#UK to help #Kazakh exports bypass #Russia, seeks critical minerals

ASTANA, March 18 (Reuters) – Britain will help Kazakhstan develop export routes bypassing Russia, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said on a visit to the Central Asian nation on Saturday, where he also signed a memorandum on supplies of critical minerals.

Cleverly said London valued the position of Astana – which has traditionally been closely allied with Moscow – on the Ukrainian conflict. Kazakhstan has refused to support Russia’s invasion or recognise its annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk-help-kazakh-exports-bypass-russia-seeks-critical-minerals-2023-03-18/

#EU Proposes Designating #Copper and #Nickel as Critical Metals

The European Union proposed classifying copper and nickel as critical raw materials in landmark legislation designed to bolster supplies, alongside other metals key to the energy transition.

Inclusion on the EU’s new critical raw materials list would underscore growing political angst over long-term supplies of the metals as the global decarbonization drive turbocharges demand. The new Critical Raw Materials Act — presented to lawmakers on Thursday — could open the door to expedited permitting and financing of copper and nickel mining projects in the EU, as the bloc looks to boost domestic production and ease reliance on imports.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-16/eu-proposes-designating-copper-and-nickel-as-critical-metals?leadSource=uverify%20wall

#Volkswagen picks #Canada for first battery cell plant outside #Europe

Volkswagen chose Canada to build its first battery cell plant outside Europe, granting its cars access to both Canadian and U.S. subsidies as it works to localise electric vehicle production chain in the region.

Volkswagen AG confirmed in December it was looking for sites for a Canadian plant, six months after signing a memorandum of understanding with the country to secure access to key raw materials for batteries.

Canada, home to a large mining sector for minerals including lithium, nickel and cobalt, is trying to woo companies involved in all levels of the EV supply chain via a multi-billion-dollar green technology fund as the world seeks to cut carbon emissions.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/volkswagen-build-first-north-american-battery-cell-plant-canada-2023-03-13/

#MIT Technology Review: #US minerals industries are booming. Here’s why.

A recent set of sweeping US laws have already kicked off a boom in proposals for new mining operations, minerals processing facilities, and battery plants, laying the foundation for domestic supply chains that could support rapid growth in electric vehicles and other clean technologies.

That’s by design. A stipulation in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), enacted last year, restricts EV tax credits to vehicles with batteries that contain a significant portion of minerals extracted or refined within the US, or from countries that have free-trade agreements with it. Manufacturing the batteries that power these vehicles requires significant amounts of finished materials such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese, and nickel. Today these often come from other nations, particularly China.

Read more at: https://www.technologyreview.com/2023/03/13/1069658/us-minerals-industries-are-booming-heres-why/

#India mulling to discuss mechanism with #Australia under FTA for smooth supply of critical minerals

India is considering to discuss a mechanism with Australia for a smooth supply of their critical minerals under the comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) amid a huge demand in the domestic market, according to sources.

India and Australia have implemented an Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) in December 2022, and now negotiations are on for expanding the scope of that agreement into a comprehensive pact (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement or CECA).

There is a huge demand for critical minerals like lithium, titanium, vanadium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite in India as the country is targeting to boost the production of renewable energy by 2030.

Batteries will enable the current energy transition towards electric mobility, integration of renewable energy through grid-scale storage and improved energy access in India.

Read more at: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-mulling-to-discuss-mechanism-with-australia-under-fta-for-smooth-supply-of-critical-minerals/article66610288.ece

#UK and #Canada sign agreement to boost green tech supply chains

The UK and Canada have agreed a landmark agreement to co-operate on critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium that are essential to the economy.

  • UK and Canada to sign agreement to bolster vital technologies such as smart phones, solar panels and electric vehicles.
  • Agree to work together on critical minerals research and make supply chains more resilient as demand for some minerals expected to rise 500% by 2040.
  • Agreement signed on Minister Nus Ghani’s five-day visit to Canada to meet counterparts and attend the International Mines Ministers Summit and the closing of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The UK and Canada have agreed a landmark agreement to co-operate on critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium that are essential to the economy and used in almost all modern and green technologies, from solar panels to electric vehicles.

