March Newsletter – 30.03.2021
- Colombia launches 2021 mining round for copper areas
- Newest battery metal IPO taps rising interest in the deep sea
- Massive battery recycling facility opens in Singapore
- Kaz Minerals bidders up takeover bid to $5.5 billion
- Rare earth riddle: China has US by the throat
- Class action against Rio Tinto over Oyu Tolgoi escalates
- Australian lithium miner ready for ‘dynamic shift’ in EV battery supply chain amid US-China tensions
- Canada tightens takeover rules for critical minerals
Colombia launches 2021 mining round for copper areas
Colombia opened its 2021 mining round for copper and polymetallic exploration, offering over 6,500ha in five areas of Cesar and La Guajira departments.
Representatives of mining agency ANM held virtual business rounds with investors to provide details of the areas, so they can submit offers using the platform Anna Minería.
ANM head Juan Miguel Durán said in a release that the virtual submissions will make the process more competitive and transparent, while reducing risks and offering legal certainty to investors.
The five areas include 5,196ha for copper in the San Diego and La Paz municipalities in Cesar department, while the remaining 1,305ha are in La Jagua del Pilar and Urumita municipalities in La Guajira.
ANM has said the selection criteria will focus on the companies’ liquidity, indebtedness, exploration programs and social responsibility practices.
Concession blocks to be auctioned this year also include 18 areas in Antioquia department and 12 in Tolima.
Newest battery metal IPO taps rising interest in the deep sea
Rising investor demand for ethically-sourced battery metals opened the window this week for Norwegian seafarers to become the first deep-sea mining stock publicly offered.
Norway’s Green Minerals AS says it will be able to exploit the cobalt and copper needed by electric vehicles without inflicting damages on people and the environment. Most current production comes from loosely-regulated mines in Democratic Republic of Congo. Green Minerals joins a growing list of companies that want to clean up supply chains by mining the deep sea.
“There isn’t as much conversation in the green community about what comes before the final product, the resources required for batteries, panels and windmills,” Green Minerals Chairman Staale Rodahl said in an interview. The company is among Europe’s 10 best initial public offerings this year after more than doubling its value following Tuesday’s listing on the Euronext Growth market in Oslo.
Massive battery recycling facility opens in Singapore
E-waste recycling company TES announced the opening of a multi-million-dollar facility to recycle lithium batteries in Singapore.
Known as TES B, the plant is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, with the capacity to recycle up to 14 tonnes or the equivalent of 280,000 lithium-ion smartphone batteries a day.
In a press release, TES said that the facility hosts auto-punching machines and shredders that convert batteries into a black mass, while a chemical treatment and magnetic separators extract metals such as lithium, cobalt, copper, nickel, and aluminum.
According to the company, its technology’s recovery rate exceeds 90% and yields a purity level of almost 99%. This means that the recycled metals are commercially ready for the production of new batteries.
“Looking ahead, the battery space is potentially facing raw material commodity shortages stemming from the exponential proliferation of Internet-of-Things devices, electric vehicles, and mobility devices,” TES’s CEO, Gary Steele, said in the media brief.
Kaz Minerals bidders up takeover bid to $5.5 billion
Bozshakol open pit mine in Kazakhstan. (Image courtesy of Kaz Minerals.)
Nova Resources, the consortium bidding to take copper miner KAZ Minerals (LON: KAZ) private has increased its offer by 9% to £4.02B ($5.5 billion), after minority shareholders said they would reject earlier proposals for being too low.
Nova, which is controlled by KAZ chair Oleg Novachuk and billionaire Vladimir Kim, said it would pay 850 pence per share plus a special dividend, which lifts the total bid to 869p/share for the 61% of the mining company it doesn’t already own.
The fresh and final offer is up from a previous bid of 780p per share made in February and a first attempt made in October proposing 640p per share.
Commenting on the improved bid, Novachuk said Nova had listened to shareholders unhappy with the previous offers.
Copper is in high demand for use in renewable energy and electric vehicles, but new deposits are rare and increasingly difficult to recover.
