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

China’s Dominance in Rare Earths Threatens European Electric-Car Industry – by Frank Fang (Epoch Times – December 16, 2018)

https://www.theepochtimes.com/

Rare-earth metals are critical to the modern economy as they are a key material for making batteries that power electric vehicles; are added to touchscreens and circuit boards in smartphones; and are used in laser systems that guide missiles and bombs.

While European Union countries are among the world’s biggest electric-vehicle markets, the bloc as a whole has only a few rare-earth metal deposits. Other than deposits in several countries such as Greenland, Norway, and Finland, the EU relies on imports to support industrial demand. Cobalt, one of the key minerals in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars and smartphones, is currently only mined in Finland, among all EU countries.

The Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), a Swedish government agency, issued an updated report on the Scandinavian country’s rare-earth deposits Dec. 7, detailing the country’s geological potential for mining the metals. But the potential mining boom in Sweden could be dashed because of China’s dominance in the market, said a Swedish analyst. Continue Reading →

We Don’t Mine Enough Rare Earth Metals to Replace Fossil Fuels With Renewable Energy – by Nafeez Ahmed (Motherboard.vice.com – December 12, 2018)

https://motherboard.vice.com/

Rare earth metals are used in solar panels and wind turbines—as well as electric cars and consumer electronics. We don’t recycle them, and there’s not enough to meet growing demand.

A new scientific study supported by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure warns that the renewable energy industry could be about to face a fundamental obstacle: shortages in the supply of rare metals.

To meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, renewable energy production has to scale up fast. This means that global production of several rare earth minerals used in solar panels and wind turbines—especially neodymium, terbium, indium, dysprosium, and praseodymium—must grow twelvefold by 2050.

But according to the new study by Dutch energy systems company Metabolic, the “current global supply of several critical metals is insufficient to transition to a renewable energy system.” Continue Reading →

What really powers your smartphone and electric car – by Lynsey Chutel (Quartz.com – December 8, 2018)

https://qz.com/

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery helps define our era. It powers our smartphones and electric cars, and promises a future where we’re better able to store renewable energy. It also requires lithium and cobalt, minerals that some of the world’s poorest countries happen to have in abundance.

That should be good news for all concerned, but mismanagement and graft—common in extractive industries—are making the latest mining boom looks uncomfortably like the bad old days of previous booms.

This week provided reminders of that. First, the Democratic Republic of Congo tripled its levies on cobalt, of which it has the world’s largest natural supply, in a move that could result in pricier smartphones and production slowdowns for electric-car makers. Also, HSBC released a report showing that the projected market share of electric vehicles will be smaller than first thought, due to the high price of lithium and cobalt amid soaring demand. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Risky rocks: Open up US mines or let China control strategic minerals – by Mark J. Perry (Washington Examiner – December 4, 2018)

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/

It is time to recognize that the United States will benefit economically and politically by ending our reliance on imports of strategically important minerals needed for weapons systems and an array of high-tech consumer products ranging from lithium-ion EV batteries to cellphones and flat-screen televisions.

The political and economic costs of foreign minerals dependency are far too high, particularly in a period of intense trade competition with China, the world’s No. 1 supplier of minerals. Instead, we should strengthen our own domestic mining capability.

Meaningful legislation to address the problem is needed before the situation gets much worse. The real danger is not that the cost of minerals commodities could get out of hand (last year the U.S. spent more than $7 billion on imports of minerals and metals), but rather that U.S. mines that are essential to our nation’s well-being are closing. Continue Reading →

JV Article: Cobalt 27 is Ready to Ride the EV Revolution – by Staff (Northern Miner – December 6, 2018)

Northern Miner

The preceding Joint-Venture Article is PROMOTED CONTENT sponsored by Cobalt 27 Capital Corp., and compiled in cooperation with The Northern Miner. Visit www.cobalt27.com for more information.

Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. (TSXV: KBLT; OTCQX: CBLLF; FRA: 270) is ramping up its exposure to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution with substantial cobalt stream acquisitions to complement its portfolio of battery metal royalties and inventory of physical cobalt.

This year Cobalt 27 acquired from Vale, the world’s first pure cobalt stream for US$300 million on Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine located in Labrador. The stream, which is expected to deliver approximately 1.9 million pounds of cobalt per year to Cobalt 27, is to be settled in physical delivery for the life of the mine.

