DOE to award $28.35M for R&D on advanced processing of rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal-based resources

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced $28.35 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0002404, Advanced Processing of Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals for Industrial and Manufacturing Applications. The US imports more than half... Read more →


The US Forest Service has published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Rio Tinto’s and BHP’s Resolution Copper mine project in Arizona (earlier post). The publication comes after more than seven years of public and 11 years of tribal consultation. This reflects a delay from the July 2020 target... Read more →


Neo Lithium engages Worley to complete feasibility study of 3Q project

Neo Lithium has engaged Worley to complete a comprehensive DFS on its flagship, high-grade lithium brine project, 3Q, in Catamarca, Argentina. The development strategy focuses on production of 20,000 tonnes per year of lithium carbonate with the flexibility to expand production to 40,000 tonnes per year after phase one is... Read more →


Albemarle expands Nevada site to increase domestic production of lithium

Albemarle Corporation will expand capacity at the company’s lithium production facility in Silver Peak, Nev., and begin a program to evaluate clays and other available Nevada resources for commercial production of lithium. As global demand for electric vehicles (EV) grows, North American automotive manufacturers are seeking to regionalize their supply... Read more →


Roskill: Yahua-Tesla deal indicative of increasing capability and numbers of Chinese lithium convertors

On 29 December 2020, Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group announced thatits subsidiary, Yahua Lithium, had signed a five-year supply agreement with Tesla. The total value of the contract is reported to be US$630-880 million, with Yahua Lithium to provide battery-grade lithium hydroxide to Tesla from 2021 to 2025. Roskill observes that... Read more →


Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have shed new light on the formation mechanisms of a rare earth-bearing mineral that is in increasingly high demand across the globe for its use in the green energy and tech industries. Their discovery has important economic implications because there are no substitute alternatives to... Read more →


Utah-based Energy Fuels to enter commercial rare earth business in Q1-2021

Energy Fuels Inc. entered into a three-year supply agreement with The Chemours Company to acquire a minimum of 2,500 tons per year of natural monazite sands, one of the highest-grade rare earth element (REE) minerals in the world. Energy Fuels expects to process this monazite at its 100%-owned White Mesa... Read more →


ABB leads electrification and automation innovation as part of Sustainable Underground Mining future mine project

ABB electrification and automation knowledge and solutions have been employed in a pioneering mine of the future project, which has ultimate ambitions to demonstrate zero carbon dioxide emissions and productivity increases of 50%. ABB has provided electrification, connected control and operations management systems, high-visualization and mobile operator workplaces as part... Read more →


Yibin Tianyi Lithium—a joint venture of Canmax, CATL and Tianyuan Group established in 2018—has formally commissioned a 20ktpy lithium hydroxide plant in Yibin, Sichuan province. The company plans to construct 45ktpy of lithium hydroxide capacity in two phases and targets a total capacity of 100ktpy by 2025. The start-up of... Read more →


BMW Group commissions study on sustainable lithium extraction

The BMW Group has commissioned two US universities to conduct a scientific analysis of water consumption in the lithium extraction process. The aim of the University of Alaska-Anchorage and University of Massachusetts-Amherst study will be to investigate the impacts of lithium extraction on the hydrologic environment in Latin America. BASF... Read more →


Government of Canada & Province of Ontario invest $10M to establish cobalt refinery in N. Ontario; battery-grade cobalt sulfate

The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario are each investing $5 million in First Cobalt Corporation to accelerate domestic production of battery-grade cobalt sulfate, a required element needed to produce long-range electric vehicles (EVs). Provided through FedNor’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program and Ontario’s Northern Ontario... Read more →


Rio Tinto unveiled a pathway for the ongoing development of the underground project at Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia, one of the largest known copper and gold deposits in the world (earlier post). The definitive estimate details how Oyu Tolgoi underground will achieve sustainable production for Panel 0 by October 2022... Read more →


Rio Tinto and Nippon Steel Corporation to cooperate on low-carbon emission steel value chain

Rio Tinto, a leading global mining and metals company, and Nippon Steel Corporation, Japan’s largest steel producer, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) jointly to explore, develop and demonstrate technologies to transition to a low-carbon emission steel value chain. The purpose of the partnership is to explore a breadth... Read more →


BASF and global mining and metallurgy group Eramet will jointly assess the development of a state-of-the-art nickel and cobalt hydrometallurgical refining complex. Such a development would include a High-Pressure Acid Leaching (HPAL) plant and a Base Metal Refinery (BMR). The HPAL would be located in Weda Bay, Indonesia, while the... Read more →


Canada-based Neo Lithium Corp. (NLC) announced the closing of a previously announced equity investment by China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), whereby CATL, through a subsidiary controlled by CATL, subscribed for 10,217,503 common shares of Neo Lithium at a price of C$0.84 per common share for gross proceeds to... Read more →


Cyient, a global engineering, manufacturing, and digital transformation and technology solutions company, signed an MoU with Decipher, a Perth-based company that provides a cloud monitoring and governance platform for tailing storage facilities. Cyient will support Decipher with the global rollout of its cloud mining platform for tailings and rehabilitation monitoring.... Read more →


