Lithium Players Race for Breakthrough to Meet Electric Car Demand – by James Attwood and Yvonne Yue Li (Bloomberg News – August 30, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — On the outskirts of El Dorado — heart of Arkansas’ 1920s oil boom — a company backed by Koch Industries Inc. is looking to dramatically speed up extraction of a battery metal essential to weaning the world off fossil fuels, while proving naysayers wrong in the process.

Standard Lithium Ltd. is working on the breakthrough inside a white warehouse near a massive chemical factory run by Germany’s Lanxess AG that feeds brackish wastewater into the facility. A cluster of pipes and tanks in the demonstration plant turn brine into a lithium compound within days instead of the year or more that traditional recovery methods take.

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U.S. IRA lays bare critical mineral supply fault lines, says report – by Henry Lazenby (Northern Miner – August 31, 2023)

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is reshaping the landscape of metals and minerals demand, triggering a surge in critical minerals activity while structural permitting challenges in the U.S. legal system could thwart the act’s efficacy, new analysis by S&P Global shows.

In its Inflation Reduction Act: Impact on North America metals and minerals market report, released Thursday, market analysts highlight sourcing and production challenges as well as complications in navigating the permitting system.

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Electric cars and solar cells rely on Chinese minerals. Here’s how to curb the risks. – by Editorial Board (Washington Post – August 25, 2023)

The U.S. transition to cleaner energy technology is underway, supported by new incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act. Benefits to the planet could be significant. Yet so could the geopolitical risks to the United States.

Moving from fossil fuels to wind and solar power means shifting from reliance on resources the United States produces to reliance on imported ones. And for many of the materials — lithium, nickel, copper, cobalt — the United States’ long-term adversary China is a key producer, processor or both.

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The Race to Ditch Russian Uranium Starts in New Mexico’s Desert – by Jonathan Tirone, Will Wade and Francois De Beaupuy (Bloomberg News – August 22, 2023)

(Bloomberg) — In a remote, dusty corner of New Mexico, so near to the Texas border that if you wander too close your smartphone changes time zones, sits a pristine factory that is the best chance for the US to wean itself off an addiction that few knew it had: uranium enriched in Russia.

Outside the $5 billion Urenco plant in Eunice, cacti and lizards bask in the fierce sunlight, watched by heavily armed guards. Inside, the facility is spotless, with bright, polished machinery that looks brand new even though some of the equipment has been in service for years.

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Biden’s ‘EVolution’: A Race Against Consumer Choice? – by Brigham McCown (The Messenger – August 22, 2023)

Brigham McCown is a senior fellow and director of the Initiative on American Energy Security at Hudson Institute and a professor at Miami University.

The Biden administration has taken significant executive actions this summer to address what it perceives as an urgent climate crisis. In rapid succession, it announced major regulatory initiatives by the Environmental Protection Agency to cut power plant greenhouse gas emissions and one drastically curtailing vehicle tailpipe emissions.

Across the Mall, the Department of Energy was planning additional efficiency standards to wean Americans from natural gas furnaces. In an about-face, the Biden Department of Justice suddenly announced its support for a limited federal role in energy by asking the 9th Circuit of Appeals to rehear a prior case in which it said that Berkeley, California’s decision to ban gas stoves was preempted by federal law.

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Biden’s new Arizona national monument exposes Grand Canyon-like divide between supporters and critics – by Mark Eddington (Salt Lake Tribune/Moab Times-Independent – August 17, 2023)

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‘The Arizona Strip is historically, religiously, culturally more Utah than Arizona,’ one Utah mayor said

America’s newest national monument may be in Arizona, but critics argue the Biden administration was out of line and out of touch to create it without first consulting with the Utahns who will be impacted the most.

During his visit to the Historic Red Butte Airfield Aug. 8, a few miles south of the Grand Canyon, President Joe Biden designated over 917,000 acres of federal forest and rangelands in northern Arizona as the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni — Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument.

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Momentum builds for Piedmont Lithium’s ambitious production plans as portfolio expands in Africa – by Amanda Stutt ( – August 18, 2023)

Piedmont Lithium (Nasdaq: PLL; ASX: PLL) this week acquired a 22.5% stake in Atlantic Lithium’s (ASX: A11) flagship Ewoyaa project in Ghana after committing $17 million to fund the project through its definitive feasibility study, adding an Africa asset to its expanding portfolio of operations.

It completed the second stage of the investment agreement signed in 2021. Under the deal, Piedmont can earn a 50% equity interest in Atlantic’s Ghanaian lithium portfolio, headlined by the Ewoyaa project. The first stage involved a $15 million investment into Atlantic, previously IronRidge Resources.

