The Critical Minerals Crisis – by Jack Lifton (Investor Intel – June 6, 2023)


The Critical Minerals Crisis excerpt — “We are now at an inflection point for our society. If we can secure the supplies and the processing capacity for the minerals critical for the technologies we now take for granted in our daily lives, then our nations will flourish and grow.

If not, then our standard of living will decline, and those who have the critical minerals and the industrial bases to refine and fabricate them surge ahead of us. Our politicians and policymakers are woefully ignorant of this reality. This is the greatest danger of all to our lifestyle and security.” — Jack Lifton, Co-Founder & Co-Chairman, Critical Minerals Institute.

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Australia moves to find new critical minerals partners but risks China’s ire – by Jonathan Peralman (The Straits Times – June 8, 2023)

SYDNEY – For decades, Australia has been a crucial supplier of the iron ore that has helped to quench China’s insatiable appetite for steel. This massive flow of iron ore – which invoked more than A$150 billion (S$135 billion) a year of sales – enabled China to build apartment blocks, shopping centres and infrastructure projects around the country as its economy expanded.

But, in recent years, China has also invested in other Australian resources for its transformation into a technology superpower. Today, China is a major extractor and processor of critical minerals such as rare earths that are used to produce electric car batteries, superconductors, mobile phones and other high-end technologies.

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China’s Monopoly over Critical Minerals – by Katherine Wells (Georgetown Security Studies Review – June 1, 2023)

As part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has taken to investing in critical mineral mines globally. One of these investment hotspots is the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 2020, the DRC was the world’s largest cobalt miner, producing 41 of all cobalt resources.

Although not the largest producer of copper – Chile produces 27 percent of the global copper production – the DRC boasts the highest-quality copper reserves in the world, with mines estimated to contain copper with grades above 3 percent, 2.4 percent higher than the average supply globally. The mining industry is central to the DRC’s economy, making up over 90 percent of its exports.

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Massive rare earth discoveries could mean a new mining rush in the Mountain West – by Will Walkey (Jackson Hole Community Radio/Wyoming Public Media – June 1, 2023)

Down a bumpy dirt road next to a small meandering creek in southeast Wyoming lies the site of a potentially massive rare earth mineral mine. These elements are used in many emerging technologies, including cell phones and solar panels, and they’re a growing part of the future of extractive industry in the Mountain West.

But mining them here and in other places around the region is sure to have big impacts on nearby communities and the environment. This site in the Laramie Mountains is remote. Just a couple of ranches are visible below, and the desolate hillsides contain cacti, animal droppings, shrubs and rocks. A few wooden stakes remain from previous surveys of the land.

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The new Cold War is already here based on commodity supply strategies of major economies, says Liberum – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – May 31, 2023)

(Kitco News) Looking at the latest commodity supply strategies of major economic powers, a new Cold War has already begun, according to the investment bank Liberum. And the U.S., EU, and Japan have identified ‘critical’ commodities required to guarantee stable economic growth, Liberum analysts said in their latest commodity report.

“Now, they’re moving to secure the supply chains of these inputs, mainly by activating old trade alliances,” the bank’s analysts Tom Price, Ben Davis and Yuen Low wrote Tuesday.There are also a lot of new U.S.-led deals happening in the critical metals space.

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Global production of critical metals unlikely to meet EU demand – by Staff ( – June 1, 2023)

A recent study by Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology found that the current global production levels of raw materials will not match the demand of the European Union’s EV industry, not even when accounting for recycling.

The paper points out that the metals that are highly sought after, such as dysprosium, neodymium, manganese and niobium, are of great economic importance to the EU, while their supply is limited and it takes time to scale up raw material production.

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Decarbonization ambitions ignite debate over mining, permitting – by Robert Zullo (Iowa Capital Dispatch – May 31,2023)


The decarbonized, electrified future envisioned by the Biden administration, state governments, automakers, utility companies and corporate sustainability goals depends to a huge degree on minerals and metals.

Lots more lithium will be needed for car and truck batteries, as well as the big banks of batteries that are increasingly popping onto the electric grid to balance the intermittency of wind and solar power. Those batteries, as well as wind turbines and solar panels, also need copper, cobalt,, nickel, zinc and “rare earth” elements used in electric car motors and other clean technologies, among other materials.

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A trillion-dollar payday in the making as Ontario’s EV supply chain takes shape at a remarkable pace – by David Olive (Toronto Star – May 25, 2023)

Ontario’s once dying auto industry is in the midst of resurrection with a battery plant in Windsor, another on the way in St. Thomas and an exploding electric vehicle market

You don’t create one the world’s powerhouses in a 21st-century-defining activity without at least a bit of drama. And drama we’ve had in the fractious negotiations over an electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in Windsor, Ont. That “gigafactory,” already under development, is crucial to Ontario’s strategy to create an EV supply chain of world-class status.

