Norway to award Arctic blocks for seabed mining in 2025 (Reuters – June 26, 2024)

https://www.reuters.com/

OSLO, June 26 (Reuters) – Norway offered large areas of the Arctic region for its inaugural seabed mineral licensing round on Wednesday and aims to award exploration permits during the first half of 2025, the country’s energy ministry said.

Norway may become the first country in the world to start commercial deepsea mining, hoping to extract minerals needed for solar panels, wind turbines and electric car batteries needed to replace fossil fuel energy.

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EU Adds Key Exemptions to Russian Diamond Sanctions – by Joshua Freedman (Rapaport Magazine – June 24, 2024)

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The European Union has extended the “sunrise period” for sanctions on Russian diamonds by six months and added an important concession for goods that predate the rules.

The traceability program for imports of rough and polished natural diamonds will become mandatory on March 1, 2025, and not on September 1, 2024, the EU said in a statement Monday.

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Niger revokes French nuclear group’s licence at major uranium mine (Al Jazeera – June 21, 2024)

https://www.aljazeera.com/

Removal of Orano licence highlights tensions with France, with Russia said to be eyeing the major site.

Niger’s military government has revoked the operating licence of French nuclear fuel producer Orano at one of the world’s biggest uranium mines, as it continues to cut ties with former colonial power France.

State-owned Orano said on Thursday that it had been ordered out of the Imouraren mine in northern Niger which sits on an estimated 200,000 tonnes of the metal, used for nuclear power and weapons.

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Orano at Risk of Losing Niger Uranium Mine Sought by Russia – by Katarina Höije (Bloomberg News – June 15, 2024)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Orano SA could lose the right to mine uranium at one of the largest deposits in the world by June 19 after Niger rejected the French nuclear company’s plan for developing the asset.

The move comes as Russia’s seeks to take over mining assets in the West African country controlled by the French company, Bloomberg reported on June 3. Niger’s Paris-allied president was overthrown in a coup last July, the latest in a string of military takeovers in the region that has seen strongmen spurn ex-colonial power France and forge closer ties with Moscow.

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Serbia set to give green light to Rio Tinto lithium mine – by Marton Dunai, Alec Russell, Harry Dempsey and Alice Hancock (Financial Times – June 2024)

https://www.ft.com/

Exploitation of one of the world’s largest deposits of the metal would boost Europe’s electric vehicle industry

Serbia is preparing to give Rio Tinto the green light to develop Europe’s largest lithium mine two years after Belgrade called off the project, paving the way for a significant boost for the continent’s electric vehicle industry.

President Aleksandar Vučić said that “new guarantees” from the Anglo-Australian miner and EU looked set to address Serbia’s concerns over whether necessary environmental standards would be met at the Jadar site in the west of the country.

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Critical Metals to acquire controlling stake in world’s biggest rare earth project – by Staff (Mining.com – June 10, 2024)

https://www.mining.com/

Critical Metals Corp. (Nasdaq: CRML) has signed an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Tanbreez project in Greenland, the largest rare earth deposit in the world.

Tanbreez hosts 28.2 million tonnes of total rare earth oxides (TREO) in 4.7 billion tonnes of material, according to internal company estimates. The asset is expected to contain more than 27% heavy rare earth elements (HREE) and Critical Metals says efforts to convert the internal resource to U.S. SEC standards are being made.

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Polish-Czech coal mine deal having positive environmental effects (Notes From Poland – June 9, 2024)

Notes from Poland

An agreement between Poland and the Czech Republic to end an environmental dispute over the Turów coal mine, which sits on the Polish side of their shared border, is being successfully implemented and is having a positive effect, the countries have confirmed.

In particular, an underground barrier installed by the mine’s owner, Polish state energy group PGE, has resulted in groundwater levels on the Czech side of the border rising. Their earlier decline had been one of the main complaints from Prague, which took the issue to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in 2021.

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What to know about Russia’s growing footprint in Africa – by Mark Banchereau and Jessica Donati (Associated Press – June 6, 2024)

https://apnews.com/

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Russia’s top diplomat pledged help and military assistance while on a whirlwind tour of several countries in Africa’s sub-Saharan region of Sahel this week, as Moscow seeks to grow its influence in the restive, mineral-rich section of the continent.

Russia is emerging as the security partner of choice for a growing number of African governments in the region, displacing traditional allies like France and the United States. Sergey Lavrov, who has made several trips to Africa in recent years, this week stopped in Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and Chad.

