Global production of critical metals unlikely to meet EU demand – by Staff ( – June 1, 2023)

A recent study by Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology found that the current global production levels of raw materials will not match the demand of the European Union’s EV industry, not even when accounting for recycling.

The paper points out that the metals that are highly sought after, such as dysprosium, neodymium, manganese and niobium, are of great economic importance to the EU, while their supply is limited and it takes time to scale up raw material production.

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Will a Russian diamond ban be effective? – by Tom Espiner ( – May 19, 2023)

The UK has announced a ban on Russian diamonds as it tightens sanctions over Russia’s war in Ukraine. Countries in the G7 bloc also want to be able to trace the gemstones to block Russian exports as they try to limit cash flowing into Russia’s war chest. But how effective will these schemes be, and could there be unintended consequences?

How important are Russian diamond exports?

Russia’s diamond trade, worth about $4bn (£3.2bn) per year, makes up a small proportion of its overall exports. Before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s total exports reached $489.8bn in 2021, according to the central bank, with oil and gas making up $240.7bn of that.

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The View from England: Win their hearts, and minds will follow – by Chris Hinde (Northern Miner – May 19, 2023)

I shed tears within 30 pages. I expect you would too and, if you’re a miner, so you should. In a recently-published novel we are taken back to a small mining town in October 1966 when our industry killed children, young children, half a school of them.

Published by Faber & Faber, ‘A Terrible Kindness’ reminds us (as Jo Browning Wroe writes in her opening sentence) of when “something dreadful happened in Wales.” In Aberfan on that dark morning, 116 children (mostly between the ages of seven and 10) went to school and didn’t come back.

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G-7 to Chase Russia’s Diamonds While Stopping Short of Total Ban – by Alex Wickham and Alberto Nardelli (Bloomberg News – May 18, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — Group of Seven countries agreed to work together to track Russian diamonds, but stopped short of slapping Moscow with an outright ban on the lucrative gem trade.

Leaders in a statement released Friday at their summit in Hiroshima, Japan, pledged to work together to “restrict trade in and use of diamonds mined, processed or produced in Russia” and coordinate future “restrictive measures, including through tracing technologies.”

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How Russia’s Wagner Group funds its role in Putin’s Ukraine war by plundering Africa’s resources – by Debora Patta and Sarah Carter (CBS News – May 16, 2023)

Garoua-Boulaï, Cameroon — Much of the bloodiest fighting since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine has been around the eastern city of Bakhmut, where thousands of ill-equipped Russian forces have died on the front lines since the end of last year. Many of those fighters have not been enlisted Russian soldiers, but mercenaries recruited and paid by the Wagner Group, a private army run by President Vladimir Putin’s long-time associate Yevgeny Prigozhin.

Prigozhin’s seemingly endless supply of hired guns in Ukraine requires deep pockets, and a CBS News investigation has found that he’s funding his operations in large part by putting his private army to work in Africa.

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EU Nears Critical-Materials Agreements With Argentina and Chile – by Jorge Valero and Alberto Nardell(Bloomberg News – May 17, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — The European Union is working on deals with Argentina and Chile that will widen its access to critical minerals and metals such as lithium needed for electric-vehicle batteries as part of its goal of creating a less carbon-intensive economy.

Preliminary memorandums of understanding could be signed during the next four months, according to the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, which added that further partnerships are possible in South America and beyond.

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Sahel: French uranium miner evacuates expatriate staff from Niger as security threats grow (The North Africa Journal – May 16, 2023)

French uranium miner Orano said on Friday it had evacuated expatriate staff from northern Niger after being warned of a threat in the jihadist-troubled region. The company late Thursday was advised of a “security event” in a village located halfway between the Malian border and the mining town of Arlit, it said in a statement. “Measures were immediately set in place to protect (Orano) sites,” it said.

Orano’s expatriate personnel and other foreign workers on temporary assignment living in a compound at Akokan near Arlit “were evacuated under escort and flown to Niamey,” Niger’s capital, it said. “The return of all the evacuated staff should take place in the next few days as soon as there is confirmation that any risk can be ruled out,” Orano said.

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Belgian mood turning against Russian diamonds Andrew Rettman (EU Observer – April 26, 2023)

Nobody in Belgium wants Russian “blood diamonds” any more, but the next round of EU sanctions still won’t ban them. “Consumers don’t want to buy diamonds with blood on them,” said Vicky Reynaert, a Belgian left-wing MP.

