Falling Lithium Prices Are Making Electric Cars More Affordable – by Jack Ewing and Clifford Krauss (New York Times – March 20, 2023)


Lithium, the common ingredient in almost all electric-car batteries, has become so precious that it is often called white gold. But something surprising has happened recently: The metal’s price has fallen, helping to make electric vehicles more affordable.

Since January, the price of lithium has dropped nearly 20 percent, according to Benchmark Minerals, even as sales of electric vehicles have soared. Cobalt, another important battery material, has fallen by more than half. Copper, essential to electric motors and batteries, has slipped about 18 percent, even though U.S. mines and copper-rich countries like Peru are struggling to increase production.

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Column: The return of the London Metal Exchange’s nickel curse – by Andy Home (Reuters – March 21, 2023)


LONDON, March 21 (Reuters) – The London Metal Exchange (LME) has discovered that some of its registered nickel is missing. Nine warrants, equivalent to 54 tonnes, have been declared invalid after being found to be “non-conformant with the contract specifications”, the LME said in a March 17 notice. What should have been bags of nickel briquettes grading at least 99.8% pure metal have turned out to be bags of stones.

The incident comes one month after Trafigura took a $577 million charge against cargoes of nickel that turned out to be steel. The trading company alleges “a systematic fraud” and is pursuing legal action against companies associated with Indian businessman Prateek Gupta. A spokesperson for Gupta has said that they were preparing “a robust response” to the allegations.

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The Drift: Sudbury-raised CEO picked to plot the path in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 22, 2023)


Groomed at Glencore, Kristan Straub now helms Ring of Fire Metals

Talk of a weekend snowstorm about to hit Sudbury rings up pangs of jealousy from Kristan Straub. A weather forecast calling for 30 to 50 centimetres of fresh powder is cause for impending calamity in the ‘burbs of the GTA where the newly appointed CEO of Ring of Fire Metals now resides.

But to Straub, 48, it’s a siren call to the snowmobile trails for the Sudbury-raised outdoor enthusiast. For now, those recreational pursuits will have to be put on hold. On March 1, Straub was introduced as the new boss of the Australian-owned James Bay mine developer, just days prior to the start of the PDAC mining conference in Toronto, one of the industry’s biggest global get-togethers. He was recruited from Glencore where was vice-president of exploration with the nickel team.

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Sudbury, A to Z – by Peter Carter (Pete’s Blog and Grille – March 6, 2023)


In June of this year, about 200 members of the Canadian Travel Media Association will be meeting in my hometown of Sudbury, Ont., for their annual conference. While I am neither a member of the travel media association nor did the organizers ask my help, I thought I would create this list of things those visitors to Sudbury should know about so they’ll return home knowing that–of all the places on the planet that they have ever visited–my hometown is one of the–if not the–most significant.

I’m serious. What makes a tourist destination worth remembering? Geography? Historic events? Architecture? Local wines? Famous people? Big battles? Stuff you can’t see anywhere else, like the famous terracotta armies buried in the tomb of the first emperor of China around 200 B.C?

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Volkswagen to invest in mines in bid to become global battery supplier – (CTV News – March 17, 2023)


BERLIN – Volkswagen plans to invest in mines to bring down the cost of battery cells, meet half of its own demand and sell to third-party customers, the carmaker’s board member in charge of technology said.

Its strategy aligns with a wider trend of carmakers seeking greater control over parts of the supply chain traditionally left to third parties, from energy generation to raw material sourcing, as they compete for scarce resources they urgently need to meet electrification targets.

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‘Original fear of missing out’: Gold price explodes and could test $2k after best week in 3 years – analysts – by Anna Golubova (Kitco News – March 17, 2023)


(Kitco News) The gold market surged as prices saw their best week in three years amidst the fallout of the banking sector. Analysts are not ruling out a test of the $2,000 an ounce level next week as markets look past the Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

The precious metal rose from $1,867 an ounce to above $1,980 this week, posting a gain of more than $110 and its best performance since March 2020. April Comex gold futures were last trading at $1,988 an ounce, up $65 on the day.

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Sudbury’s regreening expertise taking root in Peru (Northern Ontario Business – March 17, 2023)


City of Greater Sudbury signs letter of intent with Peruvian region to promote innovation and cooperation

Sudbury’s environmental remediation expertise is being exported to Peru. The City of Greater Sudbury and the regional government of Moquegua, two international mining centres, have signed a letter of intent of cooperation during the recent PDAC mining show in Toronto earlier this month.

According to a city news release, this alliance letter recently signed is a formal relationship builder between the Nickel City and this region of Peru with the intention that it will mutually “stimulate economic development, workforce development, battery and microchips development, research and remediation technology, and curricula transfer, helping people and businesses on both sides of the Americas thrive.”

