S. Korea to beef up critical metals stockpile – by Kim Byung-wook (Korea Herald – August 5, 2021)

http://www.koreaherald.com/

South Korea will drastically increase its strategic stockpiles of nickel, cobalt and other critical metals, in a bid to ensure a stable supply of raw materials vital to key industries including electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy, the government said Thursday.

National stockpiles of 35 rare metals — designated by the government — will increase to cover 100 days from the current 57 days, it said. New facilities will be built while some existing ones will be expanded and the state-run Korea Resources Corp. will oversee the overall management.

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Coronavirus: Countries shut borders over new variant (BBC News – November 26, 2021)

https://www.bbc.com/

More countries are tightening their travel restrictions after a new coronavirus variant was identified in southern Africa earlier this week. The UK and Singapore are among those rushing in stricter quarantine measures or banning flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries.

The EU is proposing to ban flights from the region across the whole bloc. Scientists still have much to learn about the variant, but say they are very worried about it.

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Russia mourns 51 killed in mining disaster, police make arrests – by Tom Balmforth (Reuters – November 26, 2021)

https://news.trust.org/

MOSCOW, Nov 26 (Reuters) – Police in Siberia arrested two safety inspectors suspected of criminal negligence on Friday as Russia’s coal mining heartland mourned the deaths of 51 people in one of its worst mine disasters since Soviet times.

Regional governor Sergei Tsivilyov said a methane explosion was the likely cause of Thursday’s accident at the mine near the town of Belovo. The dead included five rescuers sent to bring out dozens of men stuck deep underground, he said.

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Deep sea miner insists it has enough cash despite missing $200m – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – November 22, 2021)

https://www.ft.com/

The Metals Company has enough cash to complete the “important work” needed to secure a permit to mine deep in the Pacific Ocean, according to its executive chair, despite an investor’s failure to hand it an agreed $200m in funding.

Gerard Barron said the deep-sea miner could finance its operations until the third quarter of 2023, when it expects to apply for a licence to collect so-called nodules, or rocks, containing energy transition metals such as nickel and copper from the seabed.

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Rio Tinto now sole owner of Diavik Mine – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – November 19, 2021)

https://www.miningnewsnorth.com/

In a deal that bolsters certainty for the future of the Diavik Mine and Northwest Territories’ economy, Rio Tinto has acquired full ownership of this iconic diamond operation in Canada’s Arctic.

Rio Tinto’s 40% partner in Diavik, Dominion Diamond Mines, filed for insolvency protection under the Canadian Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act at the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

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Seeing is believing: what stone enhancements are acceptable? – by Christa Van Eerde (The Jewellery Editor – March 12, 2019)

http://www.thejewelleryeditor.com/

The aim of this article is to explain the most common enhancements or treatments for the ‘big three’, which are acceptable and within what parameters.

Most of the ‘big three’ gemstones – emeralds, rubies and sapphires – are in some way enhanced or treated. Only the very pure, perfectly coloured and flawless can escape any type of enhancement, and this is reflected in their record-breaking prices.

Perfection comes at a cost; the most valuable untreated ruby, the 25.59-carat Sunrise Ruby (below) fetched $30.3 million, which is just over $1 million per carat at Sotheby’s in Geneva in May 2015, far outstripping any price paid for a colourless diamond.

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Chinese Miners in Talks to Access Vast Afghan Lithium Reserves – by Eltaf Najafizada (Yahoo Finance/Bloomberg – November 24, 2021)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Chinese firms are showing interest in exploiting Afghanistan’s vast untapped mineral resources as Beijing seeks a role in reconstructing the nation’s war-ravaged economy.

Afghanistan is sitting on deposits estimated to be worth $1 trillion or more, including what may be the world’s largest lithium reserves, a vital component for the energy-storage batteries that are driving the world’s transition away from fossil fuels.

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One of Mark Selby’s ‘most exciting days’ as Canada Nickel expands – by Staff (Mining Journal – November 24, 2021)

https://www.mining-journal.com/

The company completed 18 separate transactions to acquire or earn in to 13 target properties – including Sothman from Glencore – to consolidate district-scale potential in the Timmins region.

“Why are we doing this now?” Selby asked analysts rhetorically on a conference call, given Crawford was “already the largest nickel sulphide discovery since the 1970s”. “Very simply, nickel deposits generally fall into one of two categories, one-off deposits, or occur where you have multiple deposits occurring in clusters,” he said.

