Archive | Metals and Manufacturing

From the deforestation of the Peruvian Amazon to a ‘lake of toxic sludge’ in China: How building a smartphone devastates planet Earth – by Patrick Byrne and Karen Hudson-Edwards) Daily Mail/The Conversation – August 29, 2018)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Dr Patrick Byrne is a researcher at Liverpool John Moores University, and Karen Hudson-Edwards is a scientist at the University of Exeter.

Nearly five billion people worldwide will use a smartphone by 2020. Each device is made up of numerous precious metals and many of the key technological features wouldn’t be possible without them.

Some, like gold, will be familiar. Others, such as terbium, are less well-known. Mining these metals is a vital activity that underpins the modern global economy.

But the environmental cost can be enormous and is probably far greater than you realise. Let’s walk through some of the key metals in smartphones, what they do, and the environmental cost of getting them out of the ground. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-Electric car bets boosting nickel demand, Nornickel says – by Polina Ivanova (Reuters – August 13, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Expectations of a boom in demand for electric vehicles are leading investors and battery makers to stockpile nickel and helping to fuel a spike in global prices of the metal, Russian mining company Norilsk Nickel said on Monday.

Nornickel, the world’s second-largest nickel producer, said demand for the metal from the battery sector leapt 38 percent in the first half of this year versus the same period last year.

Along with demand from the stainless steel sector, this helped boost prices to $15,750 per tonne in June, their highest in over four years, the company said, with the battery sector accounting for 5 percent of total global nickel demand. Continue Reading →

Auto industry’s use of lithium-ion batteries to grow seven-fold by 2025 – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – August 13, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

The use of lithium-ion batteries by automakers is expected grow seven-fold by 2025, helped mainly by their dropping costs as well as by subsidies and incentives in many countries, particularly in China, to encourage sales of electric vehicles (EVs)

According to Will Adams, Metal Bulletin’s Head of Research for the battery materials, base metals and precious metals markets, demand for lithium-ion batteries will soar to 650 GWh by 2025, from only 70 GWh last year.

The need to store electricity, generated by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, will also help demand to grow, he said on a report published Monday. Continue Reading →

Ford Calls Rising Steel, Aluminum Prices ‘Significant Headwind’ – by Keith Naughton (Bloomberg News – August 8, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Rising steel and aluminum prices, driven up by President Donald Trump’s tariffs on those commodities, are a substantial drag on Ford Motor Co.’s business, though a top executive said the company doesn’t plan to pass higher costs on to consumers.

“The escalation of steel and aluminum prices is really significant,” Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, said after a factory ceremony near Detroit to commemorate building the 10 millionth Mustang muscle car. “It’s a significant headwind for us. It’s something that puts pressure on our own costs.”

Ford began the year by warning that rising costs for raw materials like steel and aluminum, coupled with unfavorable exchange rates, would add $1.6 billion to its costs this year. Continue Reading →

Soup, pop and beer companies to increase prices to combat aluminum tariffs – by Tara Deschamps (Canadian Press/Toronto Star – August 7, 2018)

https://www.thestar.com/

Soup, pop and beer makers can’t seem to put a lid on the effects of the recent aluminum tariffs. The 10 per cent fees that were slapped on imports of the metal by U.S. President Donald Trump in early July are making cans more expensive and forcing food and beverage companies that rely on them for packaging to consider price increases and other ways to offset the costs.

The Campbell Company of Canada, which produces canned soup at its soon-to-close Etobicoke plant, is set to jack up prices in late August on a “broad range of products.”

The exact amount by which prices will be increased is still under consideration, but the tariffs combined with raising freight, packaging and ingredient costs are to blame, company spokesperson Alexandra Sockett told The Canadian Press in an email. Continue Reading →

Canadian craft brewers scramble for aluminum cans – by Marcy Nicholson (Reuters U.S. – July 31, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

CALGARY (Reuters) – Canadian microbreweries are facing a shortage of cans and higher costs, forcing some to cut beer production after the country imposed retaliatory import duties on U.S. aluminum imports in the busy summer season.