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Russia Said to Seek Takeover of France’s Uranium Assets in Niger (Bloomberg News – June 3, 2024)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Russia is seeking to take over uranium assets in Niger held by a state-controlled French company, according to people informed about the matter, in a further challenge to Western interests in Africa.

Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear company, has had contacts with Niger’s military-led authorities about acquiring assets held by France’s Orano SA, according to a person in Moscow familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. A western diplomat based in the region said talks were likely centered around mining permits. Niger accounted for about 4% of global uranium mine production in 2022, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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EU Policy. Commission clinches raw materials deal with Australia – by Marta Pacheco (Euronews Green – May 28, 2024)

https://www.euronews.com/

The European Commission today (28 May) announced it has forged its 13th trade partnership designed to source critical raw materials from outside the bloc, with Australia.

Valdis Dombrovskis and Thierry Breton, respectively commissioners for trade and the internal market, appeared alongside signatory Australian trade minister Don Farrell, claiming the deal was “based on mutual benefits” — enabling the EU to diversify supply, and the development of Canberra’s domestic critical minerals sector.

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NGO sues Norway over deep-sea mining plans – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – May 24, 2024)

https://www.mining.com/

Environmental activists have once again turned to the Norwegian courts, this time suing the government over its plans for seabed mineral exploration, which they claim has failed to test the possible impacts of such activity.

The case, led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), argues the decision breaches national law, goes against the counsel of the government’s own advisers, and sets an alarming precedent.

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Why a Small Pacific Island Territory Is Upending Nickel Prices – by Rishi Iyengar (Foreign Policy – May 21, 2024)

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Violent riots in New Caledonia are having an outsized global impact on critical mineral supply chains.

The tiny Pacific island territory of New Caledonia entered its second week of deadly riots on Monday, with protesters blocking roads and shutting down the airport. At least six people have been killed so far, and dozens of businesses have been looted and burned, prompting France—which governs the archipelago—to impose a 12-day state of emergency.

New Caledonia has been under French control since 1853, and it voted to remain that way as recently as 2021 despite a growing pro-independence movement. However, that movement exploded into violence last week after France approved a constitutional amendment to the island territory’s voting rules that critics say will dilute the representation of the island’s Indigenous Kanak people.

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The Titanium Supply Chain For The Aerospace Industry Goes Through Russia – by Willy Shih (Forbes Magazine – March 6, 2022)

https://www.forbes.com/

The terrible war in Ukraine and subsequent sanctions placed on many Russian organizations have raised questions about potential supply chain vulnerabilities. While Russia is mostly an exporter of resources like oil, gas, and metals, one market where it is a dominant player is for titanium and titanium forgings. Many people are waking up to the potential consequences of a longer-term stoppage in the flow of these critical materials.

Titanium and titanium alloys have unique properties: they are lightweight and have a very high ratio of strength to weight. Their density is typically around 60% that of steel. They withstand high temperatures, and have a high resistance to corrosion.

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Militaries, Metals, and Mining – by Fabian Villalobos & Morgan Bazilian (New Security Beat – April 17, 2023)

https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/

In the early 1960s, Soviet fulfillment officers at the Berezniki and Zaporozh’ye ilmenite mines must have noticed an uptick in worldwide demand for titanium. Orders for titanium sponge were increasing around the globe, and the Soviet Union reacted by increasing production rapidly.

Yet some of these deliveries resulting from this boost in production were not reaching their intended customers. In fact, some of their customers didn’t even exist. Little did the Soviet producers know that it was actually the CIA on the receiving end of these shipments.

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Ukraine’s Titanium Can Armor the West – by Stephen Blank (CEPA.org – September 14, 2022)

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Support for Ukraine has been driven by strategic concerns and moral-political values. But long-term Western help should also be based on solid material interests.

Ukraine is blessed with many natural resources and an abundant agricultural sector, as Andrew Michta, Dean of the College of International Studies at the Marshall Center, has reminded us. Supporting it now, and throughout its postwar reconstruction, makes eminent good sense and could help drive the regeneration of Eastern European economies, while also cementing Ukraine’s integration into Europe. This is a vital US and allied interest.

Also consider Ukraine’s substantial titanium deposits, a good example of a key resource critical to the West. The metal is integral to many defense systems (aircraft parts, missiles, armor plating, and naval vessels) as well as surgical procedures. Its strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion allow the manufacture of lightweight and durable equipment which works even in extreme conditions.

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