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

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 →

Congo opens Chinese-owned Deziwa copper and cobalt mine – by Stanis Bujakera (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

DEZIWA MINE, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company Gécamines on Wednesday opened the Deziwa copper and cobalt mine and processing plant, part of a joint venture majority-owned by China Nonferrous Metal Mining Company (CNMC).

The Deziwa deposit, around 35 kilometres east of Kolwezi, is estimated to hold 4.6 million tonnes of copper and 420,000 tonnes of cobalt. Somidez, the joint venture controlling it, is held 51% by CNMC and 49% by Gécamines.

An $880 million project which started construction in May 2018, the Deziwa mine aims to produce 80,000 tonnes of copper and 8,000 tonnes of cobalt per year, according to Somidez. Continue Reading →

Are mining companies jumping the gun on lithium? – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 13, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Lithium has skyrocketed on the back of huge demand created by the battery industry. While lithium demand shows few signs of slowing down, battery technology is changing at an enormous pace. Projects around the world are exploring alternatives to lithium, promising that a breakthrough is just around the corner. We ask the question: should miners be going all in for lithium?

The lithium rush

Global efforts to reduce emissions have driven demand for technology such as electric vehicles, which has increased demand for the lithium needed for batteries.

According to analysis from Benchmark Minerals, demand for lithium ion batteries has tripled since 2015 to 180 gigawatt hours (GWh), reaching the levels initially predicted for 2020. Continue Reading →

Apple pushes recycling of iPhone with ‘Daisy’ robot (Reuters U.S. – January 10, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – Apple Inc APPL.O is trying to change the way electronics are recycled with a robot that disassembles its iPhone so that minerals can be recovered and reused, while acknowledging rising global demand for electronics means new mines will still be needed.

The Cupertino, California-based company says the robot is part of its plan to become a “closed-loop” manufacturer that does not rely on the mining industry, an aggressive goal that some industry analysts have said is impossible.

Many mining executives note that with the rising popularity of electric vehicles, newly mined minerals will be needed on an even larger scale, a reality that Apple acknowledges. Continue Reading →

Canada and US finalise critical mineral collaboration plan – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – January 10, 2020)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

Canada and the United States have finalised their joint action plan to collaborate on minerals they deem critical – including uranium and rare-earth elements – delivering on the June 2019 commitment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump.

The US last year stepped up efforts to ensure it relies less on rare earth minerals from China, after the Asian giant suggested using them as a leverage in trade negotiations.

With a rich minerals sector, Canada is well positioned to supply the US with rare-earth elements and already supplies about one-quarter of its southern neighbour’s uranium needs. Continue Reading →

Critical minerals and the UK: 5 things to know – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 7, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

A recent report from the UK Office of Science and Technology states that while the UK is dependent on imported critical minerals for a number of sectors there is no specific strategy for their supply, a worrying thought considering the implications of recent trade wars. We take a look at five talking points from the report.

The UK has no specific critical mineral strategy

Critical minerals are used to create products of strategic importance for many UK sectors, but the UK has no specific critical minerals strategy and no single department has responsibility for policy regarding these important materials.

Speaking at a conference in May 2019, Mineral Products Association CEO Nigel Jackson said: “Mineral products make an important contribution to the UK economy and underpin almost every aspect of our way of life, from our homes, schools and hospitals to the transport and energy infrastructure we take for granted. Continue Reading →

Cutting battery industry’s reliance on cobalt will be an uphill task – by Jasper Jolly (The Guardian – January 5, 2020)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Followers of Elon Musk are used to big claims on Twitter. The social media habits of the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire have landed him in legal hot water on several occasions. But for the battery industry one boast stands out: a tweeted pledge to remove an obscure mineral mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo from the next generation of Tesla’s electric cars.

Batteries are the key component in the electric car revolution that Tesla kickstarted, and each one contains cobalt. Yet concerns about human rights abuses and child labour have prompted a dual effort to cut the amount of cobalt used in batteries and to clean up complex global supply chains.

The battery industry accounts for the majority of global cobalt demand, and that demand is set to soar with more than $60bn (£46bn) of investments in new battery factories during 2019, according to the data firm Benchmark Minerals. Continue Reading →

Canada, U.S. agree on strategy to reduce need for rare-earth metals mined by China – by Robert Fife (Globe and Mail – December 27, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Canada and the United States have signed a memo of understanding to reduce their reliance on China for rare-earth minerals that are critical to high-tech and military products, such as smartphones, electric cars and weapons guidance systems.

Officials in both countries have been working since August to develop an action plan for specialty mineral projects and strategic investments in North American processing facilities, as well as greater research and development in extraction of rare-earth materials.

The memorandum was signed on Dec. 19 and aims to secure “resilient supply chains for critical energy minerals” for key sectors, including aerospace, defence and clean technology, according to a statement by Canada’s Natural Resources ministry and the U.S. Department of Energy. Continue Reading →

Unstable Mineral Supply Threatens Electric Car, Green Projects, Justifies Undersea, Space Mining; Report – by Neil Winton (Forbes Magazine – January 3, 2019)

https://www.forbes.com/

The advent of the electric car is threatened by a few known knowns like range anxiety, high prices, and a thin recharging network, but now, according to a report from the University of Sussex, lurking in the background are possible shortages of the raw materials at the heart of this low-carbon revolution, which threaten to derail the whole project.

Making sure of adequate supplies is so important, mining under the sea, or even on other planets, would be justified, according to the report.

The automotive industry in Europe has been spending massively to embrace the electric car. On Thursday, Europe’s number one auto maker, Volkswagen, raised the stakes of its electric plans by bringing forward its target of producing one million electric cars a year by two years, to the end of 2023. By 2025 this will reach 1.5 million a year. Continue Reading →