April Newsletter – 04.04.2022


  • The price for Europe to wean off Russian gas keeps going up
  • Chinese mining industry seeks to monopolize the market and make the world dependent on it
  • India to invest in exploring lithium, cobalt mines in Australia
  • Sumitomo Metal sees global nickel demand for battery use at 410,000 in 2022
  • Namibia Plans to Tap Sea Water to Keep Uranium Mines Running
  • Biden to use Defense Production Act for U.S. critical-minerals supply
  • AngloGold Ashanti reports maiden 3.4Moz of gold and 14.2Moz of silver at its Silicon project in Nevada
  • Carmakers will “need to become miners” – Benchmark

The price for Europe to wean off Russian gas keeps going up

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The semi-submersible pipe-laying vessel Castoro Sei operating for Nord Stream in the Baltic Sea south-east of Gotland, Sweden.

Europe’s ambitious timetable for building its way out of a dependence on Russian energy faces potential delays and billions of dollars in extra costs as the war in Ukraine makes steel, copper and aluminum scarce and more expensive.

A rush to replace Russian fossil fuels is prompting the continent to focus on shoring up flows of liquefied natural gas in the near term and increasing generation from renewable sources by 2030. Germany pledges to build two LNG terminals, France wants to resume talks with Spain about a connecting pipeline, and the UK seeks more homegrown wind, solar and nuclear power.

Yet prices for the necessary materials keep heading in one direction. Steel, copper and aluminum each touched records in the past 12 months, and the Bloomberg Commodity Spot Index jumped 46% during the same period. The spikes threaten to slow such undertakings as the European Union’s blueprint to almost triple wind and solar capacity this decade — a colossal investment that could require about 52 million tons of steel alone.


Chinese mining industry seeks to monopolize the market and make the world dependent on it

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San Xavier Gold Mine, Mexico on July 21, 2012

China is the most populous country on the planet and needs enormous resources to continue to grow its volatile economy. As a result, the Chinese communist regime has invested millions over the past few decades to develop a significant focus on mining non-renewable natural resources.

Beginning with significant mining within China, the Chinese regime continued with determined strategies to expand mining in the rest of the world, especially in developing countries in both Latin America and Africa.

Mining has been at the forefront of much of China’s strategy of commercial advancement in the so-called “Belt and Road” project through which the Chinese regime managed to penetrate emerging countries. The project entices officials and citizens with huge investments of money into various projects, including mining, usually putting at risk the national sovereignty of the nations supposedly benefiting from the investments.

The European Union has identified a list of 30 mineral commodities as critical products. The conflicts and commercial monopolies surrounding their exploitation endanger their supply chain, especially when controlled by a dictatorial regime such as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which is accused of great corruption and a constant tendency towards imperialist advance.

These 30 products, together with the exploitation of the so-called “rare earths,” are crucial for the defense, technology, and renewable energy sectors. The world production of these critical raw materials barely reaches a few thousand tons per year, and unfortunately, their exploitation is shared among a handful of countries, including China.


India to invest in exploring lithium, cobalt mines in Australia

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India has committed to jointly invest $6 million with the Australian government to explore lithium and cobalt mines in Australia over the next six months, in a bid to firm up supplies of key minerals needed to further its electric vehicle plans.

India’s KABIL, a mining joint venture between state-run firms National Aluminium Co, Hindustan Copper Ltd and Mineral Exploration Corp Ltd, has signed a preliminary agreement with Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office (CMFO), the Indian government said on Tuesday.

The move comes at a time when India is offering $2.4 billion of incentives for companies to build battery cells locally for electric vehicles. Lithium, whose price has surged in the recent days, is a key raw material used to make electric vehicle batteries.

CMFO and KABIL will carry out “joint due diligence of select greenfield and brownfield projects to identify Lithium and Cobalt mineral assets for final joint investment decisions and acquisition,” the Indian government said in a statement.

The agreement also provides for inclusion of any other Indian state-run firm as an investment partner, and envisages the due diligence process will be completed and further investment decisions taken over the next six months.


Sumitomo Metal sees global nickel demand for battery use at 410,000 in 2022

TOKYO : Global demand for nickel used in batteries is expected to rise more than 20per cent this year on solid demand for electric vehicles (EVs), Japan’s biggest smelter of the metal Sumitomo Metal Mining said on Tuesday.

Sumitomo Metal, which supplies cathode materials for the Panasonic lithium-ion batteries used in Tesla EVs, said demand for nickel used in rechargeable batteries will climb to more than 410,000 tonnes in 2022 from nearly 330,000 tonnes in 2021.

Nickel is mainly used in stainless steelmaking, but is also a vital ingredient for the lithium-ion batteries used to power EVs, where demand is set to accelerate over coming years.

