Archive | Metals and Manufacturing

Platinum Mines in the World’s Top Producer Are Shrinking – by Felix Njini and Eddie Van Der Walt (Bloomberg News – March 26, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

“Ramaphoria” boosted the rand and revived investor sentiment on South Africa. But deep underground in the country’s platinum mines, there’s very little cause for optimism.

Producers in South Africa, which accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s mined platinum, are closing shafts and cutting thousands of jobs as a stronger rand combines with stagnating prices for the metal in squeezing profit margins.

The future looks equally bleak, as reduced demand for diesel engines and the rise of electric cars threatens to erode the need for the metal used to cut pollution. Continue Reading →

BMW says electric car mass production not viable until 2020 – by Edward Taylor (Reuters U.S. – March 22, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE) will not mass produce electric cars until 2020 because its current technology is not profitable enough to scale up for volume production, the chief executive said on Thursday.

Munich-based BMW unveiled its first battery electric car in 2013, and has been working on different generations of battery, software and electric motor technology since then.

The i8 Roadster model, due to hit showrooms in May, is equipped with what BMW calls its fourth-generation electric drive technology. Advances in battery raw materials and chemistry has increased its range by 40 percent over the previous version, BMW said. Continue Reading →

VW Just Gave Tesla a $25 Billion Battery Shock – by Chris Reiter and Christoph Rauwald (Bloomberg News – March 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Volkswagen AG secured 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in battery supplies to underpin an aggressive push into electric cars in the coming years, ramping up pressure on Tesla Inc. as it struggles with production issues for the mainstream Model 3.

The world’s largest carmaker will equip 16 factories to produce electric vehicles by the end of 2022, compared with three currently, Volkswagen said Tuesday in Berlin.

The German manufacturer’s plans to build as many as 3 million of the cars a year by 2025 is backstopped by deals with suppliers including Samsung SDI Co., LG Chem Ltd. and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. for batteries in Europe and China. Continue Reading →

How vanadium-coated smart glass saves energy – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – March 8, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Smart glass windows made with vanadium are capable of saving more energy by stopping thermal radiation from escaping and, thus, preventing heat loss during the winter, and by avoiding infrared radiation from the sun from entering the building during the summer.

This is according to a compilation of studies made public today by VanadiumCorp Resource (TSX-V:VRB). The Vancouver-based company owns 100% of the Lac Doré vanadium-titanium-iron mine located in the eastern Canadian province of Quebec.

Based on research advanced by the U.S. Department of Education and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, VanadiumCorp’s CEO, Adriaan Bakker, said that vanadium defies the Wiedemann-Franz Law, which states that good conductors of electricity are also good conductors of heat. Continue Reading →

Deadly mineral that endangered town of Asbestos might save it (Bloomberg News/Montreal Gazette – March 7, 2018)

http://montrealgazette.com/

Residue from asbestos mine is rich in magnesium, which can be transformed into a light metal used in everything from medical implants to Tesla electric cars

There’s no running away from the past in Asbestos. The town’s most prominent landmark is a crater more than two kilometres wide — and deep enough to lodge the Eiffel Tower — a testament to the world’s once-bottomless appetite for the deadly mineral that sustained the local economy for decades and gave the town its name.

Quebec once produced half of the world’s asbestos and offered the highest-paying mining jobs in Canada before concern about cancer led to the fire-resistant fibre being banned in more than 50 countries, with the mine finally shutting down in 2012.

But now it turns out that the future of Asbestos may actually be in asbestos. Well, not in asbestos, per se, but in the millions of tons of discarded residue that piled up over more than a century of mining for it. Continue Reading →

U.S. unveils steep tariffs, raising peril of trade war – by Steven Chase, Greg Keenan and Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – March 2, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

U.S. President Donald Trump is firing the first shot in what could amount to a global trade war, announcing plans to slap hefty tariffs on foreign imports of steel and aluminum as a means of protecting American jobs.

The Canadian government was quick to threaten retaliation against the United States if steel and aluminum from Canada are included in the administration’s trade action.

Mr. Trump said on Thursday he intends to levy 25-per-cent tariffs on steel imports and 10-per-cent on aluminum imports, sending U.S. stock markets tumbling over fears of global retaliation and higher inflation. Continue Reading →

‘Trade wars are good, and easy to win’: Trump’s tariff threat sends shock waves around world – by Jonathan Stearns and Thomas Biesheuvel (Financial Post/Bloomberg – March 2, 2018)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Trump’s aggressive stance has stoked fears of trade retaliation and roiled global markets. Here are the developments so far

After President Donald Trump said the U.S. plans to impose 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum, the shock waves are being felt around the world. Asia’s up in arms, the European Union and Canada are pushing back, and there are plenty of forecasts that U.S. consumers are set to pay a whole bunch more for all sorts of purchases. Think beer cans to autos.

While the exact form of the curbs remains unclear — especially whether U.S. allies will win exemptions — the reaction on Friday from outside the world’s biggest economy has been largely negative. Beyond metals, the biggest risk is a tit-for-tat trade war, which draws in other products, possibly foods. We’re following developments here. The time-stamps are New York.

Donald Trump’s plan to curb U.S. imports of steel on national-security grounds threatens the foundations of the World Trade Organization, warned the European Steel Association. Continue Reading →

Pandering to electric-vehicle owners contains blind spots – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – February 28, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Electric-vehicle sales more than doubled in Ontario in 2017 as rebates worth up to $14,000 per car propelled the province past Quebec to become Canada’s EV leader. Many electric-car fans celebrated this as proof that Ontario’s latest incentives to encourage EV sales are working.

