The world’s largest lithium producing countries – by Parth Charan (Money Control – September 23, 2021)

https://www.moneycontrol.com/

With the rising tide of battery electric vehicles making a splash all across the world, the most coveted natural resource needed to power our vehicles is no longer petrol but a mineral called ‘lithium’. While it’s debatable whether lithium is the most important element found in a lithium-ion battery, its extensive mining across certain global hotspots has come under heavy criticism.

The very process of mining lithium is not only energy-intensive and polluting, it may also be linked with destabilising the ecosystem nearby due to extensive saltwater depletion from the edge of the ‘salars’ through which lithium is extracted.

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Indigenous engagement progressing in Australian mining: Drummond – by Tom Parker (Australian Mining – September 23, 2021)

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The effort to better acknowledge and include First Nations peoples in the Australian mining industry is advancing as more Indigenous initiatives are introduced and more Indigenous contracts awarded.

While some mining companies can still improve their Indigenous engagement, there are instances that indicate a concerted effort to prioritise First Nations recognition and involvement.

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Copper deal makes Sandfire the miner of Seville – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – September 23, 2021)

https://www.afr.com/

Australian miner Sandfire Resources will spend more than twice its market capitalisation to solve its growth problems, unveiling a $2.57 billion Spanish mine acquisition that investors described as “transformational” and “a game changer”.

Sandfire will take on new debt and ask investors to buy $1.2 billion of new shares to fund the $US1.86 billion ($2.57 billion) acquisition of Spain’s Minas D’Aguas Tenidas (MATSA) mine, which is located north-west of Seville.

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Australia vows to keep mining coal despite climate warning (Straits Times – September 9, 2021)

https://www.straitstimes.com/

SYDNEY (AFP, REUTERS) – Australia vowed on Thursday (Sept 9) to keep mining coal for export and said global demand was rising, rejecting a study that warned nearly all its reserves must stay in the ground to address the climate crisis.

Researchers warned in a study published in the journal Nature this week that 89 per cent of global coal reserves – and 95 per cent of Australia’s share – must be left untouched. Such restraint, they said, would still only offer a 50 per cent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels – the current global goal.

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Wyloo Metals makes formal bid for Noront – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 7, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Australian miner formalizes proposal at 70 cents per share

Wyloo Metals has made a formal bid to acquire Noront Resources and the company’s interests in the Ring of Fire. The Australian miner said it submitted its official proposal to Noront on Sept. 3.

According to the bid, Wyloo is offering 70 cents per share of Noront, a deal it calls “superior” to that of its rival bidder, BHP, which is offering 55 cents per share.

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NEWS RELEASE: Noront Receives Arrangement Agreement From Wyloo and Executes Confidentiality Agreement

TORONTO, Sept. 07, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Board of Directors of Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or the “Company”) (TSXV: NOT) acknowledges receipt of a form of Arrangement Agreement from Wyloo Metals (“Wyloo”) on the evening of Friday September 3, 2021 (the “Arrangement Agreement”), which provides the terms and conditions of the potential transaction proposed by Wyloo to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Noront for C$0.70 per share.

Noront and its advisors are reviewing the Arrangement Agreement and the Noront Board and Special Committee remain focused on fulfilling their fiduciary duties and on surfacing maximum value for the Noront shareholders.

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Money for Mincor as nickel arms race escalates – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – September 7, 2021)

https://www.afr.com/

Money continues to pour in for early stage nickel stocks, with Australian upstart Mincor securing the sort of financial support rarely offered to pre-revenue companies at a time when Andrew Forrest and BHP continue to battle over a Canadian nickel explorer.

Tribeca Investment Partners is understood to be the unnamed “global resources fund” that acquired $30 million worth of Mincor stock prior to the nickel aspirant launching this week’s oversubscribed $60 million equity raising, which was further complemented by an unusually supportive $30 million debt arrangement from BNP Paribas.

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NEWS RELEASE: Noront Responds to Wyloo’s Non-binding Indication of Interest (August 31, 2021)

TORONTO, Aug. 31, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or the “Company”) (TSXV: NOT) acknowledges receipt on August 30, 2021 of a non-binding letter from Wyloo Metals (“Wyloo”). The letter describes Wyloo’s interest in potentially acquiring all of the common shares of Noront that Wyloo does not currently own, subject to a number of conditions, including due diligence, and negotiating and executing a definitive arrangement agreement.

Responding to the Wyloo Proposal

Noront is party to a July 27, 2021 support agreement with BHP Western Mining Resources International Pty Ltd (“BHP”) and its parent, BHP Lonsdale Investments Pty Ltd (the “Support Agreement”), under which Noront agreed to support an offer by BHP to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Noront that BHP does not already own (the “BHP Offer”). As is customary, the Support Agreement defines the circumstances in which Noront is permitted to engage with, and provide confidential information to, another party that makes a proposal to acquire the common shares of Noront.

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OPINION: Forrest and BHP go to war over a company no one has ever heard of – by Elizabeth Knight (Brisbane Times – August 31, 2021)

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/

BHP versus Andrew Forrest was once a David and Goliath fight confined to the Pilbara. Today the battle between the two titans of iron ore, has moved to the far reaches of Northern Canada and the quarry they both seek is a nickel company no one has ever heard of.

