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

Report: Going 100% renewable power means a lot of dirty mining – by Naveena Sadasivam (Grist.org – April 17, 2019)

https://grist.org/

Click here for full report: https://bit.ly/2L2wGdd

For more than a decade, indigenous communities in Alaska have been fighting to prevent the mining of copper and gold at Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and a crucial source of sustenance.

The proposed mine, blocked under the Obama administration but inching forward under the Trump administration, has been billed by proponents as necessary to meet the growing demand for copper, which is used in wind turbines, batteries, and solar panels.

Similar stories are playing out in Norway, where the Sámi community is fighting a copper mine, and in Papua New Guinea, where a company has been mining the seabed for gold and copper. Continue Reading →

Your Cell Phone Is Spreading Ebola – by Laurie Garrett (Foreigh Policy – April 17, 2019)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

Last week, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), declined to declare the ongoing outbreak of Ebola a global emergency.

His decision came on the advice of an expert scientific panel; it was dubious nevertheless. Whatever the world chooses to call it, the disease is now on the edge of catastrophe that requires an urgent response. The most urgent of all is also among the least direct. It doesn’t involve Ebola at all but rather the inside of our cell phones.

As of April 13, the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has sickened 1,251 people, killing 803, or 64 percent, of the infected. (This is well past the threshold of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which was formally declared a global health emergency by WHO on Aug. 8, 2014.) Continue Reading →

EPA agreement will allow cobalt mining at lead remediation site near Fredericktown, Mo. – by Jim Salter Associated Press (St. Louis Post-Dispatch – April 3, 2019)

https://www.stltoday.com/

ST. LOUIS • An old Missouri lead mining site that has been a dormant nuisance for decades may soon get new life, thanks to its vast reserves of a metal vital for use in electric vehicle batteries.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced an agreement allowing a division of Missouri Cobalt LLC to implement a cleanup plan at the Madison County Mines site near Fredericktown. It will remain on the Superfund list, but the cleanup allows reuse for cobalt mining.

It isn’t clear how long the cleanup will take or when mining will resume. Missouri Cobalt CEO Michael Hollomon declined comment. Lead was mined at the site for decades until the early 1960s. The lead waste left behind resulted in the Superfund designation in 2003. Continue Reading →

China, cobalt and the Congo: Why Xi Jinping is winning the ‘batteries arms race’ – by Felix Todd (Compelo.com – April 4, 2019)

https://www.compelo.com/

Over the past decade, China has established a monopoly over cobalt in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the vast majority of the metal resides. In an argent rendition of 1848’s Gold Rush, a single silver-tinged metal has caught the world’s attention: Cobalt.

Critical to the construction of batteries, it has emerged as central to some of the industries set to determine the future. Roughly 10kg of the precious resource is needed to make an electric car, for example, and, without it, the feasibility of grid-scale battery storage is severely compromised.

The vast majority of the planet’s cobalt is located within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a plethora of interested parties are engaged in a frantic contest for control over mining operations. Continue Reading →

Europe aims to take its place on the global EV battery production stage – by Amanda Stutt (Mining.com – March 28, 2019)

http://www.mining.com/

The European Commission is eyeing opportunities within the EU’s minerals and mining sector, and has put forward, in its Strategic Action Plan (SAP) on batteries, a comprehensive set of targeted measures to make Europe a global leader in sustainable battery production and use.

The SAP focuses on including raw materials research and innovation, financing and investment, standardization, regulation, and trade and skills development to secure a sustainable supply of battery raw materials.

In his opinion piece in the EU Observer, Raw Materials: ‘holy grail’ of 21st century industrial policy, Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, said that Europe has world-leading technologies as well as high environmental and social standards, and that the EU aims to ensure that mining is no longer the polluting industry of the past. Continue Reading →

Electric carmakers must make ‘ethical battery’: Amnesty – by Lewis Sanders IV(Deutsche Welle – March 21, 2019)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Customers face a false choice between people or the planet when buying electric cars, according to a rights watchdog. Amnesty International has called for the industry to make “radical changes” in five years.

The electric vehicle industry needs to “make the world’s first completely ethical battery with five years,” human rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Thursday. The London-based organization accused electric automakers of failing to curb human rights abuses, including child labor, linked to the mining of key minerals needed for batteries.

“Finding effective solutions to the climate crisis is an absolute imperative, and electric cars have an important role to play in this,” Amnesty International chief Kumi Naidoo said. “But without radical changes, the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses.” Continue Reading →

Chicago Zoos Want You to Recycle Old Cellphones to Save Gorillas – by Alex Ruppenthal (WTTW.com – March 20, 2019)

https://news.wttw.com/

Recycling your used cellphone could help save an endangered gorilla species. How, exactly? Cellphones, tablets, battery chargers and other small electronics are manufactured using a mineral compound called coltan, which is hand-mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Central African country also happens to be a prime habitat for Eastern gorillas, and deforestation associated with coltan mining continues to displace large numbers of the animals.

Starting in February and continuing through the end of April, Lincoln Park Zoo is encouraging Chicago-area residents to drop off their old cellphones and other small electronic devices in the collection box at the zoo’s Searle Visitor Center. Continue Reading →

THE DRIFT: The King of Cobalt: Gino Chitaroni is the go-to pathfinder in the Cobalt exploration camp – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 14, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Like generations of his family before him, Gino Chitaroni is a jack-of-all-trades. He’s a prospector, developer, business owner, tourist camp operator, and staunch advocate for the mineral exploration industry.

