Europe Asking Russia for More Coal Is Set for Disappointment – by Anna Shiryaevskaya and Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – September 30, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — It’s not just extra natural gas that Europe’s struggling energy markets are finding tough to get from Russia.

Power producers in the continent are being forced to ask Russia for more coal to ease an energy crunch with winter approaching and record-high gas prices denting profitability, according to officials at two Russian coal companies. But they may be left stranded as any increase in exports from the country won’t be substantial, they said.

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Automakers Look to Hedge Against China’s Rare Earth Dominance – by Elisabeth Behrmann (Bloomberg News – September 22, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — European automakers are in discussions with Australian rare earths explorer Arafura Resources Ltd. about sourcing elements that help power electric cars from outside China, which dominates global supply.

The miner is developing the A$1 billion ($728 million) Nolans project in Australia’s Northern Territory that will cover as much as 10% of global demand for the type of rare earths used in permanent magnets for electric motors.

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Serbs Protest Against Lithium Mining, Other Eco Problems – by Darko Vojinovic (U.S. News/Associated Press – September 11, 2021)

https://www.usnews.com/

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Several thousand people protested in Serbia on Saturday demanding a ban on planned lithium mining in the Balkan country as well as a resolution to scores of other environmental issues that made the region one of the most polluted in Europe.

The rally in downtown Belgrade was organized by about 30 ecological groups who recently gained popularity in Serbia amid widespread disillusionment with mainstream politicians and amid major pollution problems facing the region.

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Portugal: War over lithium behind the mountains – by Jochen Faget (DW.com – September 8, 2021)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Birds are chirping, and the corn stands tall ready to be harvested. A cow is grazing at the roadside while a shepherd is accompanying his sheep on their way to the pasture. There’s no cloud in sight, only endless forests and huge letters reading “HELP,” mown into flat broom shrubs and visible from a distance.

This idyllic landscape near the village of Covas do Barroso is in danger of having to make way for open-cast lithium mining, ironically in the name of environment protection. The mine would extract a crucial raw material for the batteries of electric cars and thus contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions and Europe’s dependence on lithium imports.

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‘Dangerous’: Scientists Say Gates and Bezos-Backed Mining Venture Could Threaten Arctic Ecosystem – by Noah Kirsch (The Daily Beast – August 10, 2021)

https://www.thedailybeast.com/

A phalanx of billionaires are backing a new mining initiative in Greenland, in what they hope will boost access to minerals used to manufacture electric cars. It’s significant news in a country that has not always celebrated natural resource exploration. And it has some environmental scientists concerned.

The source of the billionaire money is an initiative founded by Bill Gates, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, whose investors include Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, Ray Dalio, and Michael Bloomberg.

Gates founded Breakthrough Energy in 2015 as a vehicle for combating climate change, and it has raised $2 billion to date, including a $1 billion funding round completed earlier this year. The organization has invested in dozens of startups in the sustainable energy space.

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U.S. Sanctions on Belarus Potash Leave Out Nation’s Sole Seller – by Yuliya Fedorinova (Bloomberg News – August 10, 2021)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Potash buyers fretting over U.S. sanctions on Belarus’s state-owned producer, which controls about a fifth of the global market for the crop nutrient, might not need to panic right away.

The penalties announced on Monday target Belaruskali OAO, which ships much of its products to China, India and Latin America, along with more than a dozen companies with ties to President Alexander Lukashenko.

Yet Belarusian Potash Co., in which Belaruskali owns a 48% stake and which is the sole handler all of the country’s potash exports, wasn’t included in the sanctions list.

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Rosatom subsidiary plans for lithium mining on the Kola Peninsula – by Thomas Nilsen (Barents Observer – July 29, 2021)

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/

The world’s hunger for lithium-ion batteries is sky-rocketing as the car industry rapidly changes from combustion engines to electric powertrains. A carbon-free future will additionally require huge amounts of batteries to store wind and solar power on the grid.

Data collected by Bloomberg shows how demand for lithium-ion batteries will surge from roughly 526 gigawatt hours in 2020 a predicted 9,300 gigawatt hours by 2030. To meet the demand, annual production of lithium carbonate should be boosted from today’s 520,000 metric tons existing mining capacity up to 2,8 million metric tons by 2028, a study by Rystad Energy suggests.

The study warns of the risk of a significant supply deficit from 2026-2027 unless new minings are started.

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Column: Rio’s lithium project will test mining’s ESG credentials – by Andy Home (Reuters – July 29, 2021)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Rio Tinto’s decision to invest $2.4 billion in developing the Jadar lithium mine in Serbia is big news. For the company with its heavy exposure to the iron ore sector, it’s a major strategic pivot to the fast evolving battery metals space.

For the lithium market, it marks the first entry of a big international mining company into what is a supply landscape dominated by specialty incumbents.

It’s hugely significant for Serbia, which is trying to attract investment to its mining sector, and it’s hugely important for the European Union, which has identified its Balkan neighbour as a key link in its mineral securities chain.

