Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Chile’s Codelco seeks approvals to explore for lithium at Maricunga (Reuters U.S. – January 24, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile state miner Codelco filed with regulators on Friday a plan to begin exploration for lithium in its Maricunga salt flat holdings, a key step in advancing development of the country’s second richest deposit of the metal needed for batteries.

The proposal, if approved, would allow Codelco, the world’s top producer of copper, to pinpoint concentrations of lithium on the flat, estimate the size of the resource and identify necessary next steps. The state-owned miner hopes to explore for as many as 10 months, the company said in a statement.

Codelco has for years talked of getting into the lithium business. But the cash-strapped miner has repeatedly delayed plans to develop its reserves to concentrate on copper, its primary business. Continue Reading →

China’s raw materials strategy: The next chapter in the US-China rivalry? – by Bashar Malkawi (Policy Forum – January 24, 2020)

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“Without a domestic supply, the United States must rely on Chinese
sources of rare earths to build ‘Made in America’ military equipment.
It makes little sense to rely upon a security competitor for access to essential
military materials. Rare earths are not the only strategic

metal. Lithium, chromium, cobalt, graphite, copper, and manganese
are also essential for industrial purposes.”

The United States cannot rely upon products that originate in, or supply chains that run through, a potential adversary, Bashar Malkawi writes.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), publicly released in 2013 and formerly named ‘One Belt, One Road’, would, at first look, seem to be a force for good. China views the BRI as a way to enhance its trade connectivity, reduce surplus domestic industrial capacity, develop poorer interior provinces, promote energy security, and internationalise Chinese industrial and financial standards.

The BRI builds China’s commercial ties abroad by financing, constructing, and developing major transport, energy, technology, and other infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Continue Reading →

World’s Most Expensive Precious Metal Surges Amid Emissions Clampdown – by Joe Wallace (Wall Street Journal – January 23, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

The price of rhodium, a precious metal that strips pollutants out of exhaust fumes, is surging as car manufacturers in Asia and Europe scramble to abide by stricter emission regimes.

Supplies of rhodium are limited because the metal is mined as a byproduct of platinum, palladium and gold, while demand is rising as regulators restrict emissions and subject autos to more rigorous tests.

Rhodium prices—which are vulnerable to wild swings because the metal has no futures market—have surged 65% to $9,985 a troy ounce in 2020, according to British chemicals company Johnson Matthey PLC. This builds on last year’s rally, extending rhodium’s advance over the past 12 months to more than 300%. Continue Reading →

Governor extends open invitation to mining industry – by Ben Hahenstatt (Juneau Empire – January 23, 2020)

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Gov. Mike Dunleavy told the mining industry Alaska is open for business during an annual mining conference in British Columbia. Dunleavy, who spoke Wednesday at an Alaska Night event held during the Association of Mineral Exploration Roundup Conference, can be heard in a recording of his remarks obtained by the Empire emphasizing Alaska’s openness to mining projects.

“We have gold, silvers, lead, zincs, you name it,” Dunleavy said. “We have everything in the state of Alaska, and what you have now in the state of Alaska is an open invitation for all of you to set up shop in the state of Alaska.”

In a release prior to the convention, Dunleavy said he intended to encourage mining investment in Alaska at the conference and would be joined by commissioners Doug Vincent-Lang, Department of Fish and Game; Corri Feige, Department of Natural Resources; and Jason Brune, Department of Environmental Conservation. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold’s ‘long safari’ ends with Tanzania deal – by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala (Reuters Canada – January 24, 2020)

https://ca.reuters.com/

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO) signed a deal with Tanzania on Friday in which the government will take stakes in three gold mines, ending a long-running tax dispute and setting a template for negotiations with other firms. It was signed by Barrick CEO Mark Bristow and Tanzanian minerals minister Doto Biteko at a ceremony in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

It follows an announcement by the two sides in October in which they agreed to a payment of $300 million to settle outstanding tax and other disputes, the lifting of an export ban on concentrates and the sharing of future economic benefits from mines.

South Africa-born Bristow, describing the dispute as a “long safari” since it emerged in 2017, struck a conciliatory tone in a speech at the ceremony broadcast on state TV. Safari means “journey” in Swahili. Continue Reading →

Greece to sell troubled nickel producer Larco’s assets: minister (Reuters U.S. – January 24, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece plans to liquidate Larco, one of Europe’s biggest nickel producers which is struggling under heavy debt, and then look for an investor for some of the company’s assets, its energy minister said on Friday.

The European Commission said in November it was taking Greece to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over its failure to recover 135.8 million euros ($150.7 million) of illegal state aid to Larco.

The ECJ ruled in 2017 that Greece needed to recover the money, based on a Commission decision in 2014 related to capital injections and state guarantees. Continue Reading →

Why are rhodium prices on a roll? (The Economist – January 25, 2020)

https://www.economist.com/

When anna scott left her Honda Jazz in a commuters’ car park outside Oxford on January 10th, she had little reason to think that criminals would take an interest in the 12-year-old car.

Yet the next afternoon a group of shifty characters were spotted sawing off its catalytic converter. Such incidents have become more frequent across Britain as prices for palladium and rhodium, metals contained in the devices, have rocketed.

The price of rhodium has risen by 63% in the first three weeks of January alone, to $9,850 per ounce, around six times that of gold. There is no telling when it will fall back to earth. Continue Reading →

Column: Where’s has all the metal gone? LME zinc market starved of stock – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – Janaury 23, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – “Zinc – Where’s the metal?” The question was posed by analysts at ICBC Standard Bank in a research note published in February last year.

