1% is tin, lead, silver.

btw, solar panels/photovoltaics accounts for 7% of global solar demand.

1 terawatts of solar/photovoltaics was used in 2023.


battery technologies can include electric vehicles to power grids.

lithium-ion batteries require these metals:

  • lithium
  • nickel
  • cobalt

but for each battery for each technology, the mineral demands are unique.

a full-size electrical vehicle needs:

  • nickel (80%)
  • cobalt (15%)
  • aluminum (5% aluminum)

for compact vehicles:

  • lithium manganese oxide, (lithium & manganese)

for a home battery pack:

  • nickel (33%)
  • manganese (33%)
  • cobalt (33%)

and the demand for these minerals for the low-carbon technologies will increase by these percentage amounts.

the mineral amounts were originally evaluated in 2017, with their projections to 2050.

current production (2017), and then future production (2050). all numbers will be the annual production of the mineral in kilotons.

  • lithium: 43 kilotons → 415 kilotons (965% increase from 2017)
  • cobalt: 110 kilotons → 644 kilotons (585% increase from 2017)
  • graphite: 1200 kilotons → 4590 kilotons (383% increase from 2017)
  • indium: 0.72 kilotons → 1.73 kilotons (241% increase from 2017)
  • vanadium: 80 kilotons → 138 kilotons (173% increase from 2017)
  • nickel: 2100 kilotons → 2268 kilotons (108% increase from 2017)
  • silver: 25 kilotons → 35 kilotons (60% increase from 2017)
  • neodymium: 23 kilotons → 31.4 kilotons (37% increase from 2017)
  • molybdenum: 290 kilotons → 323 kilotons (11% increase from 2017)
  • aluminum: 60000 kilotons → 65583 kilotons (9% increase from 2017)
  • copper: 19700 kilotons → 21078 kilotons (7% increase from 2017)
  • manganese: 16000 kilotons → 16694 kilotons (4% increase from 2017)

some examples for the mineral distribution markets include the following:

projected nickel demand in energy technology is in the following categories (percentages):

  • energy storage (74.4%)
  • geothermal (16.5%)
  • wind (5.8%)
  • other (3.2%)

projected copper demand in energy technology is in the following categories (percentages):

  • solar photovoltaics (38.8%)
  • wind (35.2%)
  • chip scale packaging (10.2%)
  • other industries (6.3%)
  • hydro (4.4%)
  • energy storage (3.8%)
  • geothermal (1.3%)

and copper will be used in all low-carbon energy technologies by 2050.

in the last 5000 years, about 550 metric tons were mined/produced.

and this world will need the same amount of metric tons in the next 25 years.

crazy times we live in.

and where will we mine these minerals from, exactly?

for copper, we will mine them from:

  • colombia
  • peru
  • chile
  • dr congo
  • mongolia
  • indonesia

for graphite:

  • mozambique
  • madagascar

for iron & iron ore:

  • brazil
  • guinea
  • india

for bauxite (combo of aluminum hydroxide minerals):

  • brazil
  • guinea
  • indonesia
  • china

lithium is found in chile.

manganese is in gabon.

steel & titanium is in india.

cobalt is in dr congo.

nickel is in indonesia.

80% of all rare earth elements in the usa are imported from china.

these rare earth elements include:

  • neodymium
  • praseodymium
  • dysprosium
  • terbium

these elements are crucial for various applications such as electric vehicle magnets, defense technologies, and consumer electronics.

the democratic republic of congo supplied 67% of our cobalt in 2017 for the global market, btw.

so for us, the united states, we must reduce our need on other countries for their rare earth elements and common metals.

those metals are hidden in our mine sludge and mine tailings.


how much of metals are in the sludge/tailings?

and what kind of metals?

is it enough to reduce the need for new mines or mineral dependence?

that way, we make sure mining doesn’t consume more than the current 11% of global energy use.

this was just an overview.

next time, it’s time to go into the numbers, and far deeper into the pits of the future for mining.

so that way, i can save my village AND provide value to the world by default.

© 2024–2100 by Carlos Manuel Jarquín Sánchez. All Rights Reserved.