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

U.S. opens national security probe into vanadium imports (Reuters U.S. – June 2, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it was opening an investigation into whether imports of vanadium, a metal used in aerospace, defense and energy applications, impair U.S. national security.

The “Section 232” probe is similar to ones that resulted in broad tariffs on steel and aluminum in 2018 and a probe underway into imports of titanium sponge.

The department said the domestic producers that petitioned the agency, AMG Vanadium (AMG.AS) and U.S. Vanadium LLC, assert that they are hurt by unfairly priced imports, value added tax regimes in other vanadium-producing countries and “the distortionary effect of Chinese and Russian industrial policies.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: Critical mineral supply chains essential for economic development opportunities – by Don Bubar (Northern Ontario Business – May 27, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Security of critical minerals supply has now become a major concern for government in light of the COVID-19 disruption to global supply chains. A North American solution is required to reduce reliance on China as a sole source of supply of many of our critical minerals.

North America does not have the full supply chains needed for many new technologies – such as electric vehicles, energy storage, sensor and data processing applications) and pharmaceuticals – although we do have all these minerals in the ground.

Northern Ontario is blessed with resources of many of these critical minerals, often referred to as “technology metals,” including all the elements needed in lithium-ion battery technology. Continue Reading →

U.S. Falters in Bid to Replace Chinese Rare Earths – by Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer (Foreign Policy – May 25, 2020)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

“Each F-35 fighter, for instance, needs 920 pounds of rare earths;
each Virginia-class nuclear submarine requires 9,200 pounds. Tomahawk missiles, guidance  systems, and jet engines all need different combinations of alloys and specialized products using some of the 17 different rare-earth elements.”

Rising tensions with China and the race to repatriate supply chains in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have given fresh impetus to U.S. efforts to launch a renaissance in rare earths, the critical minerals at the heart of high technology, clean energy, and especially high-end U.S. defense platforms.

But it’s not going well, despite a slew of new bills and government initiatives aimed at rebuilding a soup-to-nuts rare-earth supply chain in the United States that would, after decades of growing reliance on China and other foreign suppliers, restore U.S. self-reliance in a vital sector.

“I think the light bulb has gone on, but we are still in a muddle about exactly what to do about it,” said David Hammond, an expert on rare earths at Hammond International Group, a consultancy. Continue Reading →

Bill Gates and Richard Branson have their sights on the mining sector — and investment opportunities for startups abound – by Holly Bridgwater (Smart Company.com – May 25, 2020)

SmartCompany

Tech giants are on the hunt for investment opportunities in the mining sector, in a push that is destined to change the landscape of the resources industry.

Among those leading the charge are tech billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson — all backers of technology fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV). Last year, BEV joined forces with hedge fund a16z to invest in mineral exploration company KoBold Metals and its search for ‘ethical’ cobalt.

The billion-dollar fund was also instrumental in raising $20 million in Series A funding for Lilac Solutions, a mining technology company focused on transforming lithium production. Continue Reading →

Strategic hot spot Greenland sparks global tug-of-war – by Alex Matthews (Deutsche Welle – May 23, 2020)

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

The US has always seen Greenland under its sphere of influence. But the island’s increasing independence is threatening that. As it becomes more global, China and Russia see a chance to control the Arctic.

The last time the US opened a consulate on Greenland was in 1940. The German Army had just invaded Denmark and the Americans wanted to stop the Nazis gaining a foothold in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

This summer the US is reopening its diplomatic mission in Nuuk for the first time since 1953, as well as offering the island nation $12 million (€11 million) in investments. The money will be used to boost the territory’s mineral industries, tourism and education.

The United States’ goal this time is exactly the same it was 80 years ago. A US State Department official said a press briefing that it wants “a secure and stable Arctic where US interests are safeguarded.” But this time around it’s not Germany the US sees as challenging its interests. Now it’s Russia and China. Continue Reading →

US political heat puts Lynas defense contract on ice – by Colin Kruger (Sydney Morning Herald – May 25, 2020)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Rare earths group Lynas Corp has received a setback to its expansion plans after warning the US Department of Defense contract it was awarded last month may be on hold while the political debate heats up on whether the country should source its rare earths onshore.

In a statement to the ASX on Friday evening, Lynas confirmed media reports in the US – debating the merits of sourcing rare earths locally versus from allies or other sources – have impacted on the contract that could help fund its plants to set up a processing plant in Texas.

“Lynas remains one of two companies selected for Phase 1 of the project, however Lynas understands that the US government’s progress on Phase 1 is currently on hold those political issues are addressed,” the company said. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Pentagon halts rare earths funding program pending ‘further research’ – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – May 22, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense last month reversed its decision to fund two projects to process rare earth minerals for military weapons, one of which has controversial ties to China, according to a government document seen by Reuters and three sources familiar with the matter.

The Pentagon decision is a step backward for President Donald Trump’s plan to redevelop the U.S. rare earths supply chain and reduce reliance on China, the world’s largest producer of the strategic minerals used to build a range of weapons.

Australia’s Lynas Corp (LYC.AX) and privately held U.S. firm MP Materials both said on April 22 they had been awarded funding by the Pentagon for rare earths separation facilities in Texas and California, respectively. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-In the coming renewable energy boom, Australia is once again the “lucky country”: – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 21, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 21 (Reuters) – Which commodities and countries are best placed to emerge as winners in the post-coronavirus world, especially if the anticipated boost to investment in renewables energies actually happens?

