Archive | Asia Mining

Column: Rare earths trade gun is loaded; will China pull the trigger? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – May 23, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Is China about to weaponise its global dominance of rare earths production in an escalation of the trade dispute with the United States? President Xi Jinping’s visit to the Chinese city of Ganzhou earlier this week seemed designed to send a double message.

A stop-off at Yudu was for the domestic audience. The town was the starting point of the Long March, the 1934 retreat by Communist Party forces in their ultimately successful campaign against Chinese nationalists.

The message: things are going to get tough but we’ll win in the end. A side-trip to a rare earths plant operated by JL MAG Rare-Earth Co, was for the United States. Continue Reading →

China Raises Threat of Rare-Earths Cutoff to U.S. – by Keith Johnson and Elias Groll (Foreign Policy – May 21, 2019)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

Beijing could slam every corner of the American economy, from oil refineries to wind turbines to jet engines, by banning exports of crucial minerals.

With a simple visit to an obscure factory on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping has raised the specter that China could potentially cut off supplies of critical materials needed by huge swaths of the U.S. economy, underscoring growing concerns that large-scale economic integration is boomeranging and becoming a geopolitical weapon.

With the U.S.-China trade war intensifying, Chinese state media last week began floating the idea of banning exports of rare-earth elements to the United States, one of several possible Chinese responses to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to jack up tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods and blacklist telecoms maker Huawei.

U.S. oil refiners rely on rare-earth imports as catalysts to turn crude oil into gasoline and jet fuel. Permanent magnets, which use four different rare-earth elements to differing degrees, pop up in everything including ear buds, wind turbines, and electric cars. And China dominates their production. Continue Reading →

U.S. Rare Earths Revival Planned Amid Trade Conflict – by Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – May 21, 2019)

https://www.wsj.com/

The important commodities are caught up in the U.S.-China trade conflict

SYDNEY—An American chemicals company and an Australian miner want to build the first rare-earth minerals separation plant in the U.S. in years. Their aim is to shore up supplies of important commodities caught up in the U.S.-China trade conflict.

The proposal by Blue Line Corp. and Lynas Corp. LYC 14.43% illustrates how companies are growing increasingly worried by the trade rhetoric out of Washington and Beijing, while looking for opportunities to profit from tit-for-tat tariffs if they aren’t short-lived. The companies aim to build the plant in Hondo, Texas, near where Blue Line is based.

Production of rare earths is dominated by China, but some of the world’s biggest consumers are U.S. manufacturers of advanced technology such as electric vehicles, wind turbines and military equipment. Continue Reading →

Voters Won’t Decide the Future of Energy – by David Fickling (Bloomberg/Yahoo News – May 20, 2019)

https://news.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg Opinion) — Who decides the future of energy – the producers, or the consumers?

It’s a question that’s been asked at least since the 1970s, when the growing muscle of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the 1973 oil embargo sparked the founding of the International Energy Agency as a rival group to represent the interests of oil importers.

That same pattern has been playing out in recent days with elections in one of the world’s biggest energy exporters and one of its biggest importers. Both will have a crucial impact on the direction of global energy policies – particularly in its dirtiest form, fossil fuels. Continue Reading →

Rare Earths, the U.S.-China Trade War and Your Phone – by Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg News – May 20, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to cut off the supply of chips and processors to Huawei Technologies Co. is hitting China’s biggest tech company where it hurts – its dependence on other nations for the semiconductors and software in smartphones and networking gear.

So when Chinese President Xi Jinping showed up days later at a rare earths processing plant, many observers saw a message in the visit: the U.S. has its own tech vulnerabilities, too.

1. What are rare earths?

A group of 17 chemically related elements found in mineral form that have magnetic and optical properties useful for making electronics more efficient. Electric vehicle makers rely on them for lighter-weight battery and motor components, while large wind turbines tend to use rare-earth-based magnets. Continue Reading →

China Threatens To Cut Rare Earths Supplies To The U.S. — Bad Idea – by Panos Mourdoukoutas (Forbes Magazine – May 16, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

China is threatening to take the trade war to the next stage: cut off rare earth metal supplies to US technology and defense industries. That’s according to a couple of Globaltimes editorials.” US faces squeeze on rare earths,” says one editorial. “US need for rare earths an ace on Beijing’s hand,” goes another.

“Without a reliable domestic supply, the US must rely on rare earths from China to supply industries of strategic importance,” acknowledges Hu Weijia, author of the second editorial.

“Rare earths are vital to many modern technologies and a wide array of weapon systems used by the US military, but China controls the vast majority of the world’s supply,” adds Weijia.“It will take many years if the US wants to rebuild its rare-earth industry and increase its domestic supply to reduce its dependence on China’s minerals.” Continue Reading →

Japan’s SMM aims to double battery material capacity in nine years – by Yuka Obayashi (Reuters U.S. – May 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese miner and smelter Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd (SMM) aims to more than double its production capacity of cathode materials used in batteries for automobiles by March 2028, its president Akira Nozaki said on Friday.

SMM, which also makes electrical materials, supplies the nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) cathode materials used in Panasonic Corp’s lithium-ion battery that powers Tesla Inc’s Model 3 and Model X cars.

The Japanese company plans to boost its output capacity of cathode materials to 10,000 tonnes a month by end-March 2028, from 4,550 tonnes a month now, Nozaki told an analyst meeting. Continue Reading →

China surges ahead in lithium production – by Staff (Asia Times – May 15, 2019)

https://www.asiatimes.com/

China has reportedly cracked the technical hurdle in mining and extracting lithium from its vast deposits of the soft, silvery-white metal, slashing the unit cost of mining and production to as low as 15,000 yuan (US$2,180) per tonne.

