Australia ‘too far behind’ to make EV batteries: lithium giant – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – September 19, 2022)

https://www.afr.com/

Albemarle boss Kent Masters says it will be hard for Australia to make the leap from mining key ingredients to making batteries for electric vehicles.

That’s despite the company having just built one of the world’s biggest and most advanced lithium hydroxide plants – estimated to have cost more than $2 billion – at an industrial park south of Perth.

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[Luca Giacovazzi] Meet the Forrest young gun who shot down BHP – by Brad Thompson (Australian Financial Review – September 16, 2022)

https://www.afr.com/

Luca Giacovazzi is a rising star in the Andrew Forrest business empire and boss of Wyloo Metals which stared down BHP in the bidding war for green minerals deposits in Canada.

Wyloo Metals wunderkind Luca Giacovazzi has made a lot of money for Andrew Forrest since making his first big pitch to the iron ore billionaire, and he might end up costing BHP plenty.

Giacovazzi, then just 27, called his first presentation slide pack Nickel: Get its mojo back in what was a risky move given Forrest’s painful memories from his Anaconda Nickel venture.

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BHP Weighs Boosting A$8.4 Billion Bid for OZ Minerals – by Thomas Biesheuvel, Dinesh Nair and Vinicy Chan (Bloomberg News – September 16, 2022)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — BHP Group Ltd. is considering raising its A$8.4 billion ($5.6 billion) offer for OZ Minerals Ltd., people familiar with the matter said, as the world’s top miner seeks to boost its exposure to metals needed for the green-energy transition.

Melbourne-based BHP may increase its A$25 per share bid for OZ Minerals as soon as this month, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. It wasn’t immediately clear by how much BHP would increase its offer, or whether OZ Minerals would agree to any renewed proposal from BHP.

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Pacific Islands remain divided on deep-sea mining as trial begins to extract precious metals from ocean floor – by Marian Faa and Jordan Fennell (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 14, 2022)

https://www.abc.net.au/

Electric robots will soon be crawling along the sea floor and sucking up precious metals through a giant straw in a controversial trial to mine some of the ocean’s deepest, most pristine environments.

Deep-sea mining operator The Metals Company has been granted approval by the International Seabed Authority to begin testing its collection system in Pacific waters. It will be the first time since the 1970s that this has been allowed to occur.

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Shares of Australian coal miner Whitehaven have jumped 150% since the Ukraine war – by Su-Lin Tan (CNBC.com – August 24, 2022)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Shares of Australian coal producer Whitehaven has risen 200% this year. The share price of the Australian-listed miner has risen about 150% since the Russia-Ukraine crisis started in late February, and hit a record high of 7.90 Australian dollars ($5.47) on Wednesday.

In other words, an investor who purchased Whitehaven shares late last year would have seen his or her investment increase more than three times. Chatter among stockwatchers on the popular online Australian stock market forum HotCopper has also increased.

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BHP signals it is willing to walk away from bid for OZ Minerals – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 16, 2022)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

BHP Group Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company by market value, appears willing to walk away from its latest major takeover proposal. After the release of the miner’s quarterly earnings Tuesday, BHP chief executive Mike Henry said in a call with media that OZ Minerals Ltd. would be “nice to have” but is not a “must have.”

Earlier this month, Melbourne-based BHP proposed a US$5.8-billion takeover of its fellow Australian copper and nickel producer. While the offer was 30 per cent above OZ’s market price, it was well below its peak share price, reflecting the sharp sell-off across the mining sector over the past few months. OZ Minerals rejected the offer, calling it “highly opportunistic.”

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About 50kg of nickel goes into each Tesla battery but the world isn’t producing enough to keep up with demand – by Rachel Pupazzoni (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – August 15, 2022)

https://www.abc.net.au/

Mining companies in Australia are racing to find the next big reserve of one of the world’s most in-demand metals. Nickel is a critical metal in batteries, and as the world keeps moving toward renewables, more batteries are needed to store energy.

In fact, there’s a strong case that much more of it is needed than lithium — a commodity many people know of, because it is in the name of lithium batteries. But there are a variety of batteries made with different metal compositions and, as Elon Musk puts it, batteries need a sprinkle of lithium compared to nickel.

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Why Australian iron ore could save Taiwan as China ponders the economic ramifications of invasion – by Ian Verrender (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – August 14, 2022)

https://www.abc.net.au/

As the dark clouds of war gathered over north-east Asia in 1938, a curious battle took place at home which forever tainted the memory of Liberal Party founder Sir Robert Menzies and that could be a portend of what lies ahead.

Then-Attorney General in the Lyons government, Menzies became embroiled in a fight with waterfront unions in Port Kembla over the loading of a British steamer, the SS Dalfram, with BHP produced pig-iron bound for Japan.

