The world’s largest lithium producing countries – by Parth Charan (Money Control – September 23, 2021)

https://www.moneycontrol.com/

With the rising tide of battery electric vehicles making a splash all across the world, the most coveted natural resource needed to power our vehicles is no longer petrol but a mineral called ‘lithium’. While it’s debatable whether lithium is the most important element found in a lithium-ion battery, its extensive mining across certain global hotspots has come under heavy criticism.

The very process of mining lithium is not only energy-intensive and polluting, it may also be linked with destabilising the ecosystem nearby due to extensive saltwater depletion from the edge of the ‘salars’ through which lithium is extracted.

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The Energy Future Needs Cleaner Batteries – by Drake Bennett (Bloomberg News – September 23, 2021)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Late in August, at a precisely specified point in the low Arctic, a geologist named Dave Freedman stood in a raw wind and a limitless expanse of tundra and began to thwack with a sledgehammer at a rock outcrop jutting up from the soil.

Freedman, 29, works for a company called KoBold Metals, and the process that had brought him to this pair of GPS coordinates in Quebec’s far north was complex. But the rock had had its own journey.

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Indigenous engagement progressing in Australian mining: Drummond – by Tom Parker (Australian Mining – September 23, 2021)

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The effort to better acknowledge and include First Nations peoples in the Australian mining industry is advancing as more Indigenous initiatives are introduced and more Indigenous contracts awarded.

While some mining companies can still improve their Indigenous engagement, there are instances that indicate a concerted effort to prioritise First Nations recognition and involvement.

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China Risks Winter Energy Crunch With Struggle to Get Supplies – by Alfred Cang and Dan Murtaugh (Bloomberg News – September 20, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — China is at risk of the same energy-crunch chaos seen in Europe, with a state-run newspaper warning that coal-fired power plants will struggle to keep the lights on this winter.

The nation’s coal-based power producers, which account for more than 70% of the country’s electricity generation, are unable to buy enough fuel after prices surged, state-run China Energy News said in a report dated Sept. 18.

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Copper deal makes Sandfire the miner of Seville – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – September 23, 2021)

https://www.afr.com/

Australian miner Sandfire Resources will spend more than twice its market capitalisation to solve its growth problems, unveiling a $2.57 billion Spanish mine acquisition that investors described as “transformational” and “a game changer”.

Sandfire will take on new debt and ask investors to buy $1.2 billion of new shares to fund the $US1.86 billion ($2.57 billion) acquisition of Spain’s Minas D’Aguas Tenidas (MATSA) mine, which is located north-west of Seville.

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For Auto Makers, the Chip Famine Will Persist – by Daniel Yergin and Matteo Fini (Wall Street Journal – September 22, 2021)

https://www.wsj.com/

The chip famine is starving the global auto industry and putting car buyers on a strict diet. So far this year, seven million cars that were supposed to be produced haven’t been, according to IHS Markit data.

Auto companies are shutting down production lines for weeks at a time and furloughing employees as a result of the chip shortage. Toyota has slashed its production 40% in September.

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China Says It Won’t Build New Coal Plants Abroad. What Does That Mean? – by Azi Paybarah (New York Times – September 22, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, said on Tuesday that his country would stop building coal-burning power plants overseas, a major shift by the world’s second-biggest economy to move away from its support of the fossil fuel.

China “will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” he told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. The news comes amid a broad international effort to reduce coal use and to keep global temperatures from rising at their current pace, which scientists have warned could be disastrous.

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Europe’s gas crisis is also a renewables crisis, but there are ready solutions – by Angela Dewan (CNN.com – September 22, 2021)

https://www.cnn.com/

London (CNN Business)European natural gas prices have soared so high that hundreds of millions of people could be facing cold homes or inflated energy bills over winter. There’s also fears of a knock-on impact as carbon dioxide used in food production — a byproduct of fertilizer made with natural gas — also gets more expensive.

