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

Mine Tales: U.S. Four Corners area was great producer of vanadium – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – May 16, 2016)

William Ascarza is an archivist, historian and author of seven books available for purchase online and at select bookstores. 

Principal vanadium production in Arizona has come from the Four Corners area in northeastern Arizona and Mammoth located in southeastern Arizona.

The Four Corners area is the far greater producer, having accounted for 90 percent of Arizona vanadium output from vanadium-uranium deposits in sandstone. The ore averages 1 percent or more of vanadium, making it enough to mine at a profit. Several notable locations include the Morrison Formation in the Carrizo Mountains, Chilchinbito areas and the Chinle Formation in the Monument Valley area of Apache and Navajo counties.

Considered a byproduct of uranium mining, vanadium is a metal element highly sought after because of its application as a strengthening agent for steel. It has also been used in nonferrous alloys and chemicals. Continue Reading →

Here’s a Way Out of Our Rare-Earths Mess – by James Kennedy (Defense – May 12, 2016)

James Kennedy is president of ThREE Consulting, Thorium & Rare Earth Elements, Mining Minerals and Metals (ThREEM3). He is also a consultant to the U.S. government, financial, mining and energy industry on strategic issues related to rare earths and thorium within the U.S. regulatory environment. China controls substances so valuable that the Pentagon dares not act. It’s up to the Senate now.

The Pentagon recently received what amounts to a grade of F on its efforts to ensure that its suppliers can continue to obtain the rare-earth metals that make possible many of today’s advanced weapons and other technologies. After nearly two decades of Defense Department fecklessness, it’s up to lawmakers to act.

In stark terms, a Government Accountability Office report described how defense officials have failed to meet, and even to identify, their legal and national security obligations with regard to this “bedrock” national-security concern. Instead, defense officials have repeatedly given the all-clear signal to Congress and two administrations. Continue Reading →

Tesla Battery Drive Lures China Molybdenum Into Cobalt – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – May 9, 2016)

China Molybdenum Co. is the latest company to bet on the future of electric cars with its plans to acquire cobalt assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Monday, Freeport-McMoRan Inc. agreed to sell its controlling stake in the Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine to CMOC, as the Luoyang, China-based company is known, for $2.65 billion. CMOC is also negotiating to buy Freeport’s interests in other cobalt assets.

The deal marks the Chinese company’s entry into cobalt, one of the specialty metals used in rechargeable batteries. The battery market is expanding as more consumers turn to electric cars made by companies such as Tesla Motors Inc. and look to store renewable energy to power appliances when there’s little wind or sunshine. Continue Reading →

Lithium-ion Batteries – The Cobalt Cliff Is Upon Us – by John Peterson ( – April 8, 2016)

I had a very enlightening conversation on Wednesday morning with the experts at Darton Commodities Limited, a U.K.-based metals trader that specializes in cobalt and serves as an intermediary between cobalt producers and European users. A couple days before the call, Darton sent me a copy of their 42 page “2015-2016 Cobalt Market Review.” It was one of the most impressive and data rich industry overviews I’ve ever seen.

Our wide ranging hour and a half conversation confirmed my developing thesis that cobalt is an immense supply chain risk that lithium-ion battery manufacturers and users have blithely dismissed in a headlong rush to build production capacity for markets that may not develop, or may develop more slowly than anyone anticipates. It left me more convinced than ever that my initial risk assessments were understated.

The Cobalt Cliff is upon us and there is no reasonable probability that the battery industry will have the muscle to outbid other essential industries that must have cobalt to make far more valuable products. Continue Reading →

Plans move forward for rare earth elements mine on Labrador coast (CBC News Newfoundland and Labrador – March 14, 2016)

Search Minerals, a mining and exploration company, is making plans for a rare earth elements mine on the southeast coast of Labrador.

