ASTANA, March 18 (Reuters) – Britain will help Kazakhstan develop export routes bypassing Russia, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said on a visit to the Central Asian nation on Saturday, where he also signed a memorandum on supplies of critical minerals.
Cleverly said London valued the position of Astana – which has traditionally been closely allied with Moscow – on the Ukrainian conflict. Kazakhstan has refused to support Russia’s invasion or recognise its annexation of Ukrainian territories.
The European Union proposed classifying copper and nickel as critical raw materials in landmark legislation designed to bolster supplies, alongside other metals key to the energy transition.
Inclusion on the EU’s new critical raw materials list would underscore growing political angst over long-term supplies of the metals as the global decarbonization drive turbocharges demand. The new Critical Raw Materials Act — presented to lawmakers on Thursday — could open the door to expedited permitting and financing of copper and nickel mining projects in the EU, as the bloc looks to boost domestic production and ease reliance on imports.
Volkswagen chose Canada to build its first battery cell plant outside Europe, granting its cars access to both Canadian and U.S. subsidies as it works to localise electric vehicle production chain in the region.
Volkswagen AG confirmed in December it was looking for sites for a Canadian plant, six months after signing a memorandum of understanding with the country to secure access to key raw materials for batteries.
Canada, home to a large mining sector for minerals including lithium, nickel and cobalt, is trying to woo companies involved in all levels of the EV supply chain via a multi-billion-dollar green technology fund as the world seeks to cut carbon emissions.
A recent set of sweeping US laws have already kicked off a boom in proposals for new mining operations, minerals processing facilities, and battery plants, laying the foundation for domestic supply chains that could support rapid growth in electric vehicles and other clean technologies.
That’s by design. A stipulation in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), enacted last year, restricts EV tax credits to vehicles with batteries that contain a significant portion of minerals extracted or refined within the US, or from countries that have free-trade agreements with it. Manufacturing the batteries that power these vehicles requires significant amounts of finished materials such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese, and nickel. Today these often come from other nations, particularly China.
India is considering to discuss a mechanism with Australia for a smooth supply of their critical minerals under the comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) amid a huge demand in the domestic market, according to sources.
India and Australia have implemented an Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) in December 2022, and now negotiations are on for expanding the scope of that agreement into a comprehensive pact (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement or CECA).
There is a huge demand for critical minerals like lithium, titanium, vanadium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite in India as the country is targeting to boost the production of renewable energy by 2030.
Batteries will enable the current energy transition towards electric mobility, integration of renewable energy through grid-scale storage and improved energy access in India.
The UK and Canada have agreed a landmark agreement to co-operate on critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium that are essential to the economy.
UK and Canada to sign agreement to bolster vital technologies such as smart phones, solar panels and electric vehicles.
Agree to work together on critical minerals research and make supply chains more resilient as demand for some minerals expected to rise 500% by 2040.
Agreement signed on Minister Nus Ghani’s five-day visit to Canada to meet counterparts and attend the International Mines Ministers Summit and the closing of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The UK and Canada have agreed a landmark agreement to co-operate on critical minerals such as cobalt and lithium that are essential to the economy and used in almost all modern and green technologies, from solar panels to electric vehicles.
The partnership, to be launched today [Monday 6 March] by Business and Trade Minister Nusrat Ghani MP and Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, will help make UK manufacturers of cutting-edge technologies more resilient to global shocks by promoting research and development between UK and Canadian businesses, driving innovation and growth.
The announcement comes on a five-day visit to Canada, during which time Minister Ghani will also meet Canadian government counterparts to discuss critical minerals and attend the International Mines Ministers Summit.
Tesla has long dominated the electric vehicles (EV) sector thanks in a large part to the company’s vertical integration and ability to maintain control over the supply of the materials that it needs. However, Tesla’s top spot in the market could be compromised as other automakers look to strike deals with key metals suppliers.
Brazilian mining giant Vale SA is looking to separate the metals unit in 2023, which is one of the largest nickel and copper operations, and has already attracted interest from several car companies, including Tesla’s rival General Motors.
According to Bloomberg, General Motors is one of the companies that has moved to the next phase of obtaining a minority share in Vale’s metals unit, which may raise $2 billion through a partnership with another company for the venture.
This isn’t the first time the two companies have done business. Last year, Vale and GM signed a long-term supply agreement for battery-grade nickel which will see Vale supply 25,000 metric tons annually of contained nickel – enough to supply approximately 350,000 EVs every year – from its proposed plant in Québec, Canada.1
Vale’s metals unit, which is valued at $20-$25 billion, has also garnered interest from Japan’s Mitsui & Co.2
Meanwhile several other automakers like Ford and Volkswagen, have signed long-term mineral supply deals to secure materials for their EV batteries. Last year, Volkswagen formed a joint venture worth €3 billion (US$ with Belgium’s Umicore for cathode materials. Meanwhile, Tesla struck nickel and cobalt deals with BHP Group and Glencore, respectively, in 2021. In March of that year, Tesla also entered a mining venture in New Caledonia.3
Rulings nullify patents in industries it deems important, including technology, pharmaceuticals and rare-earth minerals.
The growing conflict between China and the U.S. extends from computer-chip factories to a suspected spy balloon over American skies. Running through it all is a struggle for technological superiority.
China has striven for years to develop cutting-edge technologies, in part through heavy spending on research. Now, according to Western officials and executives, it also has mobilized its legal system to pry technology from other nations.
Competition, government incentives and falling raw material prices are making battery-powered cars more affordable sooner than expected.
More quickly than seemed possible a few months ago, sticker prices for electric vehicles are falling closer to the point where they could soon be on a par with gasoline cars.
Increased competition, government incentives and falling prices for lithium and other battery materials are making electric vehicles noticeably more affordable. The tipping point when electric vehicles become as cheap as or cheaper than cars with internal combustion engines could arrive this year for some mass market models and is already the case for some luxury vehicles.
Prices are likely to continue trending lower as Tesla, General Motors, Ford Motor and their battery suppliers ramp up new factories, reaping the cost savings that come from mass production. New electric vehicles from companies like Volkswagen, Nissan and Hyundai will add to competitive pressure.
The battery-powered version of G.M.’s Equinox crossover, for example, will start around $30,000 when it arrives this fall, the carmaker has said. That is $3,400 more than the least expensive gasoline-fueled Equinox. But factoring in government incentives, the electric Equinox should be cheaper. Like all electric vehicles, the car will need less maintenance, and the electricity to power it will cost less than the gasoline used by its combustion engine equivalent.
Congo accounts for three-quarters of the world’s mined cobalt supply. Industrial mines produce most of Congo’s cobalt, but “artisanal” miners, who dig by hand and often die when tunnels cave in, account for up to 30% of production, though that fluctuates depending on price.
Companies that use cobalt in products from electric cars to smartphones should work to improve conditions at artisanal mines instead of seeking to cut artisanal cobalt out of their supply chains, an independent report on the visit argued on Wednesday.
As consumers become more concerned that the products they buy are tainted by poor working conditions or child labour, global tech firms and carmakers have been using less mined cobalt in their batteries by increasing recycling and switching to lower-cobalt chemistries.