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

Exclusive: Tesla in talks to use CATL’s cobalt-free batteries in China-made cars – sources – by Zhang Yan, Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh (Reuters U.S. – February 18, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

Beijing (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) is in advanced stages of talks to use batteries from CATL (300750.SZ) that contain no cobalt – one of the most expensive metals in electric vehicle (EV) batteries – in cars made at its China plant, people familiar with the matter said.

Adoption would mark the first time for the U.S. automaker to include so-called lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its lineup, as it seeks to lower production costs amid faltering overall EV sales in China.

Tesla has been talking to the Chinese manufacturer for more than a year to supply LFP batteries that will be cheaper than its existing batteries by a “double-digit percent,” said a person directly involved in the matter, who was not authorized to speak with media and so declined to be identified. Continue Reading →

Japan to pour investment into non-China rare-earth projects – by Ryosuke Hanafusa (Nikkei Asian Review – February 15, 2020)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

TOKYO — The Japanese government will cooperate with the U.S. and Australia on investing in processing facilities for rare-earth metals, looking to ease reliance on imports from China.

Rare earths are essential to such high-tech machinery as motors for electric vehicles. But Japan imports 58% of its supply from China, leaving it vulnerable to manipulation by Beijing. Tokyo plans to bring the Chinese share down to 50% or less by 2025.

Tokyo is discussing a cooperation deal with the U.S. and Australia. Smelting facilities under construction in the U.S. state of Texas that will be operated by Australian rare-earths miner Lynas are a probable investment target. Continue Reading →

U.S. Drones Scouring for Rare Earths to End Reliance on China – by Luzi Ann Javier and Justina Vasquez (Bloomberg/Financial Post – February 9, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. is deploying drones and other technology as it scours for potential rare-earths reserves at home and abroad to wean the nation off its dependence on Chinese imports.

“We’ve been almost 100% dependent on foreign sources of rare earth elements for industrial applications,” Jim Reilly, director of the U.S. Geological Survey, said.

“It’s not only the domestic sources of the resource that we concentrate on. We look for those resources literally across the globe, and then we build collaboration with our partners.” Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Congo’s move to control artisanal cobalt is double-edged – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 9, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has announced ambitious plans to take control of the country’s wild-west artisanal cobalt sector.

A new state company, Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC), has been given monopoly powers to purchase and market cobalt from the informal sector. The move is being hailed by the government as a way to clean up a sector that is tarnished with a reputation for child labour, lax safety and illegal activity.

That would be very good news for the cobalt market. The human cost of mining in the Congo, which accounts for more than 60% of global cobalt production, is one of the reasons companies such as Tesla are actively trying to engineer the metal out of their battery supply chain. Continue Reading →

Canadian rare earths metals look for shot in the arm from U.S. government funds – by Gabriel Friedman (Finacial Post – January 31, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

The U.S. government is putting up millions of dollars for the construction of processing plants in North America, and Canadian companies are eligible to apply

In a development that could resuscitate Canada’s rare earths metals’ sector, the U.S. government is putting up millions of dollars for the construction of processing plants in North America, according to a document obtained by the Financial Post.

Rare earths metals are considered increasingly important for cutting-edge military and technological applications, but the supply chain is almost entirely located in Asia with Chinese companies dominating the sector.

Now, as part of a U.S. government-led effort to build out a North American supply chain amid rising tensions with China, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is planning to award an estimated US$40 million in matching funds to companies that can separate and process anywhere from 500 to 5,000 metric tons of rare earth elements on an annual basis. Continue Reading →

Canada boasts substantial REE resources – by Rose Ragsdale (Metal Tech News – January 21, 2020)

https://www.metaltechnews.com/

Rare earth elements in Canada have recaptured the spotlight now that the United States has entered a new alliance with its northern neighbor to develop robust supply chains for critical minerals needed for important manufacturing sectors, including communication technology, aerospace and defense, and clean technology.