The company, based in both British Columbia and Labrador, discovered the Port Hope Simpson Rare Earth Element District, a belt in the area about 70 kilometres long and up to eight kilometres wide.

are earth elements are used to make such things as batteries, electronics and magnets. Search Minerals president Greg Andrews said the company has received a preliminary economic assessment on its “Foxtrot” project, in the Fox Harbour area, to see if it’s economic to move into production. Continue Reading →

Cobalt: the backstory of a technology metal – by Robin Bromby ( – March 11, 2016)

It has certainly been cobalt’s week. John Petersen has authored two imposing posts (PT 1, PT 2). Now Christopher Ecclestone has underlined the worries that should be concerning Tesla and other end-users about the possibility that the supplies of lithium and cobalt on which they are depending for their lithium-ion batteries might just not be there when they put in their orders (and he cites the fact that London Metal Exchange warehouses have just 614 tonnes of cobalt in their care).

This is a very important story for InventorIntel given that cobalt is being seen increasingly as a technology metal and a “green” one, the latter reflecting its battery applications.

There is an additional consideration: the availability of cobalt for batteries is complicated by (a) the looming shortage of the metal and (b) the competing demand for it. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Quebec Government’s Plan Nord, the SDBJ and the ARBJ to Support Development of Separation Technology

Highlights of the news release:

  • Innord to receive a total of $500,000 from the Plan Nord, the SDBJ and the ARBJ.
  • GéoMégA to hold 96.1% of Innord after receiving all the funds.
  • Management of GéoMégA to attend PDAC 2016 from March 6 to 9 at booth #2642.

Montreal, March 3, 2016 – Geomega Resources Inc. (“GéoMégA” or the “Company”) (TSX.V: GMA) announces the support of the Quebec Government, as part of the Plan Nord program (“Plan Nord”), and of the Réseau Capital Baie-James, specifically the Société de développement de la Baie-James (“SDBJ) and the Administration régionale Baie-James (“ARBJ”), by investing in the share capital of Innord Inc. (“Innord”) to develop its proprietary separation process of rare earth elements (“REE”).

With this injection of additional funds, Innord, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GéoMégA, will receive a total of $500,000 from the Fonds du Plan Nord, the SDBJ and the ARBJ. Continue Reading →

Extracting rare-earth elements from coal could soon be economical in U.S. – by Liam Jackson (Penn State News – February 2, 2016)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The U.S. could soon decrease its dependence on importing valuable rare-earth elements that are widely used in many industries, according to a team of Penn State and U.S. Department of Energy researchers who found a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to extract these metals from coal byproducts.

Rare-earth elements are a set of seventeen metals — such as scandium, yttrium, lanthanum and cerium — necessary to produce high-tech equipment used in health care, transportation, electronics and numerous other industries.

They support more than $329 billion of economic output in North America, according to the American Chemistry Council, and the United States Geological Survey expects worldwide demand for REEs to grow more than 5 percent annually through 2020. China produces more than 85 percent of the world’s rare-earth elements, and the U.S. produces the second most at just over 6 percent, according to the USGS. Continue Reading →

China to boost crackdown on illegal rare earth mining – by Sonali Paul and David Stanway (Reuters U.S. – February 2, 2016)

MELBOURNE/BEIJING, Feb 2 China plans to boost its crackdown on illegal mining of rare earths by setting up a system to certify the origin of supplies of the materials, used in everything from fighter jets to mobile phones.

Illegal Chinese output and smuggling have helped drag global rare earth prices to their lowest in around six years, hitting legitimate producers hard inside and outside China, which churns out 90 percent of the world’s supply.

“There’s a reasonable level of agitation in every part of the supply chain which is saying (the industry situation) is not good,” said Amanda Lacaze, chief executive of Australia’s Lynas Corp, the only remaining rare earths miner outside China. Continue Reading →

Greenland rare earth mining to remain contentious due to uranium – minister – by Gwladys Fouche (Reuters U.S. – January 26, 2016)

TROMSOE, NORWAY – Jan 26 Greenland’s push to extract rare earth metals will remain a contentious political issue for years to come because the mining also produces uranium as a by-product, the nation’s finance minister told Reuters.

