Lithium at Two-Year Low Hobbles U.S. Bid to Loosen China’s Grip on Market – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – October 10, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The lowest lithium prices in over two years are hampering a handful of miners that want to challenge China’s dominance in the market.

China controls most of the processing that makes the mineral usable in rechargeable batteries, leaving American vehicle makers vulnerable to supply disruptions if trade tensions escalate. With automakers from Tesla Inc. to General Motors Co. aiming to manufacture more electric cars at home, small companies are seeking to build the first U.S. lithium mines in decades as a step toward forming a local supply chain.

However, financing mines is proving a challenge after a rush of Australian supply dragged down prices by a third from a record in mid-2018. Companies also face stricter environmental rules and regulatory hurdles in the U.S., which currently accounts for just 1.2% of global lithium production. Continue Reading →

Dyson has scrapped its electric car project (BBC.com – October 11, 2019)

https://www.bbc.com/

Dyson, the technology company best known for its vacuum cleaners, has scrapped a project to build electric cars. The firm, headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, said its engineers had developed a “fantastic electric car” but that it would not hit the roads because it was not “commercially viable”.

In an email sent to all employees, Sir James said the company had unsuccessfully tried to find a buyer for the project. The division employs 500 UK workers.

Dyson had planned to invest more than £2bn in developing a “radical and different” electric vehicle, a project it launched in 2016. It said the car would not be aimed at the mass market. Continue Reading →

National business leader blasts ferrochrome approval process – by David Helwig (Northern Ontario Business/Soo Today.com – October 10, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Saultites are suffering because of the tangled web of overlapping government approvals needed for Noront’s proposed ferrochrome smelter, a veteran federal politician and business leader told members of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 8.

“I want to be clear: civic engagement is important and communities must have a voice in project development,” said Perrin Beatty, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

During a 21-year political career, Beatty served as Conservative minister of national revenue, solicitor general, minister responsible for Canada Post, minister of communications, minister of national defence, minister of state for the Treasury Board, minister of national health and welfare, and secretary of state for external affairs. Continue Reading →

US nuclear, uranium mining industries hope for Trump bailout – by ELLEN KNICKMEYER, FELICIA FONSECA and MEAD GRUVER (Associated Press – October 9, 2019)

https://www.apnews.com/

WASHINGTON (AP) — A plea from uranium mining companies and nuclear power plant operators for tax breaks and other federal financial boosts is going before President Donald Trump, as his administration studies reviving the U.S. uranium industry in the name of national security.

Trump is scheduled to receive recommendations Thursday from a task force of national security, military and other federal officials about ways to revive U.S. uranium mining, which has lagged against global competition amid low uranium ore prices.

Uranium is a vital component for the country’s nuclear arsenal, submarines and nuclear power plants. U.S. uranium users get about 10% of their supply from domestic sources, the federal Energy Information Administration has said. Most of the rest comes from Canada and Australia, followed by Russia and former Soviet republics. Continue Reading →

EXPLAINER-How do miners dispose of their waste in the sea? – by Melainie Burton (Reuters U.S. – October 11, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE, Oct 11 (Reuters) – Sea disposal of mining waste could spread as Indonesia weighs adopting the technique for new nickel projects, as Papua New Guinea is doing for a gold mine proposed by Australia’s Newcrest Mining.

The management of mining waste has drawn attention since two dam disasters in Brazil, and after red mud spilled into Papua New Guinea’s Basamuk Bay from Ramu Nickel’s operations in August.

An expert in chemical contamination has called test results from the Ramu Nickel spill “alarming,” media said this week. That spill resulted from an operational failure, however, rather than an issue with tailings management. Continue Reading →

Column: Mind the alumina gap as Western and Chinese prices diverge – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – October 10, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – The alumina market is currently seeing a widening gap in pricing between China and the rest of the world. Outside of China the price of the aluminium input has fallen below $300 per tonne for the first time since the second quarter of 2017.

Last year’s explosive rallies above $600 per tonne are a distant memory as the full return of the giant Alunorte refinery in Brazil stabilises supply. In China, by contrast, local prices have rallied by 10% over the last two months to a current 2,650 yuan ($365) per tonne, according to Shanghai Metal Market.

The Chinese supply chain is proving more unpredictable this year with domestic production hit by unforeseen outages, environmental curtailments and declining raw material availability. Divergence between Chinese and Western alumina prices is not new but they tend to move broadly in tandem not in completely different directions. Continue Reading →

Policy uncertainty, resource nationalism and environmental protection key themes for Asia mining (Mining.com – October 9, 2019)

https://www.mining.com/

The Asian mining landscape will continue to benefit from the availability of high-grade resources and low labour costs, but key countries with grapple with Policy uncertainty, resource nationalism and environmental protection, Fitch Solutions analysts warn.

In a recent overview of key mining themes in Asia, Fitch predicts rising geopolitical tensions and pressures to the global economy will continue to evoke volatility in commodity markets, heightening risks to metal demand and prices.

In 2020, Fitch expects risks to the Chinese economy will continue to rise, with no easy resolution to the trade dispute with the US on the horizon, which will prompt further monetary and fiscal stimulus from the government to cushion the downside pressure on growth. Continue Reading →

Cobalt, Congo and the responsible investor – by Martin Grosskope (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Martin Grosskopf is a vice-president and portfolio manager at AGF Investments Inc.