Politicians are blaming the surge in prices on an increase in natural gas demand as the world wakes up from the pandemic, supply disruption caused by maintenance, and a less-windy-than-usual summer that saw a drop in wind-generated power.

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U.S. Coal Miners Could Be Next in Line for Industry Bailouts – by Leslie Kaufman (Bloomberg News – September 20, 2021)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — There isn’t much that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Sierra Club agree on, but one of those rare things is a measure that’s part of the bipartisan infrastructure package to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives later this month that would fund $11.3 billion to remediate coal mines abandoned before 1977.

It’s essentially a taxpayer subsidy of a polluting industry and yet it has plenty of support on both sides of the political aisle.

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How to Fix Florida’s Phosphate Problem – by Blair Wickstrom (Florida Sportsman – September 22, 2021)

https://www.floridasportsman.com/

Dave Markett, a Tampa Bay fishing guide who regularly fishes Piney Point, told those in attendance at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 2021 Redfish Summit that, “We need to hold the people that are responsible for our water degradation accountable and that they pay a price.”

Markett went on to demand that “phosphate needs to be funding the cost of seagrass restoration,” and ended with a dire prediction: “We are one tropical storm away from a disaster of unimaginable proportions.” Agree. And agree.

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Sprott’s aggressive uranium buying will not corner market, chief says – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – September 20, 2021)

https://www.ft.com/

The head of Sprott Asset Management has hit back at suggestions that its aggressive buying of uranium could corner the market for the nuclear fuel and spark regulatory interest.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sprott chief executive John Ciampaglia said the physical uranium trust that Sprott launched in August would help rebalance the 180m-lb-a-year uranium market — driving prices to a level that spurred greater production of the radioactive material.

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EXPLAINER: Chinese builder’s debt struggle rattles investors – by Joe MaDonald (Associated Press – September 21, 2021)

https://apnews.com/

BEIJING (AP) — Global investors are watching nervously as one of China’s biggest real estate developers struggles to avoid defaulting on tens of billions of dollars of debt, fueling fears of possible wider shock waves for the financial system.

Chinese regulators have yet to say what they might do about Evergrande Group. Economists expect them to intervene if Evergrande and lenders can’t agree on how to handle its debts. But any official resolution is expected to involve losses for banks and bondholders.

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A Tesla Co-Founder Aims To Build an Entire U.S. Battery Industry – by Tom Randall (Bloomberg News – September 14, 2021)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Redwood Materials Inc., the battery recycling company created by Tesla Inc. co-founder J.B. Straubel, has been keeping a big secret: It isn’t really a recycling company.

Sure, Redwood has risen quickly to become the biggest lithium-ion battery recycler in the U.S.. But Straubel didn’t leave Tesla in 2019 just to clean out America’s junk drawers. His broader goal, described to Bloomberg for the first time, is to move a huge chunk of the battery-component industry from Asia to the U.S.

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Chinese mining firms told to stop work and leave Democratic Republic of Congo – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – September 16, 2021)

https://www.scmp.com/

China has ordered its companies that broke laws and environmental standards in the Democratic Republic of Congo to cease operating and leave the country – at a time when the African nation’s government is aiming to renegotiate “infrastructure for minerals” deals with Beijing.

It came after South Kivu province suspended six Chinese firms’ operations over illegal mining and destruction of the environment. The companies had missed a deadline to register their activities with the Congolese authorities.

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U.S. miners decry mineral royalty plan floated in Congress – by By Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – September 16, 2021)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – U.S. mining companies are blasting proposals in Congress that would set royalties for copper, lithium and other minerals extracted from federal land, with executives saying the measures would hurt domestic production of the building blocks for solar panels, electric vehicles and other green technologies.

The House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee added language to the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation spending measure last week that would set an 8% gross royalty on existing mines and 4% on new ones. There would also be a 7 cent fee for every ton of rock moved.

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