Greenland has been opening up to foreign companies with hopes that its vast resources in metals and minerals, including rare earths, would help finance its ambition to become independent from former colonial master Denmark.

Greenland banned uranium mining decades ago due to its potential use in nuclear weapons but lifted it in 2013 and the government’s majority in parliament supports the new policy. Continue Reading →

How Apple Profits From A System That Abuses Children — And Why It’s So Hard To Stop – by Damon Beres (Huffington Post – January 20, 2016)

There may not be a simple solution, but something has to change. A new report from Amnesty International suggests that companies including Apple, Samsung and Sony are profiting from child labor in Africa — and no one should be surprised.

It’s been public knowledge for years that electronics are stuffed with minerals that come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a war-torn place rich in must-have materials that are rarely found elsewhere. Less well-known, however, is how these sometimes blood-soaked metals move from the DRC into the supply chains of some of the world’s richest and most powerful tech companies.

While these companies carry considerable influence and are aware of the controversy surrounding their supply chains, a number of complicating factors make it difficult — if not impossible — for them to solve the problem of child labor. Continue Reading →

Congo cobalt mined by children may be in your mobile phone – Amnesty – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.K. – January 19, 2016)

KINSHASA – Cobalt used in batteries for phones, laptops and electric vehicles could come from mines in Democratic Republic of Congo that use child labour, an Amnesty International report said on Tuesday.

Working with campaign group African Resources Watch (Afrewatch), Amnesty accused technology giants including Apple, Samsung SDI and Sony of lax oversight of the supply of cobalt from mines in Congo to smelters and on to battery-makers.

As a result, consumer products sold across the globe could contain traces of the metal produced each year by informal Congolese mines without companies knowing, the report said. Continue Reading →

Lithium, graphite and potash to shine in 2016 as battery storage, electric car demand grows along with food – by Babs McHugh (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – January 13, 2016)

The price of lithium has surged on the back of growing global demand for high-tech devices, storage batteries and electric cars.

Lithium Australia recently took advantage of the positive sentiment by completing a $6.55 million share placement during one of the worst weeks in trading history.

It is a stark contrast to a major price drop in key bulk mineral commodities like coal and iron ore. Managing director Adrian Griffin says the demand for lithium will only grow, especially for lithium-ion batteries.

“I think we’re talking about a paradigm shift in the way people think about power,” Mr Griffin said. Continue Reading →

How the iron ore rout is helping rare earth prices – by Frik Els ( – January 13, 2016)

In order to crack down on illegal mining, pollution and modernize the country’s mostly low-tech industry China consolidated its rare earth industry under six large organizations in 2014.

By far China and the world’s leading rare earth producer is China North Rare Earth Group Co (formerly Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech Co).

CNRE’s giant mine in Bayan Obo, Inner Mongolia near Baotou City, produces more than the rest of world’s rare earths mines combined and does so as a byproduct of iron ore mining. The 470 million tonne iron deposit was discovered in 1927 and REEs a decade later. According to some estimates Bayan Obo boasts 70% of the world’s proven REE reserves at more than 40 million tonnes. Continue Reading →

Lifton on Kingsnorth and the global rare earth market – by Jack Lifton ( – November 30, 2015)

My colleague, Professor Dudley Kingsnorth, now of Curtin University in Perth, Australia, is arguably the world’s most experienced; up-to-date; and knowledgeable expert in the global rare earths’ markets. To me therefore his keynote address to the Roskill Conference on Rare Earths, two weeks ago in Singapore, was a definitive analysis of the current situation in the global rare earths’ markets.

I believe that he and I are very much in agreement on most of the issues in those markets, and on how we got to where we are today. Prof Kingsnorth and I were, I think, both a bit surprised, although he to a lesser extent than I, that we agreed on which non-Chinese rare earth juniors were the best and were most likely to succeed. Both of us heartily agreed that the other had finally come to his senses on that topic.

I think that in order to have a discussion about the global rare earths’ markets we need first to determine exactly what or which problem(s) we are trying to investigate and understand. Continue Reading →