Scientists develop more humane, environmentally friendly battery material

In order to find other solutions for lithium-ion batteries that move away from a dependency on cobalt, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have participated in a collaborative study to identify new potential materials for the positive terminal of a battery, called a cathode. In a battery, lithium ions are inserted into a cathode during charging and released during discharging, providing electricity.

In the new study, a research team led by the University of California, Irvine created and analyzed a material for a lithium-ion cathode that uses no cobalt and is instead rich in nickel. This cathode chemistry is compositionally complex, meaning that it contains small amounts of a wide range of other metals. These metals include molybdenum, niobium and titanium.

Read more at: https://www.anl.gov/article/scientists-develop-more-humane-environmentally-friendly-battery-material

U.S. bans mining in parts of Minnesota, dealing latest blow to Antofagasta’s copper project

The U.S. Interior Department on Thursday blocked mining in part of northeast Minnesota for 20 years, the latest blow to Antofagasta Plc’s Twin Metals copper and nickel mining project but a step officials said is needed to protect the state’s vast network of interconnected waterways.

While Congress and President Joe Biden have heavily subsidized mining and minerals processing, administration officials said the risk from a mine to northern Minnesota’s ecology was too great.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/us-blocks-mining-parts-minnesota-dealing-latest-blow-antofagastas-copper-project-2023-01-26/

New U.S. Battery Entrant Targets Fully Domestic Supply Chains

In July, 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden committed his administration to mounting what he called a “whole of government” effort to establish secure supply chains for the technology needed to create his targeted transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles. One crucial target for that effort is to liberate supply chains for lithium and other minerals needed for batteries to power the EVs and provide energy storage for wind and solar generation from dominance by China.

Progress towards this objective has been slow to develop in the intervening 18 months since Biden’s announcement, and China has made clear that it will not stand still. Last week, the Bolivian government announced it has chosen a consortium led by Chinese battery maker CATL to help develop that country’s huge reserves of lithium. The deal provides China with a foothold in South America’s Lithium Triangle, the world’s biggest known store of lithium which straddles the borders between Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. It is a reserve of lithium the U.S. would like to be able to tap for its own future needs.

The Biden administration received better news Monday, as battery maker Statevolt announced the successful acquisition of 135 acres near the Salton Sea in Southern California to serve as the site of its planned 54GWh Gigafactory. Statevolt plans to manufacture both transportation and stationary storage batteries using supply chains for lithium and its other needs sourced entirely in the United States. Statevolt says its battery plant will be technology-agnostic and utilize a modular production process that will create a high degree of versality, enabling the manufacture of a variety of battery products in what has become a rapidly-evolving technology space.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2023/01/25/new-us-battery-entrant-targets-fully-domestic-supply-chains/?ss=energy&sh=2a63d84e54c0

#Chinese firm #CATL to develop huge #Bolivian #Lithium deposit

A giant Chinese battery company, Catl, has won a bidding process to develop Bolivia’s huge lithium reserves.

The ultra-light metal is used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, production of which is expected to soar as fossil fuels are phased out.

Bolivian President Luis Arce said the Catl-led consortium was launching the “historic” industrialisation of lithium in Bolivia.

More than $1bn (£807m) will be invested in the project’s first phase, he said.

Australia and Chile are the world’s biggest lithium producers, but Bolivia has huge reserves in the Potosi and Oruro salt flats.

Technical hurdles and a lack of infrastructure have long delayed the extraction of lithium in Bolivia, whose reserves are estimated at 21m tonnes.

Read more at: https://sports.yahoo.com/chinese-firm-catl-develop-huge-013548036.html

#Congo president demands more from $6.2 billion #China metals deal

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi criticized a $6.2 billion minerals-for-infrastructure contract with China, saying the world’s largest producer of a key battery metal hasn’t benefited from the deal.

Congo, Africa’s second-largest nation by landmass, is flush with natural resources — including copper and cobalt that are major components in electric vehicles — but remains one of the world’s least-developed countries. Most of its minerals end up in China, which signed a landmark deal with Tshisekedi’s predecessor in 2008 to trade roads and buildings for the two metals.

“The Chinese, they’ve made a lot of money and made a lot of profit from this contract,” Tshisekedi said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Now our need is simply to re-balance things in a way that it becomes win-win.”

The contract renegotiation is part of a campaign by the president to ensure the country gets paid for the full value of its resources, which are increasingly in high demand.

The accord with China was signed at a time when Congo was emerging from decades of dictatorship and war and newly elected President Joseph Kabila was desperate for financing. It mandated that Chinese companies invest $3.2 billion in a copper-cobalt mine and another $3 billion in infrastructure funded by the mine’s revenue.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/web/congo-president-demands-more-from-6-2-billion-china-metals-deal/

EVs need #Nickel: #Minnesota metal company digs for the solution with new mine

An American-based metal manufacturer out of a small town in Minnesota is fighting to establish a domestic nickel supply chain as demand for the product increases, and supply continues to deplete.

