Opinion: Kazakhstan unrest underlines Australia’s uranium advantage – by Duncan Craib (Australian Financial Review – January 10, 2022)

https://www.afr.com/

The world is decarbonising and Australia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to capitalise on the inevitable surge in global uranium demand that will accompany it.

Global financial institutions are taking a new look at the Australian uranium sector, and with good reason. Civil unrest over the past week in Kazakhstan – the world’s largest exporter of uranium – and the consequent impact on uranium prices highlights the geopolitical sensitivity of the commodity.

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How The U.S. Is Losing The Lithium Industry To China – by Robert Rapier (Forbes Magazine – January 11, 2022)

https://www.forbes.com/

In the early days of the oil industry, the U.S. quickly established dominance as the world’s most important producer and consumer of petroleum. But over time, depletion in the U.S. and discoveries abroad caused U.S. dominance of the petroleum industry to fade. Although the U.S. remained the world’s largest consumer of petroleum, it became increasingly dependent on foreign oil.

It became clear many years ago that U.S. dependence on other countries for petroleum was a national security issue. The issue came to a head in 1973, when various members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) initiated an oil embargo against the United States and certain U.S. allies.

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How Mongolia Is Handling Its Mining Bonanza – by Gordon Feller (Global Asia – December 2021)

https://www.globalasia.org/

Is Mongolia’s prosperity being built at the expense of its future stagnation? A growing number of experts believe that the country is becoming over-reliant on mining-led growth. Making matters worse, the government is only saving a measly one cent of each dollar earned from its mineral output.

To expedite mineral shipments, the government had pledged to build a separate railway by this year from the massive Tavan Tolgoi coal mine to expedite coal deliveries through the South Gobi corridor. But it failed to secure financing.

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Earth’s final frontier: China and the deep-sea gold rush set to cause environmental catastrophe – by Stuart Heaver (Hong Kong Free Press – January 2, 2022)

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Scientists say that a highly controversial deep-sea “gold rush” risks potentially devastating consequences for marine ecosystems, biodiversity, coastal communities and climate change.

The deep seabed is Earth’s final frontier but this mostly unexplored, dark and pristine abyss is threatened by highly destructive deep-sea mining which could be at full throttle within months.

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Proposed northern Minnesota nickel mine signs deal with Tesla – by Mike Hughlett (Star Tribune – January 10, 2022)

https://www.startribune.com/

Under the deal, Tesla would buy about half of Tamarack Mine’s projected production.

Talon Metals, the company behind a proposed Minnesota nickel mine, said Monday it has made a major supply deal with Tesla.

The electric vehicle giant has committed to buy 75,000 metric tons of nickel concentrate over six years from Talon’s planned mine in Tamarack, about 50 miles west of Duluth. Tesla would also have rights to go above that amount.

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RACE TO THE FUTURE: Can a Tiny Territory in the South Pacific Power Tesla’s Ambitions? – by Hannah Beech (New York Times – December 30, 2021)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Nickel is vital to electric car batteries, but extracting it is dirty and destructive. A plant with a turbulent history in New Caledonia is about to become an experiment in sustainable mining.

GORO, New Caledonia — From the reef-fringed coast of New Caledonia, the Coral Sea stretches into the South Pacific. Slender native pines, listing like whimsical Christmas trees, punctuate the shoreline.

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China urged to sharpen rare earths edge in race with the US – by Laura Zhou (South China Morning Post – January 2, 2022)

https://www.scmp.com/

China has been urged to create a multi-agency mechanism to secure supplies of critical minerals as a geopolitical leverage against the United States and its allies amid a global drive towards green energy.

Experts studying the White House’s strategy on rare earths say the proposed body could be similar to the system in the US where the commerce, energy, foreign policy and federal authorities are all involved in devising and implementing critical minerals strategies.

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BHP makes leap to riskier districts with plan to invest up to $100m in Tanzania’s Kabanga Nicke – by David MaKay (MiningMX.com – January 10, 2022)

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BHP will invest up to $100m in Kabanga Nickel and has rights to make further investments in a major boost to the Tanzanian firm’s mine development plans.

If BHP invests the full $100m it will have a 17.8% stake in Kabanga Nickel valuing the Kabanga project at $658m. Describing itself as owning the world’s largest mine-ready nickel sulphide mine in the world, Kabanga Nickel is set to produce its first concentrate in 2025.

