US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland signed Public Land Order 7917 withdrawing approximately 225,504 acres in the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota from disposition under the United States mineral and geothermal leasing laws for a 20-year period, subject to valid existing rights. The Biden Administration said that this... Read more →

In its 2023 Strategic Update, Albemarle Corporation raised its forecast for 2030 global lithium demand (LCE, lithium carbonate equivalent) to 3.7MMt—an increase of 15% from its previous forecast due to the impact of the US “Inflation Reduction Act” and strong EV demand. Albemarle also estimates the 2030 mined supply to... Read more →

BLM issues trespass notice to lithium developer Ioneer for unauthorized use of Tiehm’s buckwheat habitat

The US Bureau of Land Management has issued a trespass notice to Ioneer Rhyolite Ridge LLC for the unauthorized use of certain Tiehm’s buckwheat habitat. The areas were being used as a laydown area for geotechnical drilling operations associated with collection of subsurface data. Rhyolite Ridge is a large, shallow... Read more →

US releases signed MOU with Congo and Zambia to strengthen EV battery value chain

The US Department of State released the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on electric vehicle battery value chains signed by the United States on 13 December 2022, during the Africa Leaders Summit. Through this MOU, the United States will support the commitment between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and... Read more →

Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) reports that its engineering team has improved several process stages, including optimization of the brine preparation stage, to achieve highly efficient recovery of lithium, in real-time, from the company’s live Salton Sea geothermal brine resource. (Earlier post.) CTR took an integrated design approach to optimize the... Read more →

Stellantis and Terrafame agree on low-carbon nickel sulfate supply for EV batteries

Stellantis N.V. and Terrafame Ltd. signed a supply agreement for nickel sulfate to be used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Beginning in 2025, Finland-based Terrafame will supply Stellantis with nickel sulfate over the five-year term of the agreement. The Terrafame agreement is a part of Stellantis’ aggressive strategy and will... Read more →

Atlas Lithium Corporation, a US-based mineral exploration company focused on lithium and other battery metals in Brazil, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. with respect to Mitsui’s potential interest in acquiring the right to purchase Atlas Lithium’s future lithium concentrate production. Mitsui is a global... Read more →

Ballard partners with Adani to develop a hydrogen fuel cell truck for mining & transportation in India

Ballard Power Systems signed an agreement to launch a pilot project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell electric truck (FCET) for mining logistics and transportation with Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL), part of the diversified Adani portfolio of companies, and Ashok Leyland. The hydrogen-powered mining truck will weigh 55 tons, have... Read more →

A Michigan Tech project to help mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Minnesota achieve net-zero emissions while extracting critical minerals from mine tailings has received $2.5 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) MINER program. (Earlier post.) In addition to reducing carbon... Read more →

Sweden-based international mining and minerals group LKAB has identified significant deposits of rare earth elements in the Kiruna area in the far north of Swedish Lapland (some 200 km north of the Arctic Circle). Following successful exploration, the company is reporting mineral resources of rare earth metals in the Per... Read more →

Shenge, a China-based developer, producer, and supplier of rare earth products, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Australia-based rare-earths miner VHM to purchase 6,400 tpa of rare earth mineral concentrate (REMC) and 100,000 tpa of zircon/titania heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) products for each calendar year of the three-year... Read more →

DOE offers Ioneer conditional commitment for a loan of up to US$700M for Rhyolite Ridge project

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) has offered a conditional commitment to lend up to $700 million to Ioneer Rhyolite Ridge LLC to develop a domestic supply of lithium carbonate for electric vehicle (EV) batteries from the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project (Rhyolite Ridge) in Esmeralda County,... Read more →

SQM to invest A$20M for 19.99% of Azure Lithium

Global lithium company Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A., via its wholly-owned subsidiary SQM (SQM), will make a major cornerstone investment of up to A$20 million to acquire a 19.99% interest in Australia-based Azure Minerals Limited through a two-stage transaction. Azure Minerals is developing the Andover nickel-copper-cobalt sulfide project... Read more →

Graphex Technologies LLC, the US subsidiary of Graphex Group Limited, and Northern Graphite Corporation announced that Graphex will participate in Northern’s previously announced selection process for a site suitable for the construction of a large-scale graphite processing facility in Baie-Comeau, approximately 420 km north-east of Québec City. The plant is... Read more →

Stellantis and Australia-based Element 25 signed a binding agreement for Element 25 to supply battery-grade, high-purity manganese sulphate monohydrate (HPMSM) to Stellantis for use in electric vehicle (EV) battery packs. The five-year agreement calls for shipments to begin in 2026, a total volume of 45 kilotons, and options to extend... Read more →

Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia Pty Ltd (TLEA), the 2021 lithium joint venture entity owned by Tianqi Lithium Corporation (TLC) (51%) and IGO (49%), has entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of Essential Metals Limited for A$0.50/share, payable in cash. The transaction represents a 36.3% premium to ESS’s 30-day VWAP... Read more →

