November Newsletter – 08.11.2021
- First Cobalt aims to create specialist EV battery materials facility in North America
- Chinese Ripples: An Evolving Energy Crisis Takes Hold Across Eurasia As Winter Approaches
- Mongolia pushes Rio for more concessions in $7bn mine talks
- BHP to sell stake in metallurgical coal JV to Stanmore for up to $1.35 bln
- China’s State Grid warns of tight supply in winter, despite easing power crunch
- 2 Chinese players gaining ground in Argentina’s lithium market
- The energy crisis that helped revive coal is easing, for now
- New study shows real impact of mountaintop mining on endangered species
First Cobalt aims to create specialist EV battery materials facility in North America
Canada’s First Cobalt aims to create North America’s first specialist facility for producing electric vehicle battery materials such as cathode chemicals, it said on Sunday, as it announced a name change to Electra Battery Materials.
Automakers are racing to boost their electric vehicle offerings, which need quick and easy access to materials such as cobalt and nickel used to make the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power these cars.
Some battery metals, such as nickel and cobalt, are already produced in North America, but the Electra facility could be the first dedicated specifically to EV battery materials.
The company is aiming to produce battery-grade nickel and cobalt and precursor chemicals for the cathode component of the batteries for North America.
Chief Executive Trent Mell expects Electra to be producing cobalt sulphate by the fourth quarter of next year, which is also when its expanded hydrometallurgical battery recycling facility will be producing 5,000 tonnes of cobalt.
“Globalisation has created an electric vehicle supply chain that is too long, too costly and increasingly unreliable,” said Mell.
Chinese Ripples: An Evolving Energy Crisis Takes Hold Across Eurasia As Winter Approaches
An aerial view shows coal being loaded onto trucks near a coal mine in Datong in China’s northern Shanxi Province on November 2.
Blackouts in Tajikistan, energy shortages in Ukraine, rising electricity costs across the Balkans, and short-term profits for state companies in Russia.
Those are some of the early ripple effects being felt across Eurasia from an accelerating global energy crisis caused by fuel shortages for power generation inside China and soaring prices across Europe that are affecting consumers and producers alike.
The deepening crisis taking hold across Europe and Asia also risks imperiling the global economy as it attempts to recover from the slowdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With winter approaching, the sudden energy crunch hitting the world is threatening already stressed supply chains, stirring geopolitical tensions, and raising questions about how ready the world is for a transition to greener forms of energy.
“The global energy price rally has affected economies all over the world, as the prices of oil, coal, and gas have risen,” Jack Sharples, an expert at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, told RFE/RL. “Furthermore, the energy crisis has exposed the inelasticity of our energy demand: Even with high prices, we keep consuming hydrocarbons because we have no readily available alternative.”
Mongolia pushes Rio for more concessions in $7bn mine talks
Government asks for full debt forgiveness after Australian company raises offer
ULAANBAATAR — The Mongolian government is seeking further concessions from Australian mining company Rio Tinto after it proposed new terms for financing the $6.75 billion underground expansion of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.
“Mongolia wants Rio to clear Mongolia’s debt,” said Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai on Monday, ahead of a meeting with company officials later in the week, insisting the company should shoulder responsibility for delays and cost increases with the project.
“The Mongolian government didn’t make mistakes,” he said. “As project investment costs mounted, so have the debts of Mongolian shareholders sharply increased.”
The expanding bill for the Oyu Tolgoi project, which has undermined expectations of financial returns from the mine for the government, have roiled both Rio and Mongolia over the past year, helping bring down both the company’s last chief executive and Luvsannamsrai’s predecessor.
BHP to sell stake in metallurgical coal JV to Stanmore for up to $1.35 bln
Stanmore, which is majority-owned by Singapore-based thermal coal explorer Golden Energy and Resources Ltd, agreed to acquire BHP’s 80% stake in BHP Mitsui Coal which owns and operates two open-cut metallurgical coal mines in the Bowen Basin.
