Archive | Metals and Manufacturing

Timmins mine developer heeds Elon Musk’s call – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 27, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Elon Musk’s plea for mining companies to “mine more nickel” had an apparent effect on Canada Nickel Company.

The Toronto-based exploration company is pitching its future mine project, north of Timmins, as a zero-emissions operation.

The Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur and electric vehicle maker promised a whopper of a Tesla contract for those producers that mine nickel “efficiently and in an environmentally sensitive way” as lithium-ion battery demand starts to pick up. Continue Reading →

COLUMN: Advice to Elon Musk About Potential Nickel Shortages – Stan Sudol (July 23, 2020)

Elon Musk is practically begging nickel miners to boost production as potential future shortages would severely impact his ability to manufacture electric vehicles as the metal is a key component for the batteries Tesla Inc. depends on.

Historically, nickel has always been a boom/bust metal due to the fact the world only produces about 2.1 million metric tonnes of the material a year as opposed to a more commonly used metal like copper at 20 million metric tonnes. And roughly only half of nickel production is of the Class-1 type that is used in batteries that run electric vehicles.

Currently the cost of nickel is nearing a cyclical bottom, hence the reluctance of nickel miners to invest the possible near billion it takes to bring on a new mine.

Musk is a multi-billionaire and his company stock is at an all time high. Instead of whining to the mineral industry to invest “their shareholder money” in new nickel production at a time of low returns here are some suggestions to calm his fear of future shortages: Continue Reading →

Electric Vehicles Are Starting to Buoy the Global Metals Market – by Yvonne Yue Li (Bloomberg News – July 7, 2020)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

The market gloom over the metals that will power the cars of the future is starting to lift. Supply overhangs and then the coronavirus pandemic had crushed short-term prospects for the minerals used to make rechargeable batteries.

But new government commitments to green transport in China and Europe, as well as curtailments to mining and future investments, have led to a growing consensus the markets are bottoming out.

Add in the fact that battery technologies are continuing to get cheaper, and there’s reason to be bullish “over the next few years once we get through the current predicament,” said Chris Berry, president of House Mountain Partners, an industry consultant. Continue Reading →

Tesla is the world’s top carmaker on the back of a tech boost and huge Chinese sales – by Gareth Hutchens (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – July 5, 2020)

https://www.abc.net.au/

It’s a sign of the times. Electric car manufacturer Tesla became the world’s most valuable carmaker last week, overtaking Toyota, despite never having made an annual profit.

In the past 12 months, Tesla shares have surged over 400 per cent to reach a market value of $US210 billion ($302 billion). In July last year, its share price was $US233. Last week, it closed at $US1,208.

According to the financial firm Refinitiv, Tesla is now trading at 69 times its estimated 2022 earnings. What’s behind the eye-watering rally? A broader improvement in the tech sector has helped. Continue Reading →

Nevada’s “Lithium Valley” – by Charles Morris (Clean Technica – May 13, 2020)

https://cleantechnica.com/

No, lithium isn’t going to become “the new oil,” regardless of what the pandering pundits of the popular press say (it’s a raw material, not a fuel, and it’s one of the most abundant elements on Earth). However, there’s no question that demand for the light white stuff is growing quickly, and that much of the current supply comes from outside the US.

Tesla is believed to import much of the lithium it uses from Australia and South America. There are strong economic and environmental reasons to develop more domestic sources.

Fortunately, just a couple hundred miles north of Gigafactory 1, near the Oregon/Nevada border, there’s an area that some are calling Lithium Valley, which could contain a huge and easily exploitable trove of lithium. (This isn’t mere serendipity — one of the reasons Tesla chose Nevada as the site of the Gigafactory was the proximity to potential sources of lithium and other minerals.) Continue Reading →

Demand for battery metals to jump 500% by 2050 – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – May 11, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Production of battery metals such as graphite, lithium and cobalt will have to increase by nearly 500% by 2050 to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies, the World Bank reported Monday.

According to the global lender, over 3 billion tonnes of minerals and metals will be needed to deploy wind, solar and geothermal power, as well as the energy storage required to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Many of the critical minerals used to make batteries for electric vehicles are found in developing nations. The World Bank’s goal is to help those nations to mine those commodities in a sustainable manner to avert major ecological damage. Continue Reading →

Column: Collapsing auto sector a body blow for industrial metals – by Andy Home – Reuters U.K. – March 27, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – France’s Recylex has just announced the temporary closure of both its German lead smelter and two battery-recycling plants, one in Germany and one in France.

The decision is due to a “strong drop in demand, especially in the automotive sector, in a context of sharply lower metal prices,” the company said. It will surely not be the last lead producer to mothball its production facilities.

Lead is umbilically tied to the automotive sector. Lead-acid batteries account for around 80% of global usage of the metal. And carmakers just about everywhere have halted their own production lines due to the spread of the coronavirus and the lockdowns on activity that have followed in its wake. Continue Reading →

Drivers Leading New Push to Cheap EV Batteries (Bloomberg News – March 1, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Electric-vehicle manufacturers in China are seen turning to cheaper batteries to slash costs and meet the needs of drivers in its megacities who don’t need to travel huge distances.