A final agreement between the two countries, reported in December, delivers on a commitment made by their leaders in June to advance joint initiatives to address shared mineral security concerns and ensure continued economic growth and the national security of both nations.

“Canada is in a unique position to strengthen global supply chains for critical minerals. We are proud to partner with the United States through the Energy Resource Governance Initiative, to advance responsible development of critical minerals and ensure mineral security,” Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said in a Dec. 18 statement. Continue Reading →

The Left’s Opposition To Mining Threatens Its Green Dream – OpEd – by William F. Shughart II (Eurasia Review – January 25, 2020)

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Environmental activists who oppose mining minerals in the United States are threatening the same green agenda they claim to embrace. Among those leading the attack is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, who proposes banning mining on public lands.

Though environmentalists may not realize it, increased domestic production of “critical” minerals would benefit the environment. But existing restrictions on recovering these elements are forcing U.S. firms to purchase these resources overseas.

This can be problematic if our trading partners are unstable, unreliable or unfriendly, as was the case before the fracking revolution when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dominated the global market for crude oil. Now the United States is a net exporter of oil and natural gas. But we continue to be dependent on imported minerals, not because domestic supplies don’t exist, but because restrictive regulatory policies prevent their recovery. Continue Reading →

“It’s time to be ambitious” on critical minerals: Mining Association of Canada – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – January 24, 2020)

http://resourceclips.com/

Canadian-American co-operation on essential elements means opportunity for this country’s wider economy, Pierre Gratton emphasizes. Speaking to the Vancouver Board of Trade, the president/CEO of the Mining Association of Canada commented on the recent Canada-U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration, as well as the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan.

Two weeks ago Natural Resources Canada announced the cross-border agreement to secure deposits and develop supply chains for minerals essential to the economy, defence, technology and clean energy.

The initiative takes place as the U.S. seeks ways to reduce its dependency on sources considered unreliable, unethical or potential economic and military rivals. Continue Reading →

China’s raw materials strategy: The next chapter in the US-China rivalry? – by Bashar Malkawi (Policy Forum – January 24, 2020)

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“Without a domestic supply, the United States must rely on Chinese
sources of rare earths to build ‘Made in America’ military equipment.
It makes little sense to rely upon a security competitor for access to essential
military materials. Rare earths are not the only strategic

metal. Lithium, chromium, cobalt, graphite, copper, and manganese
are also essential for industrial purposes.”

The United States cannot rely upon products that originate in, or supply chains that run through, a potential adversary, Bashar Malkawi writes.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), publicly released in 2013 and formerly named ‘One Belt, One Road’, would, at first look, seem to be a force for good. China views the BRI as a way to enhance its trade connectivity, reduce surplus domestic industrial capacity, develop poorer interior provinces, promote energy security, and internationalise Chinese industrial and financial standards.

The BRI builds China’s commercial ties abroad by financing, constructing, and developing major transport, energy, technology, and other infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Continue Reading →

Det’on Cho signs agreement to run operations at N.W.T. rare earths mine – by Avery Zingel (CBC News North – January 24, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction Corp. signs agreement with Cheetah at Vancouver mining conference

In what could be a Canadian first, an N.W.T. first nation has signed an agreement to run mining operations on a project in their own traditional territory.

Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction Corporation, owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, will run operations on the Nechalacho rare earth mineral project between the Dene communities of Dettah and Lutselk’e. It was announced at the Annual Mineral Exploration Roundup mining conference this week in Vancouver.

Yellowknives Dene Chief Ernest Betsina said the signing marks a transition from the first nation being “passive witnesses to major projects to being key participants.” Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Increasing Demand for Critical Minerals Positions Canada’s Mining Industry for Success (Mining Association of Canada)

New Canada-US Collaboration and Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan Bring Renewed Attention to Mining Sector

VANCOUVER, January 24th, 2020 – Today, Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), in his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, spoke of the state of Canada’s mining industry and how recent commitments to mining, particularly the new Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration and the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP), show great promise for Canada’s mining sector.

