Archive | Critical, Strategic and Rare Earth Minerals and Metals

Why Apple Won’t Be Able to Stop Mining Yet – by Adam Minter (Bloomberg News – April 26, 2017)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg View) — Just before Earth Day, Apple Inc. announced a new goal: to make its computers and phones and watches without mining any new raw materials. Instead, Apple would one day build its products “using only renewable resources or recycled material.” This is what’s known as a “closed loop,” in which new products are made exclusively from older versions of the same product.

If successful, Apple would no longer have to worry about digging holes in the ground, avoiding conflict minerals and the other messy details of high-tech manufacturing in the 21st century. It’s a bold idea, even for Apple, which can boast several past successes in promoting sustainable manufacturing and operations. Given both technological and commercial obstacles, however, it’s almost certain to fail.

Closed-loop recycling isn’t a new idea. In the 1930s, Ford Motor Co. spent several years operating a money-losing factory devoted to recycling old Fords into raw materials for new ones. More recently, Dell Inc. developed a breakthrough computer made using materials from old devices. Continue Reading →

Apple wants to try to “stop mining the Earth altogether” to make your iPhone – by  Zoë Schlanger (Quartz Media – April 20, 2017)

 

https://qz.com/

Apple just announced that it plans to stop relying on mined rare earth minerals and metals to make their products, and instead use only recycled sources.

Mines where rare earth mineral are extracted are often sites of exploitation, where workers, some children, are exposed to extremely toxic substances and dangerous working conditions for scant pay. The effluent from the mines poisons soil and groundwater supplies and wreaks environmental devastation, too. Continue Reading →

Glencore Cobalt Supplies in Congo Face Hold Up Over Mine Row – by Thomas Wilson (Bloomberg News – April 19, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

A dispute between state-owned Gecamines and its joint-venture partner at a Congolese cobalt mine that supplies Glencore Plc threatens to halt the supply of as much as 4 percent of the metal within two months.

Jersey-registered GTL, a joint venture between Gecamines and closely held Groupe Forrest International, has processed the hill of mine waste that looms over the southern Congolese mining town of Lubumbashi since 2001, producing as much as 5,000 metric tons of cobalt a year. The state-owned miner has blocked GTL’s access to the site since March 23, according to Groupe Forrest Chief Executive Officer Malta Forrest.

“Gecamines has blocked our access stating that it believes we have exceeded the limits set in our contract,” Forrest said in an interview April 15 in Lubumbashi. “It’s simply not true. Despite our requests Gecamines provided no evidence for their calculations.” Continue Reading →

China Proves Rare Earth Minerals are the new Oil (Edgy Labs.com – April 12, 2017)

https://edgylabs.com/

Rare Earth Minerals are growing in demand, becoming a necessary and controversial commodity in today’s trade in production.Their status as a natural resource that is essential to the advancement of defense, tech, and clean energy will only be elevated as technology advances.

Although the REM trade has sparked backlash from environmental watch dogs, it’s becoming more apparent that they are taking hold as the “new oil” in the natural commodities market.

Rare Earth Minerals (REMs) consist of 17 elements from the periodic table. They are plentiful in the Earth’s crust and are often found concentrated near each other. They are classified into subgroups by weight, some being “heavier” and thus more valuable than others. Continue Reading →

InvestorIntel’s 6th Annual Cleantech & Technology Metals Summit Corporate Line-up Unveiled

https://investorintel.com

Early Bird Deadline for CTMS Delegates for “The Next Big Thing” April 22, 2017

On behalf of the team of InvestorIntel, a leading online source of independent investor information, we are pleased to announce the corporate presentation line-up for the 6th Annual Cleantech & Technology Metals Summit (CTMS2017.com | @CTMS2017).

Featuring 24 of the most impressive market movers in the cleantech and technology metals sector, CTMS is scheduled for Monday, May 15th and Tuesday, May 16th at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto, Canada and promises to reveal through InvestorIntel’s EU Editor, Christopher Ecclestone – the next big thing.