The partnership, to be launched today [Monday 6 March] by Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani MP and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, will help make UK manufacturers of cutting-edge technologies more resilient to global shocks by promoting research and development between UK and Canadian businesses, driving innovation and growth.

The announcement comes on a five-day visit to Canada, during which time Minister Ghani will also meet Canadian government counterparts to discuss critical minerals and attend the International Mines Ministers Summit.

Read more at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-and-canada-sign-agreement-to-boost-green-tech-supply-chains

Fusion Energy in 2030

More than 30 groups are now pursuing the development of fusion energy around the world, and approaches vary widely—from style of reactor configuration to the type of fuel the future reactors will rely on. Since TAE’s founding in 1998, the company has built five National Laboratory-scale devices and has successfully generated and confined fusion plasma more than 140,000 times.

TAE is currently building and designing two more machines, Copernicus and Da Vinci, which will be able to demonstrate net energy and deliver power to the grid, respectively.

Inventing fusion reactors that produce net energy is one thing, delivering it as a reliable, grid-ready source of electricity is another. By choosing to pursue hydrogen-boron as a fuel cycle, TAE has anticipated the true demands of commercial, daily use of fusion energy. Most fusion efforts around the world are focused on combining hydrogen isotopes deuterium-tritium (D-T) to use as fuel, and the donut-shaped tokamak machines commonly used in fusion concepts are limited to D-T fuel.

Unlike those efforts, TAE’s compact linear design uses an advanced accelerator beam-driven field-reversed configuration (FRC) that is versatile, and can accommodate all available fusion fuel cycles, including p-B11, D-T and deuterium-helium-3 (D-He3 or D3He). This benefit will uniquely enable TAE to license its technology on the way to its ultimate goal of connecting the first hydrogen-boron fusion power plant to the grid in the 2030s.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2023-02-hydrogen-boron-fusion-magnetically-confined-plasma.html

#GeneralMotors Competes for Stake in #Nickel Assets in Race to Secure EV Metals

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Tesla has long dominated the electric vehicles (EV) sector thanks in a large part to the company’s vertical integration and ability to maintain control over the supply of the materials that it needs. However, Tesla’s top spot in the market could be compromised as other automakers look to strike deals with key metals suppliers.

Brazilian mining giant Vale SA is looking to separate the metals unit in 2023, which is one of the largest nickel and copper operations, and has already attracted interest from several car companies, including Tesla’s rival General Motors.

According to Bloomberg, General Motors is one of the companies that has moved to the next phase of obtaining a minority share in Vale’s metals unit, which may raise $2 billion through a partnership with another company for the venture.

This isn’t the first time the two companies have done business. Last year, Vale and GM signed a long-term supply agreement for battery-grade nickel which will see Vale supply 25,000 metric tons annually of contained nickel – enough to supply approximately 350,000 EVs every year – from its proposed plant in Québec, Canada.1

Vale’s metals unit, which is valued at $20-$25 billion, has also garnered interest from Japan’s Mitsui & Co.2

Meanwhile several other automakers like Ford and Volkswagen, have signed long-term mineral supply deals to secure materials for their EV batteries. Last year, Volkswagen formed a joint venture worth €3 billion (US$ with Belgium’s Umicore for cathode materials. Meanwhile, Tesla struck nickel and cobalt deals with BHP Group and Glencore, respectively, in 2021. In March of that year, Tesla also entered a mining venture in New Caledonia.3

Read more at: https://news.yahoo.com/general-motors-competes-stake-nickel-150000711.html

China’s Newest Weapon to Nab Western Technology—Its Courts

Rulings nullify patents in industries it deems important, including technology, pharmaceuticals and rare-earth minerals.

The growing conflict between China and the U.S. extends from computer-chip factories to a suspected spy balloon over American skies. Running through it all is a struggle for technological superiority.

China has striven for years to develop cutting-edge technologies, in part through heavy spending on research. Now, according to Western officials and executives, it also has mobilized its legal system to pry technology from other nations.

