January Newsletter – 17.01.2022


  • Tesla Signs Deal With Australian Mining Firm Syrah To Secure Supplies Of Graphite For Lithium-ion Batteries, Move Seen As Bid To Reduce Chinese Dependence
  • Phosphate, gold, copper lead Saudi Arabia’s $1.3 trillion untapped mining market
  • Serbia: Activists block roads to protest lithium mine
  • Junkyard gold: Mitsubishi Materials scours globe using big data
  • Recycling plant aims to turn US coal country into rare earth powerhouse
  • Vulcan Energy, Frankfurt-based Nobian seek to develop lithium plant
  • Coal to make up 85% of total U.S. power capacity to be retired in 2022 – EIA
  • Endeavour Silver Announces Appointment of New Director

Tesla Signs Deal With Australian Mining Firm Syrah To Secure Supplies Of Graphite For Lithium-ion Batteries, Move Seen As Bid To Reduce Chinese Dependence

In a bid to reduce dependence on China for critical raw materials for its lithium-ion batteries (LiB), US electric vehicle maker Tesla has signed an agreement with Australia’s Syrah Resources to supply natural graphite.

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Balama Graphite Mine in Mozambique

Syrah will supply Active Anode Material (AAM) from its vertically integrated AAM production facility in Vidalia, Louisiana.

Syrah will source material from Balama in Mozambique were the firm operates one of the world’s largest graphite mines.

Spread over 110 sq.km, the US$200 million mining project is set to be the largest graphite producing mine in the world when it reaches nameplate capacity. With a life-of-mine total graphite content (TGC) of about 19%, the quality of graphite extracted here is said to nearly double the grade of ‘typical’ graphite deposits in China and Brazil. Syrah commenced commercial production in 2019.

Tesla plans to buy up 80% of what the plant produces — 8,000 tons of graphite per year — starting in 2025, according to the agreement. Tesla also has retained an option to offtake additional volume from Vidalia production facility subject to Syrah expanding its capacity beyond 10000 tons per annum of AAM.

China currently accounts for 79 percent of the production of lithium-ion cells, and 80 percent of the chemicals used in lithium-ion batteries. It holds a 55 to 60 percent volume share in the global graphite market in 2019.


Phosphate, gold, copper lead Saudi Arabia’s $1.3 trillion untapped mining market

Saudi Arabia holds an estimated $1.3 trillion worth of untapped mineral deposits — led by phosphate, gold and copper — according to the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program.

These three commodities, all of which are already being mined in the Kingdom, will no doubt be much discussed at Future Minerals Forum, to be held in Riyadh between Jan. 11 and 13.

NIDLP established a Geological Survey Program in 2020, expected to last six years, for the Arabian Shield — the pre-Cambrian rock-bed formed more than 4 billion years ago and which measures up to 14 kilometers deep — in the Kingdom’s western region.

The program, which was created to support the Kingdom’s diversification away from oil, estimates the value of Saudi Arabia’s largest three minerals resources at $321 billion of phosphate, $229 billion of gold and $222 billion of copper, as well as $70 billion worth each of iron and uranium — among a total of 48 minerals and metals.

The Saudi Arabian Mining Co., or Ma’aden, said that the $6.4 billion expansion of its phosphate fertilizer portfolio will add 3 million tons of capacity, boosting it to more than 9 million tons by 2025. This will make the firm one of the top three global phosphate fertilizer producers, and place Saudi Arabia as the second largest phosphate fertilizer exporter in the world.

These figures have attracted the interest of major mining operators around the world.

The chairman of Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines, Robert Friedman, recently said: “We think the (Arabian Shield’s) potential is limitless for diamonds, rare earth, lithium, copper, gold and other minerals.

“It’s big, it’s unexplored and it’s blessed by cheap energy, new infrastructure and proximity to markets.”

The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources said that it received more than 1,500 licensing requests last year after the passing of a new law last June making it easier for foreign companies to invest in the Kingdom.


Serbia: Activists block roads to protest lithium mine

Traffic came to a standstill on major roads as activists demanded the scrapping of a planned lithium mine. Serbia is already suffering from a series of environmental problems.

Protesters blocked major roads in Serbia on Sunday and demanded the government cancel plans to build a lithium mine in the west of the country.

The main north-south highway that passes through the capital, Belgrade, was targeted by environmental protection activists, halting traffic for an hour. Traffic on several other roads, including a border crossing with Bosnia, was also brought to a standstill.

The protesters are calling on the government to stop plans by the global mining giant Rio Tinto to invest $2.4 billion (€2.1 billion) in a lithium mine project.

