Ruling in Thacker Pass lithium mine case expected within months – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – January 5, 2023)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – A U.S. judge said on Thursday she will rule “in the next couple of months” on whether former President Donald Trump erred in 2021 when he approved Lithium Americas Corp’s (LAC.TO) Thacker Pass lithium mining project in northern Nevada.

The timeline further delays the company’s plans to build North America’s largest lithium mine even as Washington pushes to boost domestic production of metals crucial to the green energy transition and wean the country off Chinese supplies.

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This $136m lithium deal may be just the start of something big – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – January 9, 2023)

https://www.afr.com/

They are the majority owners of Australia’s best lithium address, but now IGO Group and Chinese company Tianqi want to spend $136 million muscling into a second lithium province in Western Australia.

The companies, which have acted in partnership on lithium matters since late 2020, agreed to pay $136 million to acquire lithium explorer Essential Metals under a plan to get a foothold in the lithium production zone between Kalgoorlie and Norseman.

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Fate of Thacker Pass lithium mine permit to be decided soon, with 1872 Mining Law a focus – by Daniel Rothberg (Nevada Independent – January 8, 2023)

https://thenevadaindependent.com/

The interpretation of a 150-year-old mining law could be a part of whether a U.S. District Court judge upholds the federal government’s approval of a massive lithium mine — a project that has faced challenges from a local rancher, environmental groups and Native American tribes.

In legal briefs over the past two years, the mine’s opponents have challenged federal permitting of the planned Thacker Pass mine north of Winnemucca. Federal land managers, they argued, fast-tracked the project and did not adequately consider a number of issues in its environmental review — the mine’s footprint on wildlife habitat, groundwater, air quality and Indigenous sites.

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Business leaders urge Three Amigos to move past trade disputes, embrace ‘Team North America’ approach – by Steven Chase (Globe and Mail – January 9, 2023)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Mr. Volpe said there is not yet sufficient infrastructure in place –
lithium production and battery production – to meet the earliest targets
for zero emissions without buying from China. “If we’re actually going
to meet those targets, we’re gonna meet them with Chinese batteries.
Maybe Chinese vehicles,” he said.

Business leaders are urging Justin Trudeau and his U.S. and Mexican counterparts to adopt more of a “Team North America” approach when they meet in Mexico City this week: to move beyond a growing list of disputes including energy, autos and dairy, and craft a continental plan for industries such as electric vehicles.

The Prime Minister, U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will get together for the North American Leaders’ Summit on Tuesday to talk about boosting trade and investment and building a better supply chain to fuel the continent’s electric-vehicle production. It’s the 10th such meeting – also known as the Three Amigos summit – since they began in 2005.

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Tesla faces higher lithium prices as supplier amends deal – by Yvonne Yue Li (Bloomberg News – January 3, 2023)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Tesla Inc. is set to pay more for the lithium that powers its electric vehicles after a supplier amended their deal amid a relentless price rally of the metal.

Piedmont Lithium Inc. will now supply an increased 125,000 metric tons of lithium concentrate to the EV giant starting in the second half of this year through the end of 2025, according to a statement Tuesday. Unlike prior agreements where prices are locked in, Piedmont’s deal with Tesla relies on a floating mechanism based on market prices, according to the statement.

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Biden’s agenda, lithium mine, tribes, greens collide in Reno – by Scott Sonner (Associated Press – January 5, 2023)

https://apnews.com/

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A high-stakes, yearslong legal battle over a huge lithium mine planned in Nevada resumes Thursday with arguments from lawyers for the mining company, the U.S. agency that approved it and the rancher, tribes and conservationists fighting the project.

U.S. District Judge Miranda Du has refused twice over the past year to grant temporary injunctions sought by tribal leaders who say the mine site is on sacred land where their ancestors were massacred by the U.S. Cavalry in 1865.

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Export ban means Chinese firms will have to build plants in Zimbabwe to process lithium – by Jevans Nyabiage (South China Morning Post – December 31, 2022)

https://www.scmp.com/

Chinese companies that have made multimillion-dollar acquisitions in Zimbabwe will have to build lithium processing plants after the southern African nation banned the export of the metal in its raw form.

Companies must either set up local processing plants or provide proof of exceptional circumstances – and receive written permission from the government – before lithium can leave the country.

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The world needs chromite and lithium. Afghanistan has them. What happens next? – by Nabih Bulos (Los Angeles Times – November 3, 2022)

https://www.latimes.com/

LOGAR, Afghanistan — Somewhere in the Logar mountains, overlooking the highway to Kabul, Asadullah Massoud trudged up to a four-story-tall cleft. Before him was a monochromatic pattern of gray stone, save for a seam of dull, almost-black rocks. “Look there. See that black line?” he said. “That’s chromite.”