The third-generation resident of Cobalt (population 1,100) comes from a proud and tough stock of miners, mechanics, contractors and equipment suppliers on both sides of his family dating back to the Silver Rush days of the early 1900s.

During the 2016-2017 cobalt-staking rush in northeastern Ontario, Chitaroni became the to-go guy for industry and media types who trekked up Highway 11 and stopped at in PolyMet Labs to talk to the colourful and outspoken president of what was happening on the ground. Continue Reading →

Huge demand for copper, cobalt, lithium and nickel in the offing as EV uptake increases – by Tracy Hancock (MiningWeekly.com – March 15, 2019)

http://m.miningweekly.com/

Metals of the Future

Investors focused on the mining sector may not fully appreciate how quickly the electric vehicle (EV) is being adopted globally, in light of the world pursuing a low-carbon emissions future, says battery metals investment vehicle Cobalt 27 Capital chairperson and CEO Anthony Milewski, who warns of a potential deficit in the supply of the metals critical to achieving this future.

Global management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company says 2017 marked the first time EV sales passed the one- million mark, noting in May 2018 that, by 2020, EV producers could be moving 4.5- million units, about 5% of the overall global light-vehicle market.

Even with South Africa’s electricity supply woes, automotive company Jaguar Land Rover South Africa forecast in January that South Africa could have 145 000 EVs on its roads, expecting yearly sales of new EVs to reach 43 000 units in the next six years. Continue Reading →

China becomes world’s biggest importer of rare earths: analysts – by Tom Daly (Reuters U.S. – March 13, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

BEIJING (Reuters) – China, the world’s top producer of rare earth elements, last year also emerged as the biggest importer of the group of minerals used in everything from ceramics to consumer electronics, analysts said on Wednesday.

China has for years been the world’s biggest rare earths exporter, raising shipments overseas by 4 percent year-on-year to more than 53,000 tonnes in 2018, and its emergence as the top importer as well is a sudden and surprising development.

The country imported 41,400 tonnes of rare earth oxides and oxide equivalents in 2018, up 167 percent year-on-year, as a crackdown on illegal production reduced domestic output, according to a report by consultancy Adamas Intelligence. Continue Reading →

Bezos, Bloomberg And Gates Back Revolutionary Exploration Tech – Irina Slav (Oil Price.com – March 5, 2019)

https://oilprice.com/

A startup by the name of KoBold Metals is using big data analytics and modeling to create the equivalent of Google Maps of the earth’s crust with a very specific purpose: “to explore for new sources of ethical cobalt from reliable jurisdictions.”

Some 60 percent of the world’s cobalt, as a by-product of copper and nickel mining, is located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which doesn’t exactly have an excellent track record in areas such as child labor, to mention just one. Calls for finding a more ethical way to source cobalt and other battery metals have been numerous, but until now, following them has been problematic because of the lack of alternatives.

However, the financial backers of KoBold Metals, among them Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Jeff Bezos, and Michael Bloomberg, seem to believe technology has advanced sufficiently to make it possible to tap hitherto undiscovered cobalt deposits outside the DRC. Continue Reading →

Chile set to revive its dormant cobalt sector (Resource World – March 4, 2019)

http://resourceworld.com/

Already a major producer of copper and lithium, Chile is gearing up to join the electromobility revolution by reviving its dormant cobalt sector.

During an interview with Resource World Magazine, Chilean Mines Minister Baldo Prokurica said the ultimate goal is for Chile to become a supplier of lithium ion batteries to the global auto sector

In order to achieve that goal, Chile is hoping to become a producer of cobalt in the near future, a move that would enhance the Latin American country’s ability to supply so-called battery metals, including lithium and copper, which are vital ingredients in the production of mobile consumer devices and electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

Billionaires Are On the Hunt for New Underground Cobalt – by Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – March 4, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A coalition of billionaires led by Bill Gates has thrown its financial weight behind a startup hoping to build a “Google Maps for the earth’s crust” to hunt for new sources of cobalt.

The startup, Kobold Metals, is using data-crunching algorithms to scour the globe for cobalt, in a bet that there may still be significant undiscovered sources of the metal that has become one of the world’s hot commodities thanks to its use in electric vehicle batteries.

The company has raised money from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund backed by Gates and a dozen other tycoons including Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio and Michael Bloomberg, owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. Continue Reading →

Belgian fast-moving ‘caterpillar’ in deep sea copper, cobalt race – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters Canada – February 27, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Belgian group DEME and Canada’s DeepGreen are carrying out tests and research to collect nodules containing copper, cobalt and other minerals from the ocean floor, as a race to mine the depths gathers pace.

Deep sea mining is often dismissed as unaffordable and environmentally hazardous because of the potential risk to species science has barely begun to understand.

But U.N. talks in Jamaica, which began on Monday, are working out regulations on mining in international waters, which may appeal to companies struggling to find new reserves on land and to deal with governments and communities. Continue Reading →

Demand for Congo’s cobalt is on the rise. So is the scrutiny of mining practices. – by Sarah Katz-Lavigne (Washington Post – February 21, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Congo’s contested elections in December resulted in the country’s first electoral transfer of power, 59 years after independence. The outcome — with Félix Tshisekedi defeating the candidate backed by departing president Joseph Kabila — has been much in the news.

Cobalt is making headlines, too, along with questions about how the new president will manage resource governance in the mineral-rich country. Congo accounts for at least 60 percent of worldwide cobalt production and has about 50 percent of known global cobalt reserves.

My research in southeastern Congo suggests cobalt mining will prove an increasingly complex policy hurdle for the new president. Many Congolese rely on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) for their incomes. Continue Reading →