The ruling coalition in Belgrade, headed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, told the Reuters news agency that a decision on the mine would be made after the country’s general election on April 3.

The protests against the mine have been going on for weeks, taking place every Saturday. The activists vowed to keep going until their demands are met.


Junkyard gold: Mitsubishi Materials scours globe using big data

TOKYO — Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials has built an online platform to buy up scrap circuit boards from suppliers across the world and collect content data as it seeks to turn electronic waste into a stable source of gold, copper and other metals.

Using the platform, launched in December, the maker of nonferrous metals will directly negotiate with scrap collectors and make the process more efficient. Consolidating transactions into one platform allows the company to accumulate data on metal content of scraps from different areas.

Mitsubishi Materials is one of the largest recyclers of scrap boards, taking in about 140,000 tons, or about 20% of the global supply, in a practice known as urban mining. Around 70% of the material comes from across 60 different countries and regions.

Some of these transactions have already been moved onto the Mitsubishi Materials E-Scrap eXchange (MEX), which the company calls the first of its kind.

Companies can now notify Mitsubishi Materials when they have scrap boards available through this online platform. Mitsubishi Materials analyzes samples to determine what metals are in them and calculates purchase offers. It also stores information from these transactions to create a world-leading databank on urban mining.


Recycling plant aims to turn US coal country into rare earth powerhouse

This week, HG Ventures, an investment arm of The Heritage Group, and American Rare Earth LLC, a subsidiary of the American Resources Corporation (NASDAQ: AREC), announced they are teaming up to scale up the recycling of batteries, magnets and e-waste with the goal of recovering and supplying critical minerals and rare earth metals to US and global markets.

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Mining rare earths, essential elements to realizing an electrified economy, can be challenging as materials needed are either not yet mined, or are latent, stranded, for example, in old coal mines – environmental legacy liabilities spread all over North America.

The Heritage Group, which owns Retriev Technologies, the largest lithium-ion battery recycler in North America, and American Resources, one of the largest owners of mining infrastructure and related assets in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, are aiming to solve this problem via the proxy partnership by using legacy tailings from coal mines in the vast Appalachia coal mining region of the eastern US to strip out rare earths and recycle them in a new facility being built in Noblesville, Indiana.


Vulcan Energy, Frankfurt-based Nobian seek to develop lithium plant

Australian lithium producer Vulcan Energy said on Tuesday it is exploring to jointly develop its Central Lithium Plant with Frankfurt-based chemical producer Nobian.

The potential deal comes as demand for lithium hydroxide sees a surge due to shifting preferences towards electric cars, with Vulcan looking to cash in on its position to be a key supplier of raw materials for European automakers, including Volkswagen, Stellantis and Renault.

Lithium hydroxide is a crucial chemical used in making batteries for electric vehicles.

Vulcan and Nobian signed an MoU and a term sheet to explore the joint development, which will occur in phases. The company had already secured a site in Frankfurt for the “zero carbon” lithium plant.


Coal to make up 85% of total U.S. power capacity to be retired in 2022 – EIA

U.S. power plant operators were scheduled to retire about 12.6 gigawatt (GW) of coal-fired generating capacity in 2022 out of the total 14.9 GW capacity set to be retired.

Coal-fired plants will account for about 85% of total U.S. power capacity scheduled for retirement this year with natural gas and renewables taking a greater share of the supply the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.


Endeavour Silver Announces Appointment of New Director

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Endeavour Silver Corp. (TSX: EDR, NYSE: EXK) is pleased to announce the appointment of Amy E. Jacobsen, QP, P.E., MBA to the Company’s board of directors effective January 3, 2022.

“We are delighted to welcome Amy to our board. She is well recognized for her contribution to the mining industry and brings extensive expertise as well as a depth of mining experience that will serve Endeavour Silver well as we pursue our vision of being a premier senior silver producer,” stated Dan Dickson, Chief Executive Officer.

Ms. Jacobsen has over 30 years of diverse global experience and was recognized among the 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining 2020. Her experience includes industrial minerals and fertilizers, base metals including copper, cobalt, zinc, and nickel, precious metals, and energy fuels such as coal, lignite and uranium.

Ms. Jacobsen started her career at Homestake and Hazen Research before moving to Stone and Webster Management Consultants. Most recently, she spent 14 years in various management positions at Behre Dolbear Group, including 3 years as chair of the board of directors from 2016 to 2019. Ms. Jacobsen is currently the President of Windward Consulting as well as Adjunct Professor in the Professional Masters – Mining Engineering and Management degree program at the Colorado School of Mines.



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