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

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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Sleepy lithium market stirs to life as electric vehicle industry charges up – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – September 21, 2021)

Less than a week after Vancouver-based Millennial Lithium Corp. asked shareholders to vote on a proposed all-cash buyout by China’s Ganfeng Lithium Corp., a second buyer has emerged and bid 6.1 per cent higher, offering $377 million in cash.

Millennial did not disclose the second buyer’s identity, but a source told the Financial Post it is Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited, or CATL, as Bloomberg News reported.

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Chile indigenous group asks regulators to suspend lithium miner SQM’s permits – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters – September 13, 2021)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Indigenous communities living around Chile’s Atacama salt flat have asked authorities to suspend lithium miner SQM’s operating permits or sharply reduce its operations until it submits an environmental compliance plan acceptable to regulators, according to a filing viewed by Reuters.

Chile’s SMA environmental regulator in 2016 charged SQM with overdrawing lithium-rich brine from the Salar de Atacama salt flat, prompting the company to develop a $25 million plan to bring its operations back into compliance. Authorities approved that plan in 2019 but reversed their decision in 2020, leaving the company to start again from scratch on a potentially tougher plan.

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Iron ore rush creates mining boomtown in Brazil (Financial Times – August 15, 2021)

Finding a place to stay is not so easy these days in the Brazilian mining town of Itabirito.

Hotel rooms are scarce and rents have climbed, say locals, as outsiders descend on the hilly settlement in search of their fortunes — or maybe just a steady wage — from the iron ore deposits found in this tropical region of green valleys and streams.

Prices for the steelmaking ingredient have rallied over the past year, turning the modest town of about 60,000 people into a hotspot of the global commodities boom.

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EXCLUSIVE Peru’s finance chief says mining taxes can rise without affecting competitiveness – by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun (Reuters – August 9, 2021)

LIMA, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Peru’s finance minister, Pedro Francke, told Reuters on Monday that the new leftist government can increase mining taxes to fund public spending without affecting private-sector competitiveness, all while reducing the fiscal deficit.

Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, is highly dependent on mining taxes and new President Pedro Castillo has promised to deliver more social programs to lift the country’s poor.

The election of Castillo, a member of a Marxist-Leninist party, as president in June has spooked investors, with Peru’s Sol currency falling to a fresh record low against the dollar on Monday.

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MINING TOURISM: From Magical Towns to colorful cities, discoveries await you in Guanajuato – by Lydia Carey (Mexico News Daily – August 9, 2021)

With 32 states and 5,800 miles of gorgeous coastline, urbanscapes and quaint colonial towns — in regions that each have their own special cuisine, distinct accents and beautiful biodiversity — Mexico has so many destinations worth visiting, it can be hard to know where to start.

I’ve gotten to know Guanajuato well during my 13 years in the country, and it still has nooks and crannies I have yet to explore. Tourists who head right to the state’s most famous attraction — the city of San Miguel de Allende — miss out on the plethora of places and activities the state has to offer.

By far, one of the state’s biggest and best destinations is Guanajuato city. As you approach, the multicolored facades of the houses creeping up the mountains glitter in the sunshine.

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Chilean lawmakers postpone vote on controversial mining royalty bill – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – August 4, 2021)

Chile’s senate has postponed for almost three weeks a vote on an opposition-sponsored bill that could hike taxes on miners by up to 75% depending on the price of copper, the country’s main export.

The bill, first introduced in 2018, calls for a 3% royalty on sales of over 12,000 tonnes of copper productions a year and 50,000t/y of lithium.

Half the funds obtained from the royalty would go into a convergence fund to finance regional and communal development projects. The other half would directly finance projects to mitigate, compensate or repair environmental impacts from mining activity in communities near mining projects.

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Copper Boom Has a Top Zinc Miner Scouring for Red-Metal Assets – by Mariana Durao (Bloomberg News – August 2, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Brazilian conglomerate Votorantim is on the prowl for copper assets as demand for the metal used in wiring is set to take off in the clean energy transition.

The group’s Nexa Resources SA unit — the world’s fourth-largest zinc producer — wants to increase exposure to copper and is evaluating expansions of its existing mines, as well as potential new projects and acquisitions, Chief Financial Officer Rodrigo Menck said.

“We have a primary interest in copper, a metal most pursued by investors in the wake of electrification,” he said in an interview.

