June Newsletter – 17.06.19
Mining Journal have just released World Risk Survey, which is used to feed into Investment Risk Index. Last year Mining Journal gathered enough data to cover 96 jurisdictions and they need a little help to pull in enough information to break through 100. Would you mind completing the survey and maybe then circulating to colleagues and asking them to complete?
Investor eyes on London
As well as a closer look at some of the best gold, copper, zinc, potash, vanadium, lithium, tin and ilmenite projects in the global project development pipeline, the 2019 Mining Journal Select conference in London will give investors timely insights into the forces driving metal prices and markets, and conditions in some of the world’s most prominent exploration and mining jurisdictions.
Some of these messages will be expounded in keynote addresses by market experts from Europe and North America.
The second annual MJ Select conference brings a strong line-up of development-project companies and their senior executives to London.
As can be seen in the table below, it’s been a tough 12 months across the main equity markets for resource companies. This year has seen slightly improved conditions for stocks and financing, but company executives will mostly be trying to shift attention to the positive outlook for markets and potential boosts to project earnings and investment returns if they can deliver proposed mines to schedule.
Australian rare earth miners push development deals to counter China grip
MELBOURNE, June 14 (Reuters) – Rare earth developers in Australia say they are edging closer to signing deals with new customers that would drive forward their projects amid mounting global supply concerns over the minerals that are crucial to high-tech industries.
Australia contains only 2.8% of the world’s rare earth reserves, according to the United States Geological Survey. However, the country accounts for more than half of the new projects in the global pipeline, according to data compiled by the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) at Curtin University.
Rare earths are a group of 17 minerals critical to a wide array of industries from high-tech consumer electronics to electric vehicles and sophisticated military equipment.
Most of Australia’s projects, however, have been stuck as developers struggle to secure financing because of the domination of China, which accounts for about 90% of global rare earths processing capacity and one-quarter of the world’s reserves.
Even the projects closest to start-up are unlikely to begin operations until 2023 at the earliest, the WASM data shows.
Still, those projects may speed up amid the escalating trade war between the United States and China. The United States imports 80% of its rare earths from China, where state-owned news outlets have reported it could cut its shipments to the U.S. as part of the dispute.
China Minmetals Rare Earth starts new mining project in Hunan
BEIJING (Reuters) – China Minmetals Rare Earth, one of the country’s largest rare earth miners, has begun construction of a new mining project in the central province of Hunan, the company said on Tuesday.
The project in Jianghua county is expected to begin production in February 2020, with estimated output of 1,800 tonnes a year of rare earth oxides, China Minmetals told Reuters by email.
The deposit has ore reserves of 104,300 tonnes, according to the company website.
Prices of rare earths, a group of 17 elements used in a wide-range of products from lasers and military equipment to consumer electronics, have hit multi-year highs following a flurry of reports that Beijing could use them in its trade war against Washington.
Rare earth exports by China, which supplied 80% of imports by the United States from 2014 to 2017, fell 16% in May from a month earlier.
China Minmetals Rare Earth, a subsidiary of state-backed China Minmetals Corp, produced 4,101 tonnes of rare earth oxides in 2018, up 19% from a year earlier, according to a company filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Shares in China Minmetals Rare Earth rose 10% to 16.87 yuan on Tuesday, a near two-week high.
In Coal We Trust: The Need For Coal Power In Asia
- The claim that aggressive climate change mitigation programs helps the poor is egregiously misleading.
- The coal industry will remain essential to human flourishing long into the future, and reports of its impending death have been greatly exaggerated.
The reigning narrative of impending global environmental catastrophe dominates the airwaves and print media. Short of a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels, it is asserted, we are fast approaching the “end of days”. The demonization of fossils fuels in general, and coal in particular, has been wrought under pressure from special interests groups and organized lobbies of the climate-industrial complex where aspects of economic reality are caricatured or presented out of context. Complex trade-offs in energy policy are spun into tales of spurious simplicity, leading to misleading conclusions. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the debate over the role of coal-fueled power generation in Asia.
Opposition to the building of coal power plants in the poorer countries has been justified by environmental activists, banks and multilateral development agencies such as the World Bank in two key ways. The first revolves around the claim that climate change mitigation programs carry “co-benefits” for public health in developing countries. The second utilizes the assertion that renewable energy such as solar and wind power are effective substitutes for centralized grid electricity generated by fossil fuels.
Romania offers rare earths to enter lucrative battery market
BUCHAREST – Romania is reopening mines for rare earth minerals to lure investments in electric battery plants, joining a Europe-wide initiative that aims for a bigger share of the global market.
The government is renewing operations at three mines that produce rare metals, including europium and dysprosium, for the first time in three decades, Economy Minister Niculae Badalau said in an interview in Bucharest. Talks with electric battery manufacturers are ongoing for an investment of more than €50-million, he said.
“We want to become a member of the European Battery Alliance,” Badalau said. “That will ensure that at least one of the factories to produce electric batteries currently planned by several companies will be located here,” he said, without naming the potential investors.
Romania is hoping to join the European battery network through Radioactiv Mineral Magurele, a company that traces its roots to uranium production and later rare metals during the communist era.
INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
European lithium projects gain attention amid push toward electric vehicles
European lithium projects are making a fresh push for capital, eager to supply the white metal to a burgeoning network of battery manufacturers and electric vehicle makers across the continent, the world’s second-largest EV market after China.
A regional EV supply chain would help achieve European Union goals to lower carbon emissions, cut fossil fuel consumption and strengthen the ability of the continent’s automakers and battery makers to compete with Asian rivals CATL, LG Chem and Samsung.
That would require local supplies of the metal, and lithium projects from Spain to Finland are aggressively hunting for financial partners to bring mines online.
“I’m pretty impressed by what I see being built out for an electric vehicle supply chain in Europe,” Chris Berry, an independent lithium analyst, said on the sidelines of this week’s Fastmarkets Lithium Supply and Markets Conference in Santiago, the industry’s largest annual gathering.
“There’s a lot of awareness from the top down, especially from government.”
DeepGreen closer to ocean mining battery metals after Swiss cash injection
Canada’s DeepGreen Metals, a start-up planning to extract cobalt and other battery metals from small rocks covering the seafloor, has secured the bulk of the $150 million it needs to carry out its first feasibility studies.
The financing, provided by Switzerland-based offshore pipeline company Allseas Group, is a welcome sign of progress for the deep sea mining sector, which has been stalled due regulatory uncertainty and environmental concerns.
Unlike other seafloor mining companies, including pioneer Nautilus Minerals, the Vancouver-based explorer doesn’t want to drill, blast or dig the bottom of the ocean. DeepGreen’s main goal is to scoop up small metallic rocks located thousands of metres below the surface in the North Pacific Ocean.
Its exploration focus is the Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), a mineral-rich, 4,000-kilometre swath of the Pacific that stretches from Hawaii to Mexico, where billions of potato-sized metals-rich rocks lie in a shallow layer of mud on the seafloor.
The deep sea, more than half the world’s surface, contains more cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese and rare earth metals than all land reserves combined, according to the US Geological Survey.
Companies exploring or already developing projects to mine the seafloor argue the extraction of those deep-buried riches could help diversify the sources currently supplying metals needed for electronics and evolving green technologies, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and solar panels.
Academics and scientist, however, are concerned by the lack of research on the possible impacts of high seas mining. They fear the activity could devastate fragile ecosystems that are slow to recover in the highly pressurized darkness of the deep sea, as well as having knock-on effects on the wider ocean environment.