Wednesday 21st August 2019

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Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Turbulent times for Lynas

May 17th, 2019

Rare earths provide a cautionary tale about supply chain weaknesses

by Greg Klein | Updated May 21, 2019

Rare earths provide a cautionary tale about supply chain weaknesses

One of the world’s biggest supplies of magnet metals
undergoes separation at Lynas’ Malaysian facility. (Photo: Lynas Corp)

 

Update: On August 15 the Malaysian government granted Lynas a six-month licence extension. Read more.

 

How often does an investor presentation draw such keen interest from non-investors?

No doubt representatives from a number of governments and industries watched intensely on May 21 as Lynas CEO/managing director Amanda Lacaze accentuated her company’s “will to win.” Lynas has plans in place and funding en route to overcome what previously appeared to be an unattainable ultimatum. Far from becoming a takeover target, let alone a jurisdictional fatality, the miner expects to continue building a rare earths supply chain “focused on rest-of-the-world markets, that is non-Chinese markets.”

That was her message, and if stirring delivery could convince listeners, Lacaze made her case. But insufficient details cast a pall of uncertainty. Clearly the company can’t meet a September 2 deadline to remove over 450,000 tonnes of radioactive waste from Malaysia and thereby avert a processing plant shutdown in that country which would render useless the company’s Mount Weld mine in Western Australia.

Rare earths provide a cautionary tale about supply chain weaknesses

One of the world’s richest rare earths deposits, Mount Weld boasts reserves expected to give over 25 additional years of production at 22,000 tonnes of rare earth oxides annually. Included is an especially bountiful distribution of the magnet metals neodymium and praseodymium. Lynas concentrates ore in WA before shipping material to Malaysia for refining and separation. But while rare earths metallurgy has stymied some other non-Chinese operations, this facility has operated successfully since 2012.

At least it did so under Malaysia’s previous government. Its first electoral defeat since the country’s 1957 independence brought to office a party long opposed to Lynas’ operation in Kuantan. Concerns about waste containing thorium and uranium brought to mind a Malaysian RE refinery operated by Mitsubishi up to 1992. The plant closed down after an increase in leukemia and birth defects that critics attributed to the operation’s waste.

Following an environmental review of Lynas’ facility late last year, the new government delivered two formidable demands: Ensure that all material brought into the country has been rendered non-radioactive. And remove seven years of accumulated radioactive tailings from the country by September 2. Failure to do so will shut down the plant, the government warned.

An enormous logistical problem notwithstanding, Lacaze and her “dream team” told investors they have solutions backed by a AU$500-million “capital envelope” from senior lender Japan Australia Rare Earths (JARE) and the Japanese trading company Sojitz Corp.

“Of course we cannot do this on the smell of an oily rag, much as we might like to,” Lacaze acknowledged.

Rare earths provide a cautionary tale about supply chain weaknesses

Lynas managing director Dato’ Mashal Ahmad at the
podium, CEO Amanda Lacaze holding the microphone
at the company’s May 21 shareholder presentation.

A new cracking and leaching plant to be built in WA would “detox” Mount Weld material. Plans to pour money into Malaysia to upgrade the company’s Kuantan facility also sounded an optimistic note. But accumulated waste remains troublesome.

As managing director Dato’ Mashal Ahmad explained, the company will counter the ultimatum by asking the government to choose one of two options: Allow Lynas to treat the waste by producing a type of fertilizer, or allow Lynas to build another waste depository in Malaysia. The company already has four years of research backing Option 1. As for Option 2, “which Lynas is prepared to do anytime,” the company has already chosen three potential sites.

To those skeptical that Malaysia would accept the proposals, Ahmad said the environmental review, which hasn’t been officially translated, pronounced the Kuantan operation safe. Politicians, not the report’s authors, issued the ultimatum, he maintained. Discussions with the government continue and another decision will come from the entire government, not individual politicians, Lacaze added. Based on what she termed “relatively constructive” public comments from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, she expressed “confidence in the outcome.”

An entirely different possibility for Lynas arose last March when Wesfarmers launched a AU$1.5-billion bid for the miner. One of Australia’s largest listed companies and a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate with interests including chemicals, energy, fertilizers and industrial products, Wesfarmers imposed a daunting condition: Kuantan must retain a valid permit for a “satisfactory period following completion of the transaction.” 