Working for them, maybe. But what about for taxpayers and the planet? We already know that government rebates on EV purchases are a horrendously expensive way to reduce carbon. Encouraging consumers to move to smaller gasoline-powered cars by increasing sales taxes on fossil fuels would do so much more to cut emissions.

What’s more, it is now becoming clear that mining the massive amounts of cobalt and lithium needed to manufacture the bigger batteries required to increase EV range and reliability risks creating a slew of unintended social, economic and environmental consequences. Continue Reading →

Platinum price crashes through $1,000 after German diesel ban – by Frik Els (Mining.com – February 27, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Platinum group metals were the hardest hit on generally weak precious metals markets Tuesday after a German court ruled that cities in Europe’s largest economy and world’s fourth largest automaker have the right to ban diesel cars.

The price of platinum were back in triple digit territory on New York futures markets on Wednesday falling 2% to a low of $983 an ounce. Palladium was also weaker at $1,033 an ounce as it continues to retreat from record highs of $1,138 an ounce hit in January.

“We’re witnessing the creeping death of diesel,” Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany told Bloomberg News. Continue Reading →

Apple’s potential mining play is about more than money, industry experts say – Natasha Turak (CNBC News – February 22, 2018)

https://www.cnbc.com/

Recent reports that Apple is looking to procure cobalt, an essential component in smartphone batteries, directly from mining companies have highlighted a growing concern about the valuable metal’s impending supply shortage.

But just as important as securing a supply of the limited resource may be what one expert calls a “21st century factor” — ethics and human rights.

“Apple is a buyer of batteries, not a buyer of battery components, and it’s a number of steps away from the raw materials side. So this is significant — the reason they’re doing it is supply chain visibility,” Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Minerals, told CNBC. “They need to know that children have not been illegally mining where their cobalt is coming from.” Continue Reading →

Apple in Talks to Buy Cobalt Directly From Miners – by Jack Farchy and Mark Gurman (Bloomberg News – February 21, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Apple Inc. is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter, seeking to ensure it will have enough of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage driven by the electric vehicle boom.

The iPhone maker is one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt for the batteries in its gadgets, but until now it has left the business of buying the metal to the companies that make its batteries.

The talks show that the tech giant is keen to ensure that cobalt supplies for its iPhone and iPad batteries are sufficient, with the rapid growth in battery demand for electric vehicles threatening to create a shortage of the raw material. About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones. Continue Reading →

America’s Troubling and Growing Reliance on Foreign Minerals – by Mark J. Perry (Inside Sources – January 24, 2018)

http://www.insidesources.com/

To grasp the seriousness of America’s heavy reliance on imports of strategically important minerals, consider that many of the metals needed for weapons systems and a wide array of consumer products come from countries that don’t always have our nation’s best interests in mind.

Once the undisputed global leader in minerals production, the U.S. mining industry is now well on its way to second-tier status. Domestic mines have been closing, leading to a 13 percent drop in our nation’s share of global investments in metals mining over the past decade and an increased reliance on minerals imports. Last year, American companies spent more than $7 billion on imported minerals.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. dependence on minerals from abroad has doubled in the last 20 years, and we are now import-dependent on more than half of 50 key mineral commodities and 100 percent import-dependent for 20 of those, including manganese, tantalum and rare earth minerals such as neodymium, samarium and dysprosium, which are crucial in the manufacture of jet fighter engines, antimissile defense systems, night vision goggles and smart bombs, among other advanced weapons systems. Continue Reading →

BASF Aims to Muscle Itself Onto Battery Materials’ Top Table – by Andrew Noël (Bloomberg News – January 19, 2018)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — BASF SE is prepared to dig deep, pouring money and expertise into developing materials for electric-vehicle batteries to catch up with rivals like Tesla Inc. supplier Sumitomo Metals & Mining Co.

The world’s No. 1 chemical maker is adding to its expansion plans in Europe, which is emerging as the next high-growth region for batteries, said Ken Lane, BASF’s global head of catalysts. Battery makers in the market currently rely on Asian suppliers like Sumitomo that provide nickel and lithium.

“We are the largest chemical supplier to the automotive industry, and this is the biggest opportunity that we see in that space today,” Lane said in a phone interview. “Asia has been the growth story till now and will continue to grow, but Europe is also going to be growing very fast over the next decade.” Continue Reading →

WoodMac urges automakers to ‘get out their chequebooks’, secure energy metal supplies – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – January 17, 2018)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – Auto manufacturers are ramping up strategies to cash in on the accelerating worldwide acceptance and demand for electric vehicles (EVs), prompting advice from research and consultancy group Wood Mackenzie for automakers to ‘get out their chequebooks’ and take stakes in mines or new mine projects to lock-in future supply.

WoodMac issued a statement on Tuesday, following news that Ford will boost its investment in EVs to $11-billion between 2015 and 2022 – a sharply higher figure than a previously announced target of $4.5-billion by 2020.

Ford also revealed plans to expand its electrified portfolio to include 40 electrified vehicles globally, including 16 full-battery EVs by 2022. It outlined plans to accelerate investment in EVs and sportd utility vehicles (SUVs). Continue Reading →

Palladium risks tripping up as prices stampede higher – by Jan Harvey(Reuters U.S. – January 16, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Palladium, the hottest property in the precious metals deck last year, is tipped for a record performance in 2018 even among bearish forecasters, but the metal could become a victim of its own success.

The prospect of sharply higher prices could well prompt substitution of the metal for cheaper platinum in autocatalysts and higher recycling volume.

The metal has posted a string of deficits in recent years, fuelled by strong gains in autocatalyst demand. That helped send prices above $1,000 an ounce last year for the first time since 2001, and to a record $1,138 this week. Continue Reading →