Russia-based Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel)—the world’s largest nickel producer—is studying the potential for mining tailings to capture and store CO2. The dompany is also working to develop a methodology to take stock of carbon units captured this way. In 2021, Nornickel extracted 41.2 mt of ore. Ore mining and concentration results... Read more →

Canada Nickel Company announced that its latest test work results support the incorporation of carbon capture and storage into the Crawford Project.The company’s In-Process Tailings (IPT) Carbonation process is a novel method for accelerated carbon capture and storage. The latest test work confirms that existing process streams can be utilized... Read more →

Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed a novel process to clean coal mine drainage and extract rare-earth elements from it. In an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Engineering Science, the team reports that the process successfully cleaned clean coal mine drainage while producing rare-earth elements in samples... Read more →

Piedmont Lithium (earlier post) has amended its earlier agreement with Tesla to supply the US automaker with spodumene concentrate (SC6) from North American Lithium (NAL). North American Lithium is a brownfield open pit mining and spodumene concentrator operation in Québec owned 75% by Australia-based Sayona Mining and 25% by Piedmont.... Read more →

Australia-based lithium miner Core Lithium has loaded the first export shipment of product from the Finniss mine in Australia’s Northern Territory. This first shipment of 15,000dmt of 1.4% Li2O Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) (1.4% Li2O), announced 3 October 2022, was successfully tendered using a digital exchange platform achieving a price... Read more →

For its Image of the Day of 2 January, NASA released a picture of the Silver Peak lithium mine—the only active lithium mine in the US. The Silver Peak mine—now owned by Albemarle —generates about 1% of the world’s annual production of lithium. Brine operations, mostly in Chile and Argentina,... Read more →

The Nikkei reports that in 2024, Japan will begin to extract rare earth materials for electric vehicles and hybrids from sea bottom mud in an area off Minami-Torishima Island, a coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean about 1,900 kilometers southeast of Tokyo. The government’s aim is to reduce the country’s... Read more →

Australia forecasts lithium export earnings of $16B in 2022-23, up from $5B in 2021-22

Australia’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources released the December 2022 edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ). Among its findings are that lithium export earnings are expected to exceed $16 billion in 2022–23, up from $5 billion in 2021–22. This will make lithium Australia’s sixth-largest resource and energy... Read more →

European Lithium signed a binding long term lithium offtake agreement via its wholly-owned Austrian subsidiary ECM Lithium AT GmbH with BMW to secure the company’s first offtake of battery grade lithium hydroxide (LiOH) from its Wolfsberg Lithium Project underground mine in Austria. ECM has granted BMW the first right to... Read more →

Ioneer’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project advances into final stage of permitting

Emerging lithium-boron producer Ioneer announced that its Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Esmeralda County, Nevada (earlier post) has advanced into the final stage of federal permitting with the decision by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) in the Federal Register. This marks... Read more →

The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published its final rule listing Tiehm’s buckwheat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The Service is also designating 910 acres of critical habitat on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Rhyolite Ridge area of the Silver... Read more →

Rio Tinto completes acquisition of Turquoise Hill for $3.1B

Rio Tinto has completed its acquisition of Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd for a consideration of approximately $3.1 billion, simplifying the ownership of the world-class Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, significantly strengthening Rio Tinto’s copper portfolio, and demonstrating its long-term commitment to the project and Mongolia. Rio Tinto now holds a... Read more →

The Government of Canada on Friday released its Critical Minerals Strategy , backed by up to $3.8 billion in federal funding allocated in Budget 2022. (Earlier post.) The proposed funding covers a range of industrial activities, from geoscience and exploration to mineral processing, manufacturing and recycling applications, including support for... Read more →

Euro Manganese (EMN), a Canada-based company developing the Chvaletice Manganese Project in the Czech Republic (earlier post), released the results from a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study comparing the global warming potential (GWP) of EMN’s high-purity manganese products from the Chvaletice Project with those produced by the incumbent industry in... Read more →

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California (Lithium Valley Commission) submitted its report of findings and recommendations to the state Legislature. The report recommends accelerating transmission planning; improving permitting; and securing funding for infrastructure investments and economic development incentives to support industry growth and job training. Established by... Read more →

Through its venture capital fund BMW i Ventures, the BMW Group has taken a stake in Colorado-based Jetti Resources. Founded in 2014, Jetti Resources has developed a pioneering process for copper extraction that utilizes previously unused ore from existing copper mines. BMW’s goal is to foster responsible and resource-conserving copper... Read more →

Canadaa-based Prairie Lithium has commissioned the third iteration of its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) pilot plant at the Emerald Park testing facility. The DLE pilot is designed to process deep subsurface brines sourced from Prairie Lithium’s Fall 2022 drilling program when 600 m3 of lithium rich brine was reserved for... Read more →

Rio Tinto plans to invest $600M more in renewable energy in the Pilbara

Rio Tinto is planning to invest a further $600 million in renewable energy assets in the Pilbara as part of the company’s efforts to decarbonize its Western Australian iron ore operations. The investment will fund the construction of two 100MW solar power facilities as well as 200 MWh of on-grid... Read more →

