Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Nemaska announces potential massive equity investment to save lithium project in Quebec – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – July 23, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

London-based Pallinghurst Group, betting on ‘an electric vehicle revolution,’ has proposed a deal that could make it Nemaska’s largest shareholder

After months of funding uncertainty, Nemaska Lithium Inc. on Friday announced a tentative agreement to secure as much as $600 million to build its proposed hard rock lithium mine and electrochemical plant in Quebec.

The project, which could create a new supply of the lithium needed for batteries in electric vehicles, has drawn international attention from battery makers and investments from Japan’s Softbank Group Corp. and from Investissement Quebec.

But cost overruns and shifting evaluations about lithium demand have combined to push Nemaska’s stock price down more than 80 per cent from its peak less than two years ago. Continue Reading →

Boom possible: Demand for electric vehicles bodes well for nickel … and for Greater Sudbury – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – July 23, 2019)

https://www.sudbury.com/

Car companies ramping up EV battery production across the globe

While nickel analysts expect the price of nickel to dip again despite the impressive gains it has made in recent weeks, demand for the metal is bright thanks to the increasing demand for electric vehicles.

Nickel was trading at US $6.40 on Monday afternoon on the London Metals Exchange (LME), down from last week’s high of US $6.85, but still up more than 20 per cent in the last two weeks.

Commonwealth Bank commodities analyst Vivek Dhar told the Financial Review that the reasons some have given for the recent surge – falling LME stockpiles and an impending export ban in Indonesia – are not new revelations, and are factors traders have known for a long time. Continue Reading →

Send in the troops: Congo raises the stakes on illegal mining – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.S. – July 17, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

DAKAR (Reuters) – A Congolese army officer arrived in the village of Kafwaya in June and warned residents not to trespass on a major Chinese copper and cobalt mine next door. As night fell about a week later, the soldiers moved in.

“They didn’t say anything to anyone,” said Fabien Ilunga, an official in Kafwaya, which is home to thousands of miners eking out a living by illegally exploiting the nearby mineral resources. “The army started to burn down the tarpaulin houses.”

Deploying soldiers to clear tens of thousands of illegal informal miners from mining concessions is a new approach by the authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo, who have wrestled with the problem for decades. Continue Reading →

Former Idaho governor seeks investigation of mining company (Associated Press/Washington Post – July 15, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

BOISE, Idaho — Former Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has asked the Trump administration to investigate possible Chinese involvement in a mining company that could compete in Idaho with a Canadian-based company that tapped Otter to serve on its board of directors.

The Idaho Statesman reports in a story on Friday that Otter in a July 9 letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’s concerned cobalt mined in Idaho will be shipped to China.

Otter, a Republican, left office in January after serving 12 years as governor. In February he joined the board of Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp. Otter is asking Mnuchin to look into Australia-based Jervois Mining Ltd.’s move to acquire ECobalt Solutions, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Continue Reading →

Alberta’s oilpatch may help fill global lithium shortage – by Danielle Smith (Edmonton Journal – July 12, 2019)

https://edmontonjournal.com/

Earlier this year, Tesla executives warned that the world may soon be facing a critical shortage of minerals and metals needed to build batteries, in particular nickel, copper and lithium.

Cobalt is also going to be a growing problem not only because of scarcity, but because it seems the only place it can be mined in great abundance is through the help of child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

If the great transition to renewables is to take place, the world needs to find and develop more and better sources of these key battery components. When it comes to lithium, Alberta oilfields may hold the answer. Continue Reading →

Britain’s Cornish Lithium turns to crowd funding – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – July 12, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) – Cornish Lithium, a battery minerals firm set up by a former City analyst, on Friday became the first British miner to launch a crowd funding campaign as it seeks play a role in securing strategic mineral supplies.

Britain’s mining industry is regarded by many as a thing of the past but a handful of companies are trying to revive it, particularly for the extraction of battery minerals, after government backing for a greener economy and less polluting transport.

Jeremy Wrathall, a mining engineer who graduated from the Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall, southwest England, and became an analyst for Investec bank, set up Cornish Lithium in 2016 to use digital technology to reassess Cornwall’s mineral wealth. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Why the cobalt market needs Congo’s “illegal” miners – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – July 12, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) – Cobalt is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The death last month of 43 artisan miners at the Kamoto Copper Company KOV concession in the Democratic Republic of Congo has refocused attention on the human cost of producing what is a key input into electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The KOV concession is majority-owned by a subsidiary of trading and mining group Glencore. The official response to the incident – sending the army to clear around 20,000 “illegal” miners from the area around the mine – merely underlines the problematic nature of the world’s dependence on Congo for its supply of cobalt.

The country accounted for around 64% of global mined production last year, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The latest incidents will do nothing to reassure automotive companies about the future stability of sustainable supply and will incentivise them further to try and reduce the amount of cobalt in EV batteries. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Boom-and-bust lithium market needs a pricing rethink – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – Albemarle Corp., the world’s largest lithium producer, is not impressed by the London Metal Exchange’s (LME) plans to launch a lithium contract.

“An exchange contract tends to support a commodity market, and that’s not what we believe this (lithium market) is,” David Ryan, the company’s head of corporate strategy and investor relations, told an industry conference in Chile earlier this month.

