Sad cost of China’s plan to ditch Australia – by Ben Graham (News.com.au – July 4, 2022)

https://www.news.com.au/

China is on a mission to break its dependence on Australia at all costs, but a new report has revealed the superpower is leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. One of the key ingredients it needs to fuel its ambitious growth plans to become the world’s most powerful and influential nation is iron ore, which is one of the main raw materials to make steel.

Australia is the biggest exporter of the red stuff which is mined largely in Western Australia’s Pilbara region and pumps an astronomical amount of money into the nation’s economy.

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Chinese bots spread disinformation about Canadian rare earths company in targeted attack, report alleges – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – June 28, 2022)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

A prominent U.S. cybersecurity firm is alleging that Chinese government-funded campaigns are spreading disinformation about Canadian rare earths miner Appia Rare Earths & Uranium Corp. in an attempt to cement China’s dominance in the sector and crush Canadian ambitions.

Virginia-based Mandiant Inc., which was founded by former U.S. government security experts, said in a report that Toronto-based Appia and two other rare earth companies, Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. and USA Rare Earth LLC, were targeted by an online network called Dragonbridge, a front for the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

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Ukraine war robs India’s ‘Diamond City’ of its sparkle (Economic Times India – June 26, 2022)

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Yogesh Zanzamera lays out his bed on the floor of the factory where he works and lives, one of around two million Indians polishing diamonds in an industry being hit hard by the Ukraine war.

The air reeking from the only toilet for 35-40 people, conditions at workshops like this in Gujarat state leave workers at risk of lung disease, deteriorating vision and other illnesses. But Zanzamera and others like him have other more immediate worries: the faraway war in Europe and the resulting sanctions on Russia, India’s biggest supplier of “rough” gemstones and a long-standing strategic ally.

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Red Flags for Forced Labor Found in China’s Car Battery Supply Chain – by Ana Swanson and Chris Buckley (New York Times – June 20, 2022)

https://www.nytimes.com/

The photograph on the mining conglomerate’s social media account showed 70 ethnic Uyghur workers standing at attention under the flag of the People’s Republic of China. It was March 2020 and the recruits would soon undergo training in management, etiquette and “loving the party and the country,” their new employer, the Xinjiang Nonferrous Metal Industry Group, announced.

But this was no ordinary worker orientation. It was the kind of program that human rights groups and U.S. officials consider a red flag for forced labor in China’s western Xinjiang region, where the Communist authorities have detained or imprisoned more than 1 million Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs and members of other largely Muslim minorities.

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US increases production to catch China in global battery race – by SHARON UDASIN, ZACK BUDRYK AND CAITLIN MCLEAN (The Hill – June 9, 2022)

https://thehill.com/

As battery-powered electric vehicles become a mainstay on the nation’s highways — and a key piece of President Biden’s environmental policy — the U.S. is facing a formidable challenge in its efforts to compete in the global battery race.

“The problem is, we’re just pretty far behind here,” Ethan Elkind, director of the climate program at Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment, told The Hill.“We should have been planning for this a decade ago,” he added. “But I think we can get things moving, now that there’s bipartisan support for it.”

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Sweltering India Turns to Superheating Coal for Cooling – by Benjamin Storrow and Sara Schonhardt (Scientific American/E&E News – June 2, 2022)

https://www.scientificamerican.com/

CLIMATEWIRE | India has experienced a series of unusually early and prolonged heat waves this year. To cool off, the country has leaned on the fuel most responsible for the blazing temperatures.

Coal generation is surging to meet the demands of cooling systems like fans and some air conditioning, prompting a scramble by the Indian government to reopen mines and secure tons of coal imports to produce electricity as temperatures reach as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But the carbon-intense fuel also contributes to the initial problem. Scientists say that as the planet warms, heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe.

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Young Afghan Boys Work in Dangerous Mines As Afghanistan Prioritizes Coal – by Kern Hendricks (Vice World News – June 2, 2022)

https://www.vice.com/en/

SAMANGAN, Afghanistan – Noorullah says he’s 18, but he looks years younger, despite the layer of coal dust on his slender face. Huddled in the darkness of a narrow coal-mining tunnel near the Dan-e-Tor—“Black Mouth”—village in the northern Afghan province of Samangan, he looks far too young to be working deep in a coal mine. Illuminated in the thin beam of his headlight, Noorullah’s profound exhaustion is clear to see.

It’s backbreaking work for someone of any age—Noorullah and his fellow miners spend between 12 and 15 hours a day crouched in these claustrophobic tunnels, chipping away at the coal by hand. In the roughly six-foot-wide tunnel, there isn’t enough room to swing a pickaxe, so the miners use a small iron bar to painstakingly chip away at the thin coal seam.