New Delhi: Global miner BHP Group Ltd signed a deal on Monday to sell its stake in BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC), a metallurgical coal joint venture in Queensland, to Stanmore Resources Ltd for up to $1.35 billion, the companies said.
The remaining stake in the joint venture is owned by Japan’s Mitsui & Co Ltd.
China’s State Grid warns of tight supply in winter, despite easing power crunch
A coal-fired power station in Nantong, China.
China’s State Grid Corp warned of a “tight balance” between power supply and demand through winter until spring, even though a power crunch has eased following measures to boost coal supplies and get large users to cut back on electricity.
The firm said on Sunday there could even be power outages as hydropower generation is expected to fall while consumption picks up during the winter heating season.
“The grid would overall see a tight balance of the supply and demand situation and power shortage in some regions,” the firm, which handles electricity transmission in three-quarters of China, said in a statement.
By Nov. 6, almost no region required residential and industrial users to cut power use, the firm said, but added that some high-polluting firms that are large consumers remain under orders to reduce operation during peak hours of use.
“The current electricity supply and demand situation in the region managed by the company has returned to normal,” added State Grid.
2 Chinese players gaining ground in Argentina’s lithium market
As Argentina aims to become a major lithium player, Chinese miners are expanding their footprint in the country.
Both governments have already signed agreements to strengthen cooperation in areas such as mining or energy.
“The relationship between the two countries has withstood the test of a volatile international situation and has always developed in a healthy and stable way,” China’s foreign minister Wang Yi was reported as saying during a recent meeting with his Argentine counterpart Santiago Cafiero.
Argentina’s government has also presented a sustainable mobility promotion bill that focuses on lithium as a strategic asset.
BNamericas takes a look at two Chinese companies gaining ground in Argentina’s lithium market.
The company closed an agreement in October to buy Toronto-based Neo Lithium for US$770mn. Neo Lithium controls the Tres Quebradas (3Q) lithium project in Catamarca province.
Zijin, among China’s largest gold and copper producers, will buy Neo Lithium shares and promised to invest US$319mn in the project.
Tres Quebradas is targeting annual production of 20,000t of lithium carbonate over a 35-year span.
The miner already has large operations in Latin America. Earlier this the year, it was targeting Canada’s Millennial Lithium and in July both companies reached a US$276mn agreement. Millennial focuses on lithium exploration in Argentina.
The energy crisis that helped revive coal is easing, for now
An energy crisis in two of Asia’s key economies that caused power shortages, sent fuel prices surging and risked slowing growth is beginning to ease, though bitter winter weather will pose further challenges.
Supplies of coal, the key source of electricity generation in China and India, are beginning to rise again after governments pressed miners to rapidly boost output and lifted imports, allowing power plants and major industrial consumers to start rebuilding stockpiles.
Only a handful of provinces in China are still contending with major power outages as a result of tight fuel supply, down from about 20 regions in mid-October, while spot power prices have tumbled in India as electricity shortfalls have been addressed.
“Both countries continue to face some risks in winter supply, but the shortages have moderated,” said Xizhou Zhou, Washington-based managing director of global power and renewables at IHS Markit.
New study shows real impact of mountaintop mining on endangered species
A new study that combined water-quality data with satellite imagery of mountaintop removal mining activity found that such operations pose a more serious and widespread threat to endangered species and people than was previously understood.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, combined 30 years of satellite imagery data that mapped large surface mines in central Appalachia and water-quality measurements from more than 4,000 monitoring sites across different watersheds. Thus, it estimated the full extent of water-quality degradation attributable to the practice at the landscape level.
The research found that chronic and acute toxicity thresholds for aluminum, copper, lead and manganese, among other metals, as well as acidity levels in streams were exceeded thousands of times from 1985 to 2015 in areas of critical habitat and far removed from where the mines actually are.
Link for more detailed information