Ottawa, Washington join forces to fund junior Canadian critical-minerals companies in face of trade war with China – by Naill McGee (Globe and Mail – May 17, 2024)

Ottawa and Washington have teamed up for the first time to invest in two Canadian mining exploration companies, as both governments attempt to bolster the North American critical-minerals supply chain in the face of an escalating trade war with China.

Ontario cobalt developer Fortune Minerals Ltd. and Quebec graphite exploration company Lomiko Metals Inc. have been awarded about $32.4-million in combined funding, the U.S. and Canada said in a joint statement Thursday. The Canadian contribution is part of the $3.8-billion in funding for the critical-minerals sector that was unveiled in the 2023 federal budget and is coming from Natural Resources Canada.

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Billionaire-backed KoBold, Midnight Sun team up for Zambia copper discovery – by Henry Lazenby (Northern Miner – May 2024)

KoBold Metals, a U.S.-based startup supported by high-profile investors such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is venturing into Zambia’s rich copper belt. In February it partnered with Canada’s Midnight Sun Mining (TSXV: MMA) to explore the promising Dumbwa target within the Solwezi copper project.

This strategic alliance will leverage KoBold’s advanced data science techniques and Midnight Sun’s extensive local experience. The goal is for KoBold to earn a 75% stake in the Dumbwa target by investing US$15 million in exploration and making US$500,000 in cash payments over 4.5 years.

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Gold rockets above $2,400 as commodities catch fire, analysts see no end in sight – by Ernest Hoffman (Kitco News – May 17, 2024)

(Kitco News) – Gold prices are continuing their upward trend on Friday, and with the decisive break above $2,400 per ounce shortly after 10 am EDT, analysts and traders are wondering how high the yellow metal can run in the current environment.

Adam Button, head of currency strategy at, said that this recent move is a continuation of the broader rally, and it’s being driven by the same source.

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Congo Demands International Embargo on Rwandan Mineral Exports – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – May 15, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — Democratic Republic of Congo called for an international embargo of metal exports from neighboring Rwanda, whose government it accuses of using rebel groups to steal its natural resources.

All mining products from Rwanda should be considered “blood minerals,” because their sale allegedly supports conflict in eastern Congo, Mines Minister Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi said in a May 8 statement released on Tuesday. “All stakeholders, including end consumers of mining products,” should commit to a responsible supply chain, and “an embargo be decreed against Rwanda,” she said.

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Opinion: We’re falling further behind China in critical minerals – by Heather Exner-Pirot (Financial Post – May 16, 2024)

China is working hard to maintain its control of the rare earths markets that are critical to net-zero. We’re barely in the game

At the time, the opening of a small rare earths mine in the Northwest Territories in 2021 was heralded as an important step in breaking China’s monopoly over this strategic commodity. Rare earths are used in everything from electric vehicles and cell phones to wind turbines and jet engines.

China currently extracts more than 60 per cent of rare earth elements and processes as much as 90 per cent of global supply. The case of Vital Metals and the Nechalacho mine show just how far it’s willing to go to maintain a stranglehold on the rare earths market. What was once a hopeful story is now a cautionary tale.

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Global coal phase-out to cost between $200 billion, $2 trillion – study – by Staff ( – May 16, 2024)

Over $200 billion will be given as compensation to workers and local communities affected by coal phase-out programs globally, new research has found. This estimate excludes India and China, as the two largest coal users currently do not have phase-out plans.

According to a recent paper in Nature Communications, if China and India decide to phase out coal as fast as needed to reach the Paris climate targets and pay similar compensation, it would cost upwards of $2 trillion.

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Anglo Ditching De Beers Is Hard Blow for Troubled Diamond Market – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – May 14, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — The diamond industry has already been feeling the heat. Prices have slumped, Russian sanctions are threatening trade and the emergence of lab-grown gems is eating into some key traditional markets. Now, the sector’s most dominant name is being cast adrift.

Anglo American Plc on Tuesday said it will spin off or sell its De Beers business, ending an almost century-long relationship with the industry’s most famous name. The move, part of a wide12)r restructuring to fend off a $43 billion approach from BHP Group, is a seismic shock for the diamond world.

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Junior gold company Red Pine vows to regain investor trust after accusing former CEO of tampering with gold assay data – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 16, 2024)

Junior gold company Red Pine Exploration Inc. RPX-X is vowing to work to regain the trust of investors after accusing its former chief executive officer of tampering with its gold assay data over the course of a decade.

