May Newsletter – 03.05.2022


  • Coal body suggests ‘energy trilemma’ for net zero emissions
  • Uranium miners ready to meet market needs, WNFC hears
  • Vale’s Indonesian Unit Signs Nickel Deal With China Partner
  • Europe’s Green Deal requires massive amounts of battery metals – study
  • Enough nickel, lithium for 14 million EVs in 2023 – European climate group
  • Nutrien boosts outlook for potash sales as fertilizer surges
  • Biden’s team puts up over $3 billion to boost US battery output
  • Congo backs billionaire Gertler’s bid to end US sanctions

Coal body suggests ‘energy trilemma’ for net zero emissions

Ranchi: At a time when the world is trying to look away from coal towards renewable energy to achieve “net zero” emission levels, the World Coal Association (WCA) has stressed that it is possible by considering the energy trilemma – security, sustainability, and affordability -in coal equation.

Chief executive officer of WCA Michelle Manook, who was at the NTPC coal mining headquarters here on Monday to attend a discussion on ‘Future of Coal’, said the world needs coal as it is the affordable choice for energy in many markets and the only viable choice for critical industries.

“Coal production is vital not only for power production but also for ancillary (manufacturing) industries like cement, steel, and aluminium. It is also an important social factor, particularly in countries like India,” she said.

Uranium miners ready to meet market needs, WNFC hears

The global uranium market has not yet been impacted by recent geopolitical events, speakers from uranium suppliers said during a session of World Nuclear Fuel Cycle 2022 in London. However, they agreed that the longer-term future is uncertain but the industry can bring capacity online to avoid any shortages.

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The uranium mining panel at WNFC 2022. From left to right, moderator Treva Klingbiel, Kazatomprom’s Askar Batyrbayev, Orano’s Nicolas Maes and Cameco’s Tim Gitzel.

“We face an unprecedented time ahead of us,” said session moderator Treva Klingbiel, president of TradeTech. “We face both incredible challenges and opportunities given where we are in the marketplace, both with the need for new nuclear and the expectations and realisation that we need it and we face a supply deficit. And also on top of that, we have outsized geopolitical events that are really overshadowing and can impact much of the nuclear fuel cycle.”

Cameco President and CEO Tim Gitzel noted the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan “changed our lives for sure”. He said Cameco continued producing uranium, even though demand dropped. “It took Cameco five years to realise we got to do something different than we had been doing and so, with our partners, we decided to pull back on some production and shut Rabbit Lake down. We shut Wyoming down, we shut Nebraska down and we pulled back on McArthur River.”

“This year has changed everything,” Gitzel added. “The last 60 days has been unbelievable. We are still trying to figure it out.”,-WNFC-he

Vale’s Indonesian Unit Signs Nickel Deal With China Partner

Vale will supply nickel ore for the facility that will use high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) to produce up to 120,000 tonnes of nickel content per year

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Nickel mining in Indonesia. Huayou has proven its track record in HPAL construction and operations in Indonesia, Vale Indonesia chief executive Febriany Eddy said.

The Indonesian unit of Brazil’s mining giant Vale said on Thursday it has signed a framework agreement with China’s Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt to build a plant to produce minerals used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Under the agreement, Huayou will develop the Pomalaa project in Southeast Sulawesi and Vale Indonesia would have rights to acquire up to 30% stake in the project, Vale said.

Vale would supply nickel ore for the facility that would use a process called high-pressure acid leaching (HPAL) which would have production capacity of 120,000 tonnes of nickel content per year, Vale said in a statement.

Vale had previously been working with Japanese miner and smelter Sumitomo Metal Mining on a feasibility study for the Pomalaa project since 2012.

Sumitomo Metal Mining said on Monday it has decided to discontinue the study because of a disagreement with Vale Indonesia.

“Huayou has proven its track record in HPAL construction and operations in Indonesia,” Vale chief executive Febriany Eddy said in the statement.

Europe’s Green Deal requires massive amounts of battery metals – study

A recent study by KU Leuven University shows that meeting the European Union’s Green Deal goal of climate neutrality by 2050 will require 35 times more lithium and 7 to 26 times the amount of rare earth metals compared to Europe’s current use.

According to the paper, the energy transition will also require 30% more aluminum than what is employed today in the continent, as well as 35% more copper, 45% more silicon, 100% more nickel and 330% more cobalt. All these metals are considered essential for producing electric vehicles and batteries, renewable wind, solar and hydrogen energy technologies, as well as the grid infrastructure needed to achieve climate neutrality.