An explosion thumped in the distance. Massoud looked up, but appeared unconcerned. “That’s not fighting. We’re mining with the open-surface method, putting explosives and going from hill to hill,” he said.

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Snow Lake investor battle brings raw energy to Manitoba lithium project – by Staff (Mining.com – December 15, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

A shareholder rift over millions of dollars in executive pay at Snow Lake Resources (NASDAQ: LITM) is rattling the explorer’s plans to develop a lithium project in northwest Manitoba.

Management postponed a shareholder’s meeting today until January after an investors’ group that controls 42% of the company said it would try to vote out chief executive officer Philip Gross, chief operating officer Derek Knight and chief financial officer Mario Miranda.

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Rio Tinto talks up lithium M&A; investors hunt for targets – by Anthony Macdonald, Sarah Thompson and Kanika Sood (Australian Financial Review – December 14, 2022)

https://www.afr.com/

It’s Rio Tinto’s turn to pull out the chequebook and summon a beauty parade, after BHP’s move on OZ Minerals. The big miner broke tradition this week when it took analysts through its technical backroom in Melbourne’s Bundoora and, in particular, talked up its lithium ambitions.

Knowing Rio’s on the prowl with its $15 billion cash wad (and more coming thanks to its huge free cash flow, with analysts tipping close to $US20 billion this year), resources investors and executives spent Wednesday trying different companies for a fit.

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OPINION: Global banks look down market for new business [Frontier Lithium] – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – December 12, 2022)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

To steal a phrase from supermodel Linda Evangelista, who wouldn’t wake up for photo shoots that paid less than $10,000 a day, investment bankers at global platforms such as RBC Capital Markets and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. don’t typically get out of bed to split a $1-million fee.

Yet RBC and Goldman – firms built for billion-dollar financings – put their muscle and brands behind a $23-million stock sale last month for junior miner Frontier Lithium Inc. The bought deal, initially pitched as a $20-million offering then upsized because of investor demand, earned the two lead dealers and four other banks just $1.1-million.

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Tesla’s lithium supplies in danger as rivals make mining deals – by David Stringer, Yvonne Yue Li, Gabrielle Coppola & Chunying Zhang (The Edge Markets/Bloomberg News – November 30, 2022)

https://apps.theedgemarkets.com/

(Nov 29): For years, only one customer mattered in the market for lithium and other metals used in electric vehicle batteries: Tesla Inc. The prospect that a new mine might end up feeding Elon Musk’s automaker was enough to sway cautious lenders to finance a project or convince investors that untested operations had a shot at meeting aggressive sales projections.

And as the biggest buyer in a sector full of startup miners, Tesla wielded unusual power to dictate terms, typically locking in agreements for supplies for years at fixed prices.

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Rio Tinto hunts for lithium deals, eyes Jadar revival – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – December 13, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) said on Tuesday is actively searching for lithium assets as its expects prices for the metal used in the making of batteries that power electric vehicles to remain high for a “long period of time”.

The company had to shelve its proposed $2.4 billion Jadar lithium mine in Serbia early this year after the government revoked the project’s licences. In a presentation posted on its website, Rio confirmed it has not scrapped Jadar completely as it still considers the project as part of its portfolio and said it intends to de-risk the development process.

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Lithium-Rich Argentina Presses US for Exception to Tap EV Tax Bonanza – by James Fernyhough, Yvonne Yue Li, Patrick Gillespie and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – December 2, 2022)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The world’s fastest-growing lithium producer is lobbying hard to gain access to President Joe Biden’s new electric vehicle tax credits, despite Argentina not meeting the requirement of being a US free-trade partner. So far, it’s being rebuffed.

Designed to end China’s overwhelming dominance of the critical metals sector and passed in August, Biden’s signature Inflation Reduction Act has been welcomed as a landmark climate law that will boost EV manufacture and uptake in the US. But to qualify for the credits, it requires 80% of the battery metals in each vehicle to be “extracted or processed” in the US or a country with US free-trade agreement by 2027.

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There’s a lithium mining boom, but it’s not a jobs bonanza – by Camila Domonoske (Nevada Public Radio – December 5, 2022)

https://knpr.org/

The town of Tonopah, Nev., was born out of a silver rush. A frantic race to extract a natural resource created a town of more than 10,000 people — for a while. Today, Tonopah is home to a little over 2,000 people. But there’s a new mining boom in town.

You can see it when you check in at the old Mitzpah Hotel, all faded glory, ghost stories and tales about Wyatt Earp. Above the cash register, next to a chandelier, a screen advertises a lithium exploration company. And forty minutes outside of town, Silver Peak lithium mine is in the process of doubling production.

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