Toronto-based Red Pine first raised questions about its assay figures on May 1, saying it found inconsistencies in some of its drilling results at its Wawa gold project in Ontario. The company’s stock immediately lost 60 per cent of its value.

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US Blames China’s CMOC for Predatory Tactics Behind Cobalt Glut – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – May 14, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — China’s CMOC Group Ltd. is being accused by a top US official of using “predatory” tactics to depress prices of a key battery metal by flooding the market with cobalt from Democratic Republic of Congo mines.

“What we’re seeing now, I feel, is a variation of predatory pricing,” Jose Fernandez, Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, said Monday at a conference in New York sponsored by the Cobalt Institute industry group.

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BHP CEO Mike Henry says mining company will remain disciplined as it chases Anglo American acquisition – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 15, 2024)

The Canadian head of BHP Group Ltd. says the world’s biggest mining company will remain disciplined as it chases an acquisition of struggling competitor Anglo American PLC, as concerns arise about the complexity and timelines around its US$43-billion takeover offer.

Speaking at a mining conference in Miami, BHP chief executive Mike Henry said that his company’s twice-rejected proposal remains “quite compelling,” and he signalled the Australian miner won’t overpay in its efforts to win over Anglo’s board. “We have a very, very hard-won reputation for discipline when it comes to capital allocation and we do not take that lightly,” he said.

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Red Pine plans new resource, downplays alleged assay fraud at Ontario gold project – by Colin McClelland (Northern Miner – May 15, 2024)

Red Pine Exploration (TSXV: RPX, US-OTC: RDEXF) says its ex-CEO did more reputational damage than harm to the company’s Wawa gold project in northern Ontario when he allegedly altered hundreds of drill core assays used in a resource estimate.

Quentin Yarie, the CEO from July 2015 before stepping down on Feb. 21 this year in an unrelated move, according to the company, oversaw a data collection process where he was the sole recipient of emailed assay results from Activation Labs. Red Pine alleges Yarie changed 532 assays out of 98,000 before forwarding them to staff for use in project modelling its 2019 resource update and marketing.

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Lucapa to sell majority stake in Lesotho diamond mine – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – May 15, 2024)

Australia’s Lucapa Diamond (ASX: LOM) has put its 70% stake in the Mothae mine in Lesotho up for sale to focus on its core assets and is discussing options for the 30% held by the country’s government.

The diamond miner’s board said it was “considering all options for the divestment” and finalizing a data room for interested parties. “On review, it is clear the company should streamline the portfolio to focus on our core assets in Africa and Australia,” chairman Stuart Brown said in the statement.

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Cameco CEO meets with U.S. lawmakers as world events impact uranium industry – by Michael Joel-Hansen (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – May 15, 2024)

Tim Gitzel in Washington ahead of a ban on Russian uranium coming into force

Tim Gitzel has been spending a lot of time in the United States lately. The chief executive of Saskatoon-based Cameco was recently in Washington, D.C., where he met with lawmakers to talk about a number of issues.

Among the topics of discussion for Gitzel and his delegation was a recently passed piece of legislation banning Russian uranium imports. The bill has passed both houses of Congress and is waiting to be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

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New Canadian submarines are ‘inevitable,’ says Blair. Acquiring them will be anything but – by John Ivison (National Post – May 15, 2024)

The question remains whether the prime minister and the cabinet are serious about defence and meeting their spending targets

Bill Blair, the federal defence minister, made a rare admission of Liberal fallibility in Washington on Monday when he said he regrets using the word “explore” when talking about renewing Canada’s submarine fleet. ttawa’s recent defence policy update said the government will “explore options for renewing and expanding the submarine fleet,” a form of words that was criticized for lacking urgency.

“It’s certainly not my intention to be wishy-washy. What I’ve tried to articulate very, very clearly and strongly in the document is, we know we have to replace our submarine fleet, and we’re going to do that,” Blair said.

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Canada ramps up diplomacy to prepare for possible Trump presidency – by Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – May 15, 2024)

The Canadian government is making a full-court press to prepare for a potential second Donald Trump presidency, aiming to avoid a repeat of 2016 when his victory caught Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet by surprise.

Much of the Team Canada push is public facing. Led by Ambassador Kirsten Hillman and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, it has entailed cabinet ministers, provincial premiers and Canadian business leaders fanning out across the U.S. to build relationships with American counterparts.

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