Category Archives: Mineral Processing

#Reuters: Low carbon world needs $1.7 trillion in mining investment

Mining companies need to invest nearly $1.7 trillion in the next 15 years to help supply enough copper, cobalt, nickel and other metals needed for the shift to a low carbon world, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

The United States, Britain, Japan, Canada and others raised their targets on cutting carbon emissions to halt global warming at a summit in April hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

Meeting those targets will need large-scale deployment of electric vehicles, storage for power generated from renewables and electricity transmission, all of which require industrial materials.

Wood Mackenzie analyst Julian Kettle calculated miners needed to invest about $1.7 trillion during the next 15 years to “deliver a two-degree pathway — where the rise in global temperatures since pre-industrial times is limited to 2°C”.

Australia, Canada and Western Europe carry a low ESG risk but some of the best resources are in high-risk areas, such as Democratic Republic of Congo, which sits on about half the world’s cobalt reserves according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Given the need to meet tough decarbonisation and ESG targets, Western governments, lenders, investors and consumers will need to get comfortable operating in jurisdictions where ESG issues are more complex,” Kettle said.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/mining-carbon-capex/graphic-low-carbon-world-needs-17-trillion-in-mining-investment-idUSL8N2MU39J

#Ford is betting that solid-state batteries will cut EV costs

DETROIT — Ford has raised its stake in a manufacturer of solid-state batteries — a move that its chief product and operations officer, Hau Thai-Tang, says will strengthen the company’s effort to increase the range and reduce the costs of its next generation of electric vehicles.

Ford, along with BMW, this week announced their investment in a $130 million funding round for Solid Power, a Denver-area company that is developing sulfide solid-state battery technology.

Read more at: https://www.startribune.com/ford-is-betting-that-solid-state-batteries-will-cut-ev-costs/600053821/?refresh=true

#TheHindu: #Ford announces new lab to develop lithium-ion, solid-state vehicle batteries

Ford has announced its plan to open a new battery lab called ‘Ford Ion Park’ to develop and manufacture electric vehicle (EV) batteries, and test manufacturing approaches, taking a step toward producing battery cells for EVs internally.

Opening next year, the $185 million lab in Michigan, U.S., will develop, test and build lithium-ion and solid-state vehicle battery cells and arrays with a cross-functional team of 150 experts, the automobile giant said in a statement.

“Investing in more battery R&D ultimately will help us speed the process to deliver more, even better, lower cost EVs for customers over time,” Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer said.

The Ford Ion Park team will be led by Anand Sankaran, currently the company’s director of Electrified Systems Engineering. According to the carmaker, the team will ensure batteries are optimised for its diverse customers – from daily commuters to performance enthusiasts to commercial vehicle fleet operators.

Read more at: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/ford-announces-new-lab-to-develop-lithium-ion-solid-state-vehicle-batteries/article34436875.ece

#Bloomberg: The Hidden Science Making Batteries Better, Cheaper and Everywhere

All batteries have four components: two electrodes (anode and cathode), a liquid electrolyte that helps ions move between the electrodes, and a separator to keep the electrodes from coming in direct contact with each other and preventing fires. When a battery is charged, ions flow from the cathode to the anode. When it’s discharged, the ions reverse course.

A battery is judged by how much energy it packs. That key factor is intimately linked to the battery’s charging speed, the number of charge-discharge cycles it can sustain, and safety. Increased energy density can also make it more fire prone. Faster recharge speed can result in fewer life cycles.

Ultimately, price reigns supreme. That’s determined by how much energy the battery can store, the materials used to make it and the thickness of electrode coatings that can be deployed without harming performance. The lower the cost, the cheaper the electric car.

British scientist John Goodenough found that cathodes made entirely of cobalt were safer and stored more energy. The discovery won him the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2019. Then Moroccan scientist Rachid Yazami found that using graphite, a form of carbon, as the anode made a lithium-ion battery much more stable and thus helped it last longer. Finally, Keizaburo Tozawa, head of Sony’s battery division in the 1990s, put all these inventions together to create the first commercial lithium-ion battery.

Even though cobalt is an expensive metal, it remained affordable for small batteries inside early laptops and mobile phones. But once lithium-ion batteries started moving into electric vehicles, chemists looked to introduce cheaper metals, such as nickel, manganese and even iron.

Alternative metals have to be carefully evaluated. If a cheap metal means disproportionately worse battery performance, it won’t do. Through millions of experiments, three cathode chemistries have come to dominate the market: nickel manganese cobalt oxides (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminum oxides (NCA) and lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

Into the Solid-State Future

If solid-state batteries come to market in the latter half of this decade, as expected, they are likely to represent a big leap in battery performance, extending EV range by as much as 50% and cutting down charging times to as little as 15 minutes.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2021-inside-lithium-ion-batteries/

#WSJ: Battery Metals Are Hot, but These Miners Can’t Get Investors

Small mining companies in North America are struggling to attract funding, despite growing demand for lithium and cobalt for electric vehicles and batteries.

TORONTO—Investors are pouring money into car companies, battery makers and clean-tech startups that are poised to benefit from the global economy’s shift to electric power. But many small mining companies that supply the raw materials haven’t been invited to the party.

Uncertainty over the metals’ quality, the short- and long-term outlook for prices and the ability of North American miners to compete with their Chinese counterparts is making investors wary.