One year on and the question is more relevant than ever. London Metal Exchange (LME) zinc stocks totalled 98,000 tonnes in the middle of February 2019. They now stand at 50,550 tonnes. This isn’t how the zinc story was supposed to play out.

Citi was proclaiming “zinc’s last hurrah” in February last year, the bank advising “producers to sell in to temporary tightness since our base case expects the market will loosen in (the second half of the year)”. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China virus outbreak a further risk to iron ore, steel outlook – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – January 23, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Jan 23 (Reuters) – The risk to commodity demand from the spread of a new flu-like virus in China has so far focused on crude oil and related products such as jet fuel, but the iron ore and steel markets will also be keeping a nervous watching brief.

The effective quarantining of Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the new strain of coronavirus emerged, sounds like a major step to combat the virus which has so far killed 17 people and infected several hundred more.

That the move comes on the eve of the Lunar New Year holidays, which typically see millions of Chinese travel to visit family and friends, underlines the disease’s danger. Continue Reading →

World’s biggest nickel miner has a plan for its crisis-ridden border town: here could come a hub for Arctic tourism – by Atle Staalesen (The Barents Observer – January 23, 2020)

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/

There is a sense of crisis in the small town of Nikel located on the border to Norway and Finland. Here, most men and women have for the past three generations had their lives closely connected with the local nickel smelter.

Now, the cornerstone industry is closing and several hundred people will be dismissed in the course of the year. Locals fear that Nikel will be abandoned and turned into a ghost town.

However, local authorities and the nickel company assure that there will be new industries created that locals can be re-trained and re-employed in new jobs. Continue Reading →

Anglo American output held back by Chile drought, diamond weakness – by Shanima A and Noor Zainab Hussain (Reuters U.S. – Janaury 23, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Anglo American (AAL.L) said on Thursday that water shortages at its Los Bronces mine in Chile had weighed on the global miner’s copper output in the fourth quarter, while rough diamond production was hurt by a softer global market.

The miner, however, reported a 4% rise in total production for the final quarter of 2019 as it ramped up output from its Minas-Rio iron ore mine in Brazil. It had reported a 7% increase in total production on a copper equivalent basis for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Copper production for the latest quarter dropped 13% to 159 kilo tonnes (kt) and output from the Los Bronces mine slumped 28%, hurt by the drought in Chile. Continue Reading →

Indonesian Mining Giant Seeks to Triple Aluminum Production – by Eko Listiyorini (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – January 21, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium has set a long-term goal of tripling its production capacity by expanding operations to the island of Borneo as it seeks to utilize the region’s abundant bauxite reserves.

The state-owned company known as Inalum plans to boost capacity to 750,000 tons by building a 500,000-ton smelter in North Kalimantan, on the Indonesian side of Borneo, as power supply constraints limit the expansion of its sole facility in Kuala Tanjung, North Sumatra, according to Managing Director Oggy Achmad Kosasih. He didn’t give a timeline.

The existing smelter relies on electricity from a hydro plant that can only provide enough power for 250,000 tons of aluminum a year, Kosasih said in an interview on Monday in Kuala Tanjung. The company is trying to increase output to 300,000 tons by upgrading its furnace, he said. Continue Reading →

South African chrome firms warn of more than 1,200 job cuts (Reuters U.S. – January 20, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African chrome firms on Monday warned of more than 1,200 potential job cuts, citing power cuts, rising electricity tariffs and increased competition from overseas.

The potential layoffs highlight the risks posed to Africa’s most industrialized economy by struggling state power utility Eskom, which is struggling with breakdowns at its coal-fired power plants and is mired in a financial crisis.

They also pile more pressure on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government, which is trying to contain 29% unemployment. Continue Reading →

Editorial counterpoint: McCollum’s mining-ban bill shortchanges environment review – by Frank Ongaro (Minneapolis Star Tribune – January 21, 2020)

http://www.startribune.com/

It’s no surprise that the Star Tribune Editorial Board supports U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill banning copper-nickel mining (“Bill offers vital BWCA protections,” Jan 19).

Unfortunately, McCollum’s bill is a desperate attempt to pre-emptively sidestep rigorous review processes already well-established under federal and state statutes to determine the feasibility and safety of mining projects on public lands.

All mining projects in our state — including taconite, iron ore and other extractive industry developments that power our economy and were explicitly left out of this bill — must undergo extensive environmental and feasibility studies. The statutes were enacted to assure a fair, predictable process built on scientific and technical evidence, not the shifting winds of politics. Continue Reading →

India’s Electric Car Ambitions Could Stumble on Lack of Lithium – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – January 20, 2020)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

India’s ambition of becoming a global hub for making electric vehicles faces one major hurdle: its lack of access to lithium.

Home to some of the most polluted cities on the planet, the South Asian nation is pivoting toward new-energy vehicles to clean up its toxic air. But with meager resources of lithium, the mineral essential to make batteries for electric vehicles, it is having to scour for resources overseas.

India’s EV production will rely on imports from China of lithium chemicals used to make cathodes and battery cells, according to Jasmeet Singh Kalsi, director at Manikaran Power Ltd., which is exploring setting up India’s first lithium refinery. “China has a thriving lithium chemical, battery cathode, battery cell and EV supply chain. India has none.” Continue Reading →