Category Archives: Mineral Processing

Ending #China’s Chokehold on Rare-Earth Minerals

The fundamental challenge is economic. America’s goal should be secure supply chains, not national autarky of supply. The U.S. should do this by promoting domestic production; diversifying mineral imports away from China; cooperating with allies to insulate each other from Chinese control; developing multiple alternative supply chains; stockpiling rare earths to create shock absorbers in case of a crisis; and reducing demand by investing in alternatives.

Start with the fundamentals. Rare-earth elements exist in small quantities not easily separable from surrounding detritus. Significant known deposits exist in China, Brazil, Canada, Australia and India, as well as in the deep seabed. Sixteen of the 17 rare earths exist in the U.S. at a single west Texas site currently under development. 

Their extraction and treatment is expensive and environmentally damaging, yet they are essential to $7 trillion in finished products. Wealthy countries have made licensing harder and raised other barriers, pushing the industry to China and Malaysia, where low labor costs and weak environmental enforcement make them economical.

As a report  this year from the Colorado School of Mines concluded, “China’s strength is in refining those Rare Earth oxides into metallic alloys to manufacture end-products.” Breaking China’s monopoly will require development of processing plants and supply chains outside Beijing’s control.

China dominates the global market in rare-earth minerals, producing 70% of the world’s exports. But this isn’t a gift of nature — it’s the result of 15 years of industrial policy. The Chinese government identified a critical economic chokehold, invested in building companies, subsidized production to underprice and ultimately destroy competition, and then constructed a monopoly.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-09-18/ending-china-s-chokehold-on-rare-earth-minerals

#Nasa is looking for private companies to help mine the #moon

NASA has announced it is looking for private companies to go to the moon and collect dust and rocks from the surface and bring them back to Earth.

https://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/strategies/SP509-3-Materials.pdf

Recommendations on page – 151

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/sep/11/nasa-moon-mining-private-companies

#Reuters: #Canada’s Midland in #nickel exploration funding deal with #BHP

Midland Exploration Inc said on Monday it had struck a funding deal with a subsidiary of BHP Group Plc for nickel exploration in the Canadian province of Quebec.

The company’s partnership with Rio Algom Ltd to explore nickel in Nunavik comes as demand for the metal surges from use in automotive batteries to power electric cars.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-midland-bhp-grp/canadas-midland-in-nickel-exploration-funding-deal-with-bhp-idUSKBN25K1L7

#BBC News: Electric car future may depend on deep sea mining

 

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The concept has been talked about for decades, but until now it’s been thought too difficult to operate in the high-pressure, pitch-black conditions as much as 5km deep.

Now the technology is advancing to the point where dozens of government and private ventures are weighing up the potential for mines on the ocean floor.

The rocks of the seabed are far richer in valuable metals than those on land and there’s a growing clamour to get at them.Billions of potato-sized rocks known as “nodules” litter the abyssal plains of the Pacific and other oceans and many are brimming with cobalt, suddenly highly sought after as the boom in the production of batteries gathers pace.

At the moment, most of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo where for years there’ve been allegations of child labour, environmental damage and widespread corruption.

Read more at: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49759626

Top Frontier to build $1.5-B nickel-processing plant near Nonoc mine in Surigao

Nickel

Nickel

This is to prepare the company for the future, wherein the Philippines—like its Southeast Asian neighbor Indonesia—would start banning the export of unprocessed mineral ore. In September last year, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino filed a bill to prevent exports of unprocessed mineral ores in order to allow the country to unlock higher values from its mining resources and encourage mining firms to invest in processing plants.

Read more at: http://business.inquirer.net/195007/top-frontier-to-build-nickel-processing-plant#ixzz3fUfPc3J2

Sudbury world-renowned for its remediation program

Sudbury’s regreening efforts on its landscape will be the focus of any upcoming international mining environmental conference in the Nickel City this month.
Sudbury’s regreening efforts on its landscape will be the focus of any upcoming international mining environmental conference in the Nickel City this month.

The “Sudbury Method,” as some have termed the city’s regreening effort, which began in 1978, has served as a model for jurisdictions around the world to remediate environments damaged by mining, smelting and other industrial activities.

Read more at: http://www.northernontariobusiness.com/Industry-News/energy/2015/06/Sudbury-world-renowned-for-its-remediation-program.aspx

Chile may be China’s next competitor in the rare earths market

Chile may be China’s next competitor in the rare earths marketThe rare earths industry is about to experience a clean-versus-dirty battle until now only seen among fuel producers, as a Chilean company is stepping up efforts to grab some of that market in a much greener way than China, the world’s top producer of such elements.such elements.

REE Forecast

Read more at: http://www.mining.com/chile-may-be-chinas-next-competitor-in-the-rare-earths-market/

Rio named WA’s best employer

Rio has been named WA s most attractive employer. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian.

Rio has been named WA’s most attractive employer. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian.

Resources companies have scooped the pools as WA’s most attractive employers at the annual Randstad Award in Perth this morning.

Rio Tinto has been voted WA’s most attractive employer with Woodside Petroleum claiming second prize and Newcrest Mining third.

Read more at: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/28175790/rio-named-was-best-employer/

Vale Indonesia Profit Surges 175 Percent in First 9 Months

A worker processes nickel at a nickel smelter of Vale, near Sorowako, Sulawesi island, in this Jan. 8, 2014 file photo. Mining companies are required to process their ore before shipping overseas. (Reuters Photo/Yusuf Ahmad)

Jakarta. Profit at Vale Indonesia, the local unit of Brazilian mining giant Vale, climbed by 175 percent in the first nine months of this year from the same period last year, due largely to the higher selling price of nickel and lower cost of revenue, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Net income at Indonesia’s largest nickel producer was recorded at $130.4 million in the January-September period, from $47.3 million last year.

Read more at: http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/business/vale-indonesia-profit-surges-175-percent-first-9-months/

Vale NC must improve processes – environmentalists

WWF in New Caledonia is urging the nickel company Vale to improve its risk management procedures following its fifth spill in five years this week.

Operations have been suspended at its Goro processing plant since Wednesday after 100,000 litres of effluent, containing some acid, ended up in a creek due to human error.

Read more at:  http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/243892/vale-nc-must-improve-processes-environmentalists

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