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

Sanctioned Israeli Billionaire Cost Congo $2 Billion, Group Says – by Michael J. Kavanagh (Bloomberg News – May 12, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The Democratic Republic of Congo lost out on nearly $2 billion in revenue by selling mining and oil assets to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, according to a coalition of Congolese and international organizations that urged the government to review the deals.

Companies owned by Gertler, who is under U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption in Congo, stand to gain a further $1.76 billion in the next 20 years from copper and cobalt projects in the country, said the coalition known as Congo Is Not For Sale. Gertler, who is close friends with former Congolese President Joseph Kabila, denies all wrongdoing and has never been charged with a crime.

“The coalition calls on Congolese authorities to end their silence on this matter and take urgent measures to ensure that Congo’s mineral wealth benefits the DRC Treasury and its people,” the group said in a report Wednesday. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Cobalt, Congo and a mass artisanal mining experiment – by Andy Home (Nasdaq/Reuters – May 13, 2021)

Cobalt epitomises the minerals conundrum at the heart of the green technology revolution.

It’s a key ingredient in the chemistry that powers electric vehicles and, along with other battery materials such as lithium, is facing a sustained demand surge as the world decarbonises.

But the world’s largest cobalt supplier is Democratic Republic of Congo, where up to a fifth of production is generated by artisanal miners working in squalid and dangerous conditions with little if any pricing power for their hard-won ore. Continue Reading →

Ocean mining frenzy drives $2.9 billion merger – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver – May 11, 2021)

Littering the abyssal plain of the Pacific Ocean are an estimated 21 billion tonnes worth of polymetallic nodules containing high grades of manganese, nickel, copper and cobalt – the so-called “battery metals” that Tesla (Nasdaq:TSLA) has warned may soon be in short supply.

They sit on top of the sea floor just waiting to be hoovered up, and several companies, including one from Vancouver, DeepGreen Metals, is in the race to begin harvesting them.

Getting the 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 that U.S. President Joe Biden has committed to will require a massive shift to renewable energy and electric cars. Continue Reading →

Glencore boss warns of future China dominance in electric vehicles – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – May 12, 2021)

US and Europe risk being left behind unless they secure cobalt supplies for batteries, says Ivan Glasenberg

The car industry in the US and Europe risks being left behind by their Chinese rivals unless they secure supplies of cobalt, according to the world’s biggest producer of the key battery metal.

Glencore chief executive Ivan Glasenberg told the FT Future of the Car Summit on Wednesday that western carmakers would be naive to think they could always rely on China to supply the batteries for electric vehicle fleets.

Glasenberg said Chinese companies had been quick to realise the vulnerability of their supply chains and “tied up” lots of cobalt from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt is a metal needed in the lithium-ion batteries used in longer-range electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Greenland’s Rare-Earth Election – by Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic – May 3, 2021)

A vote last month answered an important question about the world’s largest island.

Tunulliarfik Fjord has always played an outsize role in global history. One thousand years ago, the Viking Erik the Red settled there, the last outpost in the Norse expansion into North America.

When the United States established a protectorate over Greenland during World War II, it built one of its first airports in what is now Narsarsuaq, a large town on the fjord. And now Tunulliarfik is the site of a mining project that has overturned politics on Greenland.

Since 1979, the ruling Siumut party has dominated Greenland’s elections; in all those years it has lost power only once, in 2009, after the island reformed its government and loosened ties with Denmark, which has ruled it for three centuries. Continue Reading →

Deep-sea mining tests resume as lost robot rescued – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 30, 2021)

Belgium’s Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR) resumed on Friday tests that could lead to the mining of battery minerals from the Pacific Ocean floor after it managed to recover a robot stranded at a depth of thousands of metres.

The company reported Wednesday that its Patania II, a 25-tonne mining robot prototype, had uncoupled from a 5km-long (3.1 miles) cable connecting it to the surface.

The unit of Belgium’s DEME Group is with a group of European scientists to determine the environmental impacts of deep-sea mining. They are working on GSR’s concession in the Clarion Clipperton Zone. Continue Reading →

Cobalt price jump underscores reliance on metal for electric vehicle batteries – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – April 30, 2021)

The price of cobalt has jumped 40 per cent so far this year on persistent demand from electric vehicle makers, underlining the challenge in reducing reliance on the rare metal to make batteries for longer-range cars.

Electric carmakers including Tesla and Volkswagen have pledged over the coming years to reduce their use of cobalt, which is largely dependent on mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, deterred by human rights abuses in the supply chain and by the high price.

Prices for the world’s most expensive battery metal hit their highest level since January 2019 in March — at $25 a pound — and currently hover around $21, according to data company Fastmarkets. Analysts at RBC say they expect cobalt prices to reach $28.50 a pound this year, and rise to $40 in 2024 as alternatives are expected to remain scarce. Continue Reading →

US Department of Energy provides funds for First Cobalt’s Iron Creek project – by Staff (Northern Miner – April 2021)

Global mining news

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute is giving Toronto-based junior First Cobalt (TSXV: FCC; US-OTC: FTSSF) US$600,000 over two years for research on mineral processing techniques for the company’s Iron Creek copper-cobalt project in Idaho.

The funding, matched by the company, will be spent on “identifying more efficient and environmentally friendly methods to process cobalt ore from pyrite material,” First Cobalt announced in a press release, and will be part of a “collaborative research effort” with the Colorado School of Mines’ Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy (KIEM).