There is a dark side to a brighter, cleaner and smarter future. It starts with lithium-ion batteries that contain cobalt, the material needed to power our new technologies, giving way to the 21st century’s version of the great gold rush as global giants such as China move to wrest control of the world’s supply.

These batteries are used in everything from our smartphones and laptops to electric vehicles (EVs) and have earned the “blood batteries” moniker because they are sometimes mined by children and other locals in unsafe conditions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The misery in which these so-called artisanal miners work, and their rising death toll, has thrust cobalt mining in the Congo into the international spotlight. The issue is also raising vexing questions for those with an interest in responsible investing. Continue Reading →

Indian miners reject plan to link national coal index to foreign prices – by Sudarshan Varadhan (Reuters U.S. – October 10, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s miners are rejecting a government proposal to establish a national coal index that would be linked to international prices, documents reviewed by Reuters show, because it could make domestic supply uncompetitive.

India’s government is creating a coal price index as part of its plans to open the coal sector to outside investment and end state-run Coal India’s control over prices. The country plans to invite bids from global firms for coal mining blocks by the end of 2019.

A government panel has proposed one index that would link directly to foreign indexes, such as in Indonesia and Australia and a second proposal that measures the value and volume of all coal transactions, including imports, and compares them to a base period, government documents reviewed by Reuters showed. Continue Reading →

Indigenous leaders back LNG exports as a way to fight climate change – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – October 10, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Four First Nations in northern British Columbia are banding together to support energy exports as they work to attract economic investment in the region despite opposition from other Indigenous groups.

The elected leaders of the Haisla, Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla and Nisga’a signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on balancing their desire for economic growth with backing climate action.

Three of the four leaders unveiled the accord on Wednesday while in Vancouver attending the World Indigenous Business Forum. They presented their pro-resource views amid opposition from other First Nations, including a campaign led by eight Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who have been vocal in fighting against energy exports from the West Coast. Continue Reading →

Vale participates in mental-health campaign – by Staff (Sudbury Star – October 9, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Vale is participating in a campaign to reduce stigmas around mental health. The Elephant in the Room initiative of Mood Disorders Society of Canada aims to break down barriers and provide support for those struggling with mental-health concerns.

Vale is a national sponsor of the organization and “continues to demonstrate commitment to raising awareness and addressing the stigma associated with mental illness within our communities and workplaces,” according to a release from Mood Disorders Society of Canada.

Vale’s Sudbury Operations will be inviting all employees who have received mental-health first aid training to support the launch of the campaign by bringing the Elephant in the Room – literally and figuratively — into the workplace in the form of a blue elephant. Continue Reading →

[Webequie FN] First Nation takes the lead on the supply road to the Ring of Fire – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 9, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

A First Nation community is breaking new ground is leading the environmental assessment and consultation process on a proposed short supply road to the Ring of Fire.

Webequie First Nation, the closest fly-in community to the James Bay mineral belt, is hosting a series of public information sessions in Thunder Bay this week to share information with the public about the road project and to gather feedback.

It’s part of the early stages of a larger environmental assessment (EA) process that’s underway for a planned 107-kilometre all-season road between the Webequie Airport and the area around McFaulds Lake, better known as the Ring of Fire, 535 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Continue Reading →

Teck Resources cutting B.C. jobs after price of coal plunges (CBC News British Columbia – October 8, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

Coal workers in British Columbia are bracing for leaner times. The price of metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, has fallen by about 40 per cent since the summer and Teck Resources, which operates four mines in the province’s Elk Valley region, is warning employees there will be layoffs.

In a letter dated Sept. 26 from Robin Sheremeta, Teck’s senior vice president of coal, to all employees at the four operations, the company noted the price of coal had dropped from approximately $210 per tonne to about $130 per tonne in a few weeks.

The letter outlined Teck’s plans to save money, which include an immediate salary and hiring freeze, reduced and deferred training and job losses. Continue Reading →

French government appoints new mining delegate to French Guiana – by John Williams (Global Mining Review – October 9, 2019)

https://www.globalminingreview.com/

Columbus Gold Corp. has announced that in September the French government appointed Didier Le Moine as the new mining delegate and coordinator of mining projects in French Guiana.

Le Moine, a mining engineer, formally held the position of Director of Industry, Mines and Energy in the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, where a nickel mining industry was successfully established.

Le Moine’s new mandate is to define, coordinate and implement actions for the development of a responsible mining industry in French Guiana that is compatible with France’s ecological ambitions, is respectful of the populations and generates wealth and jobs for the territory. Continue Reading →

Workers at Fura emerald mine in Colombia labor in unsafe conditions: ex-employees – by Julia Symmes Cobb (Reuters U.S. – October 9, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

COSCUEZ, Colombia (Reuters) – Workers at the Colombian emerald mine run by Canada’s Fura Gems’ – the first publicly-traded emerald miner operating in the South American nation – have been laboring in unsafe conditions and sometimes lack basic safety equipment, according to four former employees.

Fura set out early last year to revive production at the fabled, four-century-old Coscuez mine, once the Andean country’s largest producer of the gem.

The Toronto-based company promised to operate by the book in a province known for organized crime and dangerous wildcat mining but the sources – who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals – said it had been falling short. Continue Reading →