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Will green energy kill coal mining? Why these industry leaders say it won’t – by Amy Joi O’Donoghue (Deseret News – August 17, 2023)

‘In the United States we are on a trajectory of energy poverty’

Utah’s coal country is in the midst of redefining itself. Carbon County — aptly named for its rich coal resources — saw the closure of its sole coal-fired power plant in 2015. Its mines, which historically numbered 16, are all shuttered.

Struggling against the backdrop of those tangible impacts, residents had to endure a property tax increase of 700% in fiscal year 2022. Price Mayor Mike Kourianos feels the sharp knife of energy costs slicing into his budget and has to answer for that to his constituents. There is no revenue coming from coal.

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Stellantis invests more than $100 million in California lithium project – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – August 17, 2023)

(Reuters) – Automaker Stellantis said it would invest more than $100 million in California’s Controlled Thermal Resources, its latest bet on the direct lithium extraction (DLE) sector amid the global hunt for new sources of the electric vehicle battery metal.

The investment by the Chrysler and Jeep parent announced on Thursday comes as the green energy transition and U.S. Inflation Reduction Act have fueled concerns that supplies of lithium and other materials may fall short of strong demand forecasts.

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B.C. attempts to facilitate discussions with U.S. on selenium contamination from province’s coal mines – by Bob Weber (CBC News British Columbia – August 16, 2023)

Toxic substance found in high levels in B.C.’s Lake Kookanusa, a reservoir that feeds into American rivers

The British Columbia government has changed its tune on a long-requested investigation into contamination from mines flowing into U.S. waters, opening the door to progress on an issue that has drawn the attention of President Joe Biden.

The province has confirmed to The Canadian Press that it would now welcome a role in such an investigation for the International Joint Commission, a body created in 1909 to resolve water-related disputes between the two countries.

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Tennessee Refinery Could Break Chinese Chokehold on Two Critical Minerals – by Natalie Liu (Voice of Amercia – August 15, 2023)

A solution to potential shortages of two critical minerals used in making semiconductors and advanced military equipment — exports of which were restricted by China this month — may be lying in some waste storage ponds in central Tennessee.

Owners of a zinc processing facility in the southern U.S. state say they are developing a plan to extract the two minerals — gallium and germanium — from the ponds where for years the company has deposited the residue from its refining of zinc from five mines located in central and eastern Tennessee.

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One year on, how America’s Inflation Reduction Act has changed Canada – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – August 16, 2023)

Look back at the impact of a bill that sent shock waves through the world’s supply-chains

The United States a year ago passed a 730-page piece of legislation that almost single-handedly paved the way for some of the world’s biggest manufacturing companies to change their supply-chain systems.

Signed into law on Aug. 16 by President Joe Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), contrary to its title, wasn’t just about bringing down inflation, which was at its peak a year ago. Instead, it promised more than US$300-billion worth of tax credits, grants and loans to fund clean-energy projects and address issues linked to energy security and health care.

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Tribes pressure Canada over Teck water concerns – by Rob Chaney (The Missoulian – August 14, 2023)

Acoalition of Indigenous tribes is increasing pressure on the Canadian government to respond to their concerns over transboundary water pollution coming from Teck Resources coal mines in British Columbia. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation sent reminders on Aug. 11 that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pledged to meet this summer with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on reducing and mitigating the impacts of selenium and other mine-related contaminants getting into the Elk and Kootenai rivers.

Selenium in particular has been connected to significant declines in fish reproduction in the river system, along with massive fish kills near the mine site itself, although a disputed Teck study concluded that ice, not selenium was responsible for the 2017 die-off.

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Miners face ‘considerable challenges’ meeting demand from US climate law -study – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – August 15, 2023)

Aug 15 (Reuters) – The mining industry faces “considerable challenges” meeting larger-than-expected demand for copper, nickel and other electric vehicle metals fueled by a U.S. climate law, S&P Global said in a report on Tuesday, ahead of the legislation’s one-year anniversary.

The landmark U.S. Inflation Reduction Act offers tax breaks for EVs, solar panels and other renewable energy products made from metals extracted in the United States or countries with U.S. free trade deals. Metals from “foreign entities of concern” including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran will be banned in 2025. That has sparked a race among manufacturers to lock down supply.

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Yellen warns of risks of over-concentration of clean energy supply chains – by Andrea Shalal ( – August 14, 2023)

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – The United States is working to build resilient, diversified clean energy supply chains to protect its economic security, while guarding against the risks posed by over-concentration in a handful of countries, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in remarks prepared for an event in Las Vegas on Monday.

Yellen will touch on the challenges of transitioning away from fossil fuels in a major speech she will deliver after touring a union facility where workers are learning skills to work on clean energy projects.

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