Has China shattered battery nickel’s supply chain bottleneck? – by Anthony Milewski (Northern Miner – March 5, 2021)

Global mining news

China has turned the nickel market on its head after the world’s biggest stainless-steel producer, Tsingshan Holding Group, this week agreed to supply about 100,000 tonnes of matte (containing approximately 65-75% nickel) to Huayou Cobalt and battery materials maker CNGR Advanced Material.

The news signals that the mainly Chinese-funded nickel pig iron (NPI) producers in Indonesia are now looking at making nickel matte, essentially giving the battery-materials manufacturers a new product to plug into their processes.

The market response was not pretty. London’s nickel prices fell nearly 9% on March 4 and in Shanghai dropped the most in nine months. The three-month nickel contract on the London Metal Exchange dropped as much as 8.5% to US$15,945 per tonne, its most significant intraday loss since December 2016. Continue Reading →

Bosses at Red Lake’s newest mine pleased with operating performance – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – March 5, 2021)


Pure Gold Mining ramps toward commercial production while exploration program is on target with high-grade hits

Four months after the first pour gold at Red Lake’s newest mine in December, Pure Gold Mining keeps discovering high-grade gold.

At the same time, the underground mine southwest of the community, is ramping up operations to achieve commercial production status by the middle of this year.

The Vancouver-based mining company, which is 3,700 metres into a 21,000-metre drill program, released early results of high-grade intersects at three targets near the mine. Continue Reading →

Brutal March? Gold price at risk of a flash crash to $1,600 – analysts – Anna Golubova (Kitco News – March 5, 2021)


(Kitco News) The first week of March was a damaging one for gold as prices broke through the psychological level of $1,700. Now, the key question on everyone’s minds is just how much lower can gold drop before bottoming out?

Down more than $200 since the start of the year, gold investors are looking for the magical line in the sand that will signal the end of the downtrend. At the time of writing, April Comex gold futures were trading at $1,699.10, down 2.8% on the week.

The main culprit has been the rising U.S. 10-year Treasury yield, which has triggered a stronger U.S. dollar that is weighing on gold. And this week’s Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s message that largely ignored inflation concerns and rising yields did not help. Continue Reading →

Gold, battery metals exploration brisk in the Sudbury district – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – March 4, 2021)


Winter drilling campaigns underway for properties with open-pit potential

The Sudbury Basin is known as one of the world’s most prolific mining camps for nickel and base metals. But on underexplored ground in the outlying areas many exploration-stage junior miners continue to actively drill and sample for gold and metals related to the electric vehicle battery revolution.

East of Sudbury, New Age Metals reported it’s found rhodium at its River Valley Palladium Project. The company is in the advanced stages of planning for an open-pit mine, 60 kilometres east of the city.

In a March 2 news release, New Age calls rhodium is the “rarest and most valuable” of all the platinum group metals. Recent spot prices have reached highs of more than US$24,000 per ounce, the company said. Continue Reading →

Prof says rare earth elements facility in Saskatoon could stabilize supply chain in North America – by Scott Larson (CBC News Saskatoon – March 4, 2021)


A new processing facility being built in Saskatoon could be part of the solution to a recent global shortage of computer chips and semiconductors for vehicles and electronics.

There are 17 rare earth elements: cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium and yttrium.

These naturally occurring minerals are key components in modern electronics. They are used in making everything from electric cars to cell phones and wind turbines. Continue Reading →

Tesla partners with nickel mine amid shortage fears (BBC News – March 5, 2021)


Tesla has decided to become a technical partner in a nickel mine – which is needed for lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Elon Musk’s car firm will also buy nickel from the Goro mine on the small Pacific island of New Caledonia to secure its long-term supply. The move comes amid growing concerns about future supplies of nickel.

New Caledonia is the world’s fourth largest nickel producer, which has seen a 26% rally in prices in the past year. Continue Reading →

U.S. Needs a Strong Defense Against China’s Rare-Earth Weapon – by James Stavridis (Bloomberg News – March 4, 2021)


James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

You could be forgiven if you are confused about what’s going on with rare-earth elements. On the one hand, news reports indicate that China may increase production quotas of the minerals this quarter as a goodwill gesture to the Joe Biden administration.

But other sources say that China may ultimately ban the export of the rare earths altogether on “security concerns.” What’s really going on here?

There are 17 elements considered rare earths — lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, scandium and yttrium — and while many aren’t actually rare in terms of global deposits, extracting them is difficult and expensive. Continue Reading →

EV metal producer DeepGreen to launch on NYSE in US$330-million SPAC deal – by Jaren Kerr (Globe and Mail – March 5, 2021)


DeepGreen Metals Inc., a Vancouver-based producer of minerals used to make electric vehicle batteries, will become a publicly listed company after being acquired by Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corp. (SOAC) in a US$330-million deal.

Founded in 2009, DeepGreen sources minerals known as polymetallic nodules from the ocean floor, which are used to power electric vehicle batteries.