Fortunately, that strategy has never been in jeopardy, despite some panicky concerns raised during the Windsor negotiations. More worrisome is the EV chain’s access to critical minerals. More on that later.

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Column: Supply anxiety is the new hope for developing energy transition mines – by Clyde Russell (Reuters – May 25, 2023)

MELBOURNE, May 25 (Reuters) – Can “supply anxiety” drive the next mining boom and deliver the minerals vital for the energy transition? A fear that the world won’t produce enough copper, lithium, aluminium and other metals vital for electrifying virtually everything that runs on fossil fuels is an increasingly common theme.

Almost every speaker at this week’s 121 Mining Investment event in Melbourne made the same point: There isn’t enough production to meet anticipated demand, there aren’t enough projects in the pipeline, and even when new mineral deposits are discovered, the regulatory and financial barriers to developing them take years to navigate.

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NDP leader aims to boost critical mineral development if he becomes Manitoba’s next premier – by Steve Lambert (CBC News Manitoba – May 2023)

Manitoba Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew promised an economically-focused, fiscally responsible government if his party wins the Oct. 3 election, although his outline to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce was short on details and costs.

An NDP government would balance the budget within a first term, Kinew told chamber members at a luncheon Tuesday, while also expanding child care and promoting immigration. Kinew also promised to enhance the mining sector by boosting critical mineral development.

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OPINION: The Philippines should seek to bond with U.S. on metals – by Makoi Popioco (Nikkei Asia – May 24, 2023)

While access to new bases and expanded military cooperation between the Philippines and the U.S. have grabbed headlines, an important economic component, namely collaboration on the processing of critical minerals and green mining, is emerging as another possible area of partnership.

Although details remain sketchy, potential “friendshoring” in this area by the U.S. could be pivotal to Manila’s efforts to expand its critical minerals sector. It could also provide an opportunity for the U.S. to show how it will operationalize President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which is widely perceived as lackluster so far.

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U.S. Apathy Paved the Way for China in Africa – by Howard W. French (Foreign Policy – May 22, 2023)


Despite a strong foothold during the Cold War, Washington has since fumbled on the continent.

In April 1997, toward the end of the protracted demise of the United States’ longtime Cold War client Mobutu Sese Seko, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, flew to the capital of what was then called Zaire to try to persuade the besieged dictator to step down.

As I stood outside the drawing room of the palace where Mobutu and Richardson met in the morning, an aide to Richardson sidled up to me and whispered an invitation in my ear. If I, as the New York Times bureau chief for the region, would like to fly with them to the southern city of Lubumbashi to meet Laurent Kabila, the rebel leader whose Rwanda-backed forces were taking over Zaire, I should walk toward Richardson’s parked motorcade and stand there and stand by, not saying a word to anyone.

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Feeling left out: northern Ontario junior miners want more critical minerals funding (CBC Sudbury – May 23, 2023)

Provincial and federal governments are investing money to attract electric vehicle battery plants

Junior mining exploration companies in northern Ontario are feeling a little left out of government funding aimed at growing electric vehicle battery production. The federal and provincial governments recently announced they are investing billions of dollars in subsidies to attract and build electric vehicle battery plants in Ontario.

Ottawa is giving the Volkswagen St. Thomas, Ont. plant up to $13 billion in subsidies over the next decade alone. That’s about three times more money than what is being spent on the federal critical mineral strategy, which commits to spending $3.8 billion over the next eight years.

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Canadian critical minerals company gunning for some of China’s action considers selling assets as costs surge by 85% – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – May 17, 2023)

Stock plunges for start-up seen as potential counterweight to China’s dominance of materials crucial to energy transition

A Canadian upstart that positioned itself as a counterweight to China’s dominance of critical minerals is considering selling assets after the cost of the refinery it is building north of Toronto surged by at least 85 per cent.

Electra Battery Materials Corp., which counts commodities giant Glencore PLC among its clients and has received funding from Ottawa and the Ontario government, said it faces a budget shortfall of about $50 million for one of its crucial projects.

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Electra Battery Materials on the hunt for financing partner to finish Temiskaming cobalt refinery – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 15, 2023)

Toronto developer still ‘bullish’ on the electric vehicle market as its battery recycling business picks up steam

Electra Battery Materials is facing a cash crunch to finish the expansion at its Temiskaming cobalt refinery complex.

Construction at the northeastern Ontario plant has stalled and the Toronto company announced May 11 that it has launched a strategic review process to snag a deep-pocketed partner. In the meantime, Electra said it is in cash conservation mode.

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