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

Sweden eyes cobalt mining on home turf (The Local – February 15, 2018)

https://www.thelocal.se/

Sweden is “one of the most interesting areas in the world” to explore minerals like cobalt and lithium, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Damberg says.

A new report suggests that Sweden’s historic mining area of Bergslagen may have great potential for extracting sought-after minerals such as cobalt and lithium and the government on Thursday gave the go-ahead to investigate the opportunities to start exploring the matter.

The demand for cobalt, lithium and Rare Earth Metals (REE) has soared in recent years due to their contribution to green innovations such as electric cars and solar and wind power stations as well as the production of mobile phone batteries. Congo is today the world’s leading provider of cobalt, with 65 percent of the total production, while China mines 95 percent of the world’s REEs. Continue Reading →

Crucial to find cobalt sources outside of Africa – by Rahul Verma and Brent A. Elliott (My San Antonio.com – February 14, 2018)

https://www.mysanantonio.com/

Rahul Verma is a research scientist associate in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. Brent A. Elliott is an economic geologist in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin.

As we move toward integration of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles, we need to pay greater attention to the cobalt supply chain and diversification of supply for cobalt sources.

Cobalt plays an integral part in the common lithium-ion battery, and as battery-powered applications such as electric vehicles become ubiquitous, cobalt mining will need to grow proportionally to avoid supply bottlenecks.

Industry projections show that if we reach 24.7 million cars by 2025, we will need the cobalt supply for a compound annual growth rate of about 8 percent from 2020 to 2025. If demand is higher, such as upward of 63.2 million cars by 2025, it will require a growth of about 14 percent from 2020 to 2025. Such growth rates hinge on a precarious supply chain. Continue Reading →

Exclusive – London Metal Exchange aims to ban metal sourced with child labour – by Pratima Desai and Tom Daly (Reuters U.K. – February 13, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange could remove companies from its list of approved metal suppliers if they fall short of industry standards following an outcry about cobalt mined by children in Africa, three sources said.

The exchange will issue principles for responsible sourcing in coming months and producers will have to show their metal meets industry standards that conform with the new LME guidelines, the sources familiar with the matter said.

“The LME has to be policeman. It can do that by making sure industry standards on child labour and conflict minerals are being met, that there is auditing and certification,” a source on an LME committee said. Continue Reading →

Let’s Make America a Mineral Superpower – by Stephen Moore (Twonhall.com – February 13, 2018)

https://townhall.com/

Why is the United States reliant on China and Russia for strategic minerals when we have more of these valuable resources than both these nations combined? This has nothing to do with geological impediments. It is all politics.

This is an underreported scandal that jeopardizes American security. As recently as 1990, the U.S. was No. 1 in the world in mining output.

But according to the latest data from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. is 100 percent import dependent for at least 20 critical and strategic minerals (not including each of the “rare earths”), and between 50 and 99 percent reliant for another group of 30 key minerals. Why aren’t alarm bells ringing? Continue Reading →

Samsung SDI Can’t Skirt Cobalt’s Crunch – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Demand is rising much faster than supply, used mobile phones or none.

Can recycling save the world from a looming shortage of cobalt? The idea has sound precedent. Lead — an essential ingredient in traditional car batteries, just as cobalt will be for the coming generation of lithium-ion cells — is probably the most extensively recycled industrial raw material on earth.

With cobalt demand from cars, electric buses and utility-scale batteries set to soar over the next decade, mining cobalt from spent batteries rather than the ground could go some way toward keeping the market balanced.

That’s the hope of Samsung SDI Co. The South Korean components company will sign a deal with a cobalt-recycling business to secure supplies from used mobile phones, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, listing American Manganese Inc. and Umicore SA without saying whether either was under consideration for the tie-up. Continue Reading →

Nope, Cobalt’s Not A Problem For The EV Revolution Or Tesla (#CleanTechnica Exclusive) – by Zachary Shahan (Clean Technica – February 11, 2018)

https://cleantechnica.com/

In the world of life, there are small challenges and there are major, critical, existential challenges. That’s the story for humans, for businesses, and for industries. Limited cobalt supply is being pitched more and more as an existential problem for the electric vehicle revolution (and for Tesla in particular), but it’s really just another cog in the machine that needs to get moving.

