Archive | Asia Mining

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 →

New Coal Plants Are Just Too Expensive in China, Analysis Says (Bloomberg News – April 22, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

China’s green light to build more coal-fired power plants probably won’t usher in a flurry of new construction as most policies and investments in the top energy user will tilt toward renewable sources.

More than 10 regions will be freed of their overcapacity tag in 2022, clearing a hurdle for them to resume building coal-fired plants. But many of the nation’s largest power companies are under a state drive to develop more clean energy projects, according to Morningstar Inc., which expects growth in coal-fired capacity to lag other sources.

“The profitability of coal-fired power plants is so low, there’s no incentive for them to build more,” said Morningstar analyst Jennifer Song. “China as a whole has set consumption targets for renewable energy sources. We can see those large power groups also have quotas to build more renewable projects.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s commodity imports look tepid, may be slightly warmer – Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – April 15, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, April 15 (Reuters) – If you were looking for evidence that China’s economy has lost momentum, you may be tempted to think that you’ve found it in the unimpressive growth, or lack thereof, in imports of major commodities in the first quarter.

Customs data for the first quarter show only crude oil has recorded significant growth in import volumes in the first quarter, with copper data mixed and iron ore and coal dropping.

This would seem to confirm the narrative of slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy amid the ongoing trade and tariff dispute with the United States. Continue Reading →

Worried about nickel supply, China battery maker BYD welcomes JV discussions – by Tom Daly (Reuters Canada – April 11, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Securing enough nickel is a major worry for electric vehicle firms, an executive from Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd said on Thursday, adding that the company would welcome joint ventures that help guarantee supply.

Nickel is one of several metals that are key components of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. A shift in battery chemistry toward higher nickel content, which would allow cars to go further on a single charge, is expected to boost demand further.

“The supply of nickel going forward is a big concern in everybody’s mind,” said Coco Liu, procurement director at BYD, at the Fastmarkets Battery Materials conference. Continue Reading →

‘The Asian century’: East has surpassed West, whether the West knows it or not, says Peter Frankopan – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – April 4, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

Less than two years ago tensions along an especially sensitive border area sparked fighting between Chinese and Indian troops. Outside Asia, who knew? “As most of the world focused on the Twitter account of the US president and the circus surrounding Brexit, the threat of the two most populous countries on earth going to war was not just a possibility, it looked like becoming a fact,” writes Peter Frankopan.

An uneasy truce eventually stalled hostilities but the West’s ignorance of the wider world remains. That’s both symptom and cause of the West’s decline, the author says.

Relatively few Westerners realize the extent of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Actually a complex suite of alliances concerning resources, infrastructure, trade, security and even culture, the BRI forms just part of an Asian awakening that’s shifting the planet’s centre of importance while strengthening Eastern influence beyond Asia and Africa to make inroads into Europe, the Americas, the Arctic, cyberspace and outer space. Continue Reading →