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Romania’s Roman gold mines get UNESCO heritage status – by Stephen McGrath (Associated Press News – July 28, 2021)

https://apnews.com/

BUCHAREST (AP) — Ancient Roman mining galleries in a mountainous Romanian region that has been at the center of a long, fierce battle between a Canadian mining company and environmentalists were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list Tuesday.

Rosia Montana, located in western Romania, is home to Europe’s largest gold deposits. Gabriel Resources, a Canadian mining company that gained concession rights in 1999, planned to extract the gold and silver over a 16-year period.

The mining project, which the Romanian government owned a 20% stake in, also would involve razing four mountain tops, displacing hundreds of local families and leaving behind a waste lake containing cyanide, a toxic chemical used in the process of gold extraction.

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News Release: Rio Tinto commits funding for Jadar lithium project (July 27, 2021)

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rio Tinto has committed $2.4 billion to the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia, one of the world’s largest greenfield lithium projects. The project remains subject to receiving all relevant approvals, permits and licences and ongoing engagement with local communities, the Government of Serbia and civil society.

The Jadar project would scale up Rio Tinto’s exposure to battery materials, and demonstrate the company’s commitment to investing capital in a disciplined manner to further strengthen its portfolio for the global energy transition.

Jadar will produce battery-grade lithium carbonate, a critical mineral used in large scale batteries for electric vehicles and storing renewable energy, and position Rio Tinto as the largest source of lithium supply in Europe for at least the next 15 years. In addition, Jadar will produce borates, which are used in solar panels and wind turbines.

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Coventry puts forward ‘mission critical’ plan for electric car battery plant – by Jillian Ambrose (The Guardian – July 15, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Plans for a “mission critical” electric car battery plant in Coventry have accelerated in a drive to keep automotive production at the heart of the West Midlands region.

Coventry city council has put forward a blueprint for a 5.7m square feet “gigafactory”, which could create up to 6,000 new jobs, in partnership with Coventry airport where the plant would be located.

The joint venture first revealed its plans in February with the hope of submitting planning permission by the end of the year and attracting an experienced manufacturer to start production by 2025.

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Greenland government ready to outlaw uranium mining – by Kevin McGwin (Nunatsiaq News – July 15, 2021)

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Greenland has taken the first step towards outlawing uranium mining after lawmakers there proposed a stricter version of a ban that the country’s national assembly overturned in 2013.

Only July 2, the elected government began a month-long public consultation period for a proposed bill that, in addition to mining uranium, would prohibit the feasibility studies and exploration activities that must be completed before a mining project can be considered for a license to begin operation.

According to proposal, Naalakkersuisut, the elected government, is hoping that a reinstatement of what was known as the zero-tolerance policy, to achieve its goal of ensuring that “Greenland neither produces nor exports uranium.”

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Small miners aim for European supply chain for electric vehicles independent from China – by Clara Denina and Zandi Shabalala (Reuters – July 16, 2021)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Growing demand for electric vehicles has spurred small-scale miners of the lithium, cobalt and rare earths that automakers rely on to develop mines and build refining capacity in Europe to reduce their reliance on China.

Efforts by the United States and Europe to build a secure and independent supply chain for the key minerals used in electric vehicles (EVs), wind turbines and aircraft engines have accelerated as the pandemic led to shutdowns and shortages.

With companies under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint, processing metals into goods that are circulated within the continent and do not have to travel far is an environmental goal.

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Europe Plans Aggressive New Laws to Phase Out Fossil Fuels – by Somini Sengupta (New York Times – July 13, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

European officials are preparing to introduce ambitious legislation designed to wean one of the world’s biggest and most polluting economies off fossil fuels far more quickly than other nations have pledged to do. The proposals could include phasing out coal as an electricity source as well as imposing tariffs on polluting imports — an idea with the potential to set off global trade disputes.

The European Commission’s package of around a dozen legislative proposals, expected on Wednesday, is designed to swiftly reduce the emissions of planet-warming gases and meet an ambitious climate goal, already enshrined in law: The 27-nation bloc has said it will cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

The legislation is expected to be in sharp contrast to vague aspirations by various other countries to neutralize their emissions by midcentury. “It’s not just a big promise,” said Jennifer Tollmann, a Berlin-based analyst for E3G, a research and advocacy group that works on climate policy.

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Gas Is So Scarce in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback – by Vanessa Dezem, Jesper Starn and Isis Almeida (Bloomberg News – June 15, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Europe is so short of natural gas that the continent — usually seen as the poster child for the global fight against emissions — is turning to coal to meet electricity demand that is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

Coal usage in the continent jumped 10% to 15% this year after a colder- and longer-than-usual winter left gas storage sites depleted, said Andy Sommer, team leader of fundamental analysis and modeling at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions AG.

As economies reopen and people go back to the office, countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Poland turned to coal to keep the lights on.

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