The hottest trending hype about what will supposedly stop an electric vehicle revolution — and take down Tesla — has morphed over the years. “It will be X.” Well, no. “It will be Y.” Nope. “It will be Z.” Try again. As these other “death sentences” have been overcome, the naysayers have had to find new concerns to cling to. Because, you know, life is no fun if you aren’t worrying or casting doubt on positive forecasts of the future.

Now, the naysaying world of anti-EV and anti-Tesla commenters is all over cobalt. “There’s not enough of it! Where will people find it! Current suppliers commit human rights abuse!* The price is going to skyrocket! Game over for the EV market — and especially Tesla! (So long and thanks for all the tweets.)” Continue Reading →

As Cobalt Prices Rise, Congo Raises Pressure on Western Mining Giants – by Alexandra Wexler and Scott Patterson (Wall Street Journal – February 6, 2018)

https://www.wsj.com/

Congo’s state-owned miner pushes for re-nationalization of mines; global players in resource-rich nation include Glencore and Randgold

Congo’s state-owned mining firm, Gécamines SA, is pushing to renationalize the Central African nation’s rich natural resources, in a move that could roil some of the world’s largest mining companies and have implications for industries ranging from technology to auto production.

Gécamines Chairman Albert Yuma Mulimbi told The Wall Street Journal that Congo—Africa’s biggest copper and cobalt producer, but also one of the world’s poorest countries, with an annual budget of roughly $5 billion—hadn’t benefited enough from its mining production.

He alleged that companies had manipulated costs and production figures, resulting in lower dividends and royalty payments to the Congolese government. Continue Reading →

Voisey’s Bay poised to capitalize on demand for cobalt, but Vale silent – by Terry Roberts (CBC News NL – February 06, 2018)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

Sources say ballistic surge in cobalt prices makes underground mine project more likely

A ballistic surge in the price of cobalt could mean positive things for Labrador’s Voisey’s Bay mine, but if executives at Vale are excited, they certainly aren’t saying.

Reuters is reporting that the Brazilian mining giant, which owns the Voisey’s Bay mine and processing facility at Long Harbour, Placentia Bay, is looking to cash in on cobalt.

The international news agency is reporting that Vale is looking to sell unmined cobalt, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to investors and that could be a positive sign as the company decides whether to proceed with an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay. Continue Reading →

Electric Cars and Niche Metals Lure Cash to Africa’s Mines – by Thomas Wilson and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 2, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Rising commodity prices may have revived enthusiasm for African resources, but it’s unlikely to be the old mainstays of coal and iron ore pulling crowds next week as the mining industry meets in Cape Town.

The electric-vehicle boom and shifting industrial demand have transformed formerly niche metals — from lithium and cobalt to praseodymium and neodymium — into the hot new drawcards of African mining.

Far smaller and cheaper than the gargantuan mine, port and rail developments pursued by the likes of BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group during the last boom, these next-generation mines may stand a better chance of success.

Here are five metals grabbing attention across the continent. Continue Reading →

Glencore flags sharp rise in cobalt production – by Neil Hume (Financial Times -January 31, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Cobalt prices have soared amid rising demand for batteries to power electric vehicles

Glencore, the Swiss miner and commodity trader, has flagged a big increase in cobalt production as one of its biggest copper mines restarts production.

The London-listed group said it expected to produce around 39,000 tonnes of the metal this year, up from 27,400 tonnes last year, as its Katanga mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo come back on stream following a big investment programme.

The mine was closed in 2015 so that Glencore could upgrade its processing facilities. The company estimates it could produce as much as 20,000 tonnes of cobalt a year by 2019. Continue Reading →

Miners Face Sudden Cost Increases After Congo Law Overhaul – by William Clowes and Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – January 31, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The Democratic Republic of Congo canceled contract guarantees and hiked a key royalty in sweeping last-minute changes to a mining law that will have immediate financial costs for every mining project in the country.