Talon Metals out of Tamarack, Minnesota – a town with a population size of 62 – teamed up with mining company Rio Tinto to build an on-site nickel mine, which is expected to be fully operational in 2026. With the electric vehicle (EV) market growing, Talon Metals has also struck a deal with Tesla to produce nickel domestically for its car batteries.

Read more at: https://www.foxbusiness.com/energy/evs-need-nickel-minnesota-metal-company-digs-solution-new-mine

The United States Releases Signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia to Strengthen Electric Vehicle Battery Value Chain

Today, the Department of State released the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on electric vehicle battery value chains signed by the United States on December 13, 2022, during the Africa Leaders Summit.  Through this MOU, the United States will support the commitment between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia to develop jointly a supply chain for electric vehicle batteries.  The MOU supports the DRC and Zambia’s goal of building a productive supply chain, from the mine to the assembly line, while also committing to respect international standards to prevent, detect, and take legal action to fight corruption throughout this process.

The DRC produces more than 70 percent of the world’s cobalt.  Zambia is the world’s sixth-largest copper producer, and the second largest cobalt producer in Africa.  

Read more at: https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-releases-signed-memorandum-of-understanding-with-the-democratic-republic-of-congo-and-zambia-to-strengthen-electric-vehicle-battery-value-chain/

#BASF, #Eramet near $2.6 bln #Indonesia deal to process #Nickel for EV batteries

Germany’s BASF  and French miner Eramet are finalising a $2.6 billion partnership deal to invest in a facility in Indonesia to process nickel for use in batteries for electric vehicles, Indonesian officials said.

While overall battery demand for nickel makes up a small portion of the 3 million tonne market, Indonesia is primed to become the world’s biggest supplier as it builds out some 4.5 million tonnes of capacity that can supply both markets over the next five years, analysts estimate.

An investor presentation by Eramet this month showed that the planned new plant is expected to start production in early 2026, subject to a final investment decision, with an output capacity of up to 67,000 tonnes of nickel and around 7,000 tonnes of cobalt per year contained in MHP.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/markets/deals/basf-eramet-finalise-partnership-indonesia-nickel-smelter-indonesia-2023-01-18/

James Bay #Lithium mine wins federal approval amid #Trudeau’s push to make #Canada an EV player

The federal government approved the construction of a lithium mine in northern Quebec, moving Brisbane, Australia-based Allkem Ltd.‘s project closer to the finish line, and moving Canada closer to being able to supply a highly sought metal that will be key to the energy transition.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his provincial counterparts have been selling Canada as an important node in the shift to electric vehicles, boasting that the country’s mineral wealth will be a competitive advantage.

In addition, the nation, along with the United States and some of the bigger European economies, is looking to shift supply chains away from China, which dominates the EV sector, to friendlier nations amidst geopolitical concerns.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/commodities/mining/james-bay-lithium-mine-federal-approval

#Biden backs #Nevada #Lithium mine with $700 million loan offer

A Nevada lithium mine that would be only the second in the US is getting backing from the Biden administration as it seeks to boost the domestic supply of the critical mineral needed to make electric vehicle batteries.

The Energy Department issued a conditional commitment for up to $700 million for Ioneer Ltd.’s Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project, a prospective supplier to Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. that could produce enough lithium for 370,000 electric vehicles a year. Project partners include mining and metals processing group Sibanye Stillwater Ltd.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/web/biden-backs-nevada-lithium-mine-with-700-million-loan-offer/

#Japanese delegation to visit #Canada to meet with battery, mining companies

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrive to a joint news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 12, 2023. REUTERS/Blair Gable

Japan will send a delegation to meet with Canadian battery and mining companies early this year, while Canada is planning a trade mission to Japan later in October, the leaders of both countries announced on Thursday after meeting in Ottawa.

As this year’s host of the Group of Seven (G7), Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida came to Canada to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before continuing onto Washington, where he will sit down with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday.

“This spring, we’re… looking forward to hosting an important business delegation from Japan,” Trudeau said. “They’re planning to be meeting with Canadian battery and mining companies and potential partners.”

Read more at: https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japanese-delegation-to-visit-canada-to-meet-with-battery-mining-companies

Huge rare earth metals discovery in Arctic #Sweden

No rare earths are mined in Europe at the moment and a Swedish minister hailed the find as a way of reducing the EU’s dependence on China.

The discovery is also being seen as “decisive” for the green transition, given the expected rise in demand for electric vehicles and wind turbines.

Some 98% of rare earths used in the EU in 2021 were imported from China.

Over one million tonnes are reported to have now been found in Sweden’s far north.

Read more at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-64253708

#India’s foray into the #EV battery market lacks some key ingredients

As the world tries to wean itself off dependence on China for crucial battery materials, India is taking bold steps to position itself as an alternative in the electric vehicle supply chain.

