Archive | Canadian Media Resource Articles

Rio Tinto produces battery grade lithium in the US – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 7, 2021)

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) has kicked off lithium production from waste rock at a plant located at a borates mine it controls in California.

The demonstration facility is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at the Boron mine. The method allows Rio Tinto to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value out of waste piles from over 90 years of mining at the operation.

An initial small-scale trial in 2019 successfully proved the process of roasting and leaching waste rock to recover high grades of the metal, vital in the production of batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs) and most high tech electronics. Continue Reading →

Biden’s proposed $2-trillion stimulus will spill over into Canada — but it could also hurt our competitiveness – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – April 3, 2021)

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to Pittsburgh, Penn., a rust belt steel town with an emerging tech sector, to unveil ‘The American Jobs Plan,’ which he characterized as the greatest opportunity to transform the economy in at least a generation.

With US$2 trillion in proposed spending over eight years, the plan lays out a roadmap to address climate change through emission reduction and investment in aging infrastructure, and it has delighted many in Canada who believe a large stimulus in the U.S. will carry spillover benefits for this country’s economy.

Biden’s proposal includes roughly US$1 trillion in spending over the next eight years just in areas related to a low-carbon economy — including charging stations for electric vehicles, new public rail and transit projects, grid modernization, clean energy manufacturing and research and development. Continue Reading →

Osisko PEA outlines ‘highly profitable’ gold mine at Windfall in Quebec (Canadian Mining Journal – April 2021)

A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) on Osisko Mining’s (TSX: OSK) Windfall project in Quebec’s James Bay region outlines a 3,100 t/d two-ramp underground mine with a process facility that would produce an average of 238,000 gold oz. a year over an 18-year life. The gold development company is targeting first production from the gold deposit by 2024.

In its first seven years, Windfall would generate an average of 300,000 gold oz. annually at all-in sustaining costs of US$610 per oz., producing a peak of 328,000 oz. in year six.

Based on an initial capital outlay of $544 million that includes contingency, the after-tax net present value estimate for the project comes in at $1.5 billion, using a 5% discount rate and US$1,500 per oz. gold, with a 39.3% internal rate of return and a 2.2-year payback. Continue Reading →

Battery and ‘green’ metals brighten outlook for mining sector – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – April 6, 2021)

Global mining news

The transition to electric vehicles could take a decade or two but demand for the key metals in batteries and energy storage systems will only continue to grow as the shift to a greener future gains traction.

China currently leads the world in EV and battery production. The latest statistics from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, according to BMO Capital Markets, show that sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) in February were 585% higher than the same month in 2020, and the country’s production of lithium-ion batteries jumped 108% year-on-year to 18.25 billion units annually in the months of January and February.

The U.S. wants to catch up. Under U.S. President Joe Biden’s US$2.3 trillion infrastructure renewal and job creation plan announced last week, US$174 billion has been earmarked for EVs. Continue Reading →

Steinmetz loses latest battle against Vale over Simandou – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 5, 2021)

Billionaire Beny Steinmetz, the founder and owner of a company embroiled in a long-drawn-out dispute with Vale (NYSE: VALE) over lost rights to the Simandou iron ore project in Guinea, has lost his latest battle against the Brazilian miner.

The Rio de Janeiro-based miner said on Monday that local prosecutors had closed an investigation into CEO Eduardo Bartolomeo, and other executives and former directors over alleged illegal practices related to the deal to explore the deposit.

At two billion tonnes of iron ore with some of the highest grades in the industry, Simandou is one of the world’s biggest and richest reserves of the steelmaking material. Continue Reading →

Mining executives warn Ottawa about dependence on China for strategic minerals amid deteriorating relations – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – April 5, 2021)

It’s estimated that China will control 67 per cent of global capacity to build lithium-ion batteries by 2030

OTTAWA — Mining executives and national security experts are warning the federal government about China’s domination of strategic mineral supplies, saying Ottawa needs to better protect supply chains for modern technology that relies on them like electric vehicles and smart phones.

In testimony before the House of Commons natural resources committee this month, experts described China’s decades-long efforts to control the market for critical minerals — including the 17 rare earth elements — by rapidly expanding its processing capacity or by acquiring foreign assets to dominate supply chains.

The minerals, which include magnesium, lithium and scandium, are used to develop such strategic products as solar panels, wind turbines, electric car batteries, mobile phone components and guided missiles. Continue Reading →

Greenland has an election on Tuesday. Why are the U.S. and China so interested in its outcome? – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – April 5, 2021)

On an Arctic island with some of the world’s largest supplies of rare-earth elements, a heated debate about mining and its environmental costs will have big consequences for global superpowers

Elections in Greenland rarely get much notice beyond the shores of the ice-covered island. But when Greenland’s 41,000 voters head to the polls on April 6 in a snap election, the results will be followed closely in Beijing, Washington, Brussels and beyond.

Greenland has been caught in a global power struggle over access to rare earth metals, a collection of 17 elements with names such as yttrium, scandium and lanthanum that are used in more than 200 products, including cellphones, wind turbines, electric cars and fighter jets.

The island is home to some of the world’s largest deposits of rare earths, and a massive mining project in south Greenland has become a focal point in the race to secure the strategic resource. Continue Reading →

Once again commodities are coming to Canada’s rescue – by Jack M. Mintz (Financial Post – April 6, 2021)

Canada’s per capita GDP growth from 2016 to 2020 was the worst five-year performance since the Great Depression: an annual rate of minus 0.75 per cent. Sure, the pandemic was the major reason for negative growth in that period but even so, 2016-19 per capita growth was only 0.5 per cent a year — barely better than flatlined.