The country’s parliament finalized a revised mining code on Jan. 27, after both the lower and upper houses introduced increasingly onerous fiscal and regulatory reforms to already contested legislation. The modifications significantly raise the cost of doing business for investors in Africa’s biggest copper producer, while boosting the state’s share of mining revenue.

Lawmakers went ahead with the changes even after Glencore Plc Chief Executive Officer Ivan Glasenberg met Congolese President Joseph Kabila to discuss the proposed law. Continue Reading →

Bidders for $500m Canada streaming deal as cobalt price surges–report – by Frik Els (Mining.com – January 30, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Cobalt prices have been one of the main beneficiaries of the scramble for battery materials by auto manufacturers.

The metal quoted on the LME recently topped $80,000 a tonne, a gain of 140% since the beginning of last year. Measured from its record low hit in February 2016, the metal is more than $50,000 more expensive.

Annual production of the raw material is only around 100,000 tonnes with the bulk coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where fears about political instability and the challenges of ethical sourcing combine to supercharge supply concerns. Continue Reading →

A small town in Quebec could power the next wave of electric cars – by Ashley Renders (Vice News – January 30, 2018)

https://news.vice.com/

But Sudol doubts recycling would satisfy the demand for batteries.
The global population is growing and people want cell phones, cars,
urban transportation and a higher standard of living—all of this
is metal intensive, says Sudol. If we can’t dig for these metals
in a place like Quebec, which has strong restoration policies and
labour laws, “then where on Earth are we going to get these metals?”
he asks.

In other words, as long as car companies and cell phone companies
are clamoring for battery metals, Sudol sees only two options:
child miners in the DRC or rule of law in Quebec.

A small town in Northern Quebec could hold the keys to a future where electric vehicles are the norm.

A Toronto-based mining company called RNC Minerals Corporation wants to build a “battery metals” mine near Amos, Quebec, a town of less than 13,000 people that sits on the largest untouched deposit of nickel sulphide and cobalt in the world, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data cited by a company report. Continue Reading →

World’s Biggest Producer Doubles Cobalt Taxes Amid Electric-Vehicle Boom (Wall Street Journal – January 25, 2018)

https://www.wsj.com/

Miners decry move as ‘total chaos’

Congo is moving to double taxes on cobalt, a move mining companies warned would inhibit investment in a metal experiencing a boom due to its use in cellphones and electric vehicles.

The Central Africa country holds as much as two-thirds of the world’s cobalt, putting it at the center of a growing piece of the global economy. The price of cobalt has doubled since the beginning of 2017 as mining, technology and auto companies rush to secure supplies of a metal that is a crucial ingredient in the lithium-ion battery.

The Congolese Senate passed late Wednesday the new mining code unanimously with the support of President Joseph Kabila, who is expected to sign it into law. Over the past three years, Congo has struggled to raise enough revenues to pay public workers and fund social projects, fueling discontent across the impoverished nation, roughly the size of Western Europe. Continue Reading →

Laurentian University researchers put Cobalt camp under the microscope – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – January 25, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

First Cobalt Mining conducting in-depth study of historic silver district

First Cobalt Mining, the biggest exploration player in the Cobalt camp, is bringing a Laurentian University researcher into the fold to better understand the geology of its properties in northeastern Ontario.

The Toronto company announced it’s embarking on a dedicated research partnership program with the university’s Mineral Exploration Research Centre (MERC) by sponsoring a post-doctoral position to carry out the first detailed study of major structural features in the 110-year-old history of the camp.

“We’re looking at it from a new set of eyes as researchers,” said Ross Sherlock, who oversees MERC’s Metal Earth project. “It’s an unusual geological assemblage.” MERC is the geoscience arm attached to Laurentian’s Harquail School of Earth Sciences, under the umbrella of the Goodman School of Mines. Continue Reading →