UK, South Africa seek deeper cooperation on critical minerals – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – November 27, 2022)

London and Pretoria announced a partnership to promote the responsible exploration, development, production, and processing of critical minerals in South Africa.

In a media statement, both governments said that this new collaboration will start with the launching of regular ministerial and technical dialogues between South Africa’s Department for Mineral Resources and Energy and the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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Mining Coal in Your Garden Is a Lucrative Business in Poland – by Natalia Ojewska (Bloomberg News – November 27, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — Polish taxi driver Grzegorz says his phone won’t stop ringing, such is the demand for his services. Yet it’s not a ride people want. Grzegorz has given up driving for a far more lucrative line of work as Poland grapples with energy shortages: illegal mining.

Around his home in the Lower Silesian city of Walbrzych, coal sits as little as a meter below the surface in fields, recreation areas and even gardens. A four-man team can unearth a ton in an hour and make 1,000 zloty ($220) each for half a day’s work, roughly 60% of what an average person earns in a week.

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Classy niche market: Europe and the USA benefit from the diamond trade with Russia. Only one country refuses to do so (Indo & New York News & Announces – November 23, 2022)

Wearing gloves, jewels are draped on velvet in the window of a shop in Antwerp’s diamond district. The Belgian port city has been one of the hubs for the gemstone business since the 15th century.

According to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, 37 billion euros are turned over here every year, discreetly and confidentially. When asked where the diamonds come from, a jeweler replies with a laugh: “I’d rather not ask.” His reluctance is not entirely unfounded.

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Column: LME stays Russian metal ban with views starkly split – by Andy Home (Reuters – November 15, 2022)

LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) has announced it will continue accepting Russian metal as good delivery against its industrial metal contracts, for now at least.

It made the decision knowing “it is likely that additional tonnages of Russian metal will – in time, if not immediately – be warranted in the LME physical network.” That brings with it the risk of LME pricing moving from a global to a Russian benchmark, creating a disconnect between paper and physical markets.

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Poland building its first nuclear power plant is ‘A clear message to Russia: We will not let them weaponize energy any longer’ (Associated Press/Fortune Magazine – October 29, 2022)

Poland has chosen the U.S. government and Westinghouse to build the central European country’s first nuclear power plant, part of an effort to burn less coal and gain greater energy independence.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said late Friday on Twitter that Poland would use the “reliable, safe technology” of the Westinghouse Electric Company for the plant in Pomerania province near the Baltic Sea coast. The exact location remains to be identified.

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Poland Is Facing Mounting Energy Insecurity – by Haley Zaremba (Oil Price – Oct 25, 2022)

Poland, one of the most coal-dependent nations in the world, has slowly and steadily been working its way toward decarbonization. In 2010, 86.6% of Poland’s energy mix came from coal-fired power. In 2021 that number had dipped to 70.8%.

On the one hand, this is a major improvement which deserves recognition. On the other hand, 70.8% is still very, very high, and poses a major hurdle for the European Union’s decarbonization goals – not to mention the entire world’s progress toward meeting the targets set by the Paris agreement in 2015.

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Miners’ union tries to brick up PM’s office in coal protest – by Daniel Tilles (Notes From Poland – October 24, 2022)

Notes from Poland

A trade union representing miners today attempted to brick up the entrance to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s parliamentary office. They criticise his administration for not allowing more mining of coal in Poland to ease the current energy crisis, and instead importing it from abroad.

Morawiecki, however, denies that his government has neglected the issue, saying that “the price of coal keeps me awake at night” and that the problem has been caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Russia’s Uranium Dominance Threatens America’s Next-Gen Nuclear Plans – by Tsvetana Paraskova (Oil – Oct 23, 2022)

The U.S. is doubling down on nuclear power generation as a means to reduce emissions and is supporting demonstration projects of advanced smaller nuclear reactors that promise to be more efficient and cost less to build than the current nuclear fleet.

However, there is one major hurdle to the construction of most advanced reactors under development in the United States—the uranium type of fuel on which those reactors are designed to run is currently sold commercially by only one company in the world. And that company is a subsidiary of Russia’s ROSATOM, the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation.