Also in 2018, Cobalt 27 acquired a 1.75% net smelter return royalty (NSR) on RNC Minerals’ construction-ready Dumont nickel-cobalt project in Quebec, which includes the world’s largest undeveloped cobalt reserve; and, a 2% NSR on Giga Metals’ Turnagain nickel-cobalt project located in British Columbia, one of the largest undeveloped sulphide nickel-cobalt deposits in the world (in terms of total contained nickel). Continue Reading →

Commentary: Vanadium’s electric future hobbled by its industrial past – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – December 5, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Last year it was cobalt. The year before that it was lithium. This year it is vanadium, another esoteric element of the periodic table that is on a wild bull rampage.

Vanadium prices in China have more than tripled over the course of 2018, albeit with some recent softening from their early-November peaks. The share price of South Africa’s Bushveld Minerals, one of only a handful of primary producers, has soared from less than 10 pence per share at the start of the year to 42 pence currently.

Vanadium is the latest exotic metal to feel the new energy heat. The vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) is a breakthrough technology in energy storage, a fast-growing component of the infrastructure needed to accommodate the global shift to renewable energy. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Congo state miner in production-sharing deal with Chinese firm (Reuters U.K. – December 3, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

KINSHASA, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Congo’s Gecamines said on Monday it had signed a production-sharing deal for copper and cobalt deposits with China’s Hongkong Excellen Mining Investment, which will pay a $40 million signing bonus.

Congo’s state mining company said its first production-sharing deal would guarantee it a “significant” share of annual production from the Kingamyambo and Kilamusembo deposits “regardless of the financial results of the project”.

China is the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals and has strengthened its grip over supplies from across Africa in recent years to feed its economic growth. Democratic Republic of Congo is Africa’s top copper producer and the leading miner of cobalt, which is used for electric car batteries. Continue Reading →

Cobalt mining shows clean energy revolution comes at a price – by Zoe Dawson (Irish Times – December 2, 2018)

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Zoe Dawson is from Dublin and studying for a master’s degree in global affairs at New York University.

As the global transition to clean energy has progressed, demand for cobalt has rocketed. A natural metallic element, cobalt has unique properties that make it a key component in the production of batteries.

Until recently, smartphones and laptops drove demand for batteries; however, the growing market for electric vehicles and renewable-energy power storage has resulted in a surge in the demand for cobalt.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s wealthiest countries when it comes to natural resources and contains half of the world’s cobalt reserves. Despite the country’s natural mineral wealth, however, many challenges persist there. To facilitate the emerging clean and sustainable economy the world is highly dependent on a mineral produced via some of the most criticised practices, with no one being held accountable for the human-rights abuses taking place. Continue Reading →

DRC miners blame international investors and activists for lack of progress – by William Clowes (Business Day – November 29, 2018)

https://www.businesslive.co.za/

Kinshasa — Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) state mining company blamed international investors and anticorruption activists for the country’s lack of progress despite its vast mineral wealth.

Nongovernmental organisations including the Atlanta-based Carter Center and London-based Global Witness have accused Gecamines of failing to account for hundreds of millions of dollars paid to the state miner by the companies exporting copper and cobalt from the Central African nation.

Gecamines president Albert Yuma launched a report late Wednesday, rebutting the allegations and asserting that foreign producers are responsible for the industry’s meager contribution to national development. He pledged to renegotiate existing partnerships with foreign mining investors. Major miners active in DRC include Glencore and China Molybdenum. Continue Reading →

Electric Car Revolution Could Stall on Cobalt Shortage – by Stephen Gardner (Bloomberg News – November 21, 2018)

https://news.bloombergenvironment.com/

BMW Group, General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and other car companies could hit a roadblock in their efforts to put more electric vehicles on the market: a cobalt shortage.

The silvery metal, a byproduct of copper mining, is in high demand as a component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles. But there might not be enough cobalt to go around, forcing car companies to look for alternatives, potentially delaying the transition to electric motoring.

Even in a scenario in which battery technology is improved to minimize the need for cobalt, the metal will be in short supply from 2025 on, according to projections published this month by the Joint Research Centre, the in-house science service of the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. Continue Reading →

Trouble in the Congo: The Misadventures of Glencore – by Franz Wild, Vernon Silver and William Clowes (Bloomberg News – November 16, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

What a time to own the world’s most valuable cobalt mine, and to have to fight to keep it.

