Copper can’t be mined fast enough to electrify the US – by Morgan Sherburne (Michigan News – May 15, 2024)


Copper cannot be mined quickly enough to keep up with current U.S. policy guidelines to transition the country’s electricity and vehicle infrastructure to renewable energy, according to a University of Michigan study.

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in 2022, calls for 100% of cars manufactured to be electric vehicles by 2035. But an electric vehicle requires three to five times as much copper as an internal combustion engine vehicle—not to mention the copper required for upgrades to the electric grid.

Read more

In Seawater, Researchers See an Untapped Bounty of Critical Metals – by Jim Robbins (Yale Environment 360 – May 15, 2024)

Researchers and companies are aiming to draw key minerals, including lithium and magnesium, from ocean water, desalination plant residue, and industrial waste brine. They say their processes will use less land and produce less pollution than mining, but major hurdles remain.

Can metals that naturally occur in seawater be mined, and can they be mined sustainably? A company in Oakland, California, says yes. And not only is it extracting magnesium from ocean water — and from waste brine generated by industry — it is doing it in a carbon-neutral way.

Read more

Push for new US lithium mine leaves some Americans wary (France – May 15, 2024)

Lincolnton (United States) (AFP) – When Kristal Lee and her husband bought a house in Gaston County, North Carolina two years ago, they envisioned a “forever home”. But a planned lithium mine is bringing Lee sleepless nights.

Nearby is an area earmarked for a $1.2 billion project to produce battery grade lithium for US electric vehicle (EV) supply chains — one of only a few such sites in the country. “You get very anxious when you hear about it,” she said of the project by Piedmont Lithium.

Read more

Indigenous group to take fight against Arizona copper mine to Supreme Court – by Clark Mindock (Reuters – May 14, 2024)

May 14 (Reuters) – A Native American group said on Tuesday it will take its fight against Rio Tinto’s proposed Arizona copper mine to the U.S. Supreme Court, after a federal appeals court refused to reconsider whether the U.S. government may have improperly transferred land to the developer.

The group said they would ask the high court to weigh in after the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a longshot bid to have the full 29-judge court reconsider earlier decisions not to block a land grant for the project. The court did not provide an explanation for its decision.

Read more

The Global Solar Power Boom Is Driving a Surge in Silver Demand – by Christian Moess Laursen (Wall Street Journal – May 7, 2024)

Miners are expanding their operations and ramping up production as prices for the precious metal climb to decade high

A booming solar-power industry is driving a surge in the demand for silver, which is needed in large quantities to make photovoltaic panels.

Silver is integral to the production of solar photovoltaic—or solar PV—panels because of its high electrical conductivity, thermal efficiency and optical reflectivity, and mining companies are aiming to boost output as prices for the precious metal have climbed to decade highs.

Read more

[California Lithium-rich Salton Sea] The green treasure below a toxic lake – by Jean-François Bélanger (CBC News – March 31, 2024)

The place is as little-known as it is majestic. It’s a deep blue lake bordered by the desert and mountain ranges as far as the eye can see. As the largest body of water in California, the Salton Sea used to be a favorite vacation hotspot for Hollywood stars back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis and the Marx brothers were among the regulars. The Beach Boys as well.

This is what drew Donna Winters to settle in Desert Shores, about 130 kilometres east of San Diego, a quarter of a century ago. The retiree, in her 80s, keeps very fond memories of her first years here. Her once-lakefront home had stunning views.

Read more

US, Philippines Eye Partnership to Cut China’s Nickel Dominance – by Peter Martin and Jennifer Jacobs (Bloomberg News – April 30, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — The U.S. and the Philippines are in discussions over ways to prevent China from dominating nickel processing in the Southeast Asian nation, a key supplier of the metal that’s crucial for electric vehicle batteries.

One measure under consideration is a trilateral arrangement through which the Philippines would supply raw nickel material, the U.S. would provide financing, and a third country such as Japan, South Korea or Australia would offer the technology required for smelting and refining, according to people familiar with the matter.

Read more

Australian Billionaire May Fuel Consolidation Of Wyoming Rare Earths Industry – by Pat Maio (Cowboy State Daily – April 30, 2024)

The richest woman in Australia, who is worth more than $30 billion, could be eyeing a move to buy a significant chunk of Wyoming’s rare earths deposits, and has even made a play in the related lithium field.

