Archive | Metals and Manufacturing

Mining gives Canada a competitive advantage in electric vehicle market – by Navdeep Bains (Policy Options – September 17, 2020)

Policy Options – Institute for Research on Public Policy

Navdeep Bains is the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.

For decades, Canada’s auto industry has relied on what I would call a “people advantage.” Canadian workers made better quality, innovative vehicles and, as a result, automakers recognized the value in making cars in Canada.

The transition towards autonomous vehicles has put our people advantage to the test, challenging the ingenuity and durability of our domestic industry to remain competitive in a transforming global market.

Once again, however, Canada has risen to the challenge, proving to be a force in the kind of connected technologies and artificial intelligence upon which self-driving cars and trucks are based. Continue Reading →

Do You Know Where Your Watch’s Gold Came From? – by Victoria Gomelsky (New York Times – November 19, 2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/

A mechanical timepiece is powered by clean kinetic energy and can run, at least theoretically, forever and a day. To support that image of inherent sustainability, many Swiss watchmakers over the past decade have partnered with conservation groups, implemented energy-saving measures at their at their factories and, more recently, experimented with recycled materials for things like packaging and straps.

When it comes to the gold and gemstones used to make watches, however, the industry lags behind other sectors such as electronics in understanding and communicating how its materials are obtained and ensuring their extraction has not harmed people and the environment.

“We always compare the watch industry here in Switzerland to the textile industry 20 years ago,” said Dario Grünenfelder, a consultant to WWF Switzerland and lead author of the WWF Watch and Jewellery Report 2018. “They’re not really tackling the big issues: the raw materials that go into their products.” Continue Reading →

EV makers’ battery choices raise questions about future cobalt demand – by Henrique Ribeiro (S&P Global – November 11, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

The recent resurgence in the use of cobalt-free battery formulation, especially in the Chinese battery market, has raised questions about the future of cobalt demand in the electric vehicles (EV) sector.

The use of cobalt in lithium-ion batteries has always generated concerns due to its high cost, as well as the use of child labor in “artisanal mining” at the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where 60% of the world’s cobalt is produced.

However, market participants believe cobalt will remain key in the coming EV boom – even though Tesla has announced plans to completely get rid of cobalt in the near future. Continue Reading →

The rebirth of the automotive sector makes Ontario the envy of North America – by Flavio Volpe (Financial Post/Toronto Star – November, 2020)

https://financialpost.com/

https://www.thestar.com/

Its no secret that I love cars. I like things with wheels, motors and sinewy designs that cheat the wind and stir the soul. I like cars that connect with each other and drive on their own.

I love cars that take families on tours of fall colours, and cars that barrel through a winter storm like it’s a gentle breeze. I love cars that do big things, but do that work in silence. All of them, a technology nerd’s dream.

Every car made today has more lines of code than a Boeing 787, more moving parts than an RCAF F-18, and more technology in its front bumper than the fanciest phone in your pocket. Continue Reading →

AUTOMOBILES: Indonesia aims to grab EV supply chain with CATL and Hyundai From mines to batteries and cars, country to shoot for ASEAN hub status – by ERWIDA MAULIA (Nikkei Asia – November 6, 2020)

https://asia.nikkei.com/

JAKARTA — Indonesia is inching toward building an industry to supply nickel for batteries and electric vehicles. The government last month acquired a major stake in a nickel miner, following basic agreements with top South Korean and Chinese battery makers for domestic joint ventures totaling $12 billion.

It is also looking to eventually become a regional hub for manufacturing electric vehicles, starting with a future partnership with Hyundai Motors.

The chain begins with Indonesia’s nickel reserves, the world’s largest. Recently, state-owned holding company Mind Id, previously known as Inalum, acquired a 20% stake in nickel miner Vale Indonesia, the country’s largest nickel producer by output, for 5.52 trillion rupiah ($374 million). Continue Reading →

China sends warning it can cripple US defence system by turning off rare earths tap – by Robin Bromby (Small Caps.com.au – October 28, 2020)

Small Caps

China is reported to be cutting off rare earth supplies to the United States defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin and other American companies in retaliation for the companies supplying Taiwan with military hardware.

But this move should not be read merely as a tit-for-tat against a few particular companies. It is, however, a clear signal to the US defence establishment that China holds the whip hand.

Rare earths are crucial in the manufacture of advanced weapon applications. Without them, the Chinese could hobble the US military (and the forces of its allies) while itself having full operational capacity in a time of conflict. Continue Reading →

Tesla’s move into mining aimed at energising battery supply chain – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – October 20, 2020)

https://www.ft.com/

When Tesla held its socially distanced “battery day” last month at an outdoor parking lot in California, it invited executives from the two big US lithium companies, Livent and Albemarle.

As they sat in their allotted Model 3s watching Elon Musk on their in-car screens, he dropped a bombshell: the electric car maker was becoming a competitor.

Tesla, Mr Musk said, had acquired the rights to a 10,000-acre plot in Nevada where it planned to extract the metal using simple table salt, and would build a lithium refinery to supply a new factory in Texas. The next day Albemarle and Livent lost a combined $1.7bn in market value as their share prices plunged. Continue Reading →

State holding to be Indonesia’s battering ram into global battery market – by Norman Harsono (Jakarta Post Jakarta – October 16, 2020)

https://www.thejakartapost.com/

Indonesia has mobilized three of its biggest state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and opened talks with two foreign multinationals to bring Southeast Asia’s largest economy into the world’s highly lucrative electric vehicle (EV) battery market.

