S. Korea to beef up critical metals stockpile – by Kim Byung-wook (Korea Herald – August 5, 2021)

http://www.koreaherald.com/

South Korea will drastically increase its strategic stockpiles of nickel, cobalt and other critical metals, in a bid to ensure a stable supply of raw materials vital to key industries including electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy, the government said Thursday.

National stockpiles of 35 rare metals — designated by the government — will increase to cover 100 days from the current 57 days, it said. New facilities will be built while some existing ones will be expanded and the state-run Korea Resources Corp. will oversee the overall management.

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Chinese Miners in Talks to Access Vast Afghan Lithium Reserves – by Eltaf Najafizada (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – November 24, 2021)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Chinese firms are showing interest in exploiting Afghanistan’s vast untapped mineral resources as Beijing seeks a role in reconstructing the nation’s war-ravaged economy.

Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1 trillion or more, including what may be the world’s largest lithium reserves, a vital component for the energy-storage batteries that are driving the world’s transition away from fossil fuels.

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Afghan Gems Have a Future, a Longtime Dealer Says – by Victoria Gomelsky (New York Times – November 22, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

In 1972, Gary Bowersox, a Vietnam War veteran who had owned several retail jewelry stores in Hawaii, paid his first visit to Afghanistan. Determined to grow his burgeoning gem dealing business, he was attracted by the country’s 7,000-year-old deposits of lapis lazuli at Sar-i-Sang in Badakhshan Province, which for millenniums have drawn traders to this ancient crossroads on the border of what is now Tajikistan.

It would become the first of many trips, the most recent of which was less than three months before the Taliban regained control of the country and Western forces withdrew their troops.

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Greenland strips Chinese mining firm of licence to iron ore deposit (South China Morning Post – November 23, 2021)

https://www.scmp.com/

Greenland said on Monday it has stripped a Chinese mining company of its licence to an iron ore deposit near the capital Nuuk, dealing a blow to attempts by Chinese companies to gain a foothold on the resource-rich Arctic island.

General Nice, a Chinese coal and iron ore importer, took control of the Isua mine project in 2015, replacing previous owner London Mining, which went bankrupt.

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Burmese Rubies: Costly and Controversial – by Nazanin Lankarani (New York Times – November 22, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has long been a producer of some of the world’s priciest gemstones: pigeon’s blood rubies. Known by their deep, natural red fluorescence with blue hues, they command higher prices per carat than any precious stone on the global market, with the exception of colored diamonds.

But political conflict and trade embargoes have made rubies from Myanmar highly controversial for more than a decade, creating complicated sourcing problems for jewelers.

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Indonesia’s EV dreams at odds with deforestation pledge (Free Malaysia Today – November 16, 2021)

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/

JAKARTA: Global electric vehicle makers have set their sights on Indonesia, attracted by its abundant reserves of key EV battery ingredient nickel, government backing for the industry and the market potential of the world’s fourth most populous nation.

Such ambitions are on parade at the ongoing Indonesia International Auto Show, on the outskirts of Jakarta. Automakers from China, South Korea and elsewhere are counting on the Indonesian government’s push to increase EV sales, one of the ways in which Jakarta hopes to reduce the country’s CO2 output as it aims for net zero emissions by 2060.

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Chinese investors jostle over Argentine lithium mines (Nikkei Asia – October 13, 2021)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

TOKYO — Chinese companies have splurged over $1 billion on rights over three lithium mines in Argentina in as many weeks as a race to secure supplies of the “white gold” critical to most production of electric car batteries revs up.

Argentina, which has lagged Chile and Australia in lithium output, has been reforming laws, reducing taxes and improving infrastructure with an eye toward boosting export revenues.

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China’s Climate Goals Hinge on a $440 Billion Nuclear Buildout – by Dan Murtaugh and Krystal chia (Bloomberg News – November 2, 2021)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Nuclear power once seemed like the world’s best hope for a carbon-neutral future. After decades of cost-overruns, public protests and disasters elsewhere, China has emerged as the world’s last great believer, with plans to generate an eye-popping amount of nuclear energy, quickly and at relatively low cost.