A consolidation of Wyoming’s rare earths strategic minerals industry might be right around the corner. While nobody’s saying anything for sure, regulatory filings across the globe seem to hint something may be brewing.

The rare earth minerals bonanza is the result of consumers starved for magnet metals integral to the green transition to electric vehicles, wind turbines, consumer goods, robots and military drones, missiles and chips needed for sophisticated computing power.

Read more

New bans on Russian metals mean China will buy low and sell high to supply the U.S., Europe, and UK – by Ernest Hoffman (Kitco News – April 19, 2024)

(Kitco News) – Last Friday at midnight, the London Metal Exchange (LME) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) enacted the most comprehensive limitation on Russian exports to date: a ban on all Russian metal produced after April 12. The move was made to bring the LME into compliance with the latest U.S. and U.K. sanctions imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The goal is to prevent Russia from being able to profit from the export of metal produced by companies such as Rusal (aluminum) and Nornickel (nickel) which help the country fund its ongoing military operations in Ukraine.

Read more

Biden vows to shield US steel industry by blocking Japanese merger and seeking new Chinese tariffs – by Chris Megerian and Will Weissert (Associated Press – April 16, 2024)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — President Joe Biden suggested to cheering, unionized steelworkers on Wednesday that his administration would thwart the acquisition of U.S. Steel by a Japanese company, and he called for a tripling of tariffs on Chinese steel, seeking to use trade policy to win over working-class votes in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

The Democratic president’s pitch comes as Donald Trump, his likely Republican opponent, tries to chart a path back to the White House with tough-on-China rhetoric and steep tariff proposals of his own.

Read more

Tesla supplier Piedmont Lithium gets key North Carolina mining permit – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – April 15, 2024)

April 15 (Reuters) – North Carolina regulators have approved a state mining permit for Tesla (TSLA.O), opens new tab supplier Piedmont Lithium to develop one of the largest U.S. sources of the key electric vehicle battery metal, although key financing and local regulatory challenges remain.

The approval from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, which was announced by the company on Monday and is conditional on the posting of a $1 million reclamation bond, removes a major hurdle to Piedmont’s plans to tap a large lithium deposit just outside Charlotte.

Read more

US must boost Africa ties to secure key minerals, report says – by Felix Njini (Reuters – April 9, 2024)

JOHANNESBURG/WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. must boost commercial ties with African countries to curb reliance on China for supplies of critical minerals, a Washington-based think tank said on Tuesday.

“U.S. economic and national security depend on securing a reliable supply of critical minerals, including from Africa,” the United States Institute of Peace said in a report.

Read more

BMO drops anti-coal policy amid Wall Street rebuke of ESG – by Amanda Albright (Bloomberg News – April 8, 2024)

BMO Bank quietly dropped its policy restricting lending to the coal industry in late 2023, helping it avoid being labelled an energy “boycotter” in West Virginia. The change came to light Monday after West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore took a victory lap in an announcement of the financial firms it was adding to its boycott list, which doesn’t include BMO.

In late February, the bank received a warning that it could be put on a state list of companies that Moore’s office considers to boycott the fossil fuels industry. BMO is the U.S. subsidiary of Toronto-based Bank of Montreal.

Read more

US, EU Are Set to Miss Critical Minerals Agreement This Week – by Alberto Nardelli, Jorge Valero and Eric Martin (Bloomberg News/ – April 3, 2024)

(Bloomberg) — A US and European Union push to reach an accord on fostering critical mineral supply chains is set to miss another target this week, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The final draft statement for a high-level trade and technology meeting in Leuven, Belgium, on Thursday falls short of a deal, instead it says the transatlantic allies “are advancing negotiations toward a critical minerals agreement,” according to a document seen by Bloomberg. An earlier version of the statement left open the door to an “agreement in principle.”

Read more

Michigan’s $50M support of copper mine project comes with caveat – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – April 3, 2024)

Highland Copper on the spot to raise financing for Upper Peninsula mine

The State of Michigan is prepared to give a Vancouver copper company a funding kickstart to support a proposed mine in western Upper Peninsula. The board of the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $50-million “performance-based grant” to Highland Copper Company. Final approval still needs to come from the state legislature.

The grant, which comes from a Strategic Site Readiness Program, is specifically intended for mine-related infrastructure development, meaning installing roads, communications and extending power to the site.

Read more