Read more at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-china-technology-disputes-intellectual-property-europe-e749a72e

Electric Vehicles Could Match Gasoline Cars on Price This Year

Competition, government incentives and falling raw material prices are making battery-powered cars more affordable sooner than expected.

More quickly than seemed possible a few months ago, sticker prices for electric vehicles are falling closer to the point where they could soon be on a par with gasoline cars.

Increased competition, government incentives and falling prices for lithium and other battery materials are making electric vehicles noticeably more affordable. The tipping point when electric vehicles become as cheap as or cheaper than cars with internal combustion engines could arrive this year for some mass market models and is already the case for some luxury vehicles.

Prices are likely to continue trending lower as Tesla, General Motors, Ford Motor and their battery suppliers ramp up new factories, reaping the cost savings that come from mass production. New electric vehicles from companies like Volkswagen, Nissan and Hyundai will add to competitive pressure.

The battery-powered version of G.M.’s Equinox crossover, for example, will start around $30,000 when it arrives this fall, the carmaker has said. That is $3,400 more than the least expensive gasoline-fueled Equinox. But factoring in government incentives, the electric Equinox should be cheaper. Like all electric vehicles, the car will need less maintenance, and the electricity to power it will cost less than the gasoline used by its combustion engine equivalent.

Read more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/10/business/electric-vehicles-price-cost.html

#Microsoft calls for ‘coalition’ to improve #Congo’s informal #Cobalt mines

Congo accounts for three-quarters of the world’s mined cobalt supply. Industrial mines produce most of Congo’s cobalt, but “artisanal” miners, who dig by hand and often die when tunnels cave in, account for up to 30% of production, though that fluctuates depending on price.

Companies that use cobalt in products from electric cars to smartphones should work to improve conditions at artisanal mines instead of seeking to cut artisanal cobalt out of their supply chains, an independent report on the visit argued on Wednesday.

As consumers become more concerned that the products they buy are tainted by poor working conditions or child labour, global tech firms and carmakers have been using less mined cobalt in their batteries by increasing recycling and switching to lower-cobalt chemistries.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/microsoft-calls-coalition-improve-congos-informal-cobalt-mines-2023-02-08/

We’re Not Even Close to Running Out of Green Minerals

The metals demand from the energy transition “may top current global supply,” the International Monetary Fund warned in a 2021 analysis. Difficulty securing materials such as lithium, cobalt, tellurium and copper could hamper the shift to cleaner energy, Imperial College London’s Energy Futures Lab wrote in December. 

New data from the US Geological Survey show why some of those fears are likely to be overblown. Each year, the USGS analyzes almost every commodity on earth, from iron ore to indium and palladium to peat, to get a handle on whether production is sufficient to meet the world’s — and in particular, America’s — needs.

The latest figures show a boom in supplies of many of the most important minerals for the energy transition. Lithium reserves are up 18% from last year. Cobalt has seen a 9.2% gain. Rare earths, which have a range of high-tech applications including magnets in electric car motors and wind turbines, saw reserves up 8.3% after standing still for at least five years.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/were-not-even-close-to-running-out-of-green-minerals/2023/02/06/0ced1992-a65b-11ed-b2a3-edb05ee0e313_story.html

A New ‘Glue’ Could Make #Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling Cheaper—And Less Toxic

Recycling of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and consumer electronics is an urgent priority given tight global supplies of pricey metals like lithium, nickel and cobalt, but it has a downside: current techniques like controlled burning can release toxic chemicals. Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, however, say they’ve found a solution: a new material that allows old lithium-ion cells to be recycled with just water. And it could soon make battery recycling cheaper and safer.

Battery cells use glue-like binders to hold the positively charged cathode and negatively charged anode—the elements that transmit electricity—together. Lawrence Berkeley’s material is a “quick-release” binder made from two widely available polymers that dissolves when placed in room-temperature alkaline water containing sodium hydroxide. The battery metals can then be filtered out of the solution and air-dried, the researchers said. There’s no burning and no release of toxins.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alanohnsman/2023/02/01/a-new-glue-could-make-lithium-ion-battery-recycling-cheaper—and-less-toxic/?sh=48a2fa525da3

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

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