Lithium, the source of power for almost all portable equipment, has thus become significantly cheaper, according to the Beijing-based Economic Daily and other Chinese papers.

The metal that also fuels the world’s drive to green transportation is extracted from brine but experts say separating it from other elements present in the salts is costly. Continue Reading →

Singapore banks move to end Southeast Asia’s coal addiction – by Kentaro Iwamoto (Nikkei Asian Review – May 8, 2019)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

SINGAPORE — A push to end Southeast Asia’s addiction to fossil fuels is gathering pace after the region’s two biggest banks said they would stop funding coal-fired power plants.

Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings said last month that it would cease financing new coal power projects from 2021 following the completion of existing projects in Indonesia and Vietnam, and will instead tilt toward renewable energy projects such as solar power. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. announced that it would also quit coal.

The move is “a major game-changer for energy finance in the ASEAN region,” said Julien Vincent, executive director at Australia-based environment advocacy group Market Forces. Continue Reading →

Keeping Kyrgyzstan’s Uranium In The Ground – by Bruce Pannier (Radio Free Europe – May 6, 2019)

https://www.rferl.org/

“There will be no mining of uranium in Kyrgyzstan.” — Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov on May 4, 2019

When the people of Kyrgyzstan’s Tong district confirmed there was a uranium-mining operation in their area, they protested. Then their protest spread to Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, and parliament quickly passed a motion to ban uranium mining in the country.

Mining uranium in Kyrgyzstan is a sensitive issue. The country is still trying to clean up several dozen contaminated areas where uranium was mined when Kyrgyzstan was a Soviet republic.

The publicity about the work at the Kyzyl-Ompol site in Tong district brought the issue of uranium mining back to the attention of the Kyrgyz public. But it has also become clear that, legally speaking, it is not so easy to close down a mining operation in Kyrgyzstan, and there is more than just one mining site. Continue Reading →

Villagers in south Goa’s Costi reminisce about better days as hopes for revival of banned mining industry fade – by Sruthi Mallya (First Post.com – May 02, 2019)

https://www.firstpost.com/

Costi is around 65 kilometres from the Goa capital Panaji. The village and its roads, previously full of lorries and trucks transporting the ore when mining was in full swing, now wear a forlorn look.

Curchorem: There’s bleakness in the warm afternoon air in south Goa’s Costi village; because there’s a big question mark on the future of mining operations in the area, which was heavily dependent on the nearby Chowgule iron ore mine.

For 26 years, Rama Naik, a resident of the village, worked at that iron ore processing plant and earned enough to run his household. Now, he is barely scraping by. “I used to earn Rs 30,000 a month by working on beneficiation at the plant when mining was on.

Now, I do odd jobs and don’t even get Rs 3,000 every month. The past three-four years have been tough; when mining came to a complete standstill, I quit. I have no hope it will ever resume,” Naik said. Continue Reading →

[Philippines Mining] Gov’t to go after big mining firms anew – by Madelaine B.Miraflor Manila Bulletin – May 2, 2019)

https://business.mb.com.ph/

Some of the big mining companies who already passed the first round of government-led mining audit will not be off the hook in the second round of mining audit happening this year. In fact, the forthcoming audit, which is expected to start in a few weeks, is mostly going to be about them.

Environment Undersecretary for Mining Concerns Analiza Rebuelta-Teh said that as much as 17 mining companies will be reviewed in the second batch of Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) audit. Of this, 12 mining companies already passed the audit carried by former Environment Secretary Regina Paz Lopez in 2016.

Based on the list obtained by Business Bulletin, the mining companies to be reviewed in the second round of audit include Philex Mining Corporation, Agata Mining Ventures, Inc., Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation, SR Metals, Inc., Apex Mining Company, Cagdianao Mining Corporation, and Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation. Continue Reading →

Asia continues to pivot away from coal – by Tim Buckly (Asia Times – April 2019)

https://www.asiatimes.com/

The number of thermal coal plants in development pipelines of major Asian countries continues to free-fall, according to new data. The decline poses a warning to the world’s biggest exporters of thermal coal – Australia and Indonesia – to check supply.

The latest coal-fired power plant data released by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) in March shows further shrinkage of coal development pipelines of Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China.

Countries across Asia are shifting away from thermal coal into cleaner renewable-energy options, further validating the prediction of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) that the Asian seaborne thermal coal market is approaching long-term, permanent decline. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Australia’s pro-coal lobby should heed South Korea warning – by Clyde Russell (Reuters India – April 24, 2019)

https://in.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, April 24 (Reuters) – A change in South Korea’s energy policy should have absolutely no bearing on the current Australian election campaign, but it should, as it’s a stark warning to politicians who still see a rosy future for coal mines and exports.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and South Korea has been a reliable customer for decades, taking 43.4 million tonnes of the polluting fuel from Australia in 2018, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Refinitiv.

However, South Korea is now shifting its energy policy to effectively punish coal and promote both renewable energies and the use of cleaner-burning liquefied natural gas (LNG). Continue Reading →

China slams province for failing to curb polluting industries (Reuters Africa – April 22, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

SHANGHAI, April 23 (Reuters) – China’s environment ministry reprimanded provincial officials in Shandong, the country’s biggest aluminium producing province, for failing to comply with policies to cut coal consumption and curb the growth of highly polluting aluminium output.

Shandong has been a key part of China’s efforts to curb pollution in the industrial north, but it has struggled to find cleaner forms of growth.

Seven of the province’s cities were set targets to cut smog over the winter, but only one – Jining – managed to do so. Continue Reading →