InvestorIntel Corp. CEO Tracy Weslosky commented: “We are delighted to announce the CTMS corporate presentation line-up as follows, organized by market cap: CTMS2017 Corporate Presentation List (market cap): Lynas Corp. (ASX: LYC | OTC: LYSDY), Nemaska Lithium Inc. (OTCQX: NMKEF), Largo Resources Ltd. (TSX: LGO | OTCQB: LGORF), Neometals Ltd. (ASX: NMT), Alkane Resources Corp. (ASX: ALK | OTCQX: ANLKY), eCobalt Solutions Inc. (TSX: ECS | … Continue Reading →

COLUMN-If you thought lithium was exciting, try cobalt – by Andy Home (Reuters U.K. – April 10, 2017)

http://uk.reuters.com/

LONDON, April 10, 2017 – Lithium was the super-hot metals story of 2016. A spectacular price rally propelled lithium out of the metallic shadows onto the global investment stage. This year it is the turn of cobalt.

The price of cobalt traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME) has exploded from $33,000 per tonne to $55,000 since the start of January. This time last year, the price was bombed out at multi-year lows below $25,000 per tonne.

As with lithium, cobalt’s story is all about batteries and the green technology revolution. The lithium-cobalt battery is already standard in many electronic applications and both metals are expected to see usage accelerate thanks to the rapidly evolving electric vehicle and grid storage sectors. Continue Reading →

[Rare Earths] The knee-jerk reaction against protectionism isn’t justified, just look at the military – by Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post – April 7, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Protectionism gets a bad rap among the enlightened, as if protectionism is always bad, and free trade is always good. The knee-jerk against protectionism isn’t justified. In many areas, protectionism is prudent while free markets are foolhardy.

The need for protectionism is clearest seen in the case of the military. Consider what would happen if the U.S. could not protect its military industries from competition from abroad. A savvy military competitor with a command-and-control economy, such as China, would soon capture America’s strategic military markets.

In an extreme example, the U.S. government would be buying its nuclear weaponry from the lowest cost supplier, i.e., China, losing the ability to manufacture its nuclear arsenal domestically. The U.S. military would then be dependent on the good will of an adversary, an entirely unacceptable outcome. Continue Reading →

Tech firms must go beyond Congo’s ‘conflict minerals’ to clean supply chain: study – by J.D. Capelouto (Reuters U.S. – April 6, 2017)

http://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Abuses linked to mining in countries such as Myanmar and Colombia are being overlooked by technology companies focused only on eliminating “conflict minerals” from war-torn parts of Africa in their supply chains, researchers said on Thursday.

In Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), competition for mineral resources has fueled two decades of conflict in its eastern provinces, including a 1998-2003 war that killed millions, mostly from hunger and disease.

Congo’s supply of tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold – metals used in smartphones, batteries and laptops – has been under scrutiny since 2010, when U.S. laws required U.S.-listed firms to ensure supply chains were free from “conflict minerals”. Continue Reading →

Critical potential: New USGS tool discovers fresh critical minerals hunting grounds in Alaska – by Shane Lasley (Mining/Petroleum News – April 2017)

http://www.petroleumnews.com/

Exploration companies familiar with Alaska already know the Far North state is a great place to look for critical minerals such as rare earth elements, platinum group metals, cobalt and tin. A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey, however, indicates that Alaska may be richer in these and other minerals vital to the United States than previously realized.

Working alongside the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, USGS developed a new geospatial tool that integrated and analyzed a massive load of geologic information and used this data to estimate the resource potential for six deposit types that host a large array of critical minerals.

After crunching all the data, this tool turned up new and expanded areas of Alaska with the potential for these minerals that are vital to modern living but that the United States depends upon foreign countries for more than half of its supply. Continue Reading →

Cobalt crisis moves onto center stage – by Christopher Ecclestone (InvestorIntel.com – March 29, 2017)

https://investorintel.com/

One does not usually expect a sober conference of traders and other players in the battery metals space to go all apocalyptic but that is what happened when the topic of Cobalt arose at the recent Argus Metals Week in London. As we all know the price for Cobalt has been on a tear, dragging along prices of Cobalt “stories” in its wake.

While much of the move has been attributed to the Lithium ion battery dynamic we would note that long term underinvestment in the metal (particularly in development of primary mines) and the closure of Cu-Co mine capacity by Glencore during its late-2015 near-death experience also played a part.

The pace of change in the battery space has moved up a gear with the Cobalt crisis moving into centre stage and focusing minds on supply issues in the battery space, particularly as regards the “blue” metal. The Cobalt producers have annual output of around 100,000 tonnes. Continue Reading →

Here’s How Apple Is Doing On Conflict Minerals – by Caroline O’Donovan (BuzzFeed News – March 27, 2017)

https://www.buzzfeed.com/

Apple continues to pursue transparency around its supply chain as the Trump administration considers suspending requirements for businesses that buy conflict minerals.