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Documentary shines a light on lithium mining and conflicts in Argentina – by Fermin Koop ( – August 3, 2021)

Years in the making, the film tells the story of the communities of Salinas Grandes, Jujuy province, who resist the arrival of mining companies for lithium extraction in Argentina

Clemente Flores lives in the El Moreno community in Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina, where indigenous communities are trying to prevent mining companies from extracting lithium. The amount of water needed to obtain the mineral, used to power electric car and phone batteries, would radically alter their way of life, Clemente argues.

In the name of lithium, a new documentary directed by Cristian Cartier and Martín Longo, tells the story of a conflict generated by lithium extraction. The film, which took more than five years to make, is available online for free until 9 August and is then scheduled for release in cinemas across Argentina.

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Brazil Prosecutors Target Final Samarco Dam Settlement This Year – by Mariana Durao (Bloomberg News – July 22, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — A final settlement between Brazilian authorities and the Samarco iron-ore venture can be reached this year, bringing legal certainty to owners Vale SA and BHP Group six years after a devastating tailings dam collapse.

That’s according to federal prosecutor Carlos Bruno Ferreira da Silva, who said in an interview that the final reparation value is yet to be defined and will be based on independent technical studies.

Silva, who is leading talks on behalf of prosecutors, pointed to a document signed by the parties that estimates talks to last about four months from June 22, the last four weeks of which would be focused on a final draft. Authorities and company officials have been meeting weekly.

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Mining Boss Sees Fervor Calming With Peru Leftist to Take Office – by James Attwood (Bloomberg News – July 21, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Peru’s mining industry is hopeful of avoiding the kind of drastic measures that would stifle investment and future production when Pedro Castillo takes office in the world’s No. 2 copper producer.

While the president-elect may have spoken of taking some extreme measures during the campaign, he may be more measured once in office, according to Victor Gobitz, president of Peru’s Institute of Mining Engineers.

During a tense and polarizing election process, the rural union activist from a Marxist party vowed to nationalize energy assets, block certain projects and take a bigger share of the mineral windfall to fight poverty.

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Analysis: Illegal gold mining in Peru set to continue – by Ben Heubl (Engineering and Technology – July 16, 2021)

Peruvian authorities seem powerless to stop illegal gold mining that has wreaked havoc in the country’s rainforests and is poisoning the environment with mercury. E&T’s analysis shows that the practice boomed during the pandemic.

The price of gold is sensitive to crisis, but can itself be the cause of turmoil, especially in an environmental context.

During the past year and a half of the global pandemic, the gold price reached historic heights. As a result, an artisanal gold-mining boom swept the world, notably in countries that are but resource-rich.

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Copper mining is Opec on crack, so why is the price falling? – by Frik Els ( – July 13, 2021)

Much like the reference in this piece’s headline, it’s a cliché to call a country the Saudia Arabia of something.

The top search suggestion at the moment is the Saudi Arabia of wind. That’s Boris Johnson’s dream for the UK and from a leader with an affinity for hot air, perhaps not unexpected.

The Saudi Arabia of lithium query takes you to a story about Chile, which is wrong. Neither is it Afghanistan as this article in the NYT would have it. It’s Nevada; Elon Musk confirmed it last year.

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EXCLUSIVE Peru’s Castillo expects mining firms to accept ‘prudent’ tax changes, adviser says – by Marco Aquino (Reuters – July 6, 2021)

LIMA, July 6 (Reuters) – Peru’s socialist president-in-waiting expects mining firms enjoying high metals prices to be won over to “prudent” plans to hike taxes on mineral resources, a top adviser told Reuters on Tuesday.

In a sign that the gap between the business sector in the world’s no. 2 copper producer and the incoming leftist government is closing, Pedro Francke, Castillo’s economic adviser, said he expected firms would not oppose a planned review of tax rules after dozens of meetings with businesses.

Castillo is set to be confirmed president after a review of ballots from the June 6 vote. The political novice and former teacher has rattled Peru’s elite with plans to redraft the constitution and sharply hike taxes on miners he once said had “plundered” the country’s wealth.

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Chile royalty regime changes may jeopardise future investments – Woodmac (Mining – July 5, 2021)

Although proposed changes to Chile’s mining royalty regime are not expected to have a drastic impact on the copper-producing nation’s production landscape in the near term, amendments do risk compromising continued appetite for large-scale, long-term investments.

This is according to resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie analyst William Tankard, who stresses that Chile has to careful consider the implementation of its royalty regime reform.

“It is unhelpfully alarmist to place primary focus on the proposed amendments [impact] on producers’ value loss under current spot prices, which are at record highs,” he cautions.

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