Lynas spurned the offer, provoking talk from Wesfarmers of going hostile. Undeterred, and the day before proclaiming its “will to win,” Lynas joined one of its customers, downstream rare earths processor Blue Line Corp, to announce a memorandum of understanding to build an RE separation plant in Texas. The proposed joint venture “would be the only large-scale producer of separated medium and heavy rare earth products in the world outside of China,” the companies stated.

Of course the Blue Line MOU lacks certainty, as does the strategy of presenting options in the face of a government ultimatum. $500 million isn’t all that much. To industry observers, the predicament once again emphasizes the need to create non-Chinese supply chains.

Rare earths provide a cautionary tale about supply chain weaknesses

A founding principal of Technology Metals
Research LLC and a senior fellow at the
Institute for Analysis of Global Security,
Jack Lifton has over 55 years’ experience
with technology metals.

Speaking with ResourceClips.com the week before Lynas’ May 20-21 announcements, Jack Lifton discussed the urgency of addressing critical minerals challenges.

A chemist specializing in metallurgy, a consultant, author and lecturer focusing on rare earths, lithium and other essentials that he labels “technology metals,” Lifton was one of four scientists hired by the previous Malaysian government to evaluate the Kuantan facility prior to its initial permit.

Wesfarmers “would have the money and the time” to solve Lynas’ problems, he said. “A $38-billion company can spend a year fixing problems and stay in business. If Lynas were shut down for a year, I think that would be the end of it.”

Earlier this month Wesfarmers offered AU$776 million for ASX-listed Kidman Resources, which shares a 50/50 JV with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA (SQM) on the advanced-stage Mount Holland lithium project in Western Australia.

“Wesfarmers clearly knows all the problems with Lynas but they’re still interested in buying it,” Lifton pointed out.

The possibility of a Chinese buy-out, on the other hand, could meet opposition from either of two governments. Malaysia’s previous administration feared Chinese influence, Lifton says.

As for Australia, “I do not think that the government, as it will be constituted after this election, will allow the Chinese to buy what is basically the largest high-grade deposit of magnet rare earths on the planet,” he says. Even so, Chinese control could eliminate the Malaysian problem. “China has immense facilities and excess capacity for treating ore like that. They wouldn’t need the Malaysian plant, not at all.”

Control need not mean total ownership. Following Molycorp’s bankruptcy, California’s Mountain Pass mine quietly resumed production last year under MP Materials. With China’s Shenghe Rare Earth Company a minority shareholder, North America’s sole rare earths producer exports all its output to China.

Shenghe Resources comprises the world’s second-largest RE company by output. It holds a majority stake in ASX-listed Greenland Minerals, which describes its Kvanefjeld polymetallic deposit as having “potential to become the most significant Western world producer of rare earths.” Last August the companies signed an offtake MOU for the proposed mine’s total RE production.

Huatai Mining, a subsidiary of Chinese coal trader Shandong Taizhong Energy, holds 15.9% of ASX-listed Northern Minerals, which plans to become the “first significant dysprosium producer outside China” at the Browns Range project in Western Australia.

“Everything from Browns Range is now going to China for refining and use,” Lifton notes. “My understanding is that’s what’s going to happen in Greenland.”

Neither Greenland nor Northern can handle separation, he explains. “They can concentrate the ore, but where are the facilities to separate individual rare earths from the mixed concentrate? They are, today, overwhelmingly in China. The Chinese have an advantage in excess refining capacity.”

While Lifton thinks Malaysia would welcome Japanese ownership of Lynas, the Japanese no longer have processing abilities. They’re also burdened by Mitsubishi’s legacy.

“China does not, to the best of my knowledge, have ore as rich as Mount Weld. I don’t know of any other deposit on earth that’s so high-grade and well-distributed with magnet materials. So anyone who has processing would love to have that.”

If we don’t reconstitute a total American supply chain, if the Europeans don’t do the same, for the critical materials like rare earths, cobalt, lithium, we’re going to be out of luck.—Jack Lifton

Such a fate is now pure speculation but should Lynas face a Sino-scenario, it would only intensify a trend well underway, he adds. “They already have the largest RE industry on the planet and they’re buying RE, cobalt and other critical assets in Greenland, Africa, Australia, South America.