The company has exploration contracts in the Pacific Ocean’s Clarion-Clipperton Zone between Hawaii and Mexico. DeepGreen estimates its exploration zone has the potential to power 280 million electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Leaders at B2Gold, Chalice Mining win Kitco Mining’s CEO of 2020 (Kitco News – March 4, 2021)


2020 was a historic year for the mining sector. Companies navigated the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide lockdown measures, and still delivered unprecedented value for their investors.

Kitco Mining recognized the best of the best. Clive Johnson, chief executive officer at B2Gold (NYSE:BTG) and managing director Alex Dorsch at Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) are Kitco Mining’s CEO of the Year winners for 2020.

Dorsch won in the Exploration and Development Category. Johnson won in the Mining Category. Kitco News announced the winners in a special live YouTube broadcast Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET. Continue Reading →

Giant Mine contamination apology discussions underway, says Yellowknives Dene First Nation – by Hannah Paulson (CBC News North – March 4, 2021)


‘The destruction of the ecosystem that we have always enjoyed is a very painful history,’ chief says

A First Nation in the Northwest Territories is expecting to receive an apology from the federal government for the contamination of its land.

That’s according to Ed Sangris, chief of Dettah, N.W.T., who says the Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) are expecting the process for an apology from the federal government, for the harms caused by contamination from the former Giant Mine, to begin in June.

A spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada confirmed that the federal government has never apologized for the harm suffered by Indigenous people following the development and contamination of land caused by mining in the North. Continue Reading →

Canada’s missing the boat on mining — and the future – by Diane Francis (Financial Post – March 5, 2021)


Canada has the resources, brains and track record to accelerate the transition to the New Economy, but we are crippled by a useless political class that never ran a pop stand

The cost of electing a naïve and inept Liberal government has been inestimable, and our resource-blessed nation is about to miss the boat once more in the world of mining.

Mining built Canada, undergirds the economy, employs more Indigenous workers than any other sector, and pays the highest wages in the country.

Canada is a centre of excellence in mining, which is why the world’s biggest mining gathering — the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, launched in 1932 — is once more about to take place this month, albeit virtually. Continue Reading →

Resource nationalism surge spells rough times for miners – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – March 4, 2021)


Resource nationalism has spiked in more than 30 countries over the last year and more than half of those nations are key producers of minerals and hydrocarbons, a new study reveals.

The growing trend, paired with the economic impacts of covid-19, has heightened governments’ rising appetite for greater control over mineral revenues, the latest research from risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft shows.

The consultancy identified 34 countries in which a trend to take control over natural resources or ensure higher profits from them has grown since 2017. At least 18 of those nations, including Ghana, Mali, Colombia, Chile and Canada, are resource-dependent economies. Continue Reading →

Green Revolution Gets More Expensive as Copper Price Surges – by Rachel Morison and William Mathis (Bloomberg News – March 4, 2021)


(Bloomberg) — Look just beneath the surface of many of the technologies powering the energy transition and there’s a red metallic glint. Copper is a vital part of green infrastructure from grids to wind turbines, and a recent price surge threatens to make decarbonization more costly.

Copper has doubled from the lows seen a year ago and is near a nine-year high. Amid predictions of a new commodity supercycle kicking off, many analysts say the top hasn’t yet been reached for a metal that’s core to the green energy drive.

Demand from renewable power generation, battery storage, electric vehicles, charging stations and related grid infrastructure accounts for about a fifth of copper consumption, according to Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Continue Reading →

Michigan, not COVID, may be the biggest threat to Canada’s economy – by Kelly McParland (National Post – March 5, 2021)


The biggest immediate threat to Canada’s ability to emerge from the COVID crisis with a functioning economy lies not in who gets which type of vaccine, how quickly the provinces wean themselves off shutdowns or how many extra billions the Liberals are determined to spend in search of popularity.

It lies in a pipeline. Not the better-known Keystone or Trans Mountain lines that have been the focus of intense national and cross-border debate, but the more obscure Line 5, an Enbridge conduit that carries petroleum and other products from Western Canada to the eastern provinces by way of Michigan.

It usually gets little attention because it’s been in operation with minimal drama since the 1950s. Its future has suddenly become questionable because Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a close ally of President Joe Biden, wants it shut down. Continue Reading →

Turquoise Hill CEO exits amid tension with Rio Tinto over funding Mongolian copper mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 4, 2021)


Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.’s chief executive officer Ulf Quellmann has resigned after months of tension between the company and Rio Tinto, its biggest shareholder, over a funding plan for its troubled Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia.

The Montreal-based company and London-based Rio, one of the world’s biggest diversified miners, have clashed over how the construction of the giant underground copper mine should be funded.

In a statement, Turquoise Hill said that Rio had said it would vote against Ulf Quellmann in the upcoming annual general meeting. In light of that development, the company and Mr. Quellmann felt it was in their best interests that he resign. Continue Reading →