“The United States is looking to Canada to be a supplier of critical minerals, essential to new, advanced technologies in major sectors of the North American economy, and the Government of Canada, as expressed in Prime Minister Trudeau’s most recent Mandate Letters to his Cabinet, is committed to meet US demands,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO. “Richly endowed with natural resources and with a globally leading mining sector committed to responsible mineral development, Canada is uniquely positioned to supply the US with critical minerals, representing a significant opportunity for new investment and growth in mining and mineral processing.”

Canada ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 15 minerals and metals. The new Canada-US Joint Action Plan will improve collaboration to ensure the responsible sourcing of the critical minerals that are essential to many different sectors, including clean technology and defense. Continue Reading →

The EV revolution will take batteries, but are they ethical? – by Adria Vasil (Corporate Knights Magazine – January 20, 2020)

https://www.corporateknights.com/

How automakers can clean up the dirty minerals that power them in the global race to electrify cars

Two thousand nineteen may go down as the year the auto industry started putting some muscle into electric vehicle sales. Amidst a steady stream of pledges to deliver more EVs than ever over the next five years, Ford filmed an electric prototype of its F-150 pickup truck (a favourite gas guzzler among Canadians) towing an entire freight train in a CN railyard in Montreal. Not to be outdone, the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck then hauled the F-150 uphill in a tongue-in-cheek tug-of-war.

The brawny marketing stunts carried a simple message: electric cars aren’t just for tree-hugging Leaf, Prius and Bolt lovers anymore. The message is timely, with global leaders (including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) committing to carbon pollution targets of “net zero” by 2050, tough new emissions standards coming out of Europe, and a smattering of governments following Norway’s early lead on banning gas-powered-car sales as soon as 2025.

For the vast majority of automakers that have cautiously dipped their toes in the EV market, the race to net zero is officially on. But environmental and human rights advocates, along with international heavyweights at the World Bank and World Economic Forum, say there’s an elephant in the showroom. Continue Reading →

Toronto mining company eyes rare earths near Uranium City – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – January 20, 2020)

https://thestarphoenix.com/

James Sykes said he needed just a few seconds with a hammer and a pry bar to knock a 60-kilogram hunk of rock from an outcrop just south of Saskatchewan’s border with the Northwest Territories a couple of years ago.

The veteran prospector liked what he found. “We have surface showings. That (rock) was 40 per cent rare earth oxide,” said Sykes, who has spent his career exploring for uranium and, along the way, helped discover several major deposits in northern Saskatchewan.

Today, Sykes is the vice-president of exploration and development at Appia Energy Corp., a Toronto-based junior mining company aiming to capitalize on a growing interest in developing a new supply of rare earth elements in Saskatchewan. Continue Reading →

China to buy rare earths from U.S. as part of trade pact – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – China has agreed to buy two types of rare earth metals from the United States as part of an initial trade deal inked on Wednesday, a move likely to boost U.S. production of the strategic minerals.

The agreement, signed in Washington by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump, gives China two years to ramp up purchases of hundreds of U.S. products, including scandium and yttrium, two of the 17 rare earths commonly used in lighting and computers.

It was a surprising about-face for China, whose status as the top global producer of the specialized minerals used to make electronics, military weapons and other high-tech equipment was seen as giving it leverage in its trade war with Washington. Continue Reading →

Tesla in Talks to Buy Glencore Cobalt for Shanghai Car Plant – by Mark Burton and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc is negotiating a long-term contract to ship cobalt to Tesla Inc.’s new electric-vehicle factory in Shanghai, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal would help Tesla avoid a supply squeeze on the key battery metal as it pushes into the world’s largest car market, and mark a win for Glencore after a tough spell for its cobalt business.

Executives from both companies hammered out terms of the deal before an official ceremony to mark the first sales from the Shanghai plant earlier this month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing commercial negotiations. They declined to give details about the size and value of the supply deal. Continue Reading →