“If we don’t reconstitute a total American supply chain, if the Europeans don’t do the same, for the critical materials like rare earths, cobalt, lithium, we’re going to be out of luck. The Chinese in my opinion are already self-sufficient in rare earths, lithium and cobalt. They have mines all over the world that they own and operate, they have the bulk of chemical processing. They’re going to take care of their domestic needs first, and then if they want to export, they’ll control the price, the supply, and they do control the demand because at this time about 60% of all world metals goes to China.

“In America there’s a lot of talk now about critical minerals and some people are saying we need ‘a conversation’ on the subject. So while we think about it and have conversations, the Chinese are setting themselves up for the rest of this century.”

A Capitol idea

May 7th, 2019

This U.S. bipartisan bill aims to reduce America’s critical minerals dependency

 

This won’t be the first time Washington has seen such a proposal. Announced last week, the American Mineral Security Act encourages the development of domestic resources and supply chains to produce minerals considered essential to the country’s well-being. But the chief backer, Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, acknowledges having introduced similar standalone legislation previously, as well as addressing the topic in a previous energy bill.

A U.S. bipartisan bill would reduce America’s critical minerals dependency

This time, however, the proposal takes place amid growing concern. In late 2017, following a U.S. Geological Survey report that provided the first comprehensive review of the subject since 1973, President Donald Trump called for a “federal strategy to ensure secure and reliable supplies of critical minerals.” In early 2018 the U.S. Department of the Interior formally classified 35 minerals as critical. A September 2018 report responded to the presidential order, urging programs to address supply chain challenges that leave the U.S. relying heavily on countries like Russia and especially China.

Even so, Murkowski and the other three senators think Washington needs a little push.

“I greatly appreciate the administration’s actions to address this issue but congress needs to complement them with legislation,” she said. “Our bill takes steps that are long overdue to reverse our damaging foreign dependence and position ourselves to compete in growth industries like electric vehicles and energy storage.”

The senators referred to USGS data from 2018 showing 48 minerals for which their country imported at least 50% of supply. Foreign dependency accounted for 100% of 18 of them, including rare earths, graphite and indium.  

Focusing on energy minerals, Simon Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence lauded the bipartisan group for addressing “a global battery arms race that is intensifying.

“Lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel are the key enablers of the lithium-ion battery and, in turn, the lithium-ion battery is the key enabler of the energy storage revolution. Globally they are facing a wall of demand, especially from electric vehicles. Yet the U.S. has been a bystander in building a domestic supply chain capacity.

“Right now, the U.S. produces 1% of global lithium supply and only 7% of refined lithium chemical supply, while China produces 51%. For cobalt, the U.S. has zero mining capacity and zero chemicals capacity whilst China controls 80% of this [at] second stage.

These supply chains are the oil pipelines of tomorrow. The lithium-ion battery is to the 21st century what the oil barrel was to the 20th century.—Simon Moores
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence

“Graphite is the most extreme example with no flake graphite mining and anode production compared to China’s 51% and 100% of the world’s total, respectively. And it’s a similar story with nickel—under 1% mined in the U.S. and zero capacity for nickel sulfate.

“These supply chains are the oil pipelines of tomorrow,” Moores emphasized. “The lithium-ion battery is to the 21st century what the oil barrel was to the 20th century.”

Looking at another critical mineral, the White House has until mid-July to respond to a U.S. Department of Commerce report on the effects of uranium imports to American national security. According to the USGS, the fuel provides 20% of the country’s electricity but the U.S. relies on imports for over 95% of supply.

A recent book by Ned Mamula and Ann Bridges points to rare earths as the “poster child for U.S. critical mineral vulnerability.” In Groundbreaking! America’s New Quest for Mineral Independence, the authors say REs remain “essential for military and civilian use, for the production of high-performance permanent magnets, GPS guidance systems, satellite imaging and night vision equipment, cellphones, iPads, flat screens, MRIs and electric toothbrushes, sunglasses, and a myriad of other technology products. Since they offer that extra boost to so many new technologies, these rare earth metals rival energy in importance to our 21st century lifestyle.”

Among the proposed act’s provisions are:

  • an updated list of critical minerals every three years

  • nationwide resource assessments for every critical mineral

  • “practical, common-sense” reforms to reduce permitting delays

  • R&D into recycling, replacing and processing critical minerals

  • a study of the country’s minerals workforce by the U.S. Secretary of Labor, National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation

The senators made their announcement at Benchmark Minerals Summit 2019, a private event for industry and U.S. government representatives. In a February presentation to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources chaired by Murkowski, Moores issued a “red alert on the lithium-ion battery supply chain and the raw materials of lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite.”