So small and financially embattled is Noront Resources, that nine months ago it was worth just around $70 million dollars – little more than the petty cash held in the head offices of BHP and Forrest’s Fortescue.

Thanks to the bidding war between Forrest and BHP, Noront is now capitalised at $380 million and counting. Forrest lifted his offer this week to C70 cents per share – trumping BHP’s C55 cents.

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Wyloo hikes bid for Ring of Fire explorer Noront Resources, trumps BHP offer – by Naill McGee (Globe and Mail – August 31, 2021)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. has bumped up its offer for Noront Resources Ltd., trumping BHP Group Ltd.’s bid, and in a highly unusual move is proposing to keep the struggling Ring of Fire exploration company as a publicly traded entity.

Since May, Toronto-based Noront has been the subject of a takeover tussle between Australian private equity firm Wyloo and BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, which is also based in Australia.

Both are extremely well funded. BHP’s market valuation is US$165-billion. Wyloo is backed by Andrew Forrest, founder and chair of Fortescue Metals Group, and one of the richest individuals in Australia.

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Chanticleer: Forrest won’t let BHP snatch his nickel prize – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – August 31, 2021)

https://www.afr.com/

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has hit back at BHP in their battle for a Canadian nickel explorer with big dreams and big challenges.

He might have a $27.5 billion fortune and a $2.35 billion dividend cheque coming from Fortescue Metals Group, but Andrew Forrest still has plenty of the underdog mentality that’s marked his career.

So having watched BHP waltz in and try to pinch Canadian nickel junior Noront Resources out from under him, Forrest was never going to take things lying down.

On Monday night, he launched a fresh bid for the Canadian business, beating BHP’s offer of C55¢ a share with a C70¢ pitch – and throwing in a history lesson to boot.

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OPINION: Faced with fight or flight, BHP chooses to flee – by Stephen Bartholomeusz (WA Today – August 16, 2021)

https://www.watoday.com.au/

The confirmation of speculation of an imminent sale of BHP’s petroleum business to Woodside poses a question. What’s the better course for carbon-intensive businesses, fight or flight?

Rio Tinto opted for flight and the sale of its coal mines in 2018. BHP is in the process of exiting thermal coal, with the sale of its interest in the Cerrejon mine in Colombia in June and its Mt Arthur mine in NSW and its 80 per cent interest in the BMC joint venture with Mitsui in Queensland also on the market.

An exit from petroleum – Woodside disclosed on Monday, after intense recent speculation, that it was in discussion with BHP about a potential merger that would see it acquire BHP Petroleum by issuing Woodside shares to BHP shareholders – and a successful exit from thermal coal would mean that only BHP’s dominant metallurgical coal division would remain from its most carbon-intensive assets.

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Canada’s first rare earth miner in trading halt on expansion rumours – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – August 10, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

Australia’s Vital Metals (ASX: VML), the first rare earths producer in Canada, has announced a trading halt until Thursday, August 12, on reports of negotiations to acquire two projects in Quebec, one of which is considered to be the world’s fourth largest dysprosium deposit.

The company, AFR reported, is said to be in final talks to acquire the Zues project and a 68% interest in Kipawa, two rare earths assets owned by Quebec Precious Metals Corp. (TSX-V: QPM).

Pushing the Aussie miner’s shares up, which have climbed 22% in the last week and an eye-popping 308% in the past year, was Vital’s announcement on Monday that it is actively seeking to expand into US capital markets.

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‘We are shocked’: Miner blasts feds for blocking Grassy Mountain – by Ian Vandaelle (Bloomberg News – August 9, 2021)

https://ampvideo.bnnbloomberg.ca/

The Australian miner that’s looking to build a massive new metallurgical coal mine on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains is vowing it will not give up its fight after Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson reaffirmed a joint-panel decision that effectively struck down the proposed project.

In a statement Monday, Benga Mining Ltd. said it is reviewing Wilkinson’s Aug. 6 decision regarding the Grassy Mountain project with its legal counsel, after the feds upheld a decision from the Joint Review Panel (JRP) and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) that determined the project would likely result in “significant adverse environmental effects” on water quality, the local trout population and vegetation.

In the release, Benga Mining Chief Executive Officer John Wallington said Wilkinson had made his determination in spite of the miner’s request he hold off action while the company pursued a legal appeal of the JRP decision, which halted development in June.

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AUSTRALIA’S NUCLEAR DILEMMA – PROF. IAN LOWE – by Kerrod Trott (Westender – August 9, 2021)

https://westender.com.au/

Ian Lowe’s new book – Long Half-life – The Nuclear Industry in Australia – is a timely and riveting account of the political, social and scientific complexities of the nuclear industry, revealing the power of vested interests, the subjectivities of scientists and the transformative force of community passion.

In describing the book, Ian Lowe said:

The discovery of large uranium deposits in the Northern Territory suggested that Australia could become a major exporter of radioactive minerals.

The Fox Report, commissioned by the Whitlam government to study the environmental impacts of the proposed Ranger uranium mine, broadened into an inquiry into the social and political issues of producing uranium.

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