There’s been resurgent interest in lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries since the middle of 2019 when China started to rein in subsidies that had spurred adoption of more expensive, longer-range units using materials such as nickel and cobalt. The cost-competitiveness, safety and low sensitivity to commodity price dynamics of LFP batteries are boosting their popularity in the country, according to a report by BloombergNEF.

China’s biggest maker of new energy vehicles, BYD Co., said its latest cobalt-free battery will be in a new sports-utility model from the middle of this year. Continue Reading →

Lithium price: EVs will be $350bn market in just 15 years – by Frik Els (Mining.com – February 25, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

The global energy storage market is expected to balloon over the next 15 years, according to a report released by Lux Research.

“The energy storage industry is poised for a massive increase in annual revenue and deployment capacity as key innovative technologies, such as solid-state batteries and flow batteries, reach commercialization,” said analyst Chloe Holzinger, one of the report’s lead authors.

The Boston-based company forecasts a global market of $546 billion in annual revenue by 2035. That’s up from $59 billion last year. Capacity will grow even faster, with annual combined deployment level 3,046 GWh over the next 15 years, up from the current 164 GWh and compound growth of 20% per year. Continue Reading →

Tesla’s China surprise big blow for cobalt, nickel price bulls – by Frik Els (Mining.com – February 19, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Long-suffering cobalt bulls were dealt another blow on Wednesday after reports that the world’s largest electric carmaker is shifting some production of its most popular model away from batteries that contain nickel and cobalt.

In a surprise move, China’s top battery manufacturer CATL will supply Tesla with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries for its Model 3 production at its newly built $2 billion factory outside Shanghai.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s most popular, and the US-made version uses the company’s nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) cathode chemistry. Most other automakers favour nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathode chemistries. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Tesla in talks to use CATL’s cobalt-free batteries in China-made cars – sources – by Zhang Yan, Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh (Reuters U.S. – February 18, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

Beijing (Reuters) – Tesla (TSLA.O) is in advanced stages of talks to use batteries from CATL (300750.SZ) that contain no cobalt – one of the most expensive metals in electric vehicle (EV) batteries – in cars made at its China plant, people familiar with the matter said.

Adoption would mark the first time for the U.S. automaker to include so-called lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries in its lineup, as it seeks to lower production costs amid faltering overall EV sales in China.

Tesla has been talking to the Chinese manufacturer for more than a year to supply LFP batteries that will be cheaper than its existing batteries by a “double-digit percent,” said a person directly involved in the matter, who was not authorized to speak with media and so declined to be identified. Continue Reading →

World’s Most Expensive Precious Metal Surges Amid Emissions Clampdown – by Joe Wallace (Wall Street Journal – January 23, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

The price of rhodium, a precious metal that strips pollutants out of exhaust fumes, is surging as car manufacturers in Asia and Europe scramble to abide by stricter emission regimes.

Supplies of rhodium are limited because the metal is mined as a byproduct of platinum, palladium and gold, while demand is rising as regulators restrict emissions and subject autos to more rigorous tests.

Rhodium prices—which are vulnerable to wild swings because the metal has no futures market—have surged 65% to $9,985 a troy ounce in 2020, according to British chemicals company Johnson Matthey PLC. This builds on last year’s rally, extending rhodium’s advance over the past 12 months to more than 300%. Continue Reading →

Why are rhodium prices on a roll? (The Economist – January 25, 2020)

https://www.economist.com/

When anna scott left her Honda Jazz in a commuters’ car park outside Oxford on January 10th, she had little reason to think that criminals would take an interest in the 12-year-old car.

Yet the next afternoon a group of shifty characters were spotted sawing off its catalytic converter. Such incidents have become more frequent across Britain as prices for palladium and rhodium, metals contained in the devices, have rocketed.

The price of rhodium has risen by 63% in the first three weeks of January alone, to $9,850 per ounce, around six times that of gold. There is no telling when it will fall back to earth. Continue Reading →

For Clues About Palladium, Look to… North Macedonia? – by David Fickling (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – January 20, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg Opinion) — “The Balkans” — according to remark often attributed to Winston Churchill — “produce more history than they can consume.” Precious-metal traders betting on the record surge in palladium prices might want to draw a similar lesson.

That’s because production and consumption of palladium and its sister-metal platinum in one tiny Balkan state are giving crucial clues to the way producers of automobile catalytic converters use the two elements. This in turn is likely to affect the path of prices for both metals.

As we’ve written, there are strong fundamental underpinnings to the extraordinary rally that’s seen palladium prices increase nearly fivefold in the past four years, at a time when platinum is up a mere 25%. Both metals have extensive industrial uses in the converters that strip carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides from car exhausts. Continue Reading →

Attack on aluminum is unmerited – by Lauren Wilk (Automotive News – January 20, 2020)

https://www.autonews.com/

Lauren Wilk is the Vice president, policy and international trade for the Aluminum Association.

If the facts are not on your side, pound the table and yell like hell — an old saying that evokes the steel industry’s latest environmental attack against the aluminum industry (“Manufacturing materials count in vehicles’ impact on planet,” Dec. 9).

When the largest material by volume regularly focuses attention on the second most used material, it suggests grave concern. Perhaps it is because, as DuckerFrontier recently confirmed again, aluminum is the fastest-growing automotive material, gaining market share from steel, year over year.

When steel industry studies boast that steel is the greatest, perhaps skepticism is merited. Here’s what independent experts confirm: Continue Reading →