The government has unveiled incentives of at least $3.4 billion to expedite its lagging adoption of EVs as Prime Minister Narendra Modi vows to reach net zero by 2070. The idea is that manufacturing the costliest component — batteries — locally will make the end product more affordable for the mass market and set the country up as a potential exporter, tapping into surging global demand.

The initiatives have piqued the interest of billionaires like Mukesh Ambani, whose Reliance Industries Ltd. is building an EV battery facility as part of a broader $76 billion push into clean energy. Ambani’s is among three companies, including scooter-maker Ola Electric Mobility Pvt. and bullion refiner Rajesh Exports Ltd. set to receive incentives under a $2.3 billion program to support advanced battery cell development.

With gigawatt-scale manufacturing facilities planned, India could carve out a role as an exporter of lithium-ion cells to European and American markets, said Rahul Prithiani, senior director for energy, sustainability and commodities at Crisil Ltd., the local analytics unit of S&P Global. “But for this, India needs to secure robust supply chains along with recycling capabilities,” he said.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/web/indias-foray-into-the-ev-battery-market-lacks-some-key-ingredients/

#Vale And #GM Sign Long-Term Nickel Supply Agreement In #Canada

TORONTO and DETROIT – Vale Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Vale S.A., and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), announced today they have signed a term sheet for the long-term supply of battery-grade nickel sulfate from Vale’s proposed plant at Bécancour, Québec, Canada. This agreement secures for GM a supply of nickel sulfate from a U.S. free-trade partner to support its fast-growing EV production needs in North America.

Under terms of the agreement, Vale will supply battery-grade nickel sulfate, equivalent to 25,000 metric tons per year of contained nickel, for use in GM’s Ultium battery cathodes, which will power a broad portfolio of electric vehicles including the Chevrolet Silverado EV, Blazer EV and Equinox EV, the Cadillac LYRIQ, the GMC Sierra EV, and the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup and SUV. The amount of contained nickel is sufficient to supply approximately 350,000 EVs annually. Deliveries are targeted to commence in the second half of 2026.

Read more at: https://www.michiganbusinessnetwork.com/blog/vale-and-gm-sign-long-term-nickel-supply-agreement-in-canada

Electric vehicle sales are racing ahead, but is there a plan for the waste they create?

There’s a new venture taking place in a large, nondescript warehouse in Kingston, Ont.: Lithium-ion battery recycling. And it could be an important component of Canada’s net-zero future.

The facility, owned by Canadian startup Li-Cycle, houses stacks of depleted lithium-ion batteries that not long ago would have been destined for a landfill. The company is giving them new life — recycling the batteries that power most electric vehicles, phones and laptops.

Read more at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/electric-vehicle-battery-recycling-1.6695010

East-West battleground will shift from fossil fuels to metals

The global trade war will shift from fossil fuels to metals and raw materials. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlighted the risk of relying on autocratic states for energy. Even if Europe’s gas crisis eases, Western manufacturers’ focus will switch to reducing China’s dominance in materials key to a cleaner economy.

Europe needs to cumulatively spend $5.3 trillion on clean energy projects by 2050. That requires a sixfold increase in the global production of copper, lithium, graphite, nickel and some rare earths by 2040, International Energy Agency estimates show. Yet China dominates the processing, and to a lesser extent the extraction, of many critical industrial ingredients. It refines 58% of lithium produced globally, 65% of cobalt and over one-third of nickel and copper. Ostracised Russia is also big in nickel, palladium and cobalt. Europe, which imports between 75% and 100% of most metals, looks particularly vulnerable.

In response, Western companies can strike deals with suppliers in friendly countries, open mines at home, or boost recycling. The first approach is the fastest and is underway. In 2022 carmakers have ramped up partnerships with mines and invested directly in mining projects. General Motors took a stake in Australia’s Queensland Pacific Metals to secure nickel and cobalt for green SUVs.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/breakingviews/east-west-battleground-will-shift-metals-2022-12-23/

#US must disconnect strategic supply chains from #China, say experts

China’s dominance over the supply of rare-earth minerals and other materials—which are critical for energy transition and defense technologies—should spur U.S. policymakers to bolster raw materials supply chains, according to a new report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The China Rare Earth Group, a merger of three of China’s state-owned enterprises into one mega-conglomerate, controls of up to a quarter of global mineral-bearing rare-earth elements (REE). Combined with China’s overall dominance in rare-earth minerals and materials—roughly 60% of world production—the merger grants Chinese central planners significant pricing power and influence over world supply, explain co-authors Michelle Michot Foss and Jacob Koelsch.

The authors argue that the U.S. and its allies must divorce strategic industries from Chinese REE.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2022-12-disconnect-strategic-chains-china-experts.html

Raw #Lithium Exports Banned in #Zimbabwe as Demand and Prices Soar

(Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe has banned the export of unprocessed raw lithium with immediate effect as part of efforts to have the key raw material in electric-vehicle batteries processed locally.

