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

Washington continues critical inquiries into rare earths and uranium supply chains – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – July 15, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

While somewhat relaxing its concern about uranium, the U.S. appears increasingly worried about rare earths supply. A Reuters exclusive says Washington has begun an inventory to itemize domestic RE projects.

“The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27,” the news agency reported.

“Responses are required by July 31, a short time frame that underscores the Pentagon’s urgency.” The request mentions the possibility of investment by the military, Reuters added. Continue Reading →

Former Idaho governor seeks investigation of mining company (Associated Press/Washington Post – July 15, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

BOISE, Idaho — Former Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has asked the Trump administration to investigate possible Chinese involvement in a mining company that could compete in Idaho with a Canadian-based company that tapped Otter to serve on its board of directors.

The Idaho Statesman reports in a story on Friday that Otter in a July 9 letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he’s concerned cobalt mined in Idaho will be shipped to China.

Otter, a Republican, left office in January after serving 12 years as governor. In February he joined the board of Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp. Otter is asking Mnuchin to look into Australia-based Jervois Mining Ltd.’s move to acquire ECobalt Solutions, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Pentagon races to track U.S. rare earths output amid China trade dispute – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – July 12, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – The Pentagon is rapidly assessing the United States’ rare earths capability in a race to secure stable supply of the specialized material amid the country’s trade conflict with China, which controls the rare earths industry, according to a government document seen by Reuters.

The push comes weeks after China threatened to curb exports to the United States of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used to build fighter jets, tanks and a range of consumer electronics.

The Pentagon wants miners to describe plans to develop U.S. rare earths mines and processing facilities, and asked manufacturers to detail their needs for the minerals, according to the document, which is dated June 27. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Why the cobalt market needs Congo’s “illegal” miners – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – July 12, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, July 12 (Reuters) – Cobalt is back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The death last month of 43 artisan miners at the Kamoto Copper Company KOV concession in the Democratic Republic of Congo has refocused attention on the human cost of producing what is a key input into electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The KOV concession is majority-owned by a subsidiary of trading and mining group Glencore. The official response to the incident – sending the army to clear around 20,000 “illegal” miners from the area around the mine – merely underlines the problematic nature of the world’s dependence on Congo for its supply of cobalt.

The country accounted for around 64% of global mined production last year, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The latest incidents will do nothing to reassure automotive companies about the future stability of sustainable supply and will incentivise them further to try and reduce the amount of cobalt in EV batteries. Continue Reading →

Wyoming may hold the key to the rare earth minerals trade war with China – by Bryan Borzykowski (CNBC.com – July 10, 2019)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Wyoming is best known for its picturesque views and towering mountain ranges, but if Randy Scott has his way, it’ll become famous for something else: rare earth minerals.

These resources have been in the spotlight since China, the country that dominates global supply, threatened in May to cut off supply to the U.S. as part of the U.S.–China trade war.

Since 2011, when Scott became the president and CEO of Littleton, Colorado-based Rare Earth Resources, the veteran mining executive and metallurgical engineer has been trying to get a massive stash of rare earth — a metallic element that’s used in cellphones, electric vehicle batteries, fluorescent lights, defense, clean energy and much more — out of Bear Lodge, a small mountain range tucked away in the northeast corner of the state, about 40 miles from South Dakota’s border. Continue Reading →

Medallion considering US, Canada for rare-earth plant – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – July 9, 2019)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

TSX-V-listed junior Medallion Resources, which is pursuing production of magnet metals, believes the time is right to start selecting potential sites for a rare-earth plant as part of a strategy to rebuild a North American rare earth value chain.

The company is seeking third-party proposals to advance the development of a North American extraction plant, with one proposal calling for the evaluation of logistics and plant sitting operations in the US and Canada, while the other calls for the development of the process engineering design for Medallion’s rare-earth flowsheet.

Rare earths have been front and centre in recent months, as a result of the trade friction between China and the US. These metals are also increasingly important to the electrification of transportation, particularly electric vehicles. Continue Reading →

San Bernardino Co. Mine May Represent America’s Best Chance to Loosen China’s Grip on Rare Earths (KTLA.com/CNN Wire – July 3, 2019)

https://ktla.com/

Less than an hour from the glitzy casinos and high-rise hotels of Las Vegas, the miners at Mountain Pass are reviving an industry that nearly disappeared from American soil. This is the only mine in the country devoted to rare earths, elements essential to modern electronics. Rare earths are contained in everything from iPhones to wind turbines to Teslas.

“If there’s going to be an American rare earths industry, it’s gonna be led by us. We’re it,” said James Litinksy, the co-chairman of MP Materials, which owns the mine in Mountain Pass, California.

Shuttered after the previous owner went bankrupt in 2015, MP Materials has spent two years rebuilding the Mountain Pass operation. Two hundred people now work at the mine site, carrying out blasts, trucking the minerals out of the mine and milling them into a powdered concentrate that is packed into dozens of white bags on site. Continue Reading →

Armed Forces Called to Defend Glencore Mine in Congo – by William Clowes and Tiago Ramos Alfaro (Bloomberg News – July 4, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Glencore Plc said armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo are in the area around the operations of its Kamoto Copper Co., after dozens of illegal miners were killed in a landslide last week.

“We prioritize the safety and security of our workforce and host communities,” Glencore said in a statement on Thursday. “KCC will continue to engage with all the relevant stakeholders to collaborate on identifying and implementing a long-term, sustainable solution to illegal mining in the DRC.”