“Everybody knows what’s being done with the money by Alrosa [Russia’s biggest diamond firm] — it’s going directly to finance the war against Ukraine”, she said. Reynaert spoke to EUobserver after a Belgian parliament committee, on Tuesday (25 April), backed her resolution calling for the Belgian government to support an EU-wide embargo on Russian stones.

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OPINION: Russia’s dominance of nuclear-energy supply chain is cause for concern – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – April 26, 2023)

Ending Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas may be the easy part. It could prove much harder for the continent to replace Russian nuclear fuel and technology after decades of underinvestment in the West’s nuclear-energy industry. Russia supplies almost half of the world’s enriched uranium and dominates the global market for new reactors. And most of Europe’s more than 100 reactors rely on Russian fuel.

This explains why Russian state-owned nuclear energy powerhouse Rosatom has not faced Western sanctions since the country’s invasion of Ukraine. It is also why last week Canada joined the United States, Britain, France and Japan in a bid to end Russia’s dominance in the field.

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Germany Retires Last Nuclear Plants in Hopes of Greener Pastures – by Carolynn Look, Petra Sorge and Josefine Fokuhl (Bloomberg News – April 15, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — At 10 p.m. on Saturday, the Isar-2 nuclear plant near Munich will begin winding down its power generation in steps of 10 megawatts per minute. After about 45 minutes, it will drop to 30% capacity and automatically sever from the national electricity grid.

The other two plants still in operation, Neckarwestheim-2 and Emsland, will by then be in the midst of a similar process. By midnight, all three will be offline, ending Germany’s tumultuous six-decade reliance on nuclear energy.

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The EU is trying to sanction diamonds from Russia – by Jackie Northam ( – April 9, 2023)

A large part of the world’s supply of diamonds comes from Russia. The U.S. and Europe may try to cut off the revenue the country is raising from the gems given the war in Ukraine.


Russia’s one of the world’s biggest diamond suppliers, and the sale of the product is an important source of revenue for the country. So far, the gems have not been subjected to the same kind of sanctions that the country’s oil and banking industries have faced. But NPR’s Jackie Northam reports there are efforts underway to change that.

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Australia and Germany to partner on critical minerals – by Esmarie Iannucci ( – April 11, 2023)

PERTH ( – Australia and Germany will collaborate on new opportunities for critical mineral projects, with Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King signing a joint Declaration of Intent with Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Dr Franziska Brantner.

The Declaration will support a joint study to help Australia meet its ambitions to develop value-added industries around critical minerals, from extraction to refinement and recycling, and to help Germany secure reliable supplies of critical minerals to underpin its manufacturing and recycling activities.

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Lithium: A white gold rush excites Cornwall – but who gains? – by Joshua Nevett ( – April 10, 2023)

Towering over a high street in a former mining heartland, a statue of a pitman reminds Cornwall of its industrial past. In this part of south-west England, the mining industry used to be an economic powerhouse and in recent years, it’s been making a tentative comeback.

A new generation of miners is hoping the natural resources that put Cornwall on the map will once again bring wealth to the county. This time, the miners are using cutting-edge technology to get their hands on lithium – a metal used to make batteries for everyday electronic devices we all rely on, from laptops to smartphones.

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Ukraine’s Coal Miners Dig Deep to Power a Nation at War (Voice of America/Associated Press – April 8, 2023)

DNIPROPETROVSK OBLAST, UKRAINE — Deep underground in southeastern Ukraine, miners work around the clock extracting coal to power the country’s war effort and to provide civilians with light and heat.

Coal is central to meeting Ukraine’s energy needs following the Russian military’s 6-month campaign to destroy power stations and other infrastructure, the chief engineer of a mining company in Dnipropetrovsk province said.

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Old Flooded Coal Mine in England Produces Geothermal Heat in the Winter – by Rich Co (Nature World News – April 02, 2023)

An old coal mine that has been flooded in England may still be useful because it generates geothermal heat in the winter. Old coal mines might still be used to heat homes, but not by burning fossil fuels this time. Martha Henriques investigates the structures warmed by the heat coming from the long-abandoned mine workings.

Old Flooded Coal Mine

Towers of wine cases that seem to reach the sky are stored in a vast warehouse outside of Gateshead, North East England. In general, maintaining these enormous stacks of alcohol at a comfortable temperature throughout the year would result in a staggering energy bill, especially during the brutal northeastern winters.

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