Archive | Lithium

COLUMN-United States aims to reshape the critical minerals world – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 19, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

China’s growing control of metals at the heart of the electric
transport revolution such as lithium and cobalt represents a
second front in the looming raw materials war.

LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) – The United States has laid out its strategy to rebuild collapsed domestic supply chains for metals and minerals deemed “critical” to its defence and manufacturing sectors.

“A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals”, released earlier this month by the Department of Commerce, includes 61 recommendations, ranging from revamping mine permitting rules to stimulating recycling activities to forging alliances with “friendly” suppliers such as Canada and Australia.

This is very much work in progress. It’s only last year that the United States decided on what exactly constitutes a “critical” mineral. But added urgency has come from China’s veiled threats to use its dominance of rare earths production as a weapon in the broader trade stand-off with the Trump Administration. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Trump Administration Announces Strategy to Strengthen America’s Economy, Defense (U.S. Department of the Interior – June 4, 2019)

For the full report: https://bit.ly/2MMmLcC

Interior to Support Critical Minerals Strategy through Faster Permitting, Better Information, Nationwide Examination of Minerals Potential

WASHINGTON – Today, the Trump Administration released, “A Federal Strategy to Ensure a Reliable Supply of Critical Minerals,” to make America’s economy and defense more secure. The strategy directs the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to locate domestic supplies of those minerals, ensure access to information necessary for the study and production of minerals, and expedite permitting for minerals projects.

“Thanks to President Trump’s leadership, today’s federal strategy lays out a blueprint for America to once again be a leader in the critical minerals sector,” said Secretary David Bernhardt.

“As with our energy security, the Trump Administration is dedicated to ensuring that we are never held hostage to foreign powers for the natural resources critical to our national security and economic growth. The Department will work expeditiously to implement the President’s strategy from streamlining the permitting process to locating domestic supplies of minerals.” Continue Reading →

Pot takes the spotlight away from lithium and threatens the EV boom (Bloomberg/Mining Weekly.com – June 13, 2019)

https://m.miningweekly.com/

SANTIAGO – Lithium miners are seeing investor interest go up in smoke. The flow of capital into the cannabis industry is draining investments into lithium producers that supply the raw mineral key to power the electric-vehicle revolution.

Mining companies and analysts at the Lithium Supply and Markets Conference in Santiago this week said they couldn’t help but notice the half-empty rooms at the sessions – and the lack of investors and fund managers among attendants.

The picture was remarkably different from last year’s event, when prices for the mineral used in rechargeable batteries were at historic highs. This year prices have fallen 17%. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Mining conference to expand knowledge of new method of mineral exploration – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – June 12, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

Technique now possible due to improvements in lithium batteries which power monitoring equipment

Improvements in lithium batteries are one of the major reasons a new mineral exploration method could soon take off in northwestern Ontario.

Lakehead University will host PACIFIC (passive seismic techniques for envoirnmentally-friendly and cost-efficient mineral exploration), an international group of universities, government agencies and private companies which want to develop new exploration tools.

“It’s getting harder and harder to find mines,” said John McBride, a project geologist with Stillwater Canada, one of the companies involved in the project. Continue Reading →

Saving the Planet With Electric Cars Means Strangling This Desert – by Laura MIllan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – June 11, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Mining lithium and copper to supply the battery boom and fight climate change is wrecking a fragile ecosystem in Chile.

The oases that once interrupted the dusty slopes of the Atacama desert in northern Chile allowed humans and animals to survive for thousands of years in the world’s driest climate. That was before the mining started.

Sara Plaza, 67 years old, can still remember guiding her family’s sheep along an ancient Inca trail running between wells and pastures. Today she is watching an engine pump fresh water from beneath the mostly dry Tilopozo meadow. “Now mining companies are taking the water,” she says, pointing to dead grass around stone ruins that once provided a nighttime refuge for shepherds.

“No one comes here anymore, because there’s not enough grass for the animals,” Plaza says. “But when I was a kid, there was so much water you could mistake this whole area for the sea.” Continue Reading →

The booming battery market brings significant opportunities to mineral-rich Finland – by Harry Sandström (World Finance – June 5, 2019)

https://www.worldfinance.com/

Harry Sandström, Programme Director at Geological Survey of Finland.

The forecasted increase of electric vehicles (EVs) is huge: according to the International Energy Agency, there will be around 125 million EVs on the road globally by 2030.

The battery market is surging in parallel, with the raw materials market set to join it. However, until circulation technology is developed further and totally new battery technologies appear, there is sure to be a shortage of primary raw materials, such as cobalt.

In Europe, Norway is racing ahead in terms of EVs, but China will soon become the frontrunner on a global level. Even so, other markets are making progress of their own. Finland may only be a small economy, but it has notable strengths in the development of battery technology, particularly in terms of raw materials, chemicals, control systems and industry machinery. Continue Reading →

World’s big lithium miners want on the battery bandwagon – by David Stringer and Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg/Financial Post – June 4, 2019)

https://business.financialpost.com/

The race by Tesla Inc., Samsung SDI Co. and other technology giants to secure supplies of lithium — a key ingredient in batteries for electric vehicles and smartphones — is creating a unique chance for two global mining superpowers to reap more value from their natural resources.

Australia and Chile are looking to lithium to help them escape a cycle that for decades has had the two nations digging out minerals such as iron ore and copper, only to see them refined and turned into valuable products abroad.