Australian mining company IGO will acquire a 24.99% stake in the Greenbushes hard-rock lithium mine and a 49% share of the Kwinana lithium hydroxide plant—both in Western Australia—from China-based Tianqi Lithium for US$1.4 billion. The deal will be funded through a combination of debt, IGO’s existing cash position (which totaled... Read more →


Rio Tinto declares maiden ore reserve at Jadar; major potential source of battery-grade lithium carbonate

Rio Tinto disclosed to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) a maiden Ore Reserve and updated Mineral Resource at its 100% owned Jadar lithium-borates project in western Serbia. (Earlier post.) Ore reserves are valuable and legally, economically, and technically feasible to extract. Mineral resources are potentially valuable, and for which reasonable... Read more →


Argus: China’s Southern Rare Earth ups Tb, Ho, Gd, Dy prices; rising magnet demand

Chinese medium and heavy rare earths producer Southern Rare Earth has continued to raise its weekly prices for terbium, holmium, gadolinium and dysprosium, supported by a shortage of spot supplies and firmer magnet demand, according to Argus. Restocking demand from magnet manufacturing plants started to recover from mid-October because of... Read more →


Despite the trend toward transportation electrification, the lithium industry has had a rough few years. In its new Lithium Outlook to 2030 report, Roskill notes that the prolonged downward trend for lithium compound and mineral concentrate prices has caused a difficult environment for many lithium producers since 2018. In 2019,... Read more →


Volkswagen joins “Cobalt for Development” initiative

Volkswagen says that it is actively engaging in improving artisanal cobalt mining conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as the living conditions for people in the surrounding communities. Cobalt is an important raw material for the production of electric vehicle batteries. Artisanal mining involves risks to... Read more →


The Mercedes-Benz electric offensive is a key component of its “Ambition2039” strategic focus and a prerequisite on the way to carbon neutrality. Responsibly mined and processed raw materials provide the foundation for a sustainable Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle fleet. Respect and protection of human rights and of the environment, all the... Read more →


Livent to invest in Nemaska Lithium; extends supply agreement with Tesla

Lithium company Livent is participating in a consortium that will acquire the business and certain assets of Nemaska Lithium Inc. (New Nemaska) located in Québec, Canada. Livent has agreed to invest in New Nemaska via a joint venture with The Pallinghurst Group. Both companies will equally own Québec Lithium Partners... Read more →


Wood Mackenzie: $1 trillion needed for key energy transition metals by 2035

More than $1 trillion of investment will be needed in key energy transition metals—aluminum, cobalt, copper, nickel and lithium—over the next 15 years just to meet the growing demands of decarbonization, according to global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. This is almost double the figure invested over the previous... Read more →


Roskill: Cobalt demand to grow steadily over the next decade

Despite the COVID headwinds from the aviation sector and the trend towards thrifting cobalt out of automotive applications, Roskill’s newly-released cobalt report forecasts a steady demand growth for the metal to 2030. Largely benefitting from its stability, hardness, anti-corrosion and high-temperature resistance characteristics, cobalt metal and its compounds are widely... Read more →


“Cobalt for Development” project started trainings for mining cooperatives in DRC

The cross-industry initiative “Cobalt for Development” has started trainings for twelve artisanal mining cooperatives in October in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). The trainings cover major environmental, social and governance aspects for responsible mining practices. This includes mine site management and legal compliance, human rights, health and safety... Read more →


Vale completes first sale of iron ore using blockchain technology with Nanjing Iron & Steel

In September, Vale, one of the world’s largest mining companies, completed its first sale of iron ore using blockchain technology with Nanjing Iron & Steel Group International Trade Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Nanjing Iron and Steel Co., Ltd. (NISCO) for a cargo of 176,000 tons of Brazilian Blend Fines... Read more →


State-owned Indonesia Battery Holding to help build integrated EV industry in Indonesia; role of nickel

In Indonesia, state miners MIND ID (Mining Industry Indonesia) and Aneka Tambang (ANTAM); state utility Perusahan Listrik Negara (PLN); and state oil company Pertamina have agreed to form a new venture: Indonesia Battery Holding. Indonesia Battery aims to be involved in the whole battery value chain, including producing battery minerals... Read more →


With demand for lithium set to increase over the next decade, Roskill has calculated, using its in-house analysis, that CO2 emissions from lithium production are set to triple by 2025 versus current levels and to grow by a factor of six by 2030, with the vast majority of this coming... Read more →


Jervois Mining Limited will acquire 100% of the Sao Miguel Paulista nickel and cobalt refinery (SMP Refinery) in the Brazilian State of Sao Paulo from Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA) (an investee company of Votorantim, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Latin America). SMP Refinery has annual refined production... Read more →


California Governor signs bill creating commission on lithium extraction in California

California Governor Gavin Newsom this week signed Assembly Bill 1657, which will create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction in California. The commission will comprise 14 members appointed by a combination of the California Energy Commission, other state agencies, Assembly Speaker, and Senate Committee on Rules. The Blue Ribbon... Read more →