“No lithium bearing ores, or unbeneficiated lithium whatsoever, shall be exported from Zimbabwe to another country” without written permission, an order issued by Mines Minister Winston Chitando states.

Mining companies that are building processing plants will be excluded from the directive, Deputy Mines Minister Polite Kambamura said by phone on Tuesday.

Lithium has been on a tear, surging more than 1,100% to a record in the past two years, as supply has struggled to keep up with rampant demand. Rio Tinto Group predicts half of all car sales could be EVs by 2030, up from 9% last year, and mining companies have been scouring the world for opportunities to bring on new supplies.

Read more at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/raw-lithium-exports-banned-zimbabwe-151918459.html

#Nickel Tycoon Plans New Plant to Avoid Future #LME Short Squeezes

The tycoon at the center of this year’s nickel crisis is building a new plant for metal that can be delivered on the London Metal Exchange — a move that signals his intention to keep trading on the embattled LME while seeking to avoid being caught out by short squeezes in the future.

Tsingshan Holding Group Co., the giant metals company owned by billionaire Xiang Guangda, is the world’s largest nickel producer. However, the intermediate forms of nickel it produces for the stainless-steel and battery industries can’t be delivered against contracts on the LME, which only accepts refined metal.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-19/nickel-tycoon-plans-new-plant-to-avoid-future-lme-short-squeezes?leadSource=uverify%20wall

#Jervois selects AFRY for #Finnish #Cobalt refinery expansion

Finnish cobalt products supplier Jervois has selected Sweden-based engineering firm AFRY to provide basic engineering for the cobalt refinery expansion project in Finland.

AFRY will also be responsible to lead environmental permitting, including a public Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) coordination and undertaking the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) for the expansion of Jervois’ cobalt refinery at Kokkola Industrial Park.

Basic engineering and the associated BFS will help Jervois to take the final investment decision for the expansion project.

Read more at: https://www.mining-technology.com/news/jervois-afry-finnish-cobalt/

Secretary #Blinken At an MOU Signing with Democratic Republic of the #Congo and #Zambia

This memorandum of understanding that we’re about to sign signals the support by the U.S. Government for what is a very important project between these two countries.  Different government agencies, USAID, Commerce, the Trade and Development Agency, are exploring technical assistance for the EV supply chain.  Our EXIM Bank, the Development Finance Corporation, will be exploring financing and support mechanisms for investment in African electric vehicle value chains.

So this is I think an important moment to take note of a truly important initiative for the future not only of the DRC and Zambia, not only for Africa, but potentially for the world, as more than anything we’re together in combating the climate crisis, together in developing new renewable sources of energy, together also in building out economies for the future.  This is a part of it.

Read more at: https://www.state.gov/secretary-blinken-at-an-mou-signing-with-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-vice-prime-minister-and-foreign-minister-christophe-lutundula-and-zambian-foreign-minister-stanley-kakubo/

EV battery cell manufacturing in #India: GODI begins production of 5.2 Ah #Lithium-ion cells

GODI India, the first Indian company to get BIS certification to sell lithium-ion cells developed and produced locally, today announced beginning production of India’s first-ever 5.2 Ah 21700 cylindrical lithium-ion cells with an energy density of 275 Wh/kg based on silicon anode technology. The electrode composition has been indigenously developed as per the market requirement.
The company claims that with the use of silicon in the anode, an electric vehicle could achieve a greater range, up by 15-20% compared to graphite, on a single charge due to the increased energy density.
With a lithium-ion cell market size of USD 5 billion projected for electric two-wheelers by 2030, GODI believes that silicon is the future of energy storage as it can store nearly 10 times the energy compared to the traditional graphite anode.

However, it comes with close to 400% of volume expansion during its charge and discharge process making it difficult to stabilise. GODI India states that it has a water-based electrode manufacturing process to stabilise the silicon, which has been successfully utilised in the manufacturing of the 5.2 Ah lithium-ion cells.
“We are delighted to announce the manufacturing of 5.2 Ah lithium-ion cells at our Hyderabad facility. We have already delivered 5.0Ah cells to top six OEMs in India and planning to deliver 5.2Ah cells in the near future,” Mahesh Godi, Founder and CEO of GODI India, said.

Read more at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/auto/policy-and-industry/ev-battery-cell-manufacturing-in-india-godi-begins-production-of-5-2-ah-lithium-ion-cells/articleshow/96173913.cms

‘#Nickel and #Copper’s time’: #Vale to split off metals group to capitalize on battery demand

Brazil-based Vale SA plans to separate its base metal operations into a distinct entity from its main iron ore business sometime in mid-2023, a move that will affect its nickel operations across Canada.

Executives cast the announcement, which came Wednesday at an

Ont.; Thompson, Man.; and Voisey’s Bay, NL — are fully valued and can access capital.

Demand for nickel and copper, the base metals Vale primarily produces, are expected to surge as the energy transition picks up speed and more people switch to electric vehicles.