China has over the course of the year revealed the extensive scope of its plans for nuclear, an ambition with new resonance given the global energy crisis and the calls for action coming out of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow.

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China’s coal imports in October nearly doubled from a year ago – by Evelyn Cheng (CNBC.com – November 7, 2021)

https://www.cnbc.com/

BEIJING — China imported nearly twice as much coal in October as it did a year ago, despite signs the country’s power shortage is easing, according to customs data released Sunday. Monthly purchases of coal reached 26.9 million tons in October, up 96.2% from a year ago, according to data accessed through Wind Information.

However, that was down 18.2% from 32.9 million tons in September. Chinese authorities have rushed to address a coal shortage in the country since late September, after many factories were forced to cut production. By mid-October, the number of Chinese provinces with significant power shortages fell to two, down from 18 at the start of the month, according to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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China’s Climate Goals Hinge on a $440 Billion Nuclear Buildout – by Dan Murtaugh and Krystal Chia (Bloomberg News – November 2, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Nuclear power once seemed like the world’s best hope for a carbon-neutral future. After decades of cost-overruns, public protests and disasters elsewhere, China has emerged as the world’s last great believer, with plans to generate an eye-popping amount of nuclear energy, quickly and at relatively low cost.

China has over the course of the year revealed the extensive scope of its plans for nuclear, an ambition with new resonance given the global energy crisis and the calls for action coming out of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow.

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China wants to dominate the global electric vehicle market – and it’s using Congolese minerals to do it – by James Griffiths and Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – November 1, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The video flashed around WhatsApp groups, Twitter and Facebook. Shot at a Chinese-owned copper mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it showed two men screaming and writhing on the dusty ground as soldiers kicked and whipped them, while helmeted managers watched.

It was one of many videos and photos that went viral on Congolese social media in recent months – some real, some fake – all provoking outrage at the alleged mistreatment of local workers by Chinese mining companies.

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China Hurries to Burn More Coal, Putting Climate Goals at Risk – by Keith Bradsher (New York Times – October 28, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

LINFEN, China — Desperate to meet its electricity needs, China is opening up new coal production exceeding what all of Western Europe mines in a year, at a tremendous cost to the global effort to fight climate change.

The campaign has unleashed a flurry of activity in China’s coal country. Idled mines are restarting. Cottage-sized yellow backhoes are clearing and widening roads past terraced cornfields. Long columns of bright red freight trucks are converging on the region to haul the extra cargo.

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Why India can’t live without coal despite its negative environmental effects – by Salimah Shivji (CBC News – October 26, 2021)

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

A lone well sits in the middle of the Bhatali village square in central India’s coal-rich Chandrapur district, steps from a massive open-pit mine. The well is dug 10 times deeper than previous ones, which all ran dry years ago, and the water spurting from it is not safe to drink.

“Our lands have gone to waste,” said village leader Subhash Gaurkar, pointing to the coal mining activity that surrounds the town. Mining of the highly polluting fossil fuel in Chandrapur, like in many other coal-rich regions of India, has siphoned most of what was, at one time, a plentiful water supply.

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Zijin opens Serbia’s largest copper mine – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – October 22, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

Zijin Mining, China’s largest gold miner and one of the country’s top copper producers, has begun operations at its Cukaru Peki copper and gold mine in Serbia.

The asset, part of the Timok project, is expected to make the Balkan country Europe’s second-largest copper producer. Zijin has poured $474 million to date into the new underground mine, which is slated to have annual capacity of 3.3 million tonnes of ore.

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No. 1 uranium miner backs physical fund in nod to robust demand – by Yvonne Yue Li (Bloomberg News – October 18, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Kazatomprom, the world’s largest uranium miner, is backing a new uranium fund that aims to invest in the radioactive metal used to power nuclear reactors.

ANU Energy OEIC Ltd. was established as a fund to hold physical uranium as a long-term investment, with initial purchases financed from a $50 million investment by Kazatomprom, the National Investment Corporation of the National Bank of Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates-based fund manager Genchi Global Ltd., Kazakhstan’s national atomic company said in a Monday statement.

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