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Kazakhstan Unrest Pushes Up Uranium and Oil Prices – by Joe Wallace (Wall Street Journal – January 2022)

https://www.wsj.com/

Instability in Kazakhstan, the world’s biggest uranium producer, threatens to curb output and boost prices at the same time supplies of the nuclear fuel are becoming tighter.

Dozens of people died Thursday when authorities moved against protesters after several days of unrest and the arrival of a Russia-led military alliance to quell the disorder.

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West needs to step up supply of copper for the energy transition – by John Dizard (Financial Times – January 7, 2022)

https://www.ft.com/

Does the energy transition need a “Circular 5”? Back in the late 1940s the US Atomic Energy Commission fretted that it could not procure enough uranium on the private market to meet the requirements of its nuclear weapons production programmes.

The initial supply of Congolese uranium for the wartime Manhattan project had been scavenged in late 1942 from a warehouse in Staten Island, NY, where it had been sent in 1940 by an anti-Nazi Belgian businessman.

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Lithium: A year of progress and protests – by Timothy Burmeister (Elko Daily Free Press – January 1, 2022)

https://elkodaily.com/

With the anticipated need for a lot more lithium to put into batteries to help power a greener future, you might think environmentalists would give a pass to some of the negative effects of the proposed lithium mines that are being planned at sites around Nevada. That’s not the case. The opposition to some of the proposed mines has been strong and may even be ramping up.

Thacker PassLithium Americas’ Thacker Pass lithium mine may be the biggest project on the horizon, and it is facing lots of opposition. Lithium Americas has been working for years on plans for Thacker Pass, which is about 60 miles northwest of Winnemucca.

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Indonesia miners seek solution as coal export ban rattles sector – by Fransiska Nangoy and Bernadette Christina, Sudarshan Varadhan (Reuters – January 3, 2022)

https://www.reuters.com/

JAKARTA/CHENNAI, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Indonesian coal miners are seeking a quick resolution to a government coal export ban that has caused fuel prices to rise and could disrupt the energy supplies of some of the world’s biggest economies.

The world’s leading exporter of thermal coal on Saturday banned the shipments because of concerns it could not meet its own power demand. But the risk is a knock-on impact on economic linchpins China, India, Japan, and South Korea, which together received 73% of Indonesian coal exports in 2021, shiptracking data from Kpler showed.

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Chile’s new Left-wing leader fuels fears of disruption to global copper supplies – by Matt Oliver (The Telegraph – December 22, 2021)

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/

Cheered by legions of young Chilean supporters waving flags and banners, Gabriel Boric vaulted over a metal barricade and leapt on to a stage to address his victory rally on Sunday night.

“I receive this mandate with humility”, the leftist former student politician said solemnly. “I know that the future of our country is at stake.” Aged just 35, he will be the youngest elected leader in Chile’s history after a barnstorming election win against right-wing rival José Antonio Kast.

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Chile’s mining industry unfazed by leftist Gabriel Boric’s victory – by Camille Erickson and Kip Keen (S&P Global Market Intelligence – December 21, 2021)

https://www.spglobal.com/

The mining industry brushed aside risks posed by left-leaning politician Gabriel Boric’s resounding victory in Chile’s runoff presidential election Dec. 19, despite the president-elect’s campaign promises to rein in the sector and raise fees.

After winning roughly 56% of the vote in the second round of elections, 35-year-old Boric underscored his opposition to Minera Andes Iron’s Dominga iron-copper-gold project, and on the campaign trail, Boric promised to create a state-run lithium company and supported mining tax hikes and royalties. Boric is looking to squeeze miners to bring in cash for public services while protecting the environment.

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U.S. faces tough choices in 2022 on mines for electric-vehicle metals – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – December 22, 2021)

https://www.reuters.com/

Dec 22 (Reuters) – The United States has enough reserves of lithium, copper and other metals to build millions of its own electric vehicles (EVs), but rising opposition to new mines may force the country to rely on imports and delay efforts to electrify the nation’s automobiles.

The tension underscores the dilemma facing the United States going into 2022, a year in which U.S. policymakers hope to see groundbreakings on a raft of EV manufacturing facilities from Ford Motor Co(F.N), General Motors Co(GM.N) and others.

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