But Vale executives said that in order to capitalize on this opportunity they need to ensure base metals operations receive appropriate investment and aren’t neglected in favour of the company’s much larger iron ore business.

Read more at: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/nickel-coppers-time-vale-split-221104438.html

#Japan to promote investment in #Congo for stable rare mineral supply

Japan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed an agreement to cooperate in rare earth mineral mining in the African country, aiming to promote Japanese investment and expand supplies of resources critical for a wide range of consumer and industrial products.

Congo, formerly known as Zaire, has major natural deposits of rare earth minerals such as cobalt, a crucial material in lithium-ion batteries used to power electric cars and other electronics.

The Japanese government plans to encourage investment by Japanese companies in Congo’s rare earth mining sector, introducing them to business opportunities through seminars and other means while using its official development assistance aid to provide funding.

Tokyo hopes to help Japanese firms secure rights over mines in Congo and long-term procurement contracts to strengthen Japan’s rare earth supply chains, according to a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official.

Read more at: https://japantoday.com/category/business/japan-to-promote-investment-in-congo-for-stable-rare-mineral-supply

‘They see stability and calm here’: Canada looks like a good place to invest to some EV producers

The electric vehicle transition in North America kicked off nearly a decade ago with Tesla Inc. chief executive Elon Musk moving at breakneck speed, but now it’s shifting to a different phase: the slow and boring chapter in which automakers take months —  or years even — to decide where to build their EV operations.

“It’s clear that energy security, food security and supply chain resiliency is top of mind to leaders around the world,” Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said at a press conference on Dec. 5 in Germany, where he was meeting with Volkswagen AG and other automakers. “Canada is in many respects the answer.”

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/electric-vehicles/canada-good-place-invest-ev-producers

Critical Mineral Access is a US Serious National Security Risk

A June 2021 White House report laid out a concerning case of just how dominant China has become in this space.

By “operating well outside globally accepted practices” China has effectively cornered 80 percent of the world refining market for cobalt while also controlling a majority of lithium refining operations.

In contrast, the United States refines zero percent of global cobalt. This poses a clear and growing threat, with warning signs all around us.

For example, as the US increasingly electrifies its transportation and ground logistics fleet, its domestic economy could be thrown into chaos if the supply chain for these next-generation batteries is disrupted.

Read more at: https://www.thedefensepost.com/2022/12/06/mineral-access-national-security/

#China’s CMOC threatens legal action over #Congo cobalt mine export block

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 5(Reuters) – China’s CMOC Group could take legal action against Congo’s state mining company Gecamines, a spokesman for the Chinese mining firm said, after having exports blocked from Tenke Fungurume, the world’s second-biggest cobalt mine, for a fifth month.

Tenke Fungurume Mining (TFM) suspended copper and cobalt exports in July, when a dispute between Congo and CMOC escalated and a temporary administrator appointed by a Congolese court to run the mine ordered CMOC to stop marketing and exporting its production.

Congo’s government says it suspects CMOC understated TFM’s reserve levels to reduce the amount of royalties it pays to Gecamines. CMOC, which was previously known as China Molybdenum, denies having done so.

Read more at: https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/chinas-cmoc-threatens-legal-action-over-congo-cobalt-mine-export-block

#Volkswagen Begins Search for Battery Plant Site in #Canada

Volkswagen AG signed an agreement to begin searching for a battery cell factory site in Canada as it plans a “rapid expansion to North America” of its electric vehicle battery business.

Canadian Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne signed the document with Volkswagen on Thursday during his visit to Germany.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-12-01/volkswagen-begins-search-for-battery-plant-site-in-canada?leadSource=uverify%20wall

#CME #Cobalt contract use soars above #LME as big players join

LONDON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Activity in Chicago based CME Group’s cobalt futures has this year soared far above London Metal Exchange volumes, with sources citing major firms including top producer Glencore as users covering their exposure to the battery metal.

Consumers, producers, commodity traders, brokers and banks are backing the CME’s cash-settled contract as they want a liquid instrument to hedge cobalt, which has grown in importance due to its use in electric-vehicle batteries, which are crucial for meeting targets for cutting emissions.

Growing volumes for CME cobalt are expected to help the U.S. exchange win market share in contracts for other materials used in electric vehicles such as lithium and aluminium.

Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com/now/cme-cobalt-contract-soars-above-104023846.html

#Australia redirects to bypass #China in #Lithium refining

Pilbara Minerals Ltd, one of Australia’s biggest lithium producers, plans to build a demonstration plant in Western Australia capable of refining the material that is key to the booming global battery metals market.

The pilot plant would process Pilbara Minerals’ hard rock ore into lithium salt near the company’s Pilgangoora Project in Western Australia, in a joint venture with Australia’s Calix Ltd that uses the latter’s patented “calcination” technology.

It is part of a push by Canberra to boost the country’s onshore lithium refining industry, responding to demand from automakers in the US and Europe for battery metals that bypass China.

