Category Archives: Metals

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/

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