No surprise in that. Canada was gut-punched by a quick, sharp decline in commodity prices in late 2014, moribund business investment after 2015, and transportation blockages holding back resource exports in 2018 and 2019. It was hard to gain any speed.

But good news is coming to the Canadian economy, including Alberta and the other Western provinces. As health restrictions lift, people will want to restore what they missed most – entertainment, travel and social gatherings – instead of onetime purchasing of consumer durables (housing and autos). Continue Reading →

Kirkland Lake expects Detour to produce up to 900k oz annually by 2032 – by Staff (Canadian Mining Journal – March 31, 2021)

Miner Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX, NYSE: KL; ASX: KLA) expects its Detour Lake open pit mine in northern Ontario to reach a gold output rate of 900,000 oz. a year by 2032, based on the company’s latest life-of-mine plan for the asset.

This technical report also forecasts average production of 680,000 to 720,000 oz. a year between 2021 and 2024, increasing to 800,000 oz. in 2025, as announced earlier this year.

The latest forecasts do not account for any of the exploration upside realized by Kirkland Lake since acquiring the asset at the end of January 2020 and don’t fully incorporate the impact of business improvement initiatives realized since acquisition. Continue Reading →

Stars are aligning for uranium price rally – by Frik Els ( – March 31, 2021)

The uranium market is emerging from years in the doldrums as the overhang from the nuclear disaster in Japan is cleared and global demand picks up steam.

The spot price for U3O8 moved above $30 per pound for the first time this year as uranium producers and mine developers hoover up above-ground inventories and reactor construction continues apace.

Two new research notes from BMO Capital Markets and Morgan Stanley say today’s price marks a floor and predict a rally in prices over the next few years to the ~$50 level by 2024. Continue Reading →

Inuit women experiencing harassment, lower pay at Canadian mine sites, report says – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 31, 2021)

More than half of Inuit women surveyed by Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada in a report funded by the federal government said they have been sexually harassed at mining sites in Canada’s Far North.

According to the report released on Wednesday by Pauktuutit, a national non-profit Inuit women’s advocacy organization, the most frequent harassment incidents directed at Inuit women were “sexual comments, jokes, unwanted touching and emotional abuse.”

Some of the Inuit reported being the subject of sexual violence as frequently as every shift. Some reported feeling particularly vulnerable because they worked in housekeeping and janitorial positions that often placed them in private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Continue Reading →

Yukon parties debate economic policy in chamber of commerce debate – by John Last and Philippe Morin (CBC News North – March 31, 2021)

Yukon politicians faced off Tuesday night in a debate organized by the Yukon Chamber of Commerce. The debate, which lasted over two hours, saw questions focused mainly on economic issues, posed by industry groups like the Yukon Chamber of Mines and the First Nation Chamber of Commerce.

Parties grappled with procurement policy, the future of tourism, and the territory’s recovery from COVID-19. “This election is about who Yukoners trust to lead this territory out of the pandemic, and into … a prosperous future,” said Yukon Party Leader Currie Dixon.

“Too many small businesses have suffered,” said NDP Leader Kate White. “We need a government that gets what people are going through…. We need a government that’s pro-people.” Continue Reading →

Canadian copper miner Turquoise Hill declares force majeure on some Chinese contracts – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 31, 2021)

Canadian copper miner Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. is invoking force majeure related to its Chinese contracts for metal shipments from its Mongolian mine, amid COVID-19 border restrictions, and several employees testing positive for the deadly virus.

Force majeure is a clause that allows companies to limit certain legal liabilities in the face of an unforeseen catastrophe, such as a once-in-a-century pandemic.

The Montreal-based miner operates the Oyo Tolgoi copper and gold complex in Mongolia, a landlocked country in Asia that borders Russia to the north, and China to the south. Continue Reading →

Vale sells New Caledonia nickel assets to Trafigura – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 31, 2021)

Vale (NYSE: VALE) said on Wednesday it had concluded the sale of its nickel and cobalt operations in New Caledonia, a French territory in the Pacific, to a consortium called Prony, which includes commodity trader Trafigura.

While the Brazilian miner did not disclose the exact terms of the deal, it said that $1.1 billion will be invested in the New Caledonia assets, with $555 million coming from its subsidiary Vale Canada Ltd.

“Vale’s intent from the beginning of the divestment process was to withdraw from New Caledonia in an orderly and responsible manner. This deal accomplishes that,” chief executive Eduardo Bartolomeo said in the statement. Continue Reading →

Alberta forms coal committee in response to intense public backlash – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – March 29, 2021)

A new Alberta committee will lead public consultations on how the province should manage coal development, the latest move to mollify public backlash against the government’s decision to quietly kill a 44-year-old coal and land protection policy.

Cancellation of the 1976 coal policy in May made it easier for companies to pursue mines in sensitive regions, but widespread public anger about its removal forced the government to backpedal. It reinstated the policy, cancelled 11 coal leases and promised to consult with Albertans to come up with a new coal mining plan.

The first official steps in that process began Monday with the announcement of the new, independent committee. A survey for Albertans to share their thoughts is also online until April 19. The government says it will work directly with Indigenous leaders and communities to hear their perspectives. Continue Reading →