Illegal miners will be removed from the site of the Glencore project where at least 43 died last week, Interior Minister Basile Olongo said on Saturday. Glencore estimates that 2,000 unauthorized people enter its open-pit mine on average every day. Continue Reading →

Japan’s JX Nippon Mining seeks pot of gold in high-tech chips, batteries – by Yuka Obayashi (Reuters Canada – July 3, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

TOKYO(Reuters) – The mining and smelting unit of giant Japanese energy-to-metals company JXTG Holdings plans to drill down into the world of consumer electronics and high-tech batteries to beef up profits while pausing on traditional, high-investment base metals projects that drain resources.

JX Nippon Mining & Metals’ new president, Seiichi Murayama, said his firm is interested in buying stakes in smaller mines of rare metals such as tantalum and niobium, key examples of the kind of materials needed to make the advanced semiconductors and batteries used in everything from smartphones to electric vehicles.

Murayama aims to make what he calls “electronic materials” the most profitable business at JX after cost overruns at its key Caserones copper mine project in Chile and weaker copper prices that have weakened the firm’s financial health. Continue Reading →

‘Poverty-driven’ artisanal mining in spotlight after tragedy hits Canadian miner’s Congo property – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – June 29, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

‘You need to find alternative ways for these guys to work’

The death of dozens of artisanal miners in Congo on the property of a Toronto-Stock Exchange-listed Canadian company highlights the fraught relationship between overseas mining companies and local communities.

At least 43 artisanal miners have reportedly died while digging for cobalt — a vital metal for the batteries found in smartphones, tablets and electric cars — on a spot of ground that overlooks Katanga Mining Ltd.’s vast Kamoto Copper Complex.

Throughout much of Africa and other parts of the world, artisanal miners are often found near mines, taking grave risks to scour tailings or waste rock in search of valuable metals. Their numbers appear to be growing, along with tragic accidents, which has provoked questions and challenges for mining companies. Continue Reading →

CORRECTED-Glencore’s Congo tragedy highlights security conundrum for miners – by Edward McAllister and Mitra Taj (Reuters Africa – June 30, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

DAKAR/LIMA, June 30 (Reuters) – The deaths of 43 illegal miners at a Glencore facility in Congo last week highlighted a growing challenge for mining companies struggling to secure sites from small-scale prospectors digging for cobalt, copper and other minerals.

Many mines span hundreds of square kilometers across rural terrains, a tantalizing prospect for illegal miners, also known as artisanal miners, who break into sites in search of metals, some of which end up in electric cars and other products.

But even as last Thursday’s tragedy ratcheted up pressure on companies to make changes to security and community outreach, industry consultants and analysts say the task will be difficult given the geographic constraints and economic challenges faced by the world’s estimated 40 million artisanal miners. Continue Reading →

Glencore to support First Cobalt’s refinery in Ontario – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – June 25, 2019)

Northern Miner

First Cobalt (TSXV: FCC; US-OTC: FTSSF) has taken a major step toward becoming the only producer of refined cobalt in North America.

The company, which plans to restart its hydrometallurgical cobalt refinery near Cobalt, Ont., has signed an agreement with Glencore (LON: GLEN) that will see the metals giant supply the junior’s refinery with cobalt feedstock.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Glencore will also provide a loan to cover the estimated cost of re-commissioning the refinery, and collaborate on its final flow-sheet design. Continue Reading →

India scrambles to look overseas for rare earths used in EVs – by Rosemay Marandi and Kiran Sharma (Nikkei Asian Review – June 27, 2019)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI — Three Indian state-run companies are forming a joint venture to secure minor metals such as lithium and cobalt that could fuel India’s plan for mass adoption of electric vehicles by 2030.

National Aluminum, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Corp. plan on exploring mines in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and other countries for metals used to produce EV batteries, besides building strategic reserves of tungsten, nickel and rare earths.

India’s efforts toward securing a supply of minor metals, experts say, is crucial at a time when China is threatening to restrict export of rare earths as part of its escalating trade war with the U.S. Continue Reading →

Rare earths opportunity for PM – by Tony Boyd (Australian Financial Review – June 28, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Rare earths should be a topic of conversation when Prime Minister Scott Morrison has bilateral meetings with US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in Osaka over the next two days.

A discussion about rare earths has two distinct advantages for Morrison. First, it’s an opportunity to remind Trump and Abe of the increasingly important economic contribution Australia is making to the reliable and affordable supply of these strategic minerals to the US and Japan through Lynas Corporation.

Second, it’s an opportunity to draw the alignment between the economic benefits of the free trade between the three countries and the mutual geopolitical interest the US and Japan have in securing supplies of products critical to the technology, automotive and military industries. Continue Reading →

Glencore Says 19 People Were Killed in Congo Mine Collapse – by William Cloves and Thomas Biesheuval (BNN/Bloomberg News – June 27, 2019)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc said 19 illegal miners were killed when part of a mine collapsed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Glencore shares fell as much 8.3%. The workers entered the mine without permission and put their lives at risk by trespassing on the industrial site, which is one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, according to a statement from the company on Thursday. A search and rescue operation is ongoing. The incident will not affect Glencore’s production.

Producers and authorities in Congo and other African countries face a constant struggle against illegal miners, who break into operational and shuttered mines to extract ore and don’t follow official safety procedures. Continue Reading →