Read more at: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2022/11/29/2003789766

West could end reliance on #Chinese batteries by 2030, says #GoldmanSachs

The US and Europe can cut their dependence on China for electric vehicle batteries through more than $160bn in new capital expenditure by 2030, Goldman Sachs has forecast. EV batteries are one of the core technologies giving rise to concern across western capitals over dependence on China.

Following years of deep state support and a desire by Beijing to cut its own reliance on oil imports, China produces three quarters of the world’s batteries and also dominates production of their materials and components. However, according to a report to clients, seen by the Financial Times, the investment bank’s analysts believe a stark pivot to protectionism in Washington and Brussels, combined with an unprecedented spending spree by non-Chinese companies, have the potential to extricate the west from its reliance on Beijing over the next seven years.

To obtain a self-sufficient supply chain, countries competing with China would need to spend $78.2bn for batteries, $60.4bn in components and $13.5bn in mining of lithium, nickel and cobalt, as well as $12.1bn in refining of those materials, the report calculated. The bank’s analysts believe demand for finished batteries could be met without China within the next three to five years, largely thanks to big investments in the US by South Korean conglomerates LG and SK, who have been attracted by massive subsidies from US taxpayers. LG Chem said on Tuesday it would invest more than $3bn to build a battery cathode factory in Tennessee, the biggest of its kind in the US. Goldman forecasts that the market share of the Korean battery makers in the US will soar to around 55 per cent in three years, from 11 per cent in 2021.

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August means huge tax benefits and other subsidies for localising battery supply chains and fuelling the uptake of EVs. Goldman expects the “average eligible EV in the US” will receive more than $10,000 in benefits from the IRA.

Read more at: https://www.ft.com/content/458ebaf3-c1ee-499c-b7f3-2e5d7f1bb6df

#US, #Philippines to Negotiate Nuclear Power Tech-Sharing Pact

The US and the Philippines will open talks on a deal for the Asian nation to build nuclear power plants with American technology, Vice President Kamala Harris announced.

In a bid to boost the supply chain for critical minerals, the US also will support development of a nickel and cobalt processing facility in the Philippines.

The facility will expand the Philippines’ production of refined nickel and cobalt by 20,000 metric tons per year and enhance sustainable development of those critical minerals, the White House said.

Read more at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-philippines-negotiate-nuclear-power-220000147.html

#Vale inks #Nickel deal with #GM that could be worth $760M a year

Industry giant Vale has landed its first large-scale electric vehicle battery deal in North America, supplying nickel to power a slew of General Motors’ cars and trucks, the companies said on Thursday.

The deal for 25,000 tonnes per year of nickel works out to about $762 million per year using a September average metal spot price of about $30,500 per tonne, though both companies declined to state the agreement’s dollar value in a joint news release. They called it a long-term deal, but didn’t say how many years. 

The nickel is to come from Vale’s proposed plant at Bécancour near Trois-Rivières, Que., a first-of-its-kind facility for Canada and North America, Vale said. It will wind up in electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, the Cadillac LYRIQ and the GMC HUMMER EV pickup. The supply will outfit about 350,000 electric vehicles per year, the companies said. Nickel deliveries are planned to start in the second half of 2026.

Read more at: https://www.northernminer.com/news/vale-inks-nickel-deal-with-gm-that-could-be-worth-760-million-a-year/1003848685/

U.S. military weighs funding mining projects in #Canada amid rivalry with China

Canadian companies told they qualify under Defense Production Act.

The United States military has been quietly soliciting applications for Canadian mining projects that want American public funding through a major national security initiative.

It’s part of an increasingly urgent priority of the U.S. government lessening dependence on China for critical minerals that are vital in everything from civilian goods such as electronics, cars and batteries, to weapons.

It illustrates how Canadian mining is becoming the nexus of a colossal geopolitical struggle. Ottawa just pushed Chinese state-owned companies out of the sector, and the U.S. is now considering moving public funding in.

Read more at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/u-s-military-mining-projects-canada-1.6649522

#Indonesia proposes to #Canada setting up #OPEC-like group for #Nickel

JAKARTA — Indonesia has proposed in talks with Canada establishing an OPEC-like organization for nickel producing countries, the Southeast Asian nation’s investment ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Indonesia and Canada are the first and sixth biggest nickel producers in the world, respectively.

The proposal was made when Indonesian Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia met Canada’s International Trade Minister Mary Ng on Tuesday on the sideline of the G20 summit in Bali.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/indonesia-proposes-to-canada-setting-up-opec-like-group-for-nickel

#Canada orders #Chinese companies to divest stake in #Lithium mines

Canada’s government ordered three Chinese firms to divest from a trio of small lithium miners based in the country, days after introducing tougher rules on foreign investments in the nation’s critical minerals sectors.