“Copper market dynamics have evolved since the announcement of the original offer in October 2020, and the final increased offer fully reflects this change,” Novachuk added.
Rare earth riddle: China has US by the throat
(MENAFN – Asia Times) The facts are nothing short of startling.
A high-tech F-35 stealth fighter jet contains 920 lbs. of rare earth elements (REEs).
Each US Navy Arleigh Burke-class AEGIS destroyer has 5,200 lbs., and a Virginia-class submarine has 9,200 lbs.
These three commodities are also key to the future of alternative energy, electric vehicles, mobile phones, and even headphones.
Combine that with the fact that 80% of all American rare earth supplies come from China.
A nation now run by leader, Xi Jinping, who recently ordered his Marine Corps — in an act of sheer madness, or, to up the ante on the US — to prepare for war.
This gives the Chinese the ability to choke off the West’s economies while the struggle to produce the vital elements elsewhere is mounted.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is reeling from a disastrous showing in Anchorage last week, where Chinese officials launched a history-making vindictive diatribe, attacking everything America stands for, and then some.
Class action against Rio Tinto over Oyu Tolgoi escalates
A new claim filed in a US court on Thursday over Rio Tinto’s (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO) handling of the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine expansion in Mongolia alleges the mining giant concealed the real cause of the delays that have held back its most important growth project.
In a 163-page claim filed in New York, Pentwater Capital Management — the second-largest shareholder in Rio-controlled Turquoise Hill (TSX, NYSE: TRQ) — has included the testimony of 12 individuals who worked for Rio or its contractors and which could tip the balance against the miner.
The document cites defective Chinese steel, incompetent engineering and poor procurement as some of the “true” reasons behind the mine expansion’s massive cost increase and delays.
The new claim expands upon the initial class action lodged late last year, which accused Rio of being too slow in telling investors of the cost and schedule blowouts.
Both Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill have largely blamed the setbacks to the late realization that the project’s geology was weaker than first thought and needing a change of technical approach.
The complaint quotes a former employee described as a “top manager” who worked at Oyu Tolgoi from 2013 to 2019 for mining contractor Redpath, saying the notion that geological issues were the primary cause of the delays was “one hundred per cent pure horseshit”.
Australian lithium miner ready for ‘dynamic shift’ in EV battery supply chain amid US-China tensions
- Australian miner Hawkstone Mining has successfully produced battery-grade raw lithium at its Big Sandy Sedimentary Lithium Project in Arizona
- Lithium is a keystone metal in the manufacturing of electric vehicle (EVs) batteries, while battery-grade lithium carbonate is used to make the cathode material for lithium-ion batteries used in EVs
Hawkstone’s Big Sandy project, significant due to its location within a key battery production corridor in the US and to the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada, can now move to drilling and the design of a production plant.
Australian miner Hawkstone Mining has successfully produced battery-grade raw lithium at its Arizona mine that would be valuable to US critical mineral and battery supply chains amid a global race to step up security in key sectors.
As the United States and China compete to secure supply chains that are key to the defence, technology and green energy sectors such as batteries and rare earth, Hawkstone said on Wednesday that lithium from its Big Sandy Lithium Project can be turned into top-grade lithium carbonate at “99.8 per cent purity”, exceeding the industry standard.
Lithium is a keystone metal in the manufacturing of electric vehicle (EVs) batteries, while battery-grade lithium carbonate is used to make the cathode material for lithium-ion batteries used in EVs.
Canada tightens takeover rules for critical minerals
Canada has tightened foreign investment rules to protect the security of critical mineral supply chains, a government spokesperson said on Thursday, ahead of an expected surge in demand for metals used to make electric vehicles.
The move comes as the U.S. government works with Canada to boost regional supply chains to counter China’s dominance in the sector.
The updated guidelines mean proposed takeovers of companies specializing in critical minerals and sensitive personal data, as well as investments by “state-owned or state-influenced investors”, could trigger a national security review.
“Our government has updated these guidelines to provide increased certainty for Canadian businesses and investors,” said John Power, spokesman for Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne.
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