Read more about U.S. efforts to secure critical minerals here and here.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

May 2nd, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 2, 2019

Reporting from the Kibby Basin project in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA released assays from the most recent hole on the 2,056-hectare property. After reaching a depth of 256 metres into lakebed sediments, the hole averaged 100 ppm lithium, ranging from 38 ppm to 127 ppm.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

With only four holes sunk so far, most
of the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project
remains unexplored.

Groundwater samples showed the presence of saline, rather than fresh water that’s rich in sodium and magnesium but low in lithium, the company stated. “The presence of shallow aquifers containing saline groundwater with chemical composition similar to, but lower than that of lithium brines is encouraging for the discovery of lithium brines deeper in the basin.”

Results from previous drilling indicate continued potential for lithium brines in unexplored areas of the property, Belmont added. A 2018 hole about 2,300 metres southwest brought intervals of 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

MGX Minerals CSE:XMG has spent $300,000 on exploration so far to earn 25% of the project. The company may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work.

In March the companies announced a “milestone” water rights permit that might be the first of its kind for Nevada. The permit allows extraction of up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. About 91% of the water would be returned to the source, the companies stated.

Also last March, Belmont announced a foray into southern British Columbia’s busy Greenwood camp with the acquisition of a 253-hectare property in a region of historic gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc mining. The company has historic data under review to prepare for exploration this year.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont shares a 50/50 interest in two uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

92 Resources increases its Quebec lithium-polymetallic potential with expanded acquisition

April 24th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 24, 2019

An amended option with “no additional share, cash or work commitment” brings more land and greater prospects in northern Quebec’s James Bay region to 92 Resources TSXV:NTY. A 4,253-hectare increase to a previous 75% earn-in with Osisko Mining TSX:OSK now covers that company’s entire FCI property. Combined with 92’s adjacent and wholly owned Corvette project, the Corvette-FCI property now comprises three contiguous claim blocks in a 14,496-hectare parcel that stretches for over 25 kilometres along the Lac Guyer greenstone belt.

92 Resources increases its Quebec lithium-polymetallic potential with expanded acquisition

Past work at the newly acquired FCI West found 16 showings of base and precious metals along two parallel trends extending over 10 kilometres in length. Historic, non-43-101 assays from FCI West’s Golden Gap prospect included outcrop samples as high as 108.9 g/t gold, a 2003 drill interval of 10.5 g/t gold over seven metres and a channel sample of 14.5 g/t gold over two metres.

FCI West’s Tyrone-T9 prospect includes an historic, non-43-101 channel sample of 1.15% copper over 2.1 metres. Despite high-grade lithium showings at Corvette, FCI West has never been evaluated for the energy metal, the company stated.

Immediately south and west of 92’s new turf sits Azimut Exploration’s (TSXV:AZM) Pikwa property. Adjacently north of FCI West, Midland Exploration’s (TSXV:MD) 2018 field program on the Mythril project found outcrop and boulder samples grading 16.7% copper, 16.8 g/t gold and 3.04% molybdenum. 92 anticipates significant activity by multiple companies along the Lac Guyer greenstone belt this year “as the magnitude of the Mythril-style copper-gold mineralization unfolds.”

Regional infrastructure includes a powerline and the all-season Trans-Taiga Road 10 kilometres north of Corvette-FCI.

This year’s exploration program will follow evaluation of historic data, with work expected to wrap up in summer.

The amended option with Osisko would give 92 the additional claims by satisfying terms of the 75% earn-in on FCI East. That deal calls for an initial million shares, another million shares and $250,000 of work in year one, another $800,000 in year two and a further $1.2 million in year three, while Osisko acts as project operator. At that point the companies would form a 50/50 JV. Another $2 million in expenditures from 92 would raise the company’s stake to 75%. With FCI West now incorporated into that agreement, “no additional share, cash or work commitment is required by the company,” 92 emphasized.

The company retains a 100% interest in Corvette’s 172 claims.

92’s Quebec portfolio also includes the Pontax, Eastman and Lac du Beryl properties. Lithium-tantalum grab samples from Pontax have reached up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

In British Columbia 92 holds the Silver Sands vanadium prospect and the Golden frac sand project. In the Northwest Territories, Far Resources CSE:FAT works towards a 90% earn-in on 92’s Hidden Lake lithium project.