“Nickel demand for EVs is growing much faster than we had expected a year ago,” Yusuke Niwa, general manager of Sumitomo Metal’s nickel sales and raw materials department, told reporters.

But higher nickel prices may erode demand in the long term as companies will work to use less nickel or develop nickel-less batteries, he said.


Namibia Plans to Tap Sea Water to Keep Uranium Mines Running

Namibia is pressing ahead with the construction of a new desalination plant in the central coastal Erongo region to meet demand for water from uranium mines and other users.

A feasibility study for the plant, which will produce 70,000 cubic meters (2.5 million cubic feet) of water a day, has been finalized and a site has been acquired, Agriculture, Water and Land Reform Minister Calle Schlettwein said in an emailed statement on Thursday. Arrangements are now being made to extract sea water and secure the required power, while the government is talking to private investors about partnering it in developing the plant, he said.

Positioned between the Namib and Kalahari deserts, Namibia has sub-Saharan Africa’s most arid climate and has unpredictable rainfall and high evaporation rates, resulting in a water deficit that’s intermittently compounded by drought.

Perennial rivers that run along the country’s northern and southern borders are far away from Windhoek, the capital, and most of the other main towns, while challenges in distributing limited and unreliable supplies of ground water are exacerbated by the fact that the sparse population is widely spread out.


Biden to use Defense Production Act for U.S. critical-minerals supply

The move is intended to boost the U.S. output of materials needed for electric vehicles and other uses, reduce reliance on foreign supply chains.

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Technical-grade lithium carbonate comes off a conveyor belt at the Silver Peak lithium mine near Tonopah, Nev., in 2017. The element is critical to the development of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

The White House might invoke the Defense Production Act as soon as this week to spur greater domestic output of raw materials for clean energy technology products and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign supply chains.

President Biden could issue a presidential determination to encourage domestic production of critical minerals used for stationary large-capacity batteries and those used in electric vehicles, according to an official familiar with the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity because it hasn’t been formally announced.

The determination would cover minerals such as lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt and manganese, allowing their producers to get assistance under the Defense Production Act’s Title III fund.

But the official said the presidential determination would not include loans or direct purchases of those minerals, financial tools common under Title III. Instead, the government would fund feasibility studies and productivity modernizations. The official also said that the determination would uphold “environmental, labor and Tribal engagement standards.”


AngloGold Ashanti reports maiden 3.4Moz of gold and 14.2Moz of silver at its Silicon project in Nevada

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE: AU), one of the largest gold producers globally, today announced a maiden mineral resource at the Silicon project in Nevada and advancement of the project to pre-feasibility.

According to a press-release, the project’s inferred mineral resource estimate defined 3.37 million ounces of gold at 0.87 g/t and 14.17 million ounces of silver at 3.66 g/t contained within 120.4 million tonnes.

The company said that new mineral resource reflects a major new discovery within the broader Beatty area and one of the most significant discoveries to be made in southern Nevada in recent years.

AngloGold CEO Alberto Calderon noted that this maiden mineral resource supports advancing the project forward into a pre-feasibility study.

“The Silicon project is a major new gold discovery in the Walker Lane belt and southern Nevada that will form an important part of AGA’s future in the consolidated Beatty District that also includes the North Bullfrog and Mother Lode deposits that came to us through the recent acquisition of the remaining 80.5% interest in Corvus Gold,” he added.


Carmakers will “need to become miners” – Benchmark

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Normalize carmakers mining.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s inaugural Battery Megafactories Europe 2022 event in Berlin concluded with a stark warning to automakers.

According to the London-HQ firm, among the key takeaways from the event, which was not open to the press, is the huge raw material gap that has opened up amid the furious battery factory buildout taking place globally:

  • Even in the most optimistic scenarios where every single raw material project in the pipeline comes on stream and existing operations expand aggressively, there will not be enough raw material for the battery supply chain as we go into 2030;
  • Lack of supply is not due to any geological constraints, but a simple lack of capital investment to build the mines of tomorrow;
  • Benchmark forecasts that lithium chemical supply will be in a deficit of over 300,000 tonnes by 2030, with nickel sulphate supply set to fall short of demand by nearly 400,000 tonnes, cobalt by over 75,000 tonnes and flake graphite by nearly 2 million tonnes by the end of the decade;
  • Both lithium and cobalt face medium-term challenges to meeting automotive consumer ambitions; raw material constraints will prevent battery production topping the 1 TWh threshold until 2025.
  • Benchmark founder Simon Moores stressed that automakers  will “need to become miners” and only bringing downstream capacity to market will not be sufficient to feed the booming EV battery supply chain.

Moores added that the lithium and nickel price spikes seen recently are an indication that OEM’s raw material fears are materialising and the chaos seen in nickel trading on the LME is adding to calls for new pricing mechanisms.

Benchmark’s USA gigafactory event is scheduled for 23–24 June in Washington DC.



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