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‘The part of Cornwall nobody ever sees’: the hi-tech future for lithium and tin mining – by Jasper Jolly (The Guardian – October 20, 2022)

A foggy, overgrown quarry in a quiet part of Cornwall is a good place to contemplate Britain’s industrial past. It is here that miners used steam power, explosives and their own hands to dig out china clay for ceramics. The industry helped to fuel the Industrial Revolution and briefly made Redruth one of the richest places in the UK.

The quarry is also a pretty good place to contemplate Britain’s industrial future. Cornish Lithium, a UK startup, is one of a clutch of businesses hoping to revive British mining amid a global scramble for the battery minerals that are crucial for the transition away from fossil fuels.

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Europe joins the ‘white gold’ rush for lithium and faces an energy transition challenge – by Cyrielle Cabot ( – October 19, 2022)

Shortly before arriving at the Paris Motor Show on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron told the financial daily Les Echos that his administration wanted to make electric vehicles “accessible to everyone”.

Macron then proceeded to announce a series of measures to enable households to acquire electric vehicles. With the EU seeking to ban the sale of combustion engine vehicles from 2035, France is trying to gradually phase out fossil-fuel cars. While the move is seen as an essential step on the road to energy transition, it also poses a serious problem: it will require massive quantities of metals needed to manufacture batteries, especially lithium.

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LMEWEEK-Spotlight on LME nickel debacle and the fate of Russian metal – by Pratima Desai (Reuters – October 19, 2022)

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Possible sanctions on Russian metal, lawsuits, a battle to recover trust and a slump in nickel trading after the March fiasco are just some of the headwinds facing the London Metal Exchange (LME) as the industry prepares to meet in the British capital.

Market fundamentals and industry developments typically dominate talks between producers, traders, miners and end users, crowned by cocktails and dinner in London’s Mayfair district.

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White House Weighs Ban on Russian Aluminum Over Ukraine War Escalation – by Joe Deaux and Jenny Leonard (Bloomberg News – October 12, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration is considering a complete ban on Russian aluminum — long shielded from sanctions due to its importance in everything from automobiles and skyscrapers to iPhones — in response to Russia’s military escalation in Ukraine.

The White House is eyeing three options: an outright ban, increasing tariffs to levels so punitive they would impose an effective ban, or sanctioning the company that produces the nation’s metal, United Co. Rusal International PJSC, according to people familiar with the decision-making.

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How a Ban on Russia’s Mining Giants Could Shake the Metals World – by Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – October 8, 2022)

(Bloomberg) — A possible ban on Russian supplies by the London Metal Exchange would be a seismic event for the metals industry, cutting some of the world’s biggest companies off from the main global marketplace.

The exchange has yet to make a decision, but on Thursday launched a formal three-week discussion process on the possibility of banning Russian metal, potentially as soon as next month.

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Ukraine accuses Russia of pushing for change to Kimberley Process, amid call for ‘conflict diamonds’ label (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 5, 2022)

Ukraine has accused Moscow of trying to protect Russian gems from being branded “conflict diamonds” by pushing its ally Belarus to the top of an international diamond certification body.

Some members of the Kimberley Process (KP) — an international scheme implemented in 2003, consisting of a coalition of governments, industry and civil society that certifies diamonds — have called for diamonds from Russia, the world’s top producer by volume, to be labelled “conflict diamonds”.

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Column: Third European smelter closure compounds zinc conundrum – by Andy Home (Reuters – October 6, 2022)

LONDON, Oct 6 (Reuters) – Europe’s energy crisis is taking a rising toll on the region’s industrial capacity with another zinc smelter going into care and maintenance. Glencore (GLEN.L) is curtailing production at its Nordenham plant in Germany citing “various external factors affecting the business and wider European industry.”

It’s the third West European zinc smelter to close over the last year as operators struggle to cope with surging power prices. Smelting has turned out to be the weakest link in the global zinc supply chain this year, creating pockets of extreme tightness in the physical market.

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