Whitehaven says coal is a ‘critical mineral’ for defence allies – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – June 1, 2023)


Whitehaven Coal managing director Paul Flynn has urged the Albanese government to consider coal’s role in powering defence allies like Japan and South Korea when reviewing its list of minerals that are “critical” to economic growth and national security.

Coal is not among the 26 minerals considered “critical” by the Australian government although coking coal for steelmaking is one of the 34 minerals considered “critical” by the European Commission.

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Column: China’s soft economic data will mean lower commodity imports, but not yet – by Clyde Russell (Reuters – June 1, 2023)


LAUNCESTON — A run of weak economic data in China is likely to show up in softer imports of key commodities, albeit with a lag given the time taken to physically ship resources from around the globe.

The manufacturing indicator, the official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), dropped to a five-month low of 48.8 points in May, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday. This was the second month the measure was below the 50-level that separates expansion from contraction, and it was also weaker than the median forecast for a rise in May to 49.4 from April’s 49.2.

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How this tiny Ontario city became an important node in the global supply chain for critical minerals – by Aimée Look (Financial Post – May 29, 2023)


Kingston has become an unlikely hub for minerals recycling amid a talented labour pool, shipping access, and close proximity to auto manufacturers

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s first visit to Canada earlier this year included only two stops. The main one, of course, was Ottawa, where she met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and addressed Parliament.

Von der Leyen’s second stop was a bit of surprise. Dignitaries of her stature would normally add Toronto or Montreal to their itineraries. Instead, Trudeau and von der Leyen motored two hours southwest to Kingston, Ont., Canada’s 24th largest city, according to Statistics Canada, with a population of about 173,000 people.

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Coal firms owned by family of West Virginia governor sued over unpaid penalties – by John Raby and Denise Lavoie (Associated Press – May 31, 2023)


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Thirteen coal companies owned by the family of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice are being sued over unpaid penalties for previous mining law violations that the federal government says pose health and safety risks or threaten environmental harm.

Justice, who was not named in the lawsuit, accused the Biden administration of retaliation. A Republican two-term governor, Justice announced in April that he is running for Democrat Joe Manchin’s U.S. Senate seat in 2024. He will face current U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney in the GOP primary.

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Australia and Canada are one economy—with one set of flaws (The Economist – June 1, 2023)


Welcome to Ozanada. Beware its business weakness

If australia and Canada were one economy, this “Ozanada” would be the world’s fifth-largest, bigger than India and just behind Germany. Considering the two in tandem is not as nutty as it seems.

Weather aside, they have a remarkable amount in common. Both are vast land masses populated by comparatively few people and dangerous wildlife. Both are (mostly) English-speaking realms of King Charles III. Both export their rich natural resources around the planet. And both are magnets for immigration.

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‘Withdraw your bill and work with us,’ says Grand Chief – Amanda Rabski-McColl (Timmins Today – June 1, 2023)


Mushkegowuk leadership challenges Minister of Mines to scrap Bill 71 and work with the communities to find a better way

First Nations leadership is calling on Minister George Pirie to be a true partner. Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Alison Linklater challenged the Timmins MPP and Minister of Mines during the Mushkegowuk Annual General Assembly to scrap Bill 71 and work with the communities to find a better way forward.

“I have a challenge for you. Withdraw your bill and work with us,” said Linklater. “Create a true partnership based on our treaty.” The minister faced questions from community members and leadership at the event in Cochrane on Tuesday with a focus on Bill 71, which was recently approved and saw changes made to the Mining Act.

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Protesters clash with soldiers at Ghana gold mining town (Al Jazeera – May 31, 2023)


The clashes come as hundreds remain trapped in mining pits, unable or unwilling to resurface out of fear of arrest.

Heavily armed soldiers have fired shots to disperse protesters in the gold mining town of Obuasi, in the Ashanti region of Ghana, amid an army crackdown on miners whom the government sees as illegal. Authorities arrested seven illegal miners on Monday for exiting a shaft belonging to one of the world’s largest gold miners, AngloGold, according to the company.

Reports then trickled in on Tuesday that hundreds of other miners were trapped underground. It was unclear whether those still underground were unable or reluctant to get out.

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Brazilian Amazon at risk of being taken over by mafia, ex-police chief warns – by Tom Phillips and Jonathan Watts (The Guardian – June 1, 2023)


Alexandre Saraiva gives alert on organised crime in region ahead of anniversary of killings of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

The rapid advance of organised crime groups in the Brazilian Amazon risks turning the region into a vast, conflict-stricken hinterland plagued by heavily armed “criminal insurgents”, a former senior federal police chief has warned.