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Indigenous ownership models gain steam alongside critical minerals rush – by Alisha Hiyate (Northern Miner – March 15, 2023)

Global mining news

As this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention returned to its March slot in Toronto, welcoming nearly 24,000 attendees, the buzz was undoubtedly around critical and battery metals.

During the event, the federal government doled out money for juniors to advance their projects (including Search Metals, E3 Lithium and FPX Nickel), and federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told reporters that the government would consider financial support for the construction of new mines as the United States has recently started to do.

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OPINION: To develop Ontario’s Ring of Fire, we must develop trust with First Nations – by Virginia Heffernan (Globe and Mail – March 17, 2023)


Virginia Heffernan is a mining writer and the author of Ring of Fire: High-Stakes Mining in a Lowlands Wilderness.

One of the barriers to development in the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich area in Ontario’s far north, is lack of trust. The Ring of Fire metal deposits lie within Treaty Nine lands.

Signed by the Crown and the region’s First Nations at the beginning of the 20th century, the treaty allowed the Crown to acquire land from Cree and Ojibway peoples in the James Bay Lowlands for white settlement and resource development. In exchange, Indigenous peoples were promised cash payments, reserves to live on, education for their children and hunting, fishing and trapping rights.

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Worry, mistrust meet plans to secure waste from Niger uranium mine (France24.com – March 15, 2023)


Arlit (Niger) (AFP) – Towering mounds dot the desert landscape in northern Niger’s Arlit region, but there is little natural about them — they are heaps of partially radioactive waste left from four decades of operations at one of the world’s biggest uranium mines.

An ambitious 10-year scheme costing $160 million is underway to secure the waste and avoid risks to health and the environment, but many local people are worried or sceptical. From 1978, France’s nuclear giant Areva, now called Orano, worked the area under a subsidiary, the Akouta Mining Company (Cominak).

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Troubled Canadian diamond mine Ekati gets new life as Australian company takes control – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 16, 2023)


Burgundy is paying US$136 million to assume control from Arctic Canadian

The Ekati complex, a star-crossed diamond mining operation in Northwest Territories, is getting a new life. Ekati has changed hands several times in the past decade, and has struggled in recent years. But Australia’s Burgundy Diamond Mines Ltd. sees promise, announcing this week that it would pay US$136 million to assume control from Ekati’s current owner, Arctic Canadian Diamond Co. Ltd.

The deal is expected to close in April. Burgundy, based in Perth and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, said in a press release that the current life-of-mine plan supports operations until 2028, and that investments could further extend mining. In 2022, Ekati delivered US$494 million in revenue and 4.1 million karats of diamonds were recovered, the press release said.

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State lawmakers join call to feds to intervene in Canadian mining upriver of Alaska – by Sage Smiley (Alaska Public Radio – March 16, 2023)


Southeast Alaska lawmakers are joining tribal and municipal governments, calling on the federal government to stop – at least temporarily – British Columbia’s mining activities in transboundary watersheds.

Southeast Alaska’s major river systems – the Taku, Unuk and Stikine – originate in British Columbia. Those transboundary watersheds are peppered with mineral claims, active mines and shuttered former mining operations.

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Nevada lithium mine breaks ground despite Indigenous opposition – by Hilary Beaumont (Al Jazeera – March 15, 2023)


Los Angeles, California, the US – Construction is under way at the Thacker Pass lithium mine in northern Nevada after a federal court denied opponents’ requests for an injunction. Lithium Americas, a mining company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, said in a news release this month that workers were drilling at the site and building infrastructure, including water pipelines.

General Motors, which wants United States lithium for electric vehicle batteries, announced earlier this year that it would invest $650m in Lithium Americas if the mine cleared legal and regulatory hurdles.

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Controversial Alberta coal mine could soon get green energy makeover – by Sarah Offin (Global News – March 16, 2023)


It’s an energy source that helped open the west. But coal mining has left scars on the Alberta landscape: abandoned mines and open pits where energy producers are now prospecting something new.

“Sites like this don’t really exist in a lot of places,” said Blain van Melle, the executive vice president of Alberta business at TransAlta. “This is really unique. We like to refer to it as a unicorn.” Metallurgical coal was discovered at Tent Mountain in the early 1900s. Small-scale mining made way for the first open cut pit in 1948.

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Ontario mines minister says Ring of Fire could be worth $1 trillion, a figure critics call exaggerated – by Logan Turner (CBC News Thunder Bay – March 17, 2023)


Wyloo Metals, which owns majority of known claims in area, estimates value of ‘defined ore bodies’ at $90B

From the time the Ring of Fire was discovered in 2007, politicians and industry leaders have emphasized the potential economic value of the remote, mineral-rich area in northern Ontario. That has intensified in recent weeks, with Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie saying recently: “Anecdotally, mining people are saying this is a trillion-dollar project.”

Pirie told Global News in a recent documentary that the $1-trillion amount was “not a formal valuation,” but was “based on the increased value of critical minerals that are already established being in the ground.”

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