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Column: Australia’s renewable energy ambitions dwarfed by coal, LNG juggernaut – by Clyde Russell (Reuters – August 11, 2022)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 11 (Reuters) – One of the refrains of the environmental lobby is that Australia is extremely well-placed to become a renewable energy superpower, and that this will replace the loss of revenue from coal and natural gas exports.

The problem is that only one of the two above assertions is accurate, namely that Australia is in pole position when it comes to many of the minerals that will be critical to the energy transition. These include lithium, where Australia is already the world’s top producer, as well as copper, nickel, zinc and other metals.

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BHP’s OZ Bid Could Signal a New Dawn for Mining M&A – by Megha Mandavia (Wall Street Journal – August 9, 2022)

https://www.wsj.com/

Australian mining giant BHP Group has been given the cold shoulder by copper miner OZ Minerals Ltd. Markets don’t think that is the end of the story: The world’s most valuable miner may well return with a higher offer. If it does, it will mark the giant’s return to megadeal making—and perhaps signal a turning point for deal activity in mining more broadly.

OZ is playing hard to get, and possibly for good reason. On Monday the company rejected a $5.8 billion takeover offer by BHP, saying it was too low and opportunistic. Prices of copper on the London Metal Exchange are trading around $7,834 per metric ton, down about 20% since the end of last year. Before BHP’s offer, that had punished OZ’s stock too.

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Diggers and Dealers: BHP tips EVs will send nickel demand up to 300% higher in the next 30 years – by Josh Chiat (Stockhead.com.au – August 2022)

https://stockhead.com.au/

EVs are here to stay, and the world’s biggest miner says it’s going to spur a run for nickel demand well beyond anything seen before.

Following on from IEA figures last week, which show we could need a ludicrous 60 new nickel mines by 2030 to achieve announced carbon reduction pledges, BHP’s Nickel West boss Jessica Farrell told delegates at the Diggers and Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie demand for nickel to 2050 would increase 200-300% on the previous three decades.

Mind-boggling. No wonder BHP has decided to reinvigorate the division which almost closed down a few years ago when stainless steel demand fell off a cliff and tanked prices.

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The EV Race Is Turning a Gold Rush Haven Into a Battery Hub – by Harry Brumpton (Bloomberg News – August 8, 2022)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Gold has long dominated the Western Australian city of Kalgoorlie, born in a late 19th Century prospecting rush and home to one of the world’s largest open pit mines, nestled right next to residential streets. Blasts to dislodge precious-metal laced rock from the more than two-mile-long Super Pit still frequently rattle the main street.

As about 2,700 executives, investment bankers, and industry stalwarts gathered in the precious metals hub last week for Australia’s key annual mining forum it was clear where the industry’s focus lies. All attention is on the frantic hunt for battery metals to deliver the world’s shift to electric vehicles.

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BHP rebuffed in $5.8 billion takeover bid for OZ Minerals – by Praveen Menon and Shashwat Awasthi (Reuters – August 8, 2022)

https://www.reuters.com/

Aug 8 (Reuters) – BHP Group (BHP.AX) was rebuffed in its A$8.34 billion ($5.8 billion) takeover bid for OZ Minerals (OZL.AX) on Monday, in a setback as it pushes to secure copper and nickel assets for a shift into clean energy and the electric vehicles (EVs) market.

Australia’s OZ Minerals said the A$25 per share unsolicited, conditional and non-binding indicative offer undervalued the nickel and copper miner and was “opportunistic” as it comes when copper prices and its stock price have fallen from recent peaks.

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Insatiable Lithium Demand Fuels Investment Boom in Australia – by Harry Brumpton and Annie Lee (Bloomberg News – August 4, 2022)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — In the rocky deserts of Western Australia, a handful of little-known and once-shunned miners are suddenly in vogue as the electric vehicle industry clamors for a metal it can’t do without.

Executives from Australia’s lithium industry were inundated by bankers and brokers at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in the outback town of Kalgoorlie this week, talking up deals to secure some of the estimated $42 billion worth of investment needed for metal producers to meet their goals.

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Pacific nations are extraordinarily rich in critical minerals. But mining them may take a terrible toll – by Nick Bainton and Emilka Skrzypek (The Conversation – August 3, 2022)

https://theconversation.com/

Plundering the Pacific for its rich natural resources has a long pedigree. Think of the European companies strip-mining Nauru for its phosphate and leaving behind a moonscape.

There are worrying signs history may be about to repeat, as global demand soars for minerals critical to the clean energy transition. This demand is creating pressure to extract more minerals from the sensitive lands and seabeds across the Pacific. Pacific leaders may be attracted by the prospect of royalties and economic development – but there will be a price to pay in environmental damage.

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