Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Supply glut pushes down rare-metal prices – by Hiroki Masuda (Nikkei Asian Review – August 14, 2019)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

China’s possible policy shift on hybrid cars further dampens market sentiment

TOKYO — Prices for rare-earth metals are falling sharply, with the price of cobalt dropping 30% since the start of the year, and that for lithium remaining sluggish.

Global markets are swimming in rare earths, as production has outstripped demand for the batteries used to power electric vehicles. Speculation is rife that demand for the commodities will slow further as China considers promoting production of hybrid cars, which require fewer rare earths. This is further stifling market sentiment.

Cobalt and lithium are mainly used to make cathodes for lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars. Spot prices for cobalt in Europe are near three-year lows. Continue Reading →

Platinum giant wants to create new battery to replace cobalt, nickel demand – by Rupert Rowling and Felix Njini (Bloomberg News – August 14, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

LONDON/JOHANNESBURG — The world’s top platinum and palladium supplier has an answer to the electric-car boom that may pose a long-term threat to its biggest market: invent a new battery.

Anglo American Platinum wants to develop a lithium battery that uses platinum-group metals instead of cobalt and nickel. The aim is to create a new multi-billion dollar source of demand for the metals as electric vehicles reduce the need for traditional fuel autocatalysts.

Platinum miners have good reason to be worried. Electric-car sales are forecast to reach 56 million by 2040, making up about 57 percent of the overall car market versus 2 percent now, according to Bloomberg. Continue Reading →

EV charging points to bolster demand for copper – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – August 13, 2019)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

As the global adoption of electric mobility accelerates and more charging stations are deployed across the world, demand for copper will increase substantially over the next decade.

A report by research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie states that more than 20-million electric vehicle (EV) charging points will be deployed globally by 2030, consuming more than 250% more copper than in 2019.

To meet these targets, the group says more private and public investment is required. Copper is used throughout an EV, but research analyst Henry Salisbury notes that the need for copper becomes even greater when charging stations and supporting electrical grid infrastructure are also considered. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Nickel sizzle: Hot money piles into metal on Indonesia ore ban talk – by Mai Nguyen and Bernadette Christina (Reuters U.S. – August 8, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

SINGAPORE/JAKARTA, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Nickel prices surged on Thursday on concerns that major supplier Indonesia could bring forward a ban on ore exports despite a senior official claiming any such ruling remains “uncertain.”

Benchmark three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) surged as much as 12.7% to $16,690 a tonne, its highest since April 2018. That is the biggest intraday percentage gain for the nickel forward since Jan. 2, 2009.

LME nickel eased to $15,545 a tonne at 0940 GMT, up 5%. The most active nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) rose to a record 124,890 yuan ($17,730.49) a tonne. “This is a very sexy price. For miners, higher price always makes us happy,” said a trader with a nickel mine. Continue Reading →

Gold Is Hot But Nickel Is Hotter As Demand Grows For Batteries In Electric Vehicles – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – August 11, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

Gold is hot but there’s another metal which is hotter, nickel. Up 30% over the past two months nickel has delivered more than double the performance of gold which is up 13% over the same time, and the gap could get a lot wider as the supply of nickel stagnates and demand accelerates.

The driving force behind the recent awakening of gold is well-understood and can be summed up as a flight to safety as the China v U.S. trade war slows global growth and values of conventional, or fiat currencies, are debased by governments resorting to quantitative easing or other forms of creating money.

Nickel’s drivers are different and far easier to understand and boil down to a simple case of supply exceeding demand which, in past nickel booms, was essentially a case of mines failing to keep up with the requirements of steel mills making stainless steel, a material which has traditional consumed close to 80% of the world’s nickel. Continue Reading →

Column: Glencore and the perils of riding the electric vehicle tiger – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – August 8, 2019)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Glencore has “a key role to play in enabling the transition to a low-carbon economy,” according to Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg, writing in the company’s 2018 annual report.

Glencore’s “well-positioned portfolio” includes metals at the heart of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution such as copper, cobalt and nickel. But the global metals and marketing powerhouse has just found out that riding the EV tiger can be perilous as well.

The company reported a 32% drop in first-half core profit on Wednesday thanks in large part to problems at its African copper-cobalt business. Continue Reading →

Chinese demand for ‘green’ metals increasing ‘exceptionally fast’ – Glencore – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – August 7, 2019)

https://m.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The demand for environmentally protective ‘green’ metals is increasing exceptionally fast, boosted by a 59% increase in electric vehicle production in China, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said on Wednesday.

In response to Mining Weekly Online during a post-results conference call, Glasenberg reiterated that Glencore had the right range of metals for which demand was poised to rise as the world decarbonised. But while demand growth remained positive, supply was low, with easily accessible high-quality resources running out.

The London- and Johannesburg-listed Glencore is a producer and a marketer of metals including copper, nickel and cobalt, which are all well positioned for future outcomes, despite the cobalt price being down currently. Continue Reading →

Nickel proves it’s the wildest metal with sudden $2,000 spike (Bloomberg/Canada.com – August 8, 2019)

https://beta.canada.com/

Nickel has long had a reputation as the most volatile base metal, but its biggest daily jump in a decade has left even the most seasoned traders astonished.

The metal spiked as much as 13 per cent, or almost US$2,000 a ton, in thin Asian morning trading, extending a rally over the past month triggered by rumours that top producer Indonesia might bring forward a ban on nickel ore exports. Prices eased after the nation’s mining ministry denied that any policy changes are imminent, but were still up a hefty amount as London trading opened.