Trent Mell, First Cobalt’s president and CEO, said the company plans to build an underground mine and processing facility at Iron Creek and “can take advantage of new and emerging technologies that reduce waste material coming out of the mine and reduce the amount of energy required to process the ore.” Continue Reading →

Deep-Sea Mining Robot Lost on Cobalt-Rich Floor of Pacific – by Jonathan Tirone (Bloomberg News – April 28, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — A deep-sea mining robot on test mission to bring up rocks rich in cobalt and nickel from the floor of the Pacific Ocean has malfunctioned.

Controversial plans to mine the ocean floor face a key test this year when a United Nations body unveils rules that could spur the exploitation of hundreds of billions of dollars of battery metals.

Environmentalists say that would endanger fragile marine ecosystems, while the industry argues that extracting metals needed for the green-energy transition would cause less damage than terrestrial mining. Continue Reading →

Cobalt hunter eyes Gowganda, Elk Lake for processing hub – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 26, 2021)

Battery Mineral Resources posts resource estimate of cobalt and silver deposit

Battery Mineral Resources (BMR) has come out of the shadows to post a first-time resource for a cobalt and silver property, southwest of Gowganda.

The low key Vancouver-based explorer, formerly known as Fusion Gold, released a maiden resource of more than a million pounds of cobalt at its McAra Project, according to an April 22 news release.

As the largest claims holder in the historic Gowganda-Cobalt silver mining camp, BMR thinks there’s enough mine potential among its nine exploration properties clustered in this area to consider establishing a processing plant. Continue Reading →

The West needs to level the playing field to compete with China – by Anthony Milewski (Northern Miner – April 23, 2021)

Global mining news

Access to the raw materials of the new green economy is increasingly a high-stakes chess match along geopolitical lines dividing the East and the West. China controls access to the bulk of raw and midstream materials that the world needs for its transition to a low-carbon intensity economy. This control has become a critical vulnerability in the Western world’s emerging Industry 4.0 supply chains.

The mechanics of the emerging green economy rely on carbon friendly modes of transport such as electric vehicles, as well as mobile technology, energy storage, rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies fueling increased computing power, and renewable power sources — all made from mined materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium.

China’s drive to become the dominant commodity superpower started in the 1990s when it started opening up its economy to the world. The central government mandated unprecedented infrastructure spending, prompting the start of the commodity supercycle that lasted until late in the 2000s. In turn, the enormous demand for raw materials sparked a mining investment boom. Continue Reading →

China is switching its investment focus in Africa from oil to minerals – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – April 25, 2021)

The visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) earlier this year was indicative of a shift in Beijing’s lending and investment focus for Africa, according to analysts.

During his trip to Kinshasa in January, Wang promised that Beijing would write off loans to the Central African nation worth about US$28 million to help it deal with the impact of Covid-19 and provide US$17 million in other financial support.

He said also that China would fund infrastructure projects in the DRC, as it became the 45th country to sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing’s grand plan to boost interconnectivity and trade around the world. Continue Reading →

Opinion: More U.S. mineral mining would blunt electric vehicle makers’ dangerous reliance on China – by Robert W. Chase ( – April 25, 2021)

MARIETTA, Ohio — In the 1970s, the harmful effects of an oil embargo shocked Americans. The sudden realization that we needed to take responsibility for our own energy future had quite an impact. Politicians responded accordingly.

Now we must address a huge new concern — the danger of becoming hostage to China for critically important industrial materials.

It’s only a matter of time. China is our leading supplier of minerals and metals, giving it great leverage over our supply chains for advanced technologies. Consider the possibility of waking to the news that China has cut off exports of electric-vehicle battery metals — lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and rare earth minerals. Continue Reading →

Florida Toxic Waste Crisis Could Be Key to China Rare Earths Fight – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – April 6, 2021)

Leaks of wastewater at a former phosphate mine prompted evacuation orders and a state of emergency near Tampa recently amid fears that a pile of radioactive mine tailings could collapse. Believe it or not, U.S. President Joe Biden should have seen an opportunity wrapped in this crisis.

That’s because cleaning up the vast and neglected phosphogypsum stacks that dot Florida and other parts of the southeastern U.S. could help solve U.S. dependence on imported critical materials, all while removing the looming threat of environmental disaster from local residents.

Phosphogypsum is a byproduct of producing fertilizer from phosphate rock, with more than five metric tons produced for every ton of useful phosphoric acid. It’s worthless in its raw form thanks to concentrations of uranium, radium and other heavy metals that make it too radioactive for use as a soil improver or construction material — purposes for which it would otherwise be well-suited. Continue Reading →

Here’s an inside look at Canada’s first rare earth mining project in the N.W.T. – by Liny Lamberink (CBC North – April 20, 2021)

Kyle Bayha says he’s been a minority at all of his past jobs. But for the last five weeks, the Délı̨nę, Northwest Territories man has been working at the Nechalacho demonstration project as an employee of Det’on Cho Nahanni Construction Corporation.

There, about 110 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife, the workforce is 80 per cent Indigenous he said. “Oh, it means lots,” he told reporters.

Cheetah Resources, which operates the project and owns the resources near the surface of the rare earth deposit, invited media for a tour of Nechalacho on Monday. Continue Reading →