The SOEs Ministry has ordered mining holding MIND ID, oil and gas giant Pertamina and electricity monopoly PLN to establish a holding company – tentatively “PT Indonesia Battery Holding” – that will develop an end-to-end domestic supply chain for EV batteries.

The trio are also in talks with China’s CATL and South Korea’s LG Chem, the world’s top two EV battery makers by output, to invest between US$12 billion and $20 billion in developing the dream supply chain. Continue Reading →

Tesla eyes nickel-rich Indonesia for next factory, hints officials – by Maria Merano (Teslarati.com – October 18, 2020)

HOME

Local reports are hinting that Tesla might be laying down plans to build a dedicated battery factory in Indonesia. The update was related by Indonesian officials who pointed to ongoing talks with the electric car maker.

CNBC Indonesia reported that the Indonesian government and Tesla are negotiating the possible construction of a battery factory in Batang, Central Java. The location is currently being developed by the country into an expansive industrial area.

In a statement to the media on Monday, Minister of Industry (Menperin) Agus Gumiwang stated that discussions with Tesla are indeed underway for a potential battery factory in Batang. “On going discussion, arahnya ke sana Batang (the direction is Batang),” Gumiwang said. Continue Reading →

Ohio craft brewers bank on cans during the pandemic. Now comes an aluminum shortage.- by Patrick Cooley (The Columbus Dispatch – October 18, 2020)

https://www.dispatch.com/

Ohio’s craft brewers are preparing for an aluminum shortage as more and more beer makers put their concoctions in cans.

The shortage is likely to hit the state’s smallest breweries especially hard because they have fewer resources and less leverage with metal suppliers, industry insiders said.

At the beginning of 2020, breweries sold much of their beer to restaurants and bars, which meant filling kegs for draught beer. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which confined many Ohioans to their homes and continues to weigh on the hospitality industry. Continue Reading →

Ford goes electric, Ontario poised to win – by Brian Lilley (Toronto Sun – October 7, 2020)

https://torontosun.com/

It’s being billed as the best news for Ontario’s automotive sector in 15 years and while it’s not a new plant, it is a new lease on life for one of the anchors of the industry.

On Thursday morning, Premier Doug Ford will stand with Ford Canada CEO Dean Stoneley and Unifor president Jerry Dias to announce a major investment in the plant.

Ford Canada will announce a $1.2 billion investment in their Oakville plant while Ford, the premier, will announce $295 million from the province. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expected to join via video link, will announce the federal government will also put $295 million into the plant. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Ottawa’s quixotic jolt to our electric-battery industry is riskier than it’s letting on – by Andrew Coyne (Globe and Mail – October 7, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Perhaps the giddiest part of a Throne Speech that seemed at several points to be high on intoxicants was that bit about how Canada was poised to become a world leader in the production of electric batteries, on the unassailable grounds that “Canada has the resources” from which electric batteries are made.

It’s a theme the government, and particularly Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, has been pushing with some regularity. Canada is “rich in key ingredients like lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt and aluminum,” he told the Toronto Star’s Tonda MacCharles in a prespeech interview.

All these resources lying about, just waiting to be converted into world-leading electric batteries – it’s a wonder no one’s thought of this before. Continue Reading →

Tesla is in talks with top miner BHP over nickel-supply pact – by Yvonne Yue Li and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – October 6, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Tesla Inc. is in talks with BHP Group on a nickel deal as the electric-car maker targets higher production and seeks to avoid a supply crunch, according to people familiar with the matter.

Talks are held up on pricing, and no final agreement has been reached so far between the automaker and BHP, the world’s largest miner, said one of the people, requesting anonymity because the talks are private.

The discussions come as Tesla works to raise the amount of the metal used in vehicle batteries to improve performance, and as it makes a push into in-house cell production. Continue Reading →

No need to panic, but beer makers can’t get enough cans (Financial Post – October 7, 2020)

https://financialpost.com/

John Sleeman was looking for cans of Sleeman Cream Ale at a store, but couldn’t find them. “There were no cans,” the founder of Canada’s third-largest brewery said.

Instead, he settled for bottles, because Sleeman Breweries Ltd. and other Canadian beer brewers are struggling to get enough cans to meet their needs in the midst of a months-long can shortage in North America.

The can shortage means consumers’ preferred brand of beer — or pop, for that matter — might not always be available in the kind of package they want it in. But brewers this week said that, in most cases, they aren’t actually running out of packages to put their liquid in, just the most popular package. Continue Reading →

China EV ambitions threat to entire US auto industry – report (Mining.com – September 29, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

A bipartisan, federal response is required for the United States to compete with China’s ownership of the next generation of transportation, according to a new report from Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE).

By 2040, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) foresees the global stock reaching 500 million EVs. Even the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) foresees roughly 320 million EVs on the road
by 2040.

Across the industry, automakers will invest $300 billion over the next five to 10 years on EV development and production. Nearly half of this investment spending will occur in China, SAFE reports. Continue Reading →