Alexandre Saraiva, who worked in the Amazon from 2011 to 2021, said he feared the growing footprint of drug-trafficking mafias in the region could spawn a situation similar to the decades-long drug conflict in Rio de Janeiro, where the police’s battle with drug gangs and paramilitaries has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

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Sudbury company applies for lithium processing plant permit – by Aya Dufour (CBC News Sudbury – June 1, 2023)


If the company obtains environmental approvals, construction could start in 2024

Lithium is one of the key ingredients of electric vehicle batteries, and while Ontario has promising deposits and manufacturing plants, it does not have any processing facilities for this mineral. But that could soon change.

Frontier Lithium, a Sudbury-based exploration company, has recently applied for permits to build a pilot lithium processing plant in the Township of Nairn and Hyman, west of Sudbury. Vice President of Operations Graeme Goodall says the proposed facility will be small-scale.

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The new Cold War is already here based on commodity supply strategies of major economies, says Liberum – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – May 31, 2023)


(Kitco News) Looking at the latest commodity supply strategies of major economic powers, a new Cold War has already begun, according to the investment bank Liberum. And the U.S., EU, and Japan have identified ‘critical’ commodities required to guarantee stable economic growth, Liberum analysts said in their latest commodity report.

“Now, they’re moving to secure the supply chains of these inputs, mainly by activating old trade alliances,” the bank’s analysts Tom Price, Ben Davis and Yuen Low wrote Tuesday.There are also a lot of new U.S.-led deals happening in the critical metals space.

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Commodity crash signals disinflation is taking hold for now – by Carolynn Look and Enda Curran (Bloomberg News – May 31, 2023)


From copper to wheat to natural gas, the cost of some of the world’s most important products is crashing, bringing long-awaited relief for consumers that were stung by last year’s soaring prices.

The commodity crunch unleashed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has taken a sharp reversal, with a Bloomberg gauge dropping more than 10% since the start of the year to the lowest since 2021. Driving the disinflationary trend are a world economy flirting with recession, Europe’s industrial slump and China’s weaker-than-expected emergence from Covid Zero policies.

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Global production of critical metals unlikely to meet EU demand – by Staff (Mining.com – June 1, 2023)


A recent study by Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology found that the current global production levels of raw materials will not match the demand of the European Union’s EV industry, not even when accounting for recycling.

The paper points out that the metals that are highly sought after, such as dysprosium, neodymium, manganese and niobium, are of great economic importance to the EU, while their supply is limited and it takes time to scale up raw material production.

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BHP and Microsoft collaborate on AI in copper extraction – by Ashima Sharma (Mining Technology – May 30, 2023)


BHP Group estimates the world needs to double the copper supply in the next 30 years to keep pace with green technologies.

The BHP Group and Microsoft have collaborated to improve copper recovery from the Escondida mine in Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Producing more than one million tonnes of copper in 2022, Escondida is the world’s biggest copper mine and will use using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve operations. Microsoft’s Azure platform will optimise concentrator performance and retrieve better ore grades. The mine is jointly owned by BHP, Rio Tinto and Japan’s JECO.

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Exclusive: Frontier Lithium planning demonstration lithium chemical plant near Sudbury – by Emma Jarratt (Electric Autonomy – May 31, 2023)


Frontier says the proposed facility, located in Ontario’s Township of Nairn and Hyman, will showcase its lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate processing capabilities, Electric Autonomy confirms

Ontario is on track to get its first lithium hydroxide facility courtesy of Frontier Lithium, Electric Autonomy can exclusively reveal, in the Township of Nairn and Hyman just 40 minutes west of Sudbury.

Public documents posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry, confirmed by Frontier Lithium officials, detail how the Canadian mining company will operate the lithium processing facility.

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Sudbury conference on BEVs draws hundreds of delegates – by Len Gillis (Northern Ontario Business – May 31, 2023)


Delegates from various sectors including government, mining, automotive and battery development are in the city to plot the future of battery electric vehicles in the province

The second annual BEV In Depth conference kicked off in Sudbury on May 31 with hundreds of delegates from across Ontario joining the effort on how to continue bringing battery electric vehicles (BEVs) into the mainstream for mining and general automotive purposes.

Greater Sudbury is working to find ways to improve the city’s role in developing local industries — not only to serve the automotive battery electric market, but also to promote and enhance the role of the mining industry for the large industrial BEV market.

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