President Trump declares US critical mineral supply chain a national emergency

US President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order declaring a “national emergency” to deal with the threat to US security, foreign policy and economy from its “undue reliance” on supplies of critical minerals from “foreign adversaries”—specifically China. Though these minerals are indispensable to our country, we presently lack the capacity... Read more →


Roskill: Molybdenum demand to drop by more than 8% in 2020

Roskill expects demand for molybdenum to drop by more than 8% in 2020. The molybdenum market enjoyed three years of growing demand between 2016 and 2018, but macroeconomic concerns and a slower steel market resulted in a 2.3% decline in 2019. Mine supply continued to edge higher in 2019, albeit... Read more →


The Government of Saskatchewan will provide $31 million in funding for a Rare Earth Processing Facility in Saskatchewan, delivering on a key element of the 2030 Growth Plan. The facility will be owned and operated by the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC). It will be the first-of-its-kind in Canada and will... Read more →


BASF Venture Capital invests in IntelliSense.io to make mining more efficient, sustainable and safe

BASF Venture Capital (BVC) is leading a strategic investment round in IntelliSense.io with follow-on participation from a group of UK-based technology angel investors including Dr. Steve Garnett and Stephen Kelly. IntelliSense.io is a provider of AI-based solutions for the global mining industry. Its customers include mining majors and diversified mining... Read more →


Canada Nickel launches subsidiary to develop zero-carbon production of nickel, cobalt and iron

Canada Nickel Company Inc. has created a wholly-owned subsidiary, NetZero Metals, to begin the research and development of a processing facility that would be located in the Timmins, Ontario region with the goal of utilizing existing technologies to produce zero-carbon nickel, cobalt and iron products. The Company has applied for... Read more →


Orocobre Limited and Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. (EnergyX) have entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) on working together on implementation of direct lithium extraction (DLE) technologies in promoting sustainable development and innovation in the lithium mining sector. Rising demand across the world for electric vehicles and a more efficient... Read more →


Rio Tinto has approved an additional investment of almost $200 million to progress the next stage of the development of the lithium-borate Jadar project in Serbia. This will primarily fund the feasibility study, including the completion of detailed engineering designs, as well as permitting and land acquisition by the end... Read more →


Global chemical company BASF and IntelliSense.io, a leading industrial artificial intelligence (AI) company, announced an exclusive partnership which will combine their expertise in mineral processing, ore beneficiation chemistry and industrial AI technology. The joint offering is called the ‘BASF Intelligent Mine powered by IntelliSense.io’ and delivers AI solutions embedded with... Read more →


Wenco, a wholly owned subsidiary company of Hitachi Construction Machinery, and Oxbotica have signed an MOU to develop a world-first Open Autonomy solution for mining. Initial trials are underway, and the companies are actively recruiting mining partners with appropriate testing grounds. The industry-leading system will provide customers flexibility and efficiency... Read more →


London-based sustainability consultancy Kumi, a market leader in responsible sourcing practices for global supply chains, has launched a due diligence tool called CAHRA Map to enable companies in the minerals and metals sector to identify “conflict-affected and high-risk areas” (CAHRAs). The identification of CAHRAs is a critical step in the... Read more →


A new World Bank Group report finds that the production of minerals, such as graphite, lithium and cobalt, could increase by nearly 500% by 2050, to meet the growing demand for clean energy technologies. It estimates that more than 3 billion tons of minerals and metals will be needed to... Read more →


In October 2019, the London Metal Exchange (LME) released its requirements on responsible sourcing for Brands. Starting 2023, LME Brands must be compliant with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas (OECD Guidance). (More than 500 brands from 55 countries are... Read more →


Canada-based DeepGreen Metals Inc., a company focused on sourcing metals with the least environmental and societal impact, has released the results of a year-long study it commissioned into the impacts of sourcing metals to produce battery cathodes and wiring for electric vehicles (EVs). Demand for certain EV battery metals is... Read more →


COVID-19 outbreak poised to strengthen EV momentum and the markets for cobalt and copper

by Benedikt Sobotka, CEO of Eurasian Resources Group, Co-Chair of the Global Battery Alliance. Over the past couple of years, the drive towards electric vehicles has been relentless, with tens of billions of dollars committed to the electrification of new model offerings. Automakers have faced two major hurdles. First, the... Read more →


European battery manufacturer Northvolt has delivered its largest order of lithium-ion battery systems to date to mining and infrastructure industries supplier Epiroc. Epiroc Boltec M Battery rock bolting rig, right side view. Source: Epiroc. Northvolt has partnered with Epiroc for more than two years and has developed a platform of... Read more →


Rolls-Royce and ASI Mining have agreed to ensure compatibility of MTU engines and ASI’s Mobius command and control software for autonomous vehicles. The two partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding enabling Rolls-Royce to offer autonomous-compatible, Mobius-ready MTU engine solutions for equipment in a wide range of mining applications. With... Read more →