Category Archives: Mineral Processing

European Commission: Electric Cars Will Cost More Using Ethically Sourced Batteries

The European Union’s efforts to ethically source a key battery metal face headwinds that could make it more expensive for automakers to go electric.

“If, as proposed by the European Commission, due diligence on cobalt supply chain will be mandatory for batteries sold in the EU markets in the near future, the demand for responsibly sourced cobalt will increase rapidly,” the study prepared by the EU’s Joint Research Centre said.

But those “ambitious requirements might currently be too difficult,” according to an assessment prepared by researchers advising the European Commission. The report, which will be published by Elsevier Ltd.’s Resources Policy journal in June, suggests a tightening market for responsibly-sourced cobalt.

By 2030, EU economies need to secure more than 64,000 tons of ethically-sourced cobalt beyond existing supply-chain constraints, a volume of metal worth around $3.2 billion at current prices, to fuel the transition to electric vehicles. The run on the metal’s price is prompting mining companies to seek new reserves from Australia to the deep sea.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-13/electric-cars-will-cost-more-using-ethically-sourced-batteries

Energy Secretary Granholm says U.S. needs to produce more EV minerals

(Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday said the United States needs to boost domestic production of the minerals used to make electric vehicles, so long as it is done sustainably.

Granholm also suggested coal miners – who have been affected by falling demand from the power-generation sector – could transition to digging for EV metals.

“Having (coal workers) mine for critical materials is a natural shift for them,” said Granholm, a former Michigan governor who was confirmed last month as secretary.

Read more at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mining-granholm-idINKBN2B12QA

#BHP moves #nickel and #copper HQ to #Toronto as #Canada emerges as new clean-tech mining hotspot

Australia’s BHP Group Ltd. is moving its exploration headquarters for nickel and copper — two metals expected to see increased future demand because of electric vehicle industry growth — to Toronto.

The company’s announcement Wednesday comes after a BHP subsidiary Rio Algom Ltd. struck a partnership in August with Canadian junior Midland Exploration Inc. to fund nickel exploration in northern Quebec.

Read more at: https://financialpost.com/commodities/mining/bhp-moves-nickel-and-copper-hq-to-toronto-as-canada-emerges-as-new-mining-hotspot

#bloomberg: World’s Top #Nickel Producer, #indonesia, Sets Out End-to-End Battery Ambition

Indonesia laid down its plans to have a complete battery production line onshore, with a state-owned holding firm to be set up by June.

The country has drafted an “end-to-end development” plan that would see four state firms supplying nickel ore, processing nickel sulfate and cobalt sulfate, and then producing cathodes and batteries, Agus Tjahajana, who heads the task force on electric-vehicle development, said in a Thursday seminar.

Resource-rich Indonesia, home to a quarter of the world’s nickel reserves, has set its sights on moving up the supply chain to become a global hub for battery-making. The surge in demand for batteries, used to power everything from mobile phones to electric vehicles, has become a tailwind for Southeast Asia’s largest economy as it seeks a way out of a recession.

Top Battery Makers Discuss $20 Billion Indonesia EV Plans (1)

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-14/top-battery-makers-in-talks-over-20-billion-indonesia-ev-plans

#Bloomberg: The Metal That Worries #Tesla Most Is Getting Much Cheaper

Nickel tumbled after a major Chinese producer’s unexpected plan to add supply eased concerns about a structural deficit for the material that Elon Musk has said is the biggest concern for Tesla Inc. batteries.

Nickel is critical to the world’s clean-energy transition.

Tsingshan Holding Group Co., the world’s top stainless steel producer, will soon start supplying nickel matte to Chinese battery material producers and plans to expand its nickel investments in Indonesia. Matte is an intermediate product made from concentrate that can be further processed into battery-grade chemicals.

Read more at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-04/nickel-slumps-as-key-producer-s-supply-plans-ease-deficit-fears

#Reuters: #Cobalt demand for 5G technology to challenge electric vehicles

LONDON (Reuters) – The need for larger rechargeable batteries and more energy storage for 5G technology is expected to significantly boost demand for cobalt over coming years and potentially pit the sector against electric vehicle makers.

Read more at: https://ca.reuters.com/article/us-cobalt-5g-electric-idCAKCN26C1EQ

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

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