Bryce Crocker, the chief executive officer of Jervois Mining Ltd., is touting a cobalt project in Idaho. The Australian executive needs $100 million to open a mine on central Idaho’s Gant Mountain that the company says could eventually produce more than 15% of the cobalt consumed annually in the U.S. The blue-gray mineral is critical to making the batteries that power electric vehicles, laptops and smartphones as well as the alloys used to make jet-fighter engines.

After more than a year of fundraising, he is still seeking contributions from commercial banks, private-equity firms and hedge funds.

“We need the support of the capital markets,” he said. “But this is not a commodity that lenders have traditionally loaned against.”

Read more at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/battery-metals-are-hot-but-these-miners-cant-get-investors-11619175601

#CNNNews: Why #copper and #lithium could be ‘the new oil’

London (CNN Business)For decades, crude oil has been at the center of global commodities markets. Demand has served as a crucial metric of economic health, and price spikes have had major ramifications for gas-guzzling consumers.

But as countries around the world try to combat the climate crisis, oil could take a backseat, while metals like copper and lithium gain prominence.

“The critical role copper will play in achieving the Paris climate goals cannot be overstated,” Goldman Sachs analysts said in a recent research note titled “Copper is the new oil.”

Read more at: https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/20/investing/premarket-stocks-trading/index.html

#bloomberg: First #India EV Battery Plant Takes Shape to Cut #China Dependence

India’s biggest steel tycoon is betting big on converting coal tar into graphite anodes for electric-car batteries in a bid to test China’s monopoly in the sector.

Epsilon Advanced Materials Pvt– India’s first manufacturer of lithium-ion battery parts — plans to invest 60 billion rupees ($807 million) to produce 100,000 tons of synthetic graphite anode by 2030, or about 10% of estimated global demand.

Anode materials are the negative electrode in lithium-ion batteries and account for a quarter of a cell’s components. China has been producing more than 80% of the world’s supply of these anodes, importing raw materials from countries including India. By producing the anodes in India, Epsilon Advanced Materials Pvt aims to transition the South Asian nation from a battery minerals center to a battery materials hub.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-08/first-india-ev-battery-plant-takes-shape-to-cut-china-dependence

#GM offers clues to technology aimed at slashing EV battery costs

GM is experimenting with silicon-rich and lithium metal anodes, solid state and high voltage electrolytes, and dry processing of electrodes for its next generation of Ultium batteries, due around 2025.

The competition to fine-tune proprietary technology to cut electric vehicle battery costs is replacing horsepower wars as the battleground for deciding the industry’s winners and losers.

GM has said it aims to reduce battery cell cost to well under $100 per kilowatt-hour by 2025, compared with more than $150/kW today. GM executives also have said the company expects its future EV batteries to last for a million miles or more, with driving ranges of 500-600 miles (805 to 965 km) between charges.

That battery, which will be used in new GM electric vehicles such as the Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq, uses graphite-based anodes, nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminum (NCMA) cathodes and liquid electrolyte.

GM said “the supply chain is going to explode” with demand for cobalt, nickel and other metals as GM and competitors ramp up EV production over the next five years.

Read more at: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gm-offers-clues-technology-aimed-201625572.html

#MIT News: Study reveals plunge in #lithium-ion battery costs

The cost of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries used for phones, laptops, and cars has fallen dramatically over the last three decades, and has been a major driver of the rapid growth of those technologies. But attempting to quantify that cost decline has produced ambiguous and conflicting results that have hampered attempts to project the technology’s future or devise useful policies and research priorities.

Now, MIT researchers have carried out an exhaustive analysis of the studies that have looked at the decline in the prices these batteries, which are the dominant rechargeable technology in today’s world. The new study looks back over three decades, including analyzing the original underlying datasets and documents whenever possible, to arrive at a clear picture of the technology’s trajectory.

The researchers found that the cost of these batteries has dropped by 97 percent since they were first commercially introduced in 1991. This rate of improvement is much faster than many analysts had claimed and is comparable to that of solar photovoltaic panels, which some had considered to be an exceptional case. 

Read more at: https://news.mit.edu/2021/lithium-ion-battery-costs-0323

#Nickel demand for #EVs to outpace #lithium and #cobalt

As a key component of battery cathode chemistry in many existing and upcoming electric vehicles (EVs), nickel will remain an important metal to watch in the coming decade, market analyst Fitch Solutions maintains in its latest industry report.

Impact of EV battery manufacturing on nickel consumption and now expects nickel demand for EV battery manufacturing to experience an annual average growth rate of 29% over 2021-2030, outpacing both lithium and cobalt demand, the analyst says.

The analyst also maintains the underlying assumption that NMC 811 cathodes will rise to 80.0% of NMC market share by 2027, which will effectively raise the average nickel content from 34.6kg to 44.5kg for each NMC cathode produced.

Automakers such as BMW, Hyundai and Renault use the NMC chemistry in their vehicles.

NMC cathodes once featured equal proportions of nickel, manganese, and cobalt, a blend called NMC 111. Over time, battery makers have increased nickel and reduced cobalt, using thermal management systems and electronics that regulate charging and discharging to reduce degradation of the cathode material. The latest generation of this formulation, with an 8:1:1 ratio of nickel to manganese to cobalt.

Read more at: https://www.mining.com/nickel-demand-for-evs-to-outpace-lithium-and-cobalt-report/

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