Archive | Metals and Manufacturing

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 →

OEMs ‘fail to understand need to source EV battery raw materials’ – by Steve Garnsey (Automotive Logistics – December 23, 2019)

https://www.automotivelogistics.media/

OEMs and companies in the automotive supply chain show a lack of comprehension of how serious the situation is in accessing key metals required for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, according to Scott Williamson, managing director of Australian mineral explorer and mine developer Blackstone Minerals.

“I don’t think they [the automotive industry] understand how critical and difficult it is to get hold of these metals,” he told Automotive Logistics.

“There’s a disconnect between the amounts of money at the automotive level and what comes down to us,” he added. “If the money doesn’t come down to the mining level, there will be no EV revolution.” Continue Reading →

The unclear path forward for Canada’s auto sector as the electric age approaches – by Ian Bickis (Canadian Press/CTV News – December 22, 2019)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

TORONTO — The last vehicles of an era rolled out of GM Canada’s Oshawa assembly plant last week, but workers and the union behind them hope it’s not the end of the line.

“We shouldn’t let go of the manufacturing capacity we have there,” said Tony Leah, who worked at the plant for 39 years before having to retire in early December. He’s part of a campaign advocating for government to take over the plant and produce electric vehicles.

The end of production at the plant, which assembled vehicles such as the GMC Silverado and Chevy Impala in the final years of its 66-year run, comes at a time of change and uncertainty in the auto industry as it grapples with slowing sales, trade disputes and the steep costs of transitioning production to electric and autonomous vehicles. Continue Reading →

Final vehicles roll off the line in Oshawa as GM plant winds down production – by Ian Bickis (Globe and Mail – December 19, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The last vehicles rolled down the line Wednesday at General Motor’s Oshawa Assembly Plant as an era of production comes to a close for the Ontario motor city. “This has been coming in slow motion, and suddenly it’s here,” said Joel Smith, a union organizer with Unifor Local 222.

Outside the plant, workers hugged in the bitter cold as some walked in for the final shift while others walked out into an unknown future.

GM announced in November last year that it would wind down production at the plant, which has been in operation since 1953, while GM first started producing vehicles in the city east of Toronto in 1918. Continue Reading →

END OF THE LINE: Despite GM closure, Oshawa has plenty of gas in its tank – by Liz Braun (Toronto Sun – December 15, 2019)

https://torontosun.com/

Oshawa today is a tale of two cities. When General Motors shuts down in a few days, it’ll be the end of an era for the town. On Dec. 20, the last vehicle will roll off the assembly line as the industry that defined Oshawa for 100 years closes its doors.

But for all that the history of Oshawa is entwined with the history of GM, the city is no longer dependent upon cars and trucks for either its jobs or its identity. Oshawa has evolved into an education, health sciences and IT hub and is currently experiencing a real estate boom.

In its heyday, GM Canada employed more than 20,000 people in Oshawa, indirectly creating other jobs in all the attendant services required to house and feed that workforce. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Early-Stage Research Hints at Big Advancements Ahead in Lead Battery Energy Storage Innovation (Essential Energy Everyday.com – December 11, 2019)

https://essentialenergyeveryday.com/

CEOs Visit DOE National Laboratory to Review Collaborative Research Project

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2019 – A three-year scientific research project currently underway at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is showing promising results to unlock the untapped potential of lead batteries. Lead batteries currently supply over 70% of the world’s rechargeable battery energy needs. Yet, possibilities exist to expand their performance to meet growing energy storage and transportation demands.

The project is funded by a joint industry CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) comprised of more than 90% of the U.S. lead battery industry. They are working with Argonne scientists to study lead and its unrealized potential for batteries, which can be employed for both transportation and the nation’s energy infrastructure.

The CRADA is part of the ongoing research and development by the lead battery and recycling industry, which spent more than $100 million in battery R&D in 2018, supports nearly 25,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs, and generates $26.3 billion in economic output. Continue Reading →

Europe-led global certification scheme for raw materials expected in 2020 – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – October 30, 2019)

https://www.mining.com/

A group of European bodies and companies have joined efforts to create the first global certification scheme ensuring consistent standards of environmental, social and economic impact throughout the entire raw materials value chain, to be launched next year.

CERA (Certification of Raw Materials), conceived in 2015 by German engineering and consulting firm DMT Group, counts with the support of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), EIT RawMaterials, Volkswagen, Fairphone and research institutions from across Europe.

Companies are under pressure from consumers and investors to prove that minerals are sourced without human rights abuses but tracking raw materials throughout their journey is challenging. Continue Reading →

Trump’s quest to quit China’s rare earths hits outback Australia – by David Stringer (Bloomberg/Minneapolis Star Tribune – August 7, 2019)

http://www.startribune.com/

The remote Outback region of northern Australia would seem an unlikely outpost in the simmering global trade war, but the mining hot spot may help solve a critical issue for the U.S. — the supply of rare earths.

Last October, two U.S. Geological Survey scientists visited a newly recognized type of rare earths deposit about 100 miles southeast of Halls Creek in Western Australia. Rare earths, a group of 17 vital elements needed in components for missile systems, consumer electronics and electric vehicles, have become a more important battleground after China signaled it may restrict shipments to the U.S.

“All of a sudden, you’ve got the U.S. government realizing they have a problem,” said George Bauk, chief executive officer of Northern Minerals Ltd., who has held talks in Washington and hosted the U.S. scientists at the company’s remote Browns Range project. Continue Reading →

China Raises Threat of Rare-Earths Cutoff to U.S. – by Keith Johnson and Elias Groll (Foreign Policy – May 21, 2019)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

Beijing could slam every corner of the American economy, from oil refineries to wind turbines to jet engines, by banning exports of crucial minerals.

With a simple visit to an obscure factory on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping has raised the specter that China could potentially cut off supplies of critical materials needed by huge swaths of the U.S. economy, underscoring growing concerns that large-scale economic integration is boomeranging and becoming a geopolitical weapon.

With the U.S.-China trade war intensifying, Chinese state media last week began floating the idea of banning exports of rare-earth elements to the United States, one of several possible Chinese responses to U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to jack up tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese goods and blacklist telecoms maker Huawei.

U.S. oil refiners rely on rare-earth imports as catalysts to turn crude oil into gasoline and jet fuel. Permanent magnets, which use four different rare-earth elements to differing degrees, pop up in everything including ear buds, wind turbines, and electric cars. And China dominates their production. Continue Reading →