Archive | Cobalt, Critical, Strategic and Rare Earth Minerals and Metals

How ‘blood mineral’ traders in Rwanda are helping fund Congo rebels – and undermining global supply chains – by Geoffrey York and Judi Rever (Globe and Mail – August 4, 2021)

New evidence from a United Nations report and a high-profile investor arbitration case is casting a spotlight on Rwanda’s role in sophisticated smuggling networks that extract gold and coltan from Congolese conflict zones and funnel the strategically important minerals illicitly into the global supply chain for consumer products such as cellphones, computers and jewellery.

The smuggling is also fuelling military and human-rights abuses in Central Africa, while damaging the region’s corporate-supported efforts to regulate the minerals trade, the evidence suggests.

Experts have been aware of the smuggling for many years, but fresh details from UN researchers and filings in the case have revealed how these networks are flourishing in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), even as governments claim to be cleaning up the underground trade. Continue Reading →

Cobalt company collaborates with Timiskaming First Nation on medicinal, edible plant study – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 28, 2021)

First Cobalt partners on Indigenous community initiative to assess long-term impacts of industrial contamination on wild plants

The Toronto mining company that’s overhauling a metals refinery outside the town of Cobalt has launched a unique environmental and community initiative with an area First Nation.

First Cobalt is working with Timiskaming First Nation on a two-year study to assess the historic impact of settlement, logging, mining and industrial processes on the ecosystem in the former Cobalt mining district.

Specifically, this tag-team study is examining the long-term impact on medicinal plants and mushrooms in this area of the Timiskaming region. Continue Reading →

Analysts expect global shortage of precious metals in years to come – by Eugene Gerden (Resource World – July 22, 2021)

The increase of demand for clean energy sources and the ever growing popularity of electric vehicles and energy storage systems in the world may lead to a shortage of metals in the global market followed by a sharp increase in prices for them in years to come, according to recent statements, made by producers and analysts in the field of mining.

According to recent estimates of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the demand for lithium will grow more than 40 times by 2040, while for cobalt and nickel by 20 times within the next two decades. The same situation is expected to be observed in the case of other precious metals.

Igor Sechin, Chief Executive Officer of Rosneft, Russia’s largest state-owned oil producer, believes such as growth of demand may lead to the shortage of this and other metals in the global market, as the current investments in their exploration and development remains insufficient to ensure their stable supplies to global market. Continue Reading →

China targets Australia’s rare earths as tensions escalate – by Alex Turner-Cohen ( – July 21, 2021)

China could stop every technological and electrical industry in the world and plunge the planet into the dark ages with just one move.

China has the power to stop every technological and electrical industry in the world and plunge the planet into the dark ages any time it wants, an expert has warned.

Even more worryingly, escalating tensions between China and the West makes it look very likely that this will happen sooner rather than later.

Dr Jeffrey Wilson, research director at the Perth USAsia Centre, said that China owns around 80 per cent of the world’s supply of critical minerals – which is a “powerful weapon”. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Joint Statement by Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and the European Commissioner for Internal Market (Natural Resources Canada – July 19, 2021)

OTTAWA, ON, July 19, 2021 /CNW/ – Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., and the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, released the following joint statement on the framework for Canada-EU Strategic Partnership on Raw Materials.

“The security of supply chains for the minerals and metals essential to the transition to a carbon-neutral and digitized economy is a priority for both Canada and the European Union.

Through this strategic partnership, developed jointly between Natural Resources Canada and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, we will focus on enhancing the security and sustainability of trade and investment, integrating raw material value chains and leading by example on environmental, social and governance standards. Continue Reading →

China frictions steer electric automakers away from rare earth magnets – by Eric Onstad (Yahoo Finance/Reuters – July 19, 2021)

LONDON (Reuters) – As tensions mount between China and the United States, automakers in the West are trying to reduce their reliance on a key driver of the electric vehicle revolution – permanent magnets, sometimes smaller than a pack of cards, that power electric engines. Most are made of rare earth metals from China.

The metals in the magnets are actually abundant, but can be dirty and difficult to produce. China has grown to dominate production, and with demand for the magnets on the rise for all forms of renewable energy, analysts say a genuine shortage may lie ahead.

Some auto firms have been looking to replace rare earths for years. Now manufacturers amounting to nearly half global sales say they are limiting their use, a Reuters analysis found. Continue Reading →

Cobalt refinery operators have ambitious plans for ‘Battery Park’ – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 14, 2021)

First Cobalt seeks to bring manufacturing partner to northeastern Ontario for value-added processing

The company refurbishing a mothballed metals refinery near the town of Cobalt are discussing the idea of creating a Battery Park, catering to the supply chain needs of the North American electric vehicle industry.

Toronto’s First Cobalt wants to produce refined cobalt at the facility, along with a used battery recycling plant, but they’re also strategizing to produce nickel sulfate on the same site, five kilometres outside of town, within the next few years. Both nickel and cobalt are used in electric vehicle battery production.

For First Cobalt, this is a US$60-million expenditure to bring the former Yukon refinery back to life. The facility ran for about a decade – producing cobalt, nickel, copper, silver and other products – before being shuttered in 2015. First Cobalt acquired the shuttered building in 2017. Continue Reading →

It’s not just mining. Refining holds U.S. back on minerals – by James Marshall (E&E News – Greenwire – July 14, 2021)


Republicans are sensing a vulnerability in the White House’s avowed allegiance to renewable energy, questioning whether the Biden administration will embrace mining projects to ramp up the United States’ access to the minerals vital to building electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels.

They have taken aim at a Biden administration decision to delay a land swap that would facilitate copper mining on sacred Apache land and another to postpone orders to open Alaskan land to mineral development (E&E Daily, April 29).

