June Newsletter – 06.06.2022

  • Chinese Mining Billionaire To Invest $300 Million In Zimbabwe Lithium Project
  • Coal India to issue two tenders for imported coal to address local shortage
  • Chinese warehouses check metal inventories as traders cry foul
  • Glencore expected to dismiss bid for Yancoal Australia stake
  • Picasso pigment may be key to recovering gold from e-waste
  • Argentine mining companies condemn lithium export price set by government
  • Ganfeng kicks off construction of Mariana lithium project in Argentina
  • Arbitration hearing set for January in Vedanta-Zambia dispute

Chinese Mining Billionaire To Invest $300 Million In Zimbabwe Lithium Project

A grinding mill installed at the Arcadia Lithium mine on January 11, 2022 in Goromonzi, Zimbabwe

Shanghai-listed mining company Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, controlled by billionaire Chen Xuehua, will invest $300 million into its Arcadia lithium mine near Harare, Zimbabwe, according to a Reuters report, citing the company’s documents.

Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe, the holding company of the Arcadia project, will use the investment to rapidly develop the lithium mine and construct a plant with a processing capacity of 4.5 million tonnes of ore and a production capacity of 400,00 tonnes of lithium concentrate per year.

During the construction period, Prospect Lithium Zimbabwe will employ 600 local workers, which will be increased to 900 people once production begins. The Arcadia project is slated for commencing delivery of its first batch of production next year.


Coal India to issue two tenders for imported coal to address local shortage

Coal India COAL.NS, the world’s largest coal miner by output, will issue a short-term and a medium-term tender next week to import coal for utilities, two senior officials at the company said, as shortages raise concerns about renewed power outages.

The state-run miner, which has little experience in importing coal, was asked to place orders for shipments from overseas by the power ministry last week as utilities suggested multiple tenders would lead to confusion and sought centralised procurement through Coal India.

Indian officials are rushing to make more coal available for utilities as shortages in the July-September quarter are expected to be 15% wider than intitially estimated due to expectations of higher power demand.

The short-term tender will seek delivery of imported coal between July and December, while the medium term tender will demand supplies between July 2022 to June 2023, the officials, who did not wish to be identified, said.

The tenders will be placed on a business-to-business (B2B) basis, as government-to-government (G2G) imports – suggested by the power ministry last week – would delay the process, the officials said.

Coal India plans to issue the tenders by June 7, the officials said, adding that the decision to import was approved by the company’s board on Thursday.


Chinese warehouses check metal inventories as traders cry foul

Regular operations in at least three Chinese warehouses have been suspended to check on-site metal inventories, according to people with knowledge of the information.

The suspensions came after several domestic traders alleged they were duped into providing loans against artificially inflated aluminum stockpiles in one facility.

The warehouse in China’s southern Guangdong province, managed by Foshan Zhongjin Shengyuan Warehouse Management Co., halted operations after the local police received complaints from creditors, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Some traders, who lent a total of more than 500 million yuan ($75 million) against stockpiles of the metal stored in the warehouse, found earlier this week that the stockpiles were worth significantly less than that, the people said.


Glencore expected to dismiss bid for Yancoal Australia stake

Glencore (LON: GLEN) is expected to dismiss a $3.60 per share offer for its minority stake in Yancoal Australia (ASX: YAL) as it considers the Chinese majority owner’s bid for the coal producer offensively low.

Yankuang Energy Group made an offer last week to acquire the 37.7% it does not already own in Australia’s largest listed coal miner at a 16% discount to the current market price for Yancoal shares.

Sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters that Glencore considered the $1.8 billion deal “unacceptable” because it “significantly undervalues” the stock.

Yankuang is attempting to get close to the 90% ownership threshold which, according to Australian rules, would allow it to acquire all the small number of shares owned by two other Chinese state-owned retail and institutional investors and take Yancoal private.

The Swiss miner and commodities trader had reportedly tried to convince Yankuang to buy its part in Yancoal on multiple occasions over the past five years, which would explain why the Chinese company presented such low bid.


Picasso pigment may be key to recovering gold from e-waste

The Old Guitarist from Picasso’s blue period.

Researchers at Nagoya University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology discovered that a pigment called Prussian blue may be the key to recovering precious metals such as gold and platinum from nuclear and electronic waste.

Besides giving some of Picasso’s and Van Gogh’s paintings a characteristic dark blue hue, Prussian blue has been used by chemists to recover certain metals. This is possible because the pigment has nanometer-sized spaces or nanospaces which, in turn, have a jungle-gym-shaped lattice.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, the Japanese researchers explain that they used X-rays and ultraviolet spectroscopy to learn more about the process that allows Prussian blue to uptake multi-valent metals.

“I was surprised to discover that Prussian blue uptakes the platinum-group precious metals by substitution with iron ions in the framework while keeping the jungle-gym structure,” Jun Onoe, one of the scientists involved in the discovery, said. “This mechanism allows Prussian blue to uptake more gold and platinum-group metals than conventional biobased absorbents.”


Argentine mining companies condemn lithium export price set by government

The price for lithium exports set by Argentina’s government earlier this week could limit the country’s ability to profit from the increasingly hot market for the crucial electric vehicle battery material, an industry group said Friday.

Argentina’s customs agency set a reference price of $53 per kilo for lithium carbonate exports to countries like the United States, China, Japan, Canada and Thailand in order to tackle what it called “irregularities” in the market and improve transparency.

The new measure will have a “negative impact on companies with investments in Argentina and on the development of other projects in the pipeline,” said Argentina’s Chamber of Mining Entrepreneurs (CAEM).

“It is essential for the country to be able to maintain a stable framework of clear rules and legal certainty that allows the planning of investments of a productive nature,” the group said.

Argentina and neighbors Bolivia and Chile form the so-called “lithium triangle,” home to the largest reserves globally of the metal.


Ganfeng kicks off construction of Mariana lithium project in Argentina

Ganfeng Lithium, China’s no.1 producer of the battery metal, and its subsidiary Litio Minera Argentina kicked off this week the construction phase of their Mariana lithium project, located in Argentina’s northwestern Salta province.

After breaking ground in Salta with local authorities on Monday, company representatives met later in the week with Argentinian president Alberto Fernández and relevant cabinet ministers, who said that the project should be considered a milestone for the province and the region.

The Mariana project sits on the Llullaillaco salt flat, which is less than 140 kilometres south of Chile’s Atacama salt flat, the largest producing lithium brine deposit in the world. This means that Ganfeng’s project shares some commonalities with existing brine operations in the Atacama Desert.

Both the Atacama and the Llullaillaco salt flats are located in the Puna region, which has some of the lowest recorded precipitation and highest evaporation rates in the world making this an ideal place for an efficient natural solar concentration process.


Arbitration hearing set for January in Vedanta-Zambia dispute

LUSAKA :Zambia’s decision three years ago to take control of a copper mine in the country’s north will be subject to an arbitration hearing in January in London, the country’s mines minister said on Wednesday, amid a lengthy dispute over the mine’s ownership.

Zambia in May 2019 handed control of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to a state-appointed provisional liquidator, triggering a legal battle with its previous owner, India-listed Vedanta, with arguments heard in Zambia and South Africa and the dispute going to international arbitration.

Zambia’s government accused Vedanta at the time of failing to honour licence conditions, including promised investment – which Vedanta has denied.

Mines Minister Paul Kabuswe said the referral to arbitration came after legal rulings.

“Following the Court of Appeal’s decision to stay proceedings and refer the matter back to arbitration – a decision supported by the Supreme Court – a hearing is now set for 9th January 2023,” Kabuswe said in a statement.



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