Sinomine (Hong Kong) Rare Metals Resources Co. Ltd. is required to divest in Vancouver-based Power Metals Corp., while Chengze Lithium International Ltd. must exit from Calgary-based Lithium Chile Inc. and Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) Co. Ltd., was ordered to divest from Ultra Lithium Inc., based in Vancouver, Canada’s federal government said Wednesday in a statement.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-11-02/canada-orders-three-chinese-firms-to-divest-from-country-s-lithium-miners?leadSource=uverify%20wall

The #US Just Can’t Match #China’s Industrial Heft

The American attempt at an industrial policy to build electric vehicles and batteries has, once again, fallen flat. The recently released list of firms selected for $2.8 billion of funding shows as much. They look more like late-stage R&D projects than companies ready to scale.

It’s unclear where the supplies of nickel, lithium and cobalt will come from, or how the US plants will scale up, because most of the investment has been allocated toward yet-to-be fully-proven powerpack technology that’s still not commercially viable. In the meantime, large battery makers have announced big plans — and they too will require supplies. 

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/the-us-just-cant-match-chinas-industrial-heft/2022/10/31/2dfbd4b0-5968-11ed-bc40-b5a130f95ee7_story.html

#Indonesia considers #Opec-style cartel for battery metals

Indonesia is studying the establishment of an Opec-like cartel for nickel and other key battery metals, highlighting the geopolitical confidence of nations that are rich in resources needed to make electric cars.

Indonesia is the world’s largest nickel producer, generating 38 per cent of global refined supply, according to consultancy CRU. It holds a quarter of the world’s reserves of the metal.

Read more at: https://www.ft.com/content/0990f663-19ae-4744-828f-1bd659697468

U.S. must build EV batteries and advanced technologies at home

In August, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, making a historic investment to rebuild industries that the U.S. invented but allowed China and other nations to capture. The legislation includes important production tax credits for critical mineral producers and refiners as well as manufacturers. But more is needed, including permitting reform, to gain energy independence from hostile nations such as China.

Credit Suisse estimates that the legislation’s tax incentives — combined with ensuing private capital investments — may total $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. Having kicked off this green gold rush, it behooves us to now think about protecting these investments.

A particular threat is China’s domination of the world’s mineral supply chains, thanks to Beijing’s massive subsidies and predatory trade behavior.  World Trade Organization rules have proved fruitless in dissuading Beijing from using its alarming grip on raw materials as a source of geopolitical leverage.

This will undoubtedly affect America’s electric vehicle (EV) ambitions. The building blocks for EVs are still largely imported — even as demand for key battery metals is exploding. It’s predicted that by 2040, the demand for EV inputs of lithium, nickel, graphite and cobalt could increase by a staggering 30 times. Unfortunately, China has already established a stranglehold on these resources, since Beijing controls 70% of the world’s lithium supplies and almost all of the world’s graphite. Especially concerning is China’s control of cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo that use child labor.

Read more at: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/oct/25/us-must-build-ev-batteries-and-advanced-technologi/

#Vale CEO says iron ore miner will spin-off #Copper, #Nickel unit

The chief executive of Vale SA said on Friday the Brazilian iron ore miner is reconsidering a near-term spin-off of its base metals business and an eventual public listing.

The Brazilian miner had a longstanding plan to sell the unit that was still being considered as recently as 2021.

But rather than selling all or part of it, the company is now looking to separate and ring-fence the copper and nickel unit from the iron ore business as the two have different growth prospects, Eduardo Bartolomeo said at the FT Mining Summit.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/vale-ceo-says-iron-ore-miner-will-spin-off-copper-nickel-unit-2022-10-21/

#Biden hands out first EV battery metals funding

The White House selected 20 U.S. manufacturers and processors across 12 states for some of the first green metals funding from the US$135 billion pool initially approved almost a year ago in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.  
 
The U.S. is among countries in the West that want to lessen dependency on China, Russia and other regimes like the Democratic Republic of Congo that control global supplies in key minerals or mineral processing facilities needed for transitions to sustainable energy and widespread modern tech gadgets.

Read more at: https://www.northernminer.com/news/biden-hands-out-first-ev-battery-metals-funding-to-albemarle-piedmont-and-talon-among-others/1003847646/

#America Desperately Needs To Invest More In Battery Recycling

“The need for critical minerals is heightened with a focus on the electrification movement in transportation and will continue to accelerate”.

“Over the next five years, there will be more attention on recycled content and domestic supply.”

The last twelve months proved turbulent for the electrical products market. This is true whether you’re a raw material miner, refiner, manufacturer, or end user. Indeed, ongoing issues with battery metal prices and supply security affected millions. After demand rose dramatically, Chinese battery makers began snapping up resources left and right. This left major automakers scrambling to shore up supply agreements for raw materials and the associated downstream battery supply chains.

Both cost and security of supply have become significant concerns across both commercial and defense industries. In fact, these worries have made it all the way to the White House. As with rare earth metals, the reliance on overseas supply sources leaves the supply chain dangerously exposed.

What’s more, the companies see a closed-loop domestic recycling industry as critical. This is not only for self-sufficiency, but for environmental reasons. Without an adequate recycling industry, electronic components like batteries will only continue to end up in landfills.