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Europe’s battery metals needs until 2050. (Graph by KU Leuven University).

In real numbers, the percentages talk about 4.5 million tonnes of aluminum, 1.5 million tonnes of copper, 800,000 tonnes of lithium, 400,000 tonnes of nickel, 300,000 tonnes of zinc, 200,000 tonnes of silicon, 60,000 tonnes of cobalt, and 3,000 tonnes of the rare earths metals neodymium, dysprosium and praseodymium, which is an increase between 700-2,600% from current levels.

Enough nickel, lithium for 14 million EVs in 2023 – European climate group

Data shows there is enough nickel and lithium to produce up to 14 million electric vehicles (EVs) globally in 2023, so Europe should secure more raw materials to shift away from oil faster, campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E) said on Tuesday.

In a study based on BloombergNEF data on global maximum volumes of EV battery-grade nickel and lithium, T&E said that in 2025 there would be enough to make 21 million EVs globally.

Excluding Russian nickel, T&E said there should be sufficient raw materials for 19 million EVs in 2025.

Global EV sales more than doubled to 4.2 million vehicles in 2021 from just over 2 million in 2020.

Automotive consultancy LMC has forecast global EV sales will hit 9 million in 2023 and 14.2 million in 2025.

Nutrien boosts outlook for potash sales as fertilizer surges

Nutrien Ltd., the world’s largest fertilizer company, boosted its outlook for profit growth and cash flow, saying it plans to sell more potash as crop-nutrient prices soar.

The company is projecting earnings-per-share of $16.20 to $18.70 on an adjusted basis; the previous target was $10.20 to $11.80. Nutrien and other fertilizer companies have benefited from record prices as major exporter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Belarus threaten a massive portion of global fertilizer supply.

Mosaic Co., the world’s largest phosphate producer, reported first-quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates. Total potash production is expected to exceed recent historical levels for the remainder of 2022, the company said Monday in a statement.

Nutrien has said it will increase potash production to fill a worldwide deficit. Russia and Belarus account for about 40% of global potash output and exports, and sanctions and other restrictions imposed on the countries have “significantly constrained supply,” the company said Monday in a statement.

Nutrien has raised 2022 potash sales volume guidance to between 14.5 to 15.1 million tons, with the majority of the extra capacity to be produced in the second half of the year.

Biden’s team puts up over $3 billion to boost US battery output

The Biden administration will spend more than $3 billion to support the domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries used in electric vehicles and energy storage, officials said Monday.

About $3.16 billion in grants will be made available to produce key battery metals such as lithium, cobalt and nickel, said Dave Howell, principal deputy director in the Energy Department’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains.

Encouraging the domestic production of battery minerals has been a priority for the Biden administration as it seeks to electrify half of all new U.S. cars by 2030. But surging commodity prices and supply chain snarls remain a challenge. Earlier this Spring the White House invoked the Defense Production Act to spur output of lithium, nickel, graphite, cobalt and manganese.

“Positioning the United States front and center in meeting the growing demand for advanced batteries is how we boost our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

Congo backs billionaire Gertler’s bid to end US sanctions

The Democratic Republic of Congo will assist Dan Gertler’s effort to be taken off the US sanctions list as part of a settlement ending an international arbitration case brought by the Israeli billionaire over the ownership of two oil blocks.

Gertler was sanctioned in 2017 by the US Treasury for “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in Congo under the previous administration of President Joseph Kabila.

According to Andre Wameso, President Felix Tshisekedi’s deputy chief of staff for economic matters, under the terms of the settlement, Gertler will return assets potentially worth billions of dollars to the state in exchange for the reimbursement of expenses and Congo’s assistance in Gertler’s attempt to end the sanctions. Wameso declined to provide a copy of the agreement, citing a confidentiality clause. A spokesman for Gertler’s holding company Ventora also declined to provide a copy, saying its publication was up to Congo and Gertler supported whatever decision the government made.

“We will say to the Americans we have no more problem with Mr. Gertler,” Wameso said in an interview in the capital, Kinshasa, last week. “There’s no obligation” for Congo to get Gertler off the sanctions list for the rest of the settlement to take effect, he said.

Relinquish rights

Gertler first came to Congo in 1997 and struck up a friendship with Kabila that led to billions of dollars worth of investments in minerals and oil. He worked closely with mining giants Glencore Plc and Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. — now part of Eurasian Resources Group — and will retain his lucrative royalty streams in copper and cobalt projects owned by the companies as part of the settlement.


Link for more detailed information

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