One of the themes emerging for a post-coronavirus world is that investment should flow into renewable energies, both as economic stimulus and as a way of limiting the impact of climate change.

To this end, the World Bank released a report on May 11 stating that global production of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite would have to increase by as much as 500% by 2050. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Canadians want to seize opportunity in Critical Minerals (Mining Association of Canada – May 13, 2020)

Critical Minerals Essential to Healthcare, Defence and Clean Technology

OTTAWA, May 13, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) released a new national poll, which highlights public enthusiasm for Canada to grow market share as a preferred global supplier of critical minerals, based on abundance and leading environmental standards.

As demand for minerals and metals continues to grow, there is increasing focus on what are referred to as “critical minerals” – vital in the aerospace, defence, telecommunications, computing, and an array of clean technologies such as solar panels and electric car batteries.

China has been a major supplier of these minerals but Canada has an opportunity to play a larger role in this marketplace, as customers look for products made to high environmental standards, such as Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining program, developed by MAC. Continue Reading →

Eurobattery to buy Finland battery metals project – by Donna Slater (MiningWeekly.com – May 13, 2020)

https://m.miningweekly.com/

The option under the investment and shareholders agreement is linked to an obligation to provide successive cash financing for investments in the Hautalampi project.

Eurobattery will pay about €8.6-million over 48 months for the VHOy shares and the option premium, as well as the cash financing component.

The Hautalampi project is located at the same site as the Keretti (Outokumpu) copper mine, which operated during 1912 to 1989. The Hautalampi nickel/cobalt/copper orebody is located parallel to, and above, the exploited copper deposit. Existing surface and underground infrastructure provide significant location advantages in what is already a Tier 1 mining jurisdiction. Continue Reading →

Ted Cruz Seeks to End U.S. Dependence on China for Rare Earth Metals – by Daniel Flatley (Bloomberg News – May 11, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Senator Ted Cruz said he plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday that aims to end U.S. reliance on China for rare earth elements used in the manufacturing of products including consumer electronics, electric vehicles and fighter planes.

The bill is part of a push in Congress to shift supply chains, particularly in industries critical for national defense, away from China and back toward the U.S.

“Much like the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off the U.S. from life-saving medicines made in China, the Chinese Communist Party could also cut off our access to these materials, significantly threatening U.S. national security,” Cruz, a Texas Republican, said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Some see promise in Wyo’s critical minerals. But are they viable? – by Patrick Dawson (Laramie Boomerang – May 10, 2020)

https://www.laramieboomerang.com/

Wyoming’s current coal market decline coincides with a sudden national awareness of the serious shortage of certain critical materials, including several with deposits located in the state.

With residents and lawmakers scrambling for new economic avenues, could Wyoming be the nation’s new go-to source for rare earth elements that now come mainly from China?

Last week, U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barasso sent letters to the Secretaries of Defense and Interior urging the Department of the Interior “to support the full range of domestic rare earths supply chain development, from extraction through separation and purification into the magnets, metals and alloyed forms of rare earths that are critical to our advanced weapons platforms.” Continue Reading →

As EV battery metal makers crash and burn, First Cobalt aims to open new refinery – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 5, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

The project would open a new chapter in the quest to build out an electric vehicle supply chain in North America

On Monday, Trent Mell, chief executive of First Cobalt Corp., travelled to his office in downtown Toronto for the first time in weeks to tell the world he hopes to open North America’s first cobalt sulfate refinery — a key metal used in the batteries that power electric vehicles — by the end of the year.

The opening, years in the making, arrives at an awkward moment as social distancing policies keep people out of their cars, and the economic fallout from COVID-19 creates great uncertainty about the demand for electric vehicles, or EVs.

“There’s obviously the immediate pause” on EV adoption, Mell told the Financial Post on Monday. Continue Reading →

Pentagon Invests in Strategic Metals Mine, Seeking to Blunt Chinese Dominance – by Timothy Puko (Wall Street Journal – April 26, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

WASHINGTON-A remote mountain mine in the California desert is poised to get a boost from the Pentagon, which sees the metals it extracts there as vital for national defense-but vulnerable to Chinese dominance over the supply chain.

The Mountain Pass mine is the only domestic source for rare-earth minerals, which are needed for electronics, lasers, magnets and other applications used in weapons systems. The minerals require special processing after extraction, which is now done in China because the U.S. doesn’t have any facilities to do so.

To eliminate that dependence, the Defense Department is helping to pay for developing a processing facility at the Mountain Pass mine, which is controlled by the Chicago hedge fund JHL Capital Group. Continue Reading →

Citing pandemic, GOP lawmakers renew push for action on critical minerals – by Jacob Holzman (S&P Global Market Intelligence – April 21, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

U.S. Republican lawmakers have renewed a push for federal critical minerals policies in light of the coronavirus pandemic, saying President Donald Trump should lift a mineral withdrawal near the Grand Canyon in Arizona, adjust federal oversight of uranium mining pollution and fast-track permitting of mineral refineries as part of future economic recovery plans.

On April 17, a group of 21 House Republicans including House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., wrote to Trump requesting the president “undo” a mineral withdrawal, or land withdrawal, covering more than 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.

The mineral withdrawal, established in 2012 by the Obama administration, clarifies the authorities held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Nuclear Regulatory Commission over regulating groundwater pollution from in situ leach uranium mining. Continue Reading →