Finland-based Keliber’s long-planned lithium project is progressing into the construction phase, as preparatory work on the lot of the lithium hydroxide refinery will be kicked off before Christmas. The refinery will be built in Kokkola Industrial Park (KIP), and it will produce lithium hydroxide. Starting the construction of the refinery... Read more →

Norway-based research organization SINTEF is currently heading a major EU-funded project called HARARE, which aims to use hydrogen to recover copper and aluminum from copper slag and bauxite residues (red muds), respectively. HARARE stands for “Hydrogen As the Reducing Agent in the REcovery of metals and minerals from metallurgical waste”.... Read more →

Eden, a company developing novel techniques to increase permeability and characterize geologic reservoirs, has been selected as part of a project team to receive $3,517,450 in federal funding from the US Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for a project titled “Integrated Electro-Hydraulic Fracturing and Real-Time Monitoring for... Read more →

Rare earth elements (REEs), especially heavy REEs (HREEs), are important in modern industry. However, conventional mining techniques apply excessive usage of ammonium-salt-based leaching agents to recover HREEs from ion-adsorption rare earth deposits (IADs), which exhibits low efficiency and devastating environmental impact on the local ecosystem. A research team led by... Read more →

Vale and GM sign long-term nickel supply agreement in Canada

Vale Canada Limited, a subsidiary of Vale S.A., and General Motors signed a term sheet for the long-term supply of battery grade nickel sulfate from Vale’s proposed plant at Bécancour, Québec, Canada. This agreement secures for GM a supply of nickel sulfate from a US free-trade partner to support GM’s... Read more →

The global net zero transition can represent a $3.5-trillion investment opportunity for Indonesia, according to a new report published at the BNEF Summit Bali by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF) entitled Net-Zero Transition: Opportunities for Indonesia. Based on BNEF’s New Energy Outlook, its annual long-term scenario analysis on the future of... Read more →

BASF and Moleaer partner to enhance copper recovery at existing mines

Global chemical company BASF and Moleaer, a developer of industrial-scale nanobubble technology, announced an exclusive partnership. This partnership will combine expertise in mineral processing, hydrometallurgy, gas transfer, and nanobubble technology to develop innovative processes for mining. The initial aim is to target the copper leaching process and improve extraction rates... Read more →

Ultra Lithium, Power Metals respond to Government of Canada’s order for Chinese divestment in critical minerals

The Government of Canada has ordered three Chinese companies to divest from three Canadian critical mineral companies: Power Metals, Lithium Chile, and Ultra Lithium. (Earlier post.) Ultra Lithium has now issued a statement noting that the company has been advised that Zangge Mining Investment (Chengdu) Co. Ltd. (Zangge) received the... Read more →

Earlier this year, Australian lithium miner Core Lithium entered into a binding term sheet with Tesla for the supply of up to 110,000 tonnes of Li2O spodumene concentrate from the Finniss Lithium Project over a term of 4 years, with pricing referenced to the market price for spodumene concentrate, subject... Read more →

In mid-October, TMC the metals company Inc. (earlier post) successfully collected an initial batch of seafloor polymetallic nodules, and transported them up a 4km riser system to the surface, in what represents the first integrated system test conducted in the Clarion Clipperton Zone of the Pacific Ocean since the 1970s.... Read more →

BHP and Rio Tinto to collaborate on new tailings technology

Global miners BHP and Rio Tinto have formed a partnership agreement to accelerate the development of technology that could significantly increase water recovery from mine tailings, and in turn reduce potential safety risks and environmental footprints associated with tailings storage facilities. Tailings usually takes the form of a liquid slurry... Read more →

Benchmark: Indonesia could become major cobalt producer; forecasts 30x boost

Indonesia is both the world’s largest nickel producer and the country with the biggest nickel reserves. (Most of Indonesia’s nickel output is currently Class 2 nickel, a low-purity type used for stainless steel. The country’s government and the mining sector are determined to transform its nickel industry to meet the... Read more →

ARPA-E awarding $39M to 16 projects to grow the domestic critical minerals supply chain

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA‑E) will award $39 million in funding to 16 projects across 12 states to develop market-ready technologies that will increase domestic supplies of critical elements required for the clean energy transition. The selected projects, led by universities, national laboratories, and... Read more →

Copper Mark launches pilot implementation of Molybdenum, Nickel, and Zinc Marks

The Copper Mark, an assurance framework set up to promote the responsible production of copper, is launching the pilot implementation of the Molybdenum, Nickel and Zinc Marks. Producers of these metals are able to use the Copper Mark assurance framework to achieve their respective “Mark”, thereby signaling their leadership in... Read more →

BASF and the Catholic University of the North (UCN) in Antofagasta, Chile, have signed a collaboration agreement to promote research, development and innovation in mining. The aim of this collaboration is to strengthen the cooperation between academia, students and industry experts. In addition to leveraging synergies in the development of... Read more →

Benchmark: lithium has to scale twenty times by 2050; generational challenge for automakers

The world will need more than twenty times the amount of lithium than was mined last year to meet demand by mid-century, driven by growth in energy storage and electric vehicles, according to new analysis from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Annual production of 11.2 million tonnes LCE will be needed by... Read more →