Though Canada is the world’s third biggest aluminum producer and cans are made in the country, beer makers also rely on the import of more than 2 billion cans annually, largely from the United States, Statistics Canada data shows.

So when Canada struck back at the United States’ tariffs on aluminum imports on July 1, and included cans, some craft brewers received notices of higher prices due to the duties while others have been unable to secure their usual supply of aluminum cans. Continue Reading →

Nickel price increases likely to put pressure on plastic automotive components says UK manufacturer – by Leanne Taylor (British Plastics and Rubber – July 31, 2018)

https://www.britishplastics.co.uk/

A UK manufacturer of a metal-plated plastic automotive components says the increasing price of nickel is likely to put pressure on the price of parts.

David Brereton, Sales Director for Essex-based Borough Ltd, says the steady upward price increase of nickel could create “a knock-on effect” when it comes to the manufacturing process. “We have worked hard over decades to perfect our ability to chrome plate plastic components and nickel plays a critical role,” explained Brereton.

“To make the plastic components electronically conductive, we deposit a layer of nickel over a catalytic palladium layer during a chemical dipping process, before we can add the copper, more nickel layers and chrome that ensure the quality finish top marques demand. Continue Reading →

Japan takes steps to ensure stable cobalt supply for automakers – by Yuka Obayashi (Reuters U.K. – July 24, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s automakers aim to set up a joint procurement body by end-March to secure stable supplies of cobalt, a key component of lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars, the country’s industry ministry said on Tuesday.

The move comes as global carmakers race to lock in battery supplies and move away from traditional combustion engines, and as China locks down supply chains to secure its own fast-growing battery sector.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry unveiled the plan at a committee set up by the ministry to map out the country’s plans for the auto industry, which includes Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T). The ministry and automakers will discuss details of the new organisation which is designed to help battery users secure long-term supplies of cobalt and buy clean materials with no issue of conflict minerals or child labour, it said. Continue Reading →

Tesla Trauma Shows the Lithium Market Needs a Chill Pill – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – July 25, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Isn’t lithium meant to be a mood stabilizer? That’s certainly not what’s happening in the stocks of companies that produce the element used in rechargeable batteries and psychiatric medications. News this week that Tesla Inc. sent a memo to some suppliers asking them for payment rebates to help it become profitable shook shares in lithium miners.

The Solactive Global Lithium Index, in which FMC Corp., Albemarle Corp., and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA or SQM have a weighting of about 40 percent, fell as much as 2.1 percent Monday to its lowest level in 11 months. SQM slumped as much as 4.8 percent, while Albermarle dropped 4.1 percent.

You can see the logic behind these moves. Tesla is the big beast of the electric-vehicle market, and electric-vehicle batteries make up the bulk of lithium demand — right? Continue Reading →

Motor Mouth: From well to wheel, EVs don’t make sense with solar, wind power – by David Booth (National Post/Driving.ca – July 13, 2018)

https://driving.ca/

Ironically – and without factoring emissions – some renewable energies make electric cars less efficient in cost than gasoline-powered versions

You know you’re doing something right when William Henry Gates III — you might know him better as Bill — is a fan boy. Yes, as brilliant and lauded as Mr. Microsoft is, he literally fawns over a (semi) obscure Canadian scientist named Vaclav Smil.

Citing Smil’s unique ability to go both deep and broad — as in being able to plum a subject to its depths but also bring insights from across many disciplines — Gates claims to have read almost all of Smil’s books. Considering that the University of Manitoba professor emeritus has published 37 — four in 2013 alone, says Bill — that’s quite a feat.

Nonetheless, the world’s sometimes richest man claims he waits “for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next Star Wars movie.” Continue Reading →

Trump’s Trade War Looms Over a Canadian Town Built to Supply America – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – June 28, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Arvida, Quebec, is part of a cross-border ecosystem responsible for the metal in three out of four American cars.