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Kazatomprom Marks 25 Years in Business: CEO Talks Achievements and Efforts to Establish Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities – by AIBARSHYN AKHMETKALI (The Astana Times – May 31, 2022)

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NUR-SULTAN – Kazatomprom national atomic company, the world’s largest uranium producer, celebrates 25 years that turned it into the world’s leader in both uranium mining and sales. To mark the date, Kazatomprom CEO Mazhit Sharipov spoke about the company’s key achievements, its efforts to establish nuclear fuel cycle production in Kazakhstan, and develop an environmentally friendly energy complex in an interview with The Astana Times.

Being the global leader in primary uranium production, Kazakhstan meets more than 45 percent of the world’s annual nuclear fuel needs with a quarter of the world’s supplies coming directly from Kazatomprom. Last year the company sold uranium products to 21 customers in eight countries.

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China’s EV Growth Forecasts Are Starting to Look Shaky – by Danny Lee (Bloomberg News – May 30, 2022)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Optimism this would be a banner year for the world’s biggest electric-car market is starting to wane. After all, who wants to spend big bucks on a vehicle right now in China?

Shanghai’s grueling two-month lockdown and whack-a-mole restrictions in cities from Beijing to Tianjin have had a deleterious effect on consumer confidence and left the economy reeling. In fact, not a single car was purchased in Shanghai in April — not surprising given no one could leave their homes and dealerships were closed.

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Exclusive: India faces wider coal shortages, worsening power-outage risks – by Sudarshan Varadhan (Reuters – May 28, 2022)

https://www.reuters.com/

NEW DELHI, May 27 (Reuters) – India is expected to face a wider coal shortage during the quarter ending September over expectations of higher power demand, an internal power ministry presentation seen by Reuters showed, worsening risks of widespread power outages.

The energy-hungry nation expects local coal supply to fall 42.5 million tonnes short of demand in the September quarter, 15% higher than previously projected, due to higher growth in power demand and lower output from some mines.

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Chinese Companies Seize Indonesian Nickel Resources Amid New Energy Battery Opportunities – by Anne Zhang (The Epoch Times – May 26, 2022)

https://www.theepochtimes.com/

The recent big investments Chinese companies are making in Indonesian nickel mines are attracting renewed attention. China’s CNGR Advanced Materials Co Ltd. announced on May 19 that it will expand its nickel matte business in Indonesia, partnering with Singapore’s RIGQUEZA International Co., LTD.

A total investment of $1.26 billion will be put in a production line in Indonesia with an annual capacity of 40,000 tons of nickel matte. This is the second cooperation between the two companies in Indonesia. In 2021, the two sides signed a cooperation project agreement to produce 60,000 tons of nickel matte per year.

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Indonesia’s Jokowi meets Tesla’s Musk after nickel talks – by Stanley Widianto, Ed Davies, Norihiko Shirouzu, Gavin Maguire, Fransiska Nangoy and Kevin Krolicki (Mining.com/Reuters – May 15, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk on Saturday in Texas to discuss potential investments and technology, Indonesia’s government said in a statement.

The meeting between Musk and Widodo, better known as Jokowi, came after a round of working-level discussions on a potential investment in Indonesia’s nickel industry and supply of batteries for electric vehicles, Indonesian officials told Reuters.

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South Korea’s plans to reopen tungsten mine could break China’s hold – by Ju-Min Park and Joe Brock (Business Live – May 9, 2022)

https://www.businesslive.co.za/

Facility is being revived to extract the metal that is used in technologies ranging from chips to electric vehicles

Sangdong — Blue tungsten winking from the walls of abandoned mine shafts, in a town that’s seen better days, could be a catalyst for South Korea’s bid to break China’s dominance of critical minerals and stake its claim to the raw materials of the future.

The mine in Sangdong, 180km southeast of Seoul, is being brought back from the dead to extract the rare metal that’s found fresh value in the digital age in technologies ranging from phones and chips to electric vehicles and missiles.

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Heat wave in India sparks blackouts and highlights dependence on coal (CBC News/Associated Press – May 3, 2022)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/

An unusually early and brutal heat wave is scorching parts of India, with acute power shortages affecting millions as demand for electricity surges to record levels. Supplies of coal at many thermal power plants are running perilously low, spawning daily power outages in several states. The shortages are sparking scrutiny of India’s longtime reliance on coal, which produces 70 per cent of the country’s electricity.

The situation highlights India’s pressing need to diversify its energy sources, as demand for electricity is expected to increase more than anywhere else in the world over the next 20 years as the densely populated country develops, according to the International Energy Agency.

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China is building more than half of the world’s new coal power plants – by Adam Vaughan (News Scientist – April 26, 2022)

https://www.newscientist.com/

China was responsible for more than half of the new coal power station capacity being built around the world last year, showing how much the country is propping up one of the worst drivers of climate change.

Nearly 200 countries pledged a “phasing down” of coal at the COP26 climate summit last year. But figures from a report by the non-profit Global Energy Monitor show that is nowhere near being realised yet. Globally, the number of coal power stations is actually growing as new constructions more than offset the closure of old plants.

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