Almost three-quarters of the world’s lithium raw materials come from mines in Australia or briny lakes in Chile, giving them leverage with customers scrambling to tie up supplies. The mining nations hope to have refining and manufacturing plants that could help kick start domestic technology industries. Continue Reading →

Chile, once the world’s lithium leader, loses ground to rivals – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters India – May 30, 2019)

https://in.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – As automakers race to a clean-energy future, Chile looked to be in the catbird seat. The South American nation possesses the world’s largest reserves of lithium, a lightweight metal crucial to manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles. Chile’s lithium is high quality and cheap to produce.

But the nation’s output has barely budged in recent years. Chile’s two lone producers, SQM and Albemarle Corp, have struggled to boost production to capitalize on strong global demand, which is widely expected to triple by 2025.

Chile’s government, meanwhile, has been slow to allow new players to enter the market. And indigenous groups and activists are opposing new projects, worried about environmental impacts. The upshot: Chile is losing ground to competitors. Continue Reading →

Australia, US should form battery mineral alliance, says lithium chief – by Jacob Greber (Australian Financial Review – May 22, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Washington | Australia and the US may need to jettison free-market orthodoxy and develop a strategic alliance to guarantee supply of the raw materials essential to the new era of battery-based electrification.

James Calaway, chairman of Australian-listed lithium developer Ioneer, said there was an “unusual amount” of interest within the US and Australian governments over the vulnerabilities of critical supply chains for battery technology.

“I don’t think we need to get into protectionism, but we can talk about what do we need to do to encourage domestic investment in value-added materials and development,” Mr Calaway, who is based in Houston, Texas, said in an interview. “That shouldn’t be off the table.” Continue Reading →

The lithium industry needs a $17b injection to meet 2025 demand – here come the deals – by Angela East (Stockhead.com.au – May 15, 2019)

https://stockhead.com.au/

Corporate deals in the lithium industry are heating up at a time when there is a predicted multi-billion-dollar cash injection needed to ramp up supply to meet rapidly growing demand.

One expert says at least US$12 billion ($17.3 billion) needs to be invested in new lithium projects by 2025 if the industry is to have any realistic hope of matching supply with demand.

US lithium expert Joe Lowry told delegates at the Latin America Downunder mining conference in Perth that the ‘Big Four’ global lithium producers – SQM, Albemarle, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium and Tianqi – could not alone meet 2025 lithium demand. Continue Reading →

China surges ahead in lithium production – by Staff (Asia Times – May 15, 2019)

https://www.asiatimes.com/

China has reportedly cracked the technical hurdle in mining and extracting lithium from its vast deposits of the soft, silvery-white metal, slashing the unit cost of mining and production to as low as 15,000 yuan (US$2,180) per tonne.

Lithium, the source of power for almost all portable equipment, has thus become significantly cheaper, according to the Beijing-based Economic Daily and other Chinese papers.

The metal that also fuels the world’s drive to green transportation is extracted from brine but experts say separating it from other elements present in the salts is costly. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-BHP to keep Nickel West, Rio looks to Jadar lithium for battery boom (Reuters Africa – May 14, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Global miner BHP will hold on to the Australian nickel operations it previously put up for sale, while Rio Tinto is working on copper and lithium projects as the mining industry bets on demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The biggest mining companies say they are well positioned to provide the metals needed for the shift to EV technology, although they acknowledge the political risks and environmental issues in some of the countries where the best supplies are found.

Nickel is in demand to allow cars to travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the use of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current EV batteries. Continue Reading →

U.S. faces hurdles in push to build electric vehicle supply chain – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters Canada – May 14, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – The United States faces stiff challenges as it moves to create its own electric vehicle supply chain, industry analysts say, with the extent of the country’s metal reserves largely unknown and only a few facilities to process minerals and produce batteries.

Legislation making its way through the U.S. Congress aims to help offset those gaps, but China remains the global EV sector leader, a dominance seen by some as difficult to supplant. Even some U.S. mines are caught in China’s orbit, with domestic production of so-called rare earth minerals reliant on Chinese processing and now caught up in the U.S.-China trade conflict.

“China has a huge head start,” said Gavin Montgomery, a battery and mining analyst at the Wood Mackenzie consultancy. “They’ve just been at this a lot longer than the rest of the world.” Continue Reading →

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley – by Louis Sahagun (Los Angeles Times – May 7, 2019)

https://www.latimes.com/

A small Cessna soared high above the Mojave Desert recently, its engine growling in the choppy morning air. As the aircraft skirted the mountains on the edge of Death Valley National Park, a clutch of passengers and environmentalists peered intently at a broiling salt flat thousands of feet below.

The desolate beauty of the Panamint Valley has long drawn all manner of naturalists, adventurers and social outcasts — including Charles Manson — off-road vehicle riders and top gun fighter pilots who blast overhead in simulated dogfights.

Now this prehistoric lake bed is shaping up to be an unlikely battleground between environmentalists and battery technologists who believe the area might hold the key to a carbon-free future. Continue Reading →

[Frontier Lithium] ‘This is a Sudbury story’ – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – May 8, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

With electrical vehicles poised to explode in coming years, a Sudbury company is hoping to establish what it calls a “battery ecosystem” in Northern Ontario.

“You need to have a lithium mine first, and mines will build chemical plants,” said Bora Ugurgel, manager of investor relations with Frontier Lithium, based in Val Caron.

The junior mining company is developing a lithium mine in northwestern Ontario that hosts the “highest quality deposit in North America,” he said, and expects a processing facility can also take shape in our region. Continue Reading →