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

https://financialpost.com/

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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Australian lithium explorer secures ground in northwestern Ontario – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 15, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Ardiden sells controlling stake in three lithium projects to Green Technology Metals

A new Australian lithium exploration company wants to tap into the global clean energy movement, starting in northwestern Ontario.

Shareholders for Ardiden, a gold exploration company operating in the Pickle Lake area, have agreed to sell up to 80 per cent ownership of its lithium projects in the region to Green Technology Metals, formerly known as Great Northern Lithium Pty.

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Serbs Protest Against Lithium Mining, Other Eco Problems – by Darko Vojinovic (U.S. News/Associated Press – September 11, 2021)

https://www.usnews.com/

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Several thousand people protested in Serbia on Saturday demanding a ban on planned lithium mining in the Balkan country as well as a resolution to scores of other environmental issues that made the region one of the most polluted in Europe.

The rally in downtown Belgrade was organized by about 30 ecological groups who recently gained popularity in Serbia amid widespread disillusionment with mainstream politicians and amid major pollution problems facing the region.

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

https://www.reuters.com/

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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Portugal: War over lithium behind the mountains – by Jochen Faget (DW.com – September 8, 2021)

https://www.dw.com/en/

Birds are chirping, and the corn stands tall ready to be harvested. A cow is grazing at the roadside while a shepherd is accompanying his sheep on their way to the pasture. There’s no cloud in sight, only endless forests and huge letters reading “HELP,” mown into flat broom shrubs and visible from a distance.

This idyllic landscape near the village of Covas do Barroso is in danger of having to make way for open-cast lithium mining, ironically in the name of environment protection. The mine would extract a crucial raw material for the batteries of electric cars and thus contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions and Europe’s dependence on lithium imports.

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Tribes lose bid to block digging at lithium mine in Nevada – by Scott Sonner (Elko Daily – September 6, 2021)

https://elkodaily.com/

RENO (AP) — A federal judge has denied tribal leaders’ bid to temporarily block digging for an archaeological study required before construction can begin for a Nevada lithium mine on what they say is sacred land where their ancestors were massacred more than century ago.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du refused three tribes’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking the trenching planned to collect samples near the Oregon state line at the site of the largest known lithium deposit in the United States.

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How Afghanistan’s $1 trillion mining wealth sold the war – by Frik Els (Mining.com – August 27, 2021)

https://www.mining.com/

After the fall of Kabul, US media regurgitates a 2010 New York Times frontpage story on Afghanistan’s mineral riches based on a secret Pentagon memo and a 1977 Soviet geologic map.

Search for Afghanistan minerals and you get dozens of articles written in the last few days quoting a magical $1 trillion number including gems like The Taliban are sitting on $1 trillion worth of minerals the world desperately needs (CNN), Afghanistan: Taliban to reap $1 trillion mineral wealth (Deutsche Welle), Biden Just Handed Afghanistan’s Mineral Wealth to China (Newsweek), China Eyes Afghanistan’s $1 Trillion of Minerals With Risky Bet on Taliban (Bloomberg) and so on.

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Lithium Booms in the Battle for Electric-Vehicle Batteries – by Stephen Wilmot (Wall Street Journal – September 2, 2021)

https://www.wsj.com/

Lithium has a better claim than most commodities to be the “new oil.” It even comes with the latest geopolitical baggage.

Prices for the lithium-based chemicals that go into rechargeable batteries have soared this year as electric-vehicle sales have revved up, particularly in China. The average price for lithium carbonate, one of the two key compounds used by battery manufacturers, reached $14,386 a metric ton in August, according to Benchmark Minerals, up from $6,124 in December.

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The dangers of understating the magnitude of the battery material supply/demand imbalance – by Matt Fernley (Kitco News – August 20, 2021)

https://www.kitco.com/

Matt Fernley is Head of Research, Volta Fund; MD of Battery Materials Review.