House Republican who could lead a key environmental committee – Focused on critical minerals and natural climate solutions

If Republicans regain control of the House in November’s midterm elections, Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) would become chair of the Natural Resources Committee, one of the most consequential panels for environmental policy.

Critical minerals, natural climate solutions

Westerman said he thinks two types of environmental legislation could gain broad Republican support: bills focused on critical minerals and natural climate solutions.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/10/11/meet-house-republican-who-could-lead-key-environmental-committee/

#GM to take equity stake in #Australian mining company

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) – General Motors Co. said on Tuesday it will invest up to $69 million and take an equity stake in Queensland Pacific Metals to secure a new source of nickel and cobalt for battery cells for use in the U.S. automaker’s vehicles.

GM said the investment will help support electric-vehicle eligibility for consumer incentives under new, clean energy U.S. tax credits. GM said the nickel laterite ore is expected to be processed using a new, proprietary process that helps reduce waste.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/gm-take-equity-stake-australian-mining-company-2022-10-11/

US government includes Li-ion batteries in list of goods produced by child labor

In the 10th edition of its “List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor,” the US Department of Labor has decided to include lithium-ion batteries among the 158 goods from 77 countries that the department has reason to believe are produced by child labor or forced labor in violation of international standards.

The addition of Li-ion batteries to the list is not due to direct evidence of labor abuses in the final production of this good, but because of the evidence of human exploitation in the mining of cobalt, a key input in the production of the technology.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/us-government-includes-li-ion-batteries-in-list-of-goods-produced-by-child-labor/

Singapore Exchange (SGX)set to unveil EV metals futures

SINGAPORE: Singapore Exchange (SGX) is set to launch its first lithium and cobalt contracts, adding to efforts by commodity exchanges to get battery materials companies and investors interested in using futures.

SGX is due to kick off trading in two lithium and two cobalt contracts.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) and CME Group Inc already offer futures for both metals, although trading liquidity is still far below established commodities contracts.

Demand for battery minerals is expanding rapidly as the global auto industry accelerates a push toward electric vehicles, triggering big price swings.

A global index of lithium prices has more than quadrupled in the past year, while Chinese lithium carbonate just hit a fresh record last week.

Read more at: https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2022/09/27/sgx-set-to-unveil————-ev-metals-futures

LG Energy inks #Cobalt, #Lithium supply deals with three #Canadian miners

SEOUL — South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution said on Friday it has signed agreements on lithium and cobalt sourcing with three Canadian mining firms in a bid to expand its footprint in North America.

The Tesla supplier said in a statement the agreements were part of an effort to expand mid- to long-term supply contracts with companies that mine and process key battery materials in North America.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/lg-energy-inks-cobalt-lithium-supply-deals-with-three-canadian-miners

#China May Find It Hard to Cool #Lithium’s Rally This Time Around

Scorching gains for lithium, a raw material vital for powering electric vehicles, threaten to push costs even higher for Chinese battery makers, and the government is finding itself powerless to do anything about it.

Even after a meeting last week where Chinese authorities pleaded with major producers to stabilize prices, lithium carbonate surged to a fresh record, rising to 500,500 yuan ($70,716) a ton. In yuan terms, that exceeds the level prevailing when Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk called prices “insane” earlier this year.

“In the short term, I don’t think the meeting will help China cool the rally,” said Peng Xu, analyst at BloombergNEF. Prices for seaborne spodumene — a partly processed form of lithium — are increasing amid a supply-demand mismatch and that’s squeezing the margins of Chinese lithium refiners, Xu said, adding there’s still room for further gains from current price levels.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-22/china-may-find-it-hard-to-cool-lithium-s-rally-this-time-around

#CBC: Electric car batteries could boost #Glencore’s recycling operations

The growing market for electric vehicle batteries is expected to boost Glencore’s recycling operations in Sudbury, Ont.

The mining giant has been recycling metals at its Sudbury smelter for 32 years. 

Those alloys, which come from things like aircraft engine turbines or even parts from machine shops, are melted down, granulated and shipped to a facility in Norway, where they are separated into their base elements like nickel and cobalt.

Read more at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/battery-recycling-glencore-sudbury-1.6590472

#Bloomberg: #Lithium Resumes Insane Gains to Add Pressure on Automakers

Lithium — the ubiquitous raw material needed in electric vehicle batteries — was trading at insane levels, and China’s authorities in March pushed key industry players to act, prices briefly began to cool. Now, they’re rising again to add pressure on automakers.

Lithium carbonate jumped to a new record Friday of 500,500 yuan ($71,315) a ton in China, according to data from Asian Metal Inc. The battery material has roughly tripled in the past year, and is more than 1,150% higher than a pandemic low touched in July 2020. Prices of lithium hydroxide are also gaining and closing in on an all-time high set in April. 

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-09-19/lithium-resumes-insane-gains-to-add-pressure-on-automakers

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