Iron ore leader Fortescue pushing green hydrogen, ammonia and electricity projects

Australia-based Fortescue Metals Group, one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore, recently revised its emissions reduction goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030—10 years earlier than its previous target. Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortescue, will be a key enabler of this target through the... Read more →


Piedmont Lithium Limited released an updated Global Mineral Resource estimate (MRE) for its flagship Piedmont Lithium Project in North Carolina. The total MRE for the project is 39.2 Mt at 1.09% Li2O (Figure 1), with 55% of the MRE currently classified in the Indicated category. The Mineral Resource estimate is... Read more →


Clean Energy Ventures, a $110-million venture capital firm investing in early-stage climate tech startups, is leading the investments in two battery startups: one in the upstream (Nth Cycle) and one in the downstream (Volexion). Nth Cycle extracts cobalt, nickel and other critical battery metals from discarded batteries, e-waste and mining... Read more →


Rio Tinto has commenced production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock at a lithium demonstration plant at the Boron mine site in California. The demonstration plant is the next step in scaling up a breakthrough lithium production process developed at Boron to recover the critical mineral and extract additional value... Read more →


Researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia have developed a continuous electrically-driven membrane process which successfully enriches lithium from seawater samples of the Red Sea by 43,000 times (i.e., from 0.21 to 9013.43 ppm) with a nominal Li/Mg selectivity >45 million. They precipitated lithium... Read more →


Australia-based AVZ Minerals Limited has secured a strategic, long-term offtake partner agreement with Yibin Tianyi Lithium Industry Co., Ltd. for the supply of spodumene concentrate (SC6) from the Manono Lithium and Tin Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Spodumene—a lithium mineral derived from pegmatite rock—is known for its... Read more →


Roskill: Myanmar crisis set to disrupt rare earth supply availability

On 1 February 2021, a coup d’état in Myanmar brought down the civilian government and imposed military rule. The coup and resulting state of emergency quickly resulted in concerns in China over metal and mineral supplies from its neighbor. Myanmar is the world’s third-biggest miner of tin and in 2020... Read more →


BMW Group, WWF Germany, Volvo Group back moratorium on deep-sea mining

The BMW Group has launched an initiative to protect the deep seas in cooperation with the WWF Germany. In a joint declaration, the BMW Group, WWF and other companies—including the Volvo Group—undertake, as a precautionary measure, not to use deep-ocean minerals or finance deep-sea mining until comprehensive scientific research into... Read more →


The current US lithium stock is almost entirely imported, with only 1% of US lithium supply being sourced domestically. Furthermore, traditional sources of lithium are environmentally destructive. This combination of rapidly expanding global demand and lack of a safe, domestic supply has created an urgency to develop a safe, domestic,... Read more →


To support its accelerated expansion of e-mobility in the coming years, the BMW Group will source lithium from a second leading supplier, US-based Livent. The value of the multi-year contract will total around €285 million. Livent will supply the lithium directly to the BMW Group’s battery cell manufacturers from 2022... Read more →


Australia-based Bass Metals has signed a binding term sheet to acquire Blackearth SA which holds an option to acquire the san Jorge Lithium Project located in Catamarca province, Argentina. UBS is now forecasting an 11-fold increase to 2030 in the amount of lithium required, as well as a 7-fold increase... Read more →


Russia-based Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper, estimates an approximate drop of 35kt of nickel production, 65 kt of copper production and 22 t of platinum group metal (PGM) production in 2021 after operations at two of its... Read more →


Canada has released a list of 31 minerals considered critical for the sustainable economic success of Canada and its allies—minerals that can be produced in Canada, are essential to domestic industry and security and have the potential to support secure and resilient supply chains to meet global demand. Global demand... Read more →


Geologists and materials scientists at Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have discovered a new way of finding new and previously unknown deposits of rare earth metals, worldwide. They have published the findings of their study in the journal Geology. The researchers discovered that fayalite crystals (pictured) can contain large amounts of... Read more →


Neo Performance Materials and Energy Fuels launching US-European rare earth production initiative

Neo Performance Materials and Energy Fuels Inc. are launching a new rare earth production initiative spanning European and North American critical material supply chains. The initiative will produce value-added rare earth products from natural monazite sands, a byproduct of heavy mineral sands mined in the southeastern United States. Energy Fuels... Read more →


International precious metals mining company Sibanye-Stillwater has entered into an investment agreement with Finnish lithium miner Keliber Oy. Keliber’s wholly owned, advanced lithium project, the Keliber project, is located in Kaustinen, Kokkola and Kruunupyy municipalities in Finland, which are among the most significant lithium-bearing areas in Europe. Finland represents an... Read more →


