Category Archives: Metals

#Gates, #Bezos-backed firm searching for #Cobalt in #Canada


KoBold Metals, a start-up backed by a coalition of billionaires led by Bill Gates, plans to scour for cobalt in Canada using advanced mapping technology and it’s targeting northern Quebec, just south of Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine.

The company, founded in 2018, has acquired rights to an area of about 1,000 square kilometres (386 sq. miles), where it plans to begin collecting geophysical data before the end of the year.

KoBold’s backers include big names such as Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The latter is financed by well-known billionaires including Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and Gates.

Read more at:

#Forbes – #Tesla Powers Up; #Lithium And Other Battery Metals Will Follow

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Where Tesla goes, lithium will follow.

It’s obviously not as simple as that but there is an inevitability in demand for the metals used to make electric-powered vehicles following the success of EVs.

Interestingly, the connection between Tesla’s recent rocket-run on the stock market has not been replicated in the battery-metals sector, yet.

But as Tesla continues to prove that investors and car buyers are ready to embrace the shift from fossil fuels to electric power the current glut of metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite, will fade.

Read more at:

Tesla’s output fell in the second quarter of 2020 because of supply chain disruption and plant shutdowns.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The pandemic has highlighted the fragility of automotive supply chains, especially for EV makers which rely on battery materials across the world. The initial outbreak in China forced the company to shut its Shanghai factory temporarily. But Tesla has fared well compared with other automakers with large footprints in Europe, which was mostly locked down for much of the second quarter of 2020.

Tesla recently signed a deal with Glencore to secure long-term supply of Cobalt. Most of Glencore’s cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has not seen any large mine shutdowns yet. There is a risk that the virus could spread in the country, which has limited infrastructure to prevent it.

Several mines which produce battery metals have closed during the pandemic. The Ambatovy nickel and cobalt project in Madagascar is expected to be shut until the end of the year, and Sumitomo’s nickel and cobalt mines in the Philippines were shut in May but have since reopened. Lithium projects in Chile have continued operations, but the number of virus cases in South America is rising rapidly.

Read more at:

#Congo aims to launch state #Cobalt monopoly in two months, mines minister says


June 26 (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo will begin its state-controlled buying of artisanal cobalt in about two months time, having been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, the mines minister said on Thursday.

In January, the government created the Entreprise Generale du Cobalt as a subsidiary of state mining company Gecamines to purchase and market all cobalt that is not mined industrially in an effort to exert greater influence over prices.

Congo dominates global production of cobalt, the metal used in batteries, and is expected to supply 70% of the world’s cobalt in 2020.

One fifth of the cobalt it produces is mined manually by subsistence, or “artisanal”, miners, making setting up a state monopoly a huge and complex task.

Read more at:

#Tesla Sales Surge 150 Percent in #China Amid #German EV Motor Rivalry, #Glencore Rare Earth Partnership

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

US electric automaker Tesla has earned record high sales of its models manufactured in China in May just five months after the company began producing units at the Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, according to reports.

Registrations for Tesla motors in China reached 11,364 in May, just a month after sluggish sales were reported due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, data from the China Automotive Information Network as quoted by Bloomberg revealed.

According to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), Model 3 sales from units produced in Shanghai tripled to 11,095 vehicles in May and even surpassed local competitors in China, topping total sales.

Read more at:

#Forbes: #Nickel Rush Restarts As Steel And Battery Demand Rises


China’s rapid exit from its Covid-19 lockdown has triggered the restart of a rush for nickel, an old-fashioned metal mainly used in making stainless steel, but also a key ingredient in the batteries of electric vehicles.

While not yet attracting the eye of investors in the same way iron ore has with its 30% rise to $100 a ton there has been a strong flow of deals and a hint of stockpiling ahead of a possible nickel shortage.

Read more at:

#NYTimes: #Pentagon Halts Rare Earths Funding Program Pending ‘Further Research’

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

HOUSTON — The U.S. Department of Defense last month reversed its decision to fund two projects to process rare earth minerals for military weapons, one of which has controversial ties to China, according to a government document seen by Reuters and three sources familiar with the matter.

The Pentagon decision is a step backward for President Donald Trump’s plan to redevelop the U.S. rare earths supply chain and reduce reliance on China, the world’s largest producer of the strategic minerals used to build a range of weapons.

Australia’s Lynas Corp and privately held U.S. firm MP Materials both said on April 22 they had been awarded funding by the Pentagon for rare earths separation facilities in Texas and California, respectively.

Read more at:

#Bloomberg: Carmakers Urged to Invest in Mines to Avoid Battery Metal Pinch


Mine developers scrambling to fund projects to meet forecast demand for battery metals see the threat of looming supply crunches as a trigger for electric-vehicle makers to step in with investments.

An already tough environment to raise project finance for the mines is being made worse by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and plunging global auto sales. It’s a scenario that’s threatening to slow a pipeline of operations planned to supply lithium, nickel and cobalt materials.

With “mind-blowing” projections from the auto industry on its future raw material needs, the best solution could be for vehicle producers to invest directly in mining operations, according to Sam Riggall, chief executive officer of developer Clean TeQ Holdings Ltd.

“Having to invest upstream is not what a car company wants to do, we understand that, but the rules have changed,” Riggall said. “We’re building a supply chain that’s never existed before, for a range of metals that have never been needed before by this industry.”

Auto companies have outlined plans to spend more than $140 billion on electric vehicle production, an industry shift that’ll need producers of specialist materials and metals for batteries to dramatically lift output. Nickel demand is forecast to surge about 16-fold through 2030 from 2018, while there will also be a significant rise in demand for graphite, lithium, copper and aluminum, according to BloombergNEF.

Read more at:

Lynas #US rare earth bid hits resistance


Washington | It has been another torrid week for Australia’s rare earth champion Lynas Corporation as it tries to walk a geopolitical tightrope.

The desire by the West to break China’s stranglehold on supply of heavy rare earths materials essential in military applications continues to work in the company’s favour but there are no easy wins in a jumpy, pandemic-ridden world.

Lynas learned on Friday that its $1 billion processing plant in Malaysia, shut since March 23, can re-start on May 4 as that country makes progress in the battle to contain COVID-19. However, the extent of the re-start remains unclear.

The company also faces a political backlash in the US after emerging as a frontrunner to win a coveted contract with the Department of Defense.

The shutdown and the US backlash are not unconnected with those pushing back against the possibility that Lynas could win the US military contract citing the location of the processing plant as a potential liability.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a 2016 presidential candidate, is leading the charge of a powerful group of establishment Republican foreign policy hawks.

Cruz and five fellow conservative senators warned the Department of Defence it shouldn’t do deals with companies that have supply chains in any country that “presents a risk of supply disruption”.

The group also urged the military to lean in favour of projects that extract and process rare earths from “US sources and at US facilities”.



#Reuters: #VW to start using high-#Nickel batteries for #ElectricCar

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) will raise the amount of nickel used in it electric car battery cells to 80% in the next year from 65% at present, Frank Blome, head of battery cells at the carmaker said on Tuesday.

Volkswagen’s current electric car battery cell contains 65% nickel, 15% cobalt and 20% manganese. Next generation batteries will have 80% nickel, 10% cobalt and 10% manganese, Blome told analysts on a call.

Read more at:

« Older Entries Recent Entries »