Author Archives: Nanthakumar Victor Emmanuel

#Forbes: #Australia May Be The Saving Grace For The Rare Earth Metals Market


U.S. has for years been dependent on China, the world’s biggest producer by a huge margin. The Asian country has enjoyed a near-monopoly in the rare earth market, representing between 80 percent and 90 percent of global output.

Cracks in that market dominance are beginning to appear, however, as Australia has recently emerged as a competitive supplier. From 2013 to 2018, Australia’s annual output of REEs exploded more than 1,600 percent, from around 1,000 tonnes to 19,000 tonnes, according to consultancy firm Roskill.

China’s dominance poses a considerable economic and national security risk to the U.S., one that’s become all the more apparent in the months since trade relations between Beijing and Washington turned sour. “Control of the rare earth supply gives Beijing both economic and military advantages over the U.S.,” writes Michael Silver, CEO of American Elements, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.

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#Bloomberg: #Volvo Cars Goes for Blockchain Tech to Avoid Unethical #Cobalt


Volvo Cars will use blockchain technology to trace the origin of cobalt used in its batteries in an effort to avoid supplies produced by children and under unethical conditions.

The commodity, an important ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, is mainly extracted in Congo, which last year produced more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt.

While the mineral is mainly taken out of the ground by large industrial mines, about 17% is dug by hand by thousands of miners operating in the southeastern Katanga region before being sold on to intermediaries, according to trading house Darton Commodities. At that point, it’s difficult to distinguish from ethically mined cobalt.

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#Bloomberg: #Indonesia Suspends #Nickel Ore Exports With Immediate Effect


(Bloomberg) — Indonesia suspended exports of nickel ore with immediate effect after a planned ban on shipments from the beginning of next year led to a rush to beat the deadline.

The mineral meant for exports during the rest of the year will be absorbed by domestic companies with smelters, Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board Chairman Bahlil Lahadalia told reporters in Jakarta on Monday. The government and nickel miners association agreed to halt exports immediately and there won’t be any notification issued in this regard, he said.

Nickel rose as much as 1.2% to reach $16,980 a ton on the London Metal Exchange after the news. Prices peaked at $18,060 in early September immediately after Indonesia first announced plans to expedite the ore ban. Shares of nickel producers also rallied on the news with MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC jumping as much as 7%.

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#MIT engineers develop a new way to remove carbon dioxide from air


A new way of removing carbon dioxide from a stream of air could provide a significant tool in the battle against climate change. The new system can work on the gas at virtually any concentration level, even down to the roughly 400 parts per million currently found in the atmosphere.

Most methods of removing carbon dioxide from a stream of gas require higher concentrations, such as those found in the flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants. A few variations have been developed that can work with the low concentrations found in air, but the new method is significantly less energy-intensive and expensive, the researchers say.

The device is essentially a large, specialized battery that absorbs carbon dioxide from the air (or other gas stream) passing over its electrodes as it is being charged up, and then releases the gas as it is being discharged. In operation, the device would simply alternate between charging and discharging, with fresh air or feed gas being blown through the system during the charging cycle, and then the pure, concentrated carbon dioxide being blown out during the discharging.

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#Aljazeera: China plans to tap North Korean rare earth mine – Report

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North Korea plans to grant China access to a rare earth mine in exchange for investment in solar energy that could ease chronic power shortages in the impoverished country, according to an article posted on an industry association website on Thursday.

China is the world’s dominant producer of rare earths, a group of 17 chemical elements prized for their use in consumer electronics and military equipment, but neighbouring North Korea is believed to have significant untapped rare earth resources.

Putting the cost of a 2.5 million kilowatt-hour per day solar plant in North Korea at about $2.5bn, the report on the website of the Association of China Rare Earth Industry said China’s reward for investing would be mining rights to a rare earth mine in North Pyongan province on its borders.

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#Forbes: 4 Reasons The Developed World Is In Big Trouble With Critical Minerals

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The world’s richest countries are realizing how poorly equipped they are to access the critical minerals needed for emerging technologies, especially renewable energy, energy storage, electrification, and smart devices.

But they may not yet realize the implications, according to Michelle Michot Foss, the fellow in energy and minerals at Rice University’s Baker Institute, including disruption of the falling cost curves that advocates of renewables and storage love to display.

“We’re in a very slow realization… that the US and and the OECD in general are not very well positioned on all of this,” Foss said this month during a Baker Institute conference on the energy transition. “We barely have a mining industry in the U.S. today versus when I was a young professional starting out.”

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Ucore Announces Team for Heavy #REE SX Plant Design & #US Federal Funding


Halifax, Nova Scotia– Ucore Rare Metals Inc. has finalized a project-specific advisory team for the purpose of designing its heavy rare earth element (“HREE”) solvent extraction plant and processing capabilities in Southeast Alaska (the “SX Plant”), and with respect to its forthcoming anticipated proposal for near term U.S. Government funding.

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