I wanted to talk about the Nature article on battery raw materials that’s been doing the rounds this week. The article, Electric Cars: The Battery Challenge (Nature, 19 August 2021), is an otherwise excellent discussion of a lot of the issues with sourcing materials for electric cars. Unfortunately there’s a big “but”. And that “but” is in its treatment of primary battery raw materials.

While the author, Davide Castelvecchi, has clearly spoken to a lot of experts on batteries, recycling and other elements of the supply chain, maybe he hasn’t known exactly which questions to ask, because we get a discussion almost entirely on ternary batteries with little to no mention of LFPs (and their ability to lower demand for Nickel, Cobalt and Manganese) and we also get only three paragraphs on the impact of extractive industries on the battery industry.

All the “analysis” on raw materials is effectively based on BNEF’s Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook for 2021 and the general conclusion, based on a quote from the BNEF analyst, is that “temporary shortages [of battery raw materials] and dramatic price swings… [will] work themselves out”.

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For lithium, party like its 1790 – by Jack Lifton (Investor Intel – August 17, 2021)

https://investorintel.com/

The demand for Green Energy Metals (GEMs) as processed fine chemicals and high purity metals and alloys, ready for use in both consumer and military goods, already exceeds their supply.

A good example of this is Tesla’s decision to put back its pickup truck introduction, originally scheduled for Fall 2021, until sometime in 2022 due to a “shortage” of the correct type of battery cells.

This is explained as a shortage of processing capacity, but, in fact, is obscuring an even more important shortfall, that of the supply of mineral raw materials, such as those of lithium, cobalt, and the rare earths – the heavy rare earths.

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EDITORIAL: Environmentalists vs. electric vehicles (Las Vegas Review-Journal – August 15, 2021)

https://www.reviewjournal.com/

Despite their shrill alarmism over global warming, environmentalists are perhaps the biggest obstacles to increasing U.S. production of the minerals needed to make batteries for electric vehicles.

This month, President Joe Biden signed a symbolic executive order urging that half of new vehicles be electric by 2030. In announcing the move, the Biden administration lamented that China is in the pole position on EV manufacturing.
“China is increasingly cornering the global supply chain for electric vehicles and batteries with its fast-growing electric vehicle market,” a White House fact sheet stated.

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Will the lithium shortage put the brakes on electric-car plans? – by Neil Briscoe (The Irish Times – August 11, 2021)

https://www.irishtimes.com/

A global shortage of lithium – the metal mineral crucial for modern rechargeable battery design – may put the brakes on the development of new electric cars.

Market analysts Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI) is predicting an “acute” shortage of lithium from 2022 onwards, according to Reuters. That shortage of supply could derail the stated plans of a majority of Europe’s carmakers as they seek to create all-electric line-ups by the end of the decade.

“Unless we see significant and imminent investment into large, commercially viable lithium deposits, these shortages will extend out to the end of the decade,” said George Miller of BMI. Part of the problem is that although the value of lithium has gone up in recent years, that rise hasn’t yet been enough to trigger major investments in new mining operations.

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NEWS RELEASE: The Minister of Environment and Climate Change approves the Rose Lithium-Tantalum Mining Project (August 10, 2021)

OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 10, 2021 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada conducts rigorous impact assessments based on science and Indigenous knowledge.

Following a thorough environmental assessment conducted by the Joint Assessment Committee, comprised of representatives from the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) and the Cree Nation Government, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, has agreed with the conclusions of the Committee’s Environmental Assessment Report and has decided that the proposed Rose Lithium-Tantalum Mining Project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects when mitigation measures are taken into account. Therefore, the project is allowed to proceed.

Today, Minister Wilkinson issued a Decision Statement to this effect under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012). The Minister’s Decision Statement establishes 221 legally binding conditions with which the proponent must comply throughout the life of the project. These conditions include measures to protect fish and fish habitat, migratory birds and birds at risk, wetlands, woodland caribou, bats at risk and the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by the Crees.

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

https://www.mining.com/

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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