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‘It’s as if we’re in Mad Max’: warnings for Amazon as goldmining dredges occupy river – by Tom Phillips (The Guardian – November 24, 2021)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Environmentalists are demanding urgent action to halt an aquatic gold rush along one of the Amazon River’s largest tributaries, where hundreds of illegal goldmining dredges have converged in search of the precious metal.

The vast flotilla – so large one local website compared it to a floating neighbourhood – reportedly began forming on the Madeira River earlier this month after rumours that a large gold deposit had been found in the vicinity.

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RACE TO THE FUTURE: How the U.S. Lost Ground to China in the Contest for Clean Energy – by Eric Lipton and Dionne Searcey (New York Times – November 21, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Americans failed to safeguard decades of diplomatic and financial investments in Congo, where the world’s largest supply of cobalt is controlled by Chinese companies backed by Beijing.

WASHINGTON — Tom Perriello saw it coming but could do nothing to stop it. André Kapanga too. Despite urgent emails, phone calls and personal pleas, they watched helplessly as a company backed by the Chinese government took ownership from the Americans of one of the world’s largest cobalt mines.

It was 2016, and a deal had been struck by the Arizona-based mining giant Freeport-McMoRan to sell the site, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which now figures prominently in China’s grip on the global cobalt supply. The metal has been among several essential raw materials needed for the production of electric car batteries — and is now critical to retiring the combustion engine and weaning the world off climate-changing fossil fuels.

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Afghan Gems Have a Future, a Longtime Dealer Says – by Victoria Gomelsky (New York Times – November 22, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

In 1972, Gary Bowersox, a Vietnam War veteran who had owned several retail jewelry stores in Hawaii, paid his first visit to Afghanistan. Determined to grow his burgeoning gem dealing business, he was attracted by the country’s 7,000-year-old deposits of lapis lazuli at Sar-i-Sang in Badakhshan Province, which for millenniums have drawn traders to this ancient crossroads on the border of what is now Tajikistan.

It would become the first of many trips, the most recent of which was less than three months before the Taliban regained control of the country and Western forces withdrew their troops.

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GUEST COLUMN: Country with ‘widespread human rights abuses’ to become vice-chair of Kimberley Process – by Sam Lewis (Professional Jeweller – November 23, 2021)

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The country of Zimbabwe is set to become the vice-chair of the Kimberley Process in 2023, according recent reports. Zimbabwean publication NewsDay stated that a vote was held in Moscow earlier in November. Russia is the current chair.

But, asks Ryan Atkins, CEO of Nightingale, is Zimbabwe the right country to head up the Kimberley Process? It’s common knowledge for those in the diamond industry that the Kimberley Process scheme is in somewhat of an existential crisis at the moment.

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Greenland strips Chinese mining firm of licence to iron ore deposit (South China Morning Post – November 23, 2021)

https://www.scmp.com/

Greenland said on Monday it has stripped a Chinese mining company of its licence to an iron ore deposit near the capital Nuuk, dealing a blow to attempts by Chinese companies to gain a foothold on the resource-rich Arctic island.

General Nice, a Chinese coal and iron ore importer, took control of the Isua mine project in 2015, replacing previous owner London Mining, which went bankrupt.

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Burmese Rubies: Costly and Controversial – by Nazanin Lankarani (New York Times – November 22, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has long been a producer of some of the world’s priciest gemstones: pigeon’s blood rubies. Known by their deep, natural red fluorescence with blue hues, they command higher prices per carat than any precious stone on the global market, with the exception of colored diamonds.

But political conflict and trade embargoes have made rubies from Myanmar highly controversial for more than a decade, creating complicated sourcing problems for jewelers.

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Indonesia’s EV dreams at odds with deforestation pledge (Free Malaysia Today – November 16, 2021)

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/

JAKARTA: Global electric vehicle makers have set their sights on Indonesia, attracted by its abundant reserves of key EV battery ingredient nickel, government backing for the industry and the market potential of the world’s fourth most populous nation.

Such ambitions are on parade at the ongoing Indonesia International Auto Show, on the outskirts of Jakarta. Automakers from China, South Korea and elsewhere are counting on the Indonesian government’s push to increase EV sales, one of the ways in which Jakarta hopes to reduce the country’s CO2 output as it aims for net zero emissions by 2060.

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