A dozen years ago the future of technology bounced out of a remote corner of Africa on the back of a truck, along with a world of potential trouble. Both, embodied in the same load of rock, landed in the hands of Ivan Glasenberg, chief executive officer of Glencore Plc, the world’s largest middleman for the raw materials that fuel, feed, and underpin civilization.

Glasenberg’s obsession was copper, because China’s appetite for it was insatiable, with copper wire electrifying the nation’s rising cities and running through the appliances its factories sold to the West. The metal’s price had quadrupled in less than three years, triggering a global frenzy. Miners blasted it from Chilean mountaintops and dug it from the African earth as fast as they could.

At a processing plant in Zambia, Glencore was buying up all the ore containing copper it could get its hands on when technicians noticed something extraordinary. One trader consistently rolled in with rocks showing levels of purity that were off the charts—not just for copper, but also for the blue metal cobalt. Continue Reading →

Abandoned Canadian silver mines could boom again as battery demand prompts gold rush in cobalt – by Peter Armstrong (CBC News Business – November 15, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/

Cobalt, Ont., could could be sitting on a gold mine — of cobalt — to help power electric cars, phones

The flooded bottom of an abandoned silver mine is an unlikely source of hope. But down there in the flickering light, a once worthless metal known as cobalt has sat idle for decades. Now it’s one of the most sought after metals in the world and that has many in this town in northern Ontario dreaming of boom times once again.

A century ago, prospectors came to Cobalt, Ont., in search of silver. They found it, and the town boomed. Amid all the silver, miners also found cobalt. So much that they named the town after it. Back then though, it was a mere indicator, a sign that something of actual value was nearby.

Now, all that ignored and discarded cobalt is the town’s best hope. “The potential here is huge,” says Frank Basa, chief executive officer of Canada Cobalt Works. Cobalt the metal has had a spectacular run over the past few years. And now Cobalt the town is poised to cash in. Continue Reading →

Ni & Co CONFERENCE: Nine key takeaways from Xiamen – by Charlotte Radford, Susan Zou and Violet Li (Metal Bulletin – November 12, 2018)

https://www.metalbulletin.com/

The spotlight was in Xiamen last week when market participants gathered to discuss hot topics in the cobalt and nickel markets, including higher cobalt prices and their impact on the market in addition to new trends for the cobalt industry.

High prices do not hurt the overall use of cobalt in consumer electronics

Cobalt prices hit a near 10-year high in April, but the blue metal’s high prices will not lead to many cobalt substitutions in consumer electronics, according to battery manufacturer ATL’s procurement director, Xu Shihui.

Cobalt demand from the consumer electronics industry will continue to grow due to new trends, including the intact adoption of lithium-cobalt-oxide (LCO) batteries in laptops and smart phones. Continue Reading →

Electric vehicles spur race to mine deep sea riches – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – November 13, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Miners want to tap subsea deposits of cobalt and other rare metals for green technologies, but environmental campaigners are worried

Gerard Barron brandishes a small black rock — the size of the palm of his hand — and heralds it as the future: “It’s all right here, all the metals we need.”

The Australian entrepreneur believes these rocks, formed over millions of years at the bottom of the ocean, can help satisfy the growing demand for the metals used in batteries and clean energy technologies, and are therefore critical to the transition away from fossil fuels. Less than 20cm wide, the so-called nodules can contain nickel, manganese, copper and cobalt— all set to see a surge in demand over the next decade.

Mr Barron’s start-up, DeepGreen, which is backed by shipping group Maersk and Switzerland-based miner Glencore, plans to suck up thousands of tonnes of the nodules from the sea floor using harvesting vehicles, and send them up a pipe to a ship to be sorted. Mining in the deep sea (defined as below 200m) can avoid the problems of land mining, he says, such as deforestation, pollution and child labour, although critics say it produces a whole new raft of problems. Continue Reading →

Chinese vessel collects cobalt samples in the Pacific: Xinhua (Reuters U.S. – November 11, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

BEIJING (Reuters) – A Chinese deep-sea exploration vessel has returned to port in Guangdong after collecting samples of so-called cobalt-bearing crusts during a 138-day survey in the west Pacific, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Cobalt is used in batteries for electric vehicles, an important industry for China, the world’s largest auto market. Chinese companies are some of the biggest investors in cobalt mining projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the world’s biggest producer.

The Ocean No. 6 vessel, designed in China, conducted a survey of cobalt-bearing crusts, found on the surface of underwater mountains, in more than 30 areas, Xinhua cited Yang Shengxiong, chief engineer at the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, as saying. Continue Reading →