But experts say mining expansion isn’t a silver bullet in the United States’ quest to become competitive with China on critical minerals during the energy transition. Instead, they argue that the key problem the Biden administration must swiftly address is farther up the supply chain: the dearth of U.S. mineral processing plants and refineries. Continue Reading →

U.K. Fraud Unit Finds Bribe Network Behind World’s Cobalt Hub – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – July 14, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — U.K. prosecutors have told Swiss authorities they have proof of an alleged money-laundering ring spanning from Africa to Europe that paid almost $380 million in cash bribes to authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Companies repeatedly bribed officials to further their business interests in the mineral-rich nation, according to the Swiss court judgment that cited information from U.K. prosecutors. Congo is Africa’s biggest producer of copper and supplies about 70% of the world’s cobalt, a critical input for the batteries that power electric vehicles.

The $379 million that was allegedly siphoned off in bribes over a five-year period is more than Congo’s total spending on health care last year. Continue Reading →

Could rare earths peak in Tanzania? – by Scarlett Evans (Mining Technology – July 14, 2021)

A fast-growing staple of the green energy revolution, rare earth elements are used to produce electric magnets found in everything from electric vehicles (EVs) to direct drive wind turbines.

With tightening global emissions restrictions driving up demand for EVs, cashing in on deposits of rare earth materials is a savvy way to secure a seat at the table of the blossoming green economy, and finding alternative sources to China has become a priority amidst continued trade tensions.

Peak Resources’ Ngualla project is based on one of the largest and highest-grade undeveloped neodymium praseodymium (NdPr) deposits in the world, located in southern Tanzania. Rare earths remain a newly-emerging product and while deposits in Tanzania are high-grade, Peak Resources’ project marks the first rare earths mine in the country. Continue Reading →

Can Environmentalists Handle the Truth about Mining? – by Jack Lifton (Investor Intel – July 13, 2021)

Solar panels and wind turbines cannot even begin to supply the concentrated
power needed for smelters, steel furnaces, copper refining, aluminum
production, and myriads of other energy intensive necessary processes.

The recovery of the amount of non-fuel natural resources necessary for the world, or even just the USA, or the EU, or China, to go “green” would simultaneously entail the construction of a massively enlarged minerals processing industry the likes of which the world has not seen since the creation and growth of the steel industry, which is and will remain the structural backbone of our civilization.

Much of the sourcing and processing infrastructure that is needed for its own domestic consumption of natural resources has already been accomplished by China.

But for the rest of the world, such resource recovery and processing onto useful forms at that “greening” scale would require the diversion of a significant percentage of national GDPs for decades. Continue Reading →

EU, Ukraine sign ‘strategic partnership’ on raw materials – by Frédéric Simon ( – July 13, 2021)

Kyiv will be invited on Tuesday (13 July) to join EU industrial alliances on batteries and raw materials, with a view to develop an entire value chain of the extraction, refining and recycling of minerals in Ukraine to supply the EU market for electric cars and digital equipment.

European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič has travelled to Ukraine, where he was expected to sign a new “strategic partnership” on raw materials with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

“We decided that we should open a new chapter in our strategic relationship and this is a closer cooperation in raw materials, green and digital technologies,” Šefčovič told a group of journalists on Monday before boarding a plane to Kyiv. Continue Reading →

Rare earths are now being mined in Canada – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – July 9, 2021)

On June 28, First Nations mining contractor Nahanni Construction Ltd. dug a scoop of ore from the North T open pit at Vital Metals Ltd.’s Nechalacho project in Northwest Territories that marked a momentous milestone – Canada is now a rare earths-producing nation.

This first REE ore mined at Nechalacho comes just two years after Australia-based Vital came up with a unique plan to take advantage of relatively small but high-grade mineralization coming to the surface at the project to rapidly produce the rare earths widely used in today’s high-tech devices.

North T has 101,000 metric tons of resources averaging 9.01% total rare earth oxides, compared to other global deposits that tend to average around 1% TREO or less. The high-grade North T ore being mined by Nahanni Construction will be further upgraded with an ore sorter delivered to Nechalacho this spring. Continue Reading →

The US wants to make EV batteries without these foreign metals. Should it? – by Maddie Stone ( – June 30, 2021)

Nickel and cobalt have precarious international supply chains, but eliminating them from batteries raises tough questions.

The electric vehicle or EV revolution owes its existence to lithium batteries, and those batteries have a cocktail of specialized minerals to thank for their high performance.

In most cases, that cocktail’s ingredient list includes cobalt and nickel, minerals that help deliver the long lifespan and range that consumers increasingly demand of EVs.

But with hundreds of millions of new EVs expected to hit the streets in the coming decades, skyrocketing demand for nickel and cobalt could strain mineral supply chains. Fearing a supply shortage that would slow the EV boom, the U.S. Department of Energy is now proposing that we eliminate cobalt and nickel from batteries altogether. Continue Reading →

CHART: Study predicts over 400% increase in copper, lithium, nickel battery demand – by Editor ( – June 30, 2021)

BloombergNEF has upped its predictions for annual demand for lithium-ion batteries by more than a third from its previous forecast on the back of expectations for rapid growth in the passenger vehicle segment.

BNEF predicts annual demand for lithium-ion batteries will pass 2.7 terawatt-hours per year by 2030 – a 35% increase from the analytics company’s forecast made last year. Passenger vehicles will represent 72% of the overall market as sales race to 14 million by 2025 from just over 3 million last year.

BNEF expects China to extend its lead in the battery supply chain — particularly processing and refining. The country accounts for almost half of new lithium hydroxide projects coming online this year and has 55% of the world’s nickel sulfate market and 80% of the global market for cobalt sulfate, according to the report. Continue Reading →