“You can see that the market is barely trading now because people just don’t know what to do,” said George Daniel, a hedge fund manager at Red Kite who’s been trading metals since 1993. “It could come off from here, but everyone’s just waiting to see if China comes in and buys it again.” Continue Reading →

Clean energy dream fuels a dirty mineral rush (RT.com – August 8, 2019)

https://www.rt.com/

A future of environment-friendly energy, where dirty engines and power plants rust in history’s scrapyard, is an idyllic vision. In the cynical real world, the rush for green batteries is fueling a harmful mining boom.

By 2030, there will be 140 million electric cars on Earth, and by 2040 every third vehicle will be powered by green electricity instead of the fossil fuels that have been slowly choking the environment for the past couple centuries. That’s according to assessments by Glencore Plc and BloombergNEF.

Sounds like we’re on the right track and Greta Thunberg’s zero-emission dream could be achieved within her lifetime. Humanity is finally coming to its senses.

Get digging

Not quite. All those cars will need batteries, and all those batteries will need to be built with a small periodic table of minerals. And all those minerals need to be mined – in some cases strip-mining the rest of the planet’s explored deposits. Continue Reading →

Sudbury’s mining expertise, regreening success story attract Latin American delegations – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 2, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Battery-powered mining equipment and Sudbury’s regreening efforts are attracting groups from Latin America to visit the Nickel City in August.

Sudbury’s growing mining expertise in the development and use of battery-powered electric vehicles (BEV) has attracted the interest of managers and engineers from Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer.

Representatives from Chile’s state-run mining company, arrive in Sudbury on Aug. 5 to begin a five-day tour of operations and suppliers in Sudbury and Kirkland Lake. The Aug 5-9 visit is organized by Sudbury and Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSSA). Continue Reading →

Hyperdrive: There’s One Metal Worrying Tesla and EV Battery Suppliers (David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 4, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Battery producers and electric automakers, including Tesla Inc., are concerned over longer-term supplies of nickel, a key material in their supply chain that’s forecast to fall into deficit, according to an Australian miner that’s held recent talks with the sector.

The need for the high-purity material used in batteries, known as class-one nickel, is likely to outstrip supply within five years, fueled mainly by rising consumption in the EV industry, according to BloombergNEF.

It’s a concern shared by Tesla, according to Peter Bradford, chief executive officer of nickel producer Independence Group NL, who last week met with a member of the car producer’s battery metals supply chain team. Continue Reading →

Hyperdrive: The Top Miners Are Split on How to Chase the EV Battery Boom – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 4, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The world’s biggest miners, including BHP Group and Glencore Plc, are finally firm believers in the electric vehicle battery revolution — what they don’t agree on is which metals will deliver the best long-term exposure to the developing global market.

BHP has revived a declining nickel unit in Western Australia to target the sector, while Rio Tinto Group is accelerating work to enter the lithium market. Glencore is focusing on cobalt and copper and Anglo American Plc is examining prospects for platinum and palladium to be deployed in future battery technologies.

“We did a review of all the battery input materials — nickel, cobalt, lithium,” said Eduard Haegel, asset president at the BHP’s Nickel West unit. “We think that in the medium-to-longer term there will be a margin that will be sticky for nickel — we think it’s an attractive commodity.” Continue Reading →

Lithium Industry Buildup Is Outracing the Electric-Car Boom – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – July 29, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Lithium miners are bulking up for a booming future when electric cars go mainstream. But speed bumps loom, with prices tumbling on a burst of new production and demand growth slowing in China.

Between mid-2015 and mid-2018, prices for lithium, the soft, silvery-white metal crucial for rechargeable batteries, almost tripled as the world’s fleet of electric vehicles hit the 5 million mark, and the auto industry began to fret over the supply of raw materials.

That sparked the opening of six lithium mines in Australia since 2017 as companies raced to gain from an evolving technology. But while the EV boom is coming, it isn’t here yet. Sales growth is slowing in China, the top market, and the drive to fill the battery supply chain has cooled. The result: A 30% price plunge for lithium that’s spurring concern over where the bottom may lie. Continue Reading →

China’s electric cars: Can they drive Chilean copper? – by Diego Laje (Al-Jazeera.com – July 29, 2019)

https://www.aljazeera.com/

Growing demand for battery storage and lithium could be a silver lining for Chile’s mining industry.

In the arid north of Chile some 1,500km from the capital, Chuquicamata has been a plentiful source of copper since before the rise of the Inca Empire in the 1400s.

“Chuqui” – as it is informally known – is one of the country’s most emblematic mines, a symbol of human ingenuity despite the fortnight of labour strikes held this June against mine owner Codelco over job cuts and compensation.

Economic reality sunk in last month when the mine shut down, as miners demanded better wages at the same time the place began an expensive transformation from an open pit to an underground shaft mine. Continue Reading →

CALIFORNIA: Must Reads: A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley – by Louis Sahagun (Los Angeles Times – May 7, 2019)

https://www.latimes.com/

A small Cessna soared high above the Mojave Desert recently, its engine growling in the choppy morning air. As the aircraft skirted the mountains on the edge of Death Valley National Park, a clutch of passengers and environmentalists peered intently at a broiling salt flat thousands of feet below.

The desolate beauty of the Panamint Valley has long drawn all manner of naturalists, adventurers and social outcasts — including Charles Manson — off-road vehicle riders and top gun fighter pilots who blast overhead in simulated dogfights.

Now this prehistoric lake bed is shaping up to be an unlikely battleground between environmentalists and battery technologists who believe the area might hold the key to a carbon-free future. Continue Reading →