DeepGreen Metals Inc., a developer of lower-impact battery metals from unattached seafloor polymetallic nodules (earlier post), has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Sustainable Opportunities Acquisition Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with a dedicated ESG focus and deep operational and capital market capabilities in the energy... Read more →


by Lewis Black, CEO of Almonty Industries In the last year, there has been an explosive need for EV batteries. All car manufacturers seem to be following in the same footsteps as Tesla. In fact, Jaguar plans to become an “all-electric luxury brand” by 2025[1] as mentioned on ABCNews. This... Read more →


Eagle Graphite and University of British Columbia partner on development of silicon-modified anodes

The Government of British Columbia and Eagle Graphite confirmed release of the first tranche of grant funding in support of a 2-year program to develop and commercialize silicon-modified battery anodes made with graphite from Eagle’s Black Crystal graphite quarry and plant in Valhalla, British Columbia. In 2019, the Government of... Read more →


IASS says a new approach to financial distribution of benefits from deep seabed mining is required

The International Seabed Authority is currently developing regulations to govern the exploration and exploitation of the mineral resources of the international seabed (known as “the Area”). This governance framework will include a financial mechanism for the distribution of any benefits that might arise from seafloor mineral exploitation, as required by... Read more →


Mining major Rio Tinto has secured a new commercial freight shipping service connecting Western Australia’s Pilbara region to the major international shipping hub of Singapore. Rio Tinto owns a world-class, integrated network of 16 iron ore mines in the Pilbara region. The vessel capacity of the freight service will be... Read more →


On 19 February, LME cash prices for copper hit a nine-year peak of US$8,806.50/t. This is the highest level since 1 May 2012 when copper traded at US$8,528/t. Total visible copper stocks (LME + COMEX + SHFE + Chinese bonded warehouses) amounted to just 560kt at the end of January,... Read more →


Ford first US automaker to join Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)

Ford has become the first US automaker to join the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), marking an expansion of the company’s commitment to safeguard human rights, communities where such work is done, and the broader environment.The BMW Group is also an IRMA member. Ford has also committed to lead... Read more →


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is expected to be the source for approximately 69% of mined cobalt in 2020—i.e., a significant quantity of the world’s supply originates from areas ranking poorly in terms of corruption and working conditions, notes critical materials supply chain intelligence company Roskill. Cobalt producers within... Read more →


Organizations release Joint Due Diligence Standard for copper, lead, nickel and zinc

Five organizations representing their metal industries —The Copper Mark, the International Lead Association (ILA), the International Zinc Association (IZA), the Nickel Institute and the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)—have released the Joint Due Diligence Standard for Copper, Lead, Nickel and Zinc. The Standard takes into account the risk profile of copper,... Read more →


Shipping emissions form a significant part of the commodity supply chain’s carbon footprint, particularly for those commodities reliant on the mass transport of low-grade ores and concentrates. Roskill has analyzed the trend in carbon intensity of shipping using spodumene concentrate as an example. Spodumene concentrates currently represent more than 50%... Read more →


The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has released a report by Roskill that analyzes the EU’s nickel requirements for EV batteries within the context of the global market over a twenty-year forecast horizon to 2040. Against this demand backdrop, Roskill critically assessed the EU’s internal supply capabilities and identified... Read more →


Roskill: Rising prices could be new norm for lithium industry

In its second quarterly update to its Lithium: Outlook to 2030, 17th Edition report, Roskill maintains the view that future refined lithium supply will remain tight, with a period of sustained supply deficit in the mid-2020s. Further additions to lithium production capacity for mined and refined lithium products will be... Read more →


DeepGreen Metals, which is exploring for deep-ocean polymetallic nodules as a lower impact and more cost-effective alternative to land-based mining (earlier post), announced an upward revision to the nodule resource reported within the NORI-D exploration contract area held by its subsidiary, Nauru Ocean Resources, Inc. The nodule resource is now... Read more →


Lynas to build US light rare earths separation facility

Australia-based Lynas Rare Earths Limited entered into an agreement with the US Government to build a commercial Light Rare Earths separation plant in the United States, through a wholly owned subsidiary, Lynas USA LLC. This collaboration with the Department of Defense is sponsored by the Title III, Defense Production Act... Read more →


Canada-based Graphite One Inc. announced that it received notice on 15 January 2021 that its Alaska-based Graphite Creek Project has been designated a High-Priority Infrastructure Project (HPIP) by the US Government’s Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Committee (FPISC). The approval is the culmination of a process that began with the nomination... Read more →


DOE awarding more than $50M to 15 projects to advance critical material innovations

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding more than $50 million in funding for 15 projects focused on field validation and demonstration—as well as next-generation extraction, separation, and processing technologies—for critical materials. Critical materials are used in many products important to the US economy and energy technologies, such as... Read more →


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 →