Apple released its 2017 Supplier Responsibility Report today, as concern mounts over the potential impact of a draft directive from the Trump administration that would suspend legislation requiring companies to disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals.

Conflict minerals — substances like tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold — are used in a variety of popular electronics, including smartphones. They are typically sourced from war-torn countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, where their mining and sale has historically funded armed groups associated with murder, rape, and other human rights violations. Continue Reading →

The rush for cobalt in Cobalt, Ont: Mining companies snap up land in the north – by Marina von Stackelberg (CBC News Sudbury – March 25, 2017)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

There’s an old school gold rush underway in northern Ontario, but the demand is for a special metal that is used in everything from smart phones to electric cars.

More than a dozen mining companies are staking out claims in Cobalt, Ont. as price of the mineral with the same name rises, according to the Northern Prospectors Association.

“The whole situation is a cobalt-style rush, just like an old fashioned staking rush,” said Gino Chitaroni, president of the Northern Prospectors Association and a geologist from the area. The town of Cobalt is located along the Quebec border, near Temiskaming Shores in northern Ontario, and is best known for the massive amounts of silver that were extracted a century ago. Continue Reading →

[Defense-critical rare-earth elements] Bad Trade Policies Are Hurting U.S. National Security – by Mike Fredenburg (National Review – March 23, 2017)

http://www.nationalreview.com/

American negligence has allowed China to seize control of the rare-earth elements critical to our national defense. President Trump should reverse this sorry state of affairs.

That our government sat idly by as we became completely dependent on other countries to supply us with defense-critical rare-earth elements (REEs) is scandalous. That the country we are now dependent on for REEs is China, a hostile power, is unforgivable. China is not our friend; any objective analysis of its actions and comments over the last 30 years would conclude that Beijing views the U.S. as its primary enemy.

That is why Republican congressman (and former Marine) Duncan Hunter of California has proposed a bill to redress this dangerous situation by allocating 1 percent of the Department of Defense’s administrative-overhead budget — about $50 million per year — to incentivize the resumption of domestic production of defense-critical REEs.

The summary of Hunter’s METALS (Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security) Act warns that the rights to the largest REE mine in the United States, Mountain Pass in California, are in danger of being purchased by a company with strong ties to Russia. Continue Reading →

U.S.A. CONGRESSMAN NEWS RELEASE: Hunter Introduces METALS Act to Curtail U.S. Dependence on Foreign-Sourced Strategic and Critical Materials Supporting National Defense

March 7, 2017 – Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) introduced the Materials Essential to American Leadership and Security (METALS) Act. The legislation rectifies a dangerous lapse in the supply chain for strategic and critical materials essential for numerous defense and national security applications.

“The U.S. must no longer be wholly dependent on foreign sources of strategic and critical materials,” said Rep. Hunter. “The risk of this dependence on national security is too great and it urgently demands that we re-establish our depleted domestic industrial base.”

Presently, the People’s Republic of China dominates the production of rare earth elements, controlling more than 90 percent of global production. These critical materials are key components of everything from high technology consumer electronics to advanced weapons systems, including the Joint Strike Fighter. Continue Reading →

As China Adjusts for “True Cost” of Rare Earths, What Does It Mean for Decarbonization? – by Hongqiao Liu (New Security Beat.org – March 21, 2017)

https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/

Known as the “vitamins of industry,” rare earths refer to a cluster of minerals widely used in green technologies such as wind turbines, rechargeable batteries, and electric vehicles. Rare earth elements embedded in these products keep them light, efficient, and affordable. They’re essential to the decarbonization of the global economy envisioned in the Paris Climate Agreement, agreed to by 192 countries in 2015. And we may soon face a significant shortage, due in no small part to changes in China.

The U.S. Department of Energy and European Union have both issued warnings of impending rare earths shortages. Medium and heavy rare earths, mined almost exclusively in China at the moment, top the list with the highest risk of shortage.

Years of pollution suffered as the world’s dominant supplier of rare earths have taken their toll on China’s soil, water, and people. In some cases, ponds of untreated tailing slurry have led to severe radioactive contamination. As the government begins cracking down on illegal mining and black markets and increasing environmental regulations, operation and compliance costs are going up. Continue Reading →