The conference was hosted by Fastmarkets, which has been chosen by the LME to provide the reference price for the new contract, but Albemarle won’t be contributing, for now at least. It and other established producers believe that lithium is a specialty chemicals market and should be priced on a contract-by-contract basis. Continue Reading →

Plummeting cobalt price takes toll on Democratic Republic of Congo – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – June 23, 2019)

https://www.ft.com/

Lubumbashi: The price of cobalt — a key metal in electric cars — has plummeted 65 per cent over the past year, putting a strain on the economy of the world’s largest producer, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Economic growth in the DRC, one of the world’s poorest countries, is likely to fall to 4.3 per cent this year from 5.8 per cent in 2018 — in part due to lower cobalt prices, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The DRC produces more than 60 per cent of the world’s supply of cobalt, a metal that is used in lithium-ion batteries for smartphones and electric cars. Last year the country’s former president Joseph Kabila declared the metal “strategic” and launched new regulations that require miners to pay 10 per cent of their revenues on sales of the metal to the state. Continue Reading →

France’s Eramet gives go-ahead to lithium project in Argentina (Reuters U.S. – June 24, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

PARIS, June 24 (Reuters) – Eramet has approved the development of a lithium mine in Argentina as the French group pursues a shift towards minerals used to power electric vehicles to meet burgeoning demand.

The miner expects to invest 525 million euros ($597 million) in the Centenario deposit with the aim of producing 24,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year in a first phase that could start at the end of 2021, it said on Monday.

The estimates were in line with previous guidance given by the company earlier this year. A final investment decision would be made at the earliest in the fourth quarter of this year once financing has been obtained, it said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Chinese Rare-Earth Magnet Producer to Expand as EV Demand Booms (Bloomberg News – June 23, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Industries around the world producing a host of electrical appliances will increasingly be forced to compete for rare-earth magnets with China’s burgeoning market for new energy vehicles, according to one Beijing-based magnet producer.

Jingci Material Science Co. is expanding its production capacity of neodymium-iron-boron — NdFeB for short — magnet material to 8,000 tons by the end of the year, from about 6,500 tons currently, sales director Qiu Yi said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Shanghai last week. The eventual goal is to raise capacity to 12,000 tons, he said, without giving a time-frame.

The importance of rare earths, ubiquitous across a range of applications from consumer goods to military gear, has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks as China mulls whether to use its position as the world’s dominant supplier as a counter in its trade war with Washington. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Enormous lithium waste dump plan shows how shamefully backward we are – by Emma Young (Sydney Morning Herald – June 24, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

We are all – well, all of us who are privileged enough – existing on a spectrum somewhere between “concerned” and “downright panicking” about human impact on the environment.

We look forward to the day our economy transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy, the sun and wind power our homes and lithium batteries store this energy to be used when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. But here’s the rub: the lithium used to make these batteries must be torn from underground, just like oil, gas and coal.

Western Australia holds some of the world’s richest known lithium deposits and now has an emerging industry to process that lithium here, not just ship it to China as previously done. It’s part of a plan to make us more than just the world’s quarry; a bigger player in an industry promising big money, and bring jobs and industry to the South West. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-United States aims to reshape the critical minerals world – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 19, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

China’s growing control of metals at the heart of the electric
transport revolution such as lithium and cobalt represents a
second front in the looming raw materials war.

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) – The United States has laid out its strategy to rebuild collapsed domestic supply chains for metals and minerals deemed “critical” to its defence and manufacturing sectors.

“A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals”, released earlier this month by the Department of Commerce, includes 61 recommendations, ranging from revamping mine permitting rules to stimulating recycling activities to forging alliances with “friendly” suppliers such as Canada and Australia.

This is very much work in progress. It’s only last year that the United States decided on what exactly constitutes a “critical” mineral. But added urgency has come from China’s veiled threats to use its dominance of rare earths production as a weapon in the broader trade stand-off with the Trump Administration. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Trump Administration Announces Strategy to Strengthen America’s Economy, Defense (U.S. Department of the Interior – June 4, 2019)

For the full report: https://bit.ly/2MMmLcC

Interior to Support Critical Minerals Strategy through Faster Permitting, Better Information, Nationwide Examination of Minerals Potential

WASHINGTON – Today, the Trump Administration released, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals,” to make America’s economy and defense more secure. The strategy directs the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to locate domestic supplies of those minerals, ensure access to information necessary for the study and production of minerals, and expedite permitting for minerals projects.

“Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, today’s federal strategy lays out a blueprint for America to once again be a leader in the critical minerals sector,” said Secretary David Bernhardt.

“As with our energy security, the Trump Administration is dedicated to ensuring that we are never held hostage to foreign powers for the natural resources critical to our national security and economic growth. The Department will work expeditiously to implement the President’s strategy from streamlining the permitting process to locating domestic supplies of minerals.” Continue Reading →

Pot takes the spotlight away from lithium and threatens the EV boom (Bloomberg/Mining Weekly.com – June 13, 2019)

https://m.miningweekly.com/

SANTIAGO – Lithium miners are seeing investor interest go up in smoke. The flow of capital into the cannabis industry is draining investments into lithium producers that supply the raw mineral key to power the electric-vehicle revolution.

Mining companies and analysts at the Lithium Supply and Markets Conference in Santiago this week said they couldn’t help but notice the half-empty rooms at the sessions – and the lack of investors and fund managers among attendants.

The picture was remarkably different from last year’s event, when prices for the mineral used in rechargeable batteries were at historic highs. This year prices have fallen 17%. Continue Reading →