If ever a town embodied U.S.-Canadian symbiosis, it’s Arvida, Quebec. Built by Americans, its giant smelter supplied most of the Allied forces’ aluminum in World War II and today makes metal used in Budweiser beer cans, Tesla and Ford cars and in AR15 rifles, part of the 2.5 million metric tons that Canada sends over the border each year.

But now this corner of French-speaking Canada is in America’s cross hairs after the Trump administration’s shock move to tax metal from its closest ally under the pretext of national security.

“When you want to kill your dog, you will say he has rabies,” Mayor Josee Neron said in an interview. “To see one person destroy all that in just a blink of an eye, I think it’s too bad.” Continue Reading →

Ongoing fuel cell developments kindle hope for platinum demand – by Martin Creamer (MiningWeekly.com – June 26, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Ongoing hydrogen fuel cell developments across the globe are kindling hope for an eventual significant increase in platinum demand.

This month alone, Hyundai Auto Canada took part in the official opening of Canada’s first retail hydrogen fuelling station operated by Shell and Hydrogen Technology & Energy Corporation, France announced that it was targeting 100 hydrogen fuel cell stations, a Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle refuelled at the new hydrogen station in Iceland,

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Transport announced plans for ten hydrogen fuelling stations to be installed in the country by 2025, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced the selection of four projects to install 52 MW of fuel cell power in the state, doubling Connecticut’s installed capacity to 100 MW, FuelCell Energy will install a 14.8 MW fuel cell system in the city of Derby, and a 7.4 MW system in the state capital of Hartford, and Bloom Energy will install a 10 MW system in the town of Colchester. Continue Reading →

Cleantech’s next heat wave could come from Smarter Alloys – by Tyler Hamilton (Globe and Mail – April 18, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Tyler Hamilton works with cleantech companies from across Canada as an adviser with the non-profit MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

When we burn fuel to power vehicles and machinery, drive industrial processes or generate electricity, most of the energy in this fuel is dumped into the atmosphere as heat.

In one 2016 study, German researchers estimated that 72 per cent of global primary energy consumption – that is, using coal, oil, natural gas and uranium as fuel – is lost as waste heat. Most of this heat is rated “low grade,” meaning it’s less than 100 C.

It includes the heat emitted from data centre server farms and the warm air that flows out the back of your kitchen refrigerator or air conditioner. Continue Reading →

Transparent Nickel Miners Will Have an Edge with Car Manufacturers – by Georgia Williams (Investing News Nickel – June 7, 2018)

Investing News Nickel

The Investing News Network (INN) sat down with Srinath Rengarajan, senior automotive research analyst at Oliver Wyman, at the 6th International Nickel Conference last week.

Topics covered at the show included how nickel will remain relevant in the battery market, the evolution of the electric vehicle (EV) sector and what needs to happen next to ensure green vehicles become a common sight on our roads and highways.

The two-day conference, held in downtown Toronto, was the first time in decades that analysts and specialists from the automotive sector were invited to a nickel-centric conference, a welcome shift from the mining-focused nature of most industry conferences. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Tesla leads electric vehicle race to cut cobalt dependency – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – June 6, 2018)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – If Elon Musk had his way, there would be no cobalt in any of the batteries powering the next generation of Tesla. At the very least, “we think we can get the cobalt to almost nothing”, he told analysts on the company’s first quarter results call.

Panasonic, which supplies the batteries for Tesla’s electric cars, is “aiming to achieve zero usage in the near future and development is under way”, according to Kenji Tamura, who is in charge of the Japanese firm’s automotive battery business.

The two companies are leading an industry race to reduce exposure to the metal even before the electric vehicle (EV)revolution truly builds momentum. It’s not difficult to see why. The London Metal Exchange price of the battery input has already rocketed from under $30,000 per tonne at the end of 2016 to a current $86,750. Continue Reading →