92 closed a private placement of $618,000 last December.

Read more about 92 Resources here and here.

Ximen Mining expands its presence in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp

April 5th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 5, 2019

A former mining region about 500 highway kilometres east of Vancouver continues to attract interest as another company picks up additional property. Through a combination of purchase and staking, Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM acquired over 12,900 hectares surrounding its Gold Drop project, now optioned to GGX Gold TSXV:GGX.

Last year’s drilling at Gold Drop returned near-surface, high-grade intervals of gold and silver along with tellurium, classified by the U.S. government as a critical mineral. Some highlight assays include:

Ximen Mining expands its presence in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp

A quartz sample from Ximen’s recent site
visit brought 2.87 g/t gold and 127 g/t silver.

Hole COD18-67

  • 129.1 g/t gold, 1,154.9 g/t silver and 823.4 g/t tellurium over 7.28 metres, starting at 23.19 metres in downhole depth

COD18-70

  • 107.5 g/t gold, 880 g/t silver and 640.5 g/t tellurium over 6.9 metres, starting at 22.57 metres

True widths were unavailable. The operator has spring drilling scheduled to begin this month.

Ximen’s new Providence claim also borders Grizzly Discoveries’ (TSXV:GZD) Greenwood project, where Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration works towards a 75% earn-in. Other companies active in the Greenwood area include Quebec niobium-tantalum explorer Saville Resources TSXV:SRE, which this week announced sampling found high-grade gold and copper along with silver on its Bud project. Last week Nevada lithium explorer Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA announced its acquisition of the Greenwood-area Pathfinder project. Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM has been working a number of properties in the area, home to numerous former mines.

Ximen Mining expands its presence in British Columbia’s Greenwood camp

An historic pit yielded this sample
of copper-rich massive sulphide.

Among those within or bordering Ximen’s acquisition is the Providence mine, which produced 10,426 tonnes containing 183 kilograms of gold, 42,552 kilograms of silver, 183 tonnes of lead and 118 tonnes of zinc during intermittent operation between 1893 and 1973, according to historic reports. The historic Combination deposit gave up 11 tonnes for 60,340 grams of silver and 653 grams of gold. Ximen’s new claims cover 11 known mineral occurrences, the company stated.

Recent sampling returned 2.87 g/t gold and 127 g/t silver from a mine dump northeast of the former Providence operation. Another sample showed 2,350 ppm copper from one of the property’s undocumented exploration pits that show exposed massive sulphides containing chalcopyrite, bornite and magnetite.

In southern B.C.’s Okanagan region, Ximen also holds the Brett gold project. In November the company announced that metallurgical tests on material stockpiled in the 1990s during early-stage mine development support an historic account of 4 g/t to 5 g/t gold.

About three and a half hours’ driving distance from Vancouver, Ximen has its Treasure Mountain property under option to New Destiny Mining TSXV:NED. Grab samples collected last year included 11.3 g/t and 8.81 g/t gold, as well as samples showing up to 1.45% zinc, 122 g/t silver, 0.87 g/t gold, 57 g/t tellurium and 12.3 g/t indium.

Ximen closed private placements of $540,000 in December and $250,000 in February. Last month the company arranged a private placement of $405,000 subject to TSXV approval.

Read more about Ximen Mining.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals receive “milestone” water rights permit, await assays from Nevada lithium project

March 21st, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 21, 2019

Considered a milestone for two companies pursuing lithium, a recently granted water rights permit might be the first of its kind for Nevada. Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG received the permit to extract up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually from the Monte Cristo Groundwater Basin for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds on their Kibby Basin property. Some 91% of the water will be returned to the source through injection wells or infiltration galleries, the companies stated.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals receive “milestone” water rights permit, await assays from Nevada lithium project

Assays are pending from winter drilling
on the Belmont/MGX Kibby Basin project.

The news follows a winter drill campaign that reached 256 metres into lakebed sediments in hole KB-4, testing a potential fault where geophysical and geological analysis suggests geothermal activity might have brought concentrations of dissolved minerals close to surface.

The team currently has logging and sample preparation from drill cuttings underway, as well as water sampling from a layer near the bottom of the hole. Assays will follow.

Some 2,300 metres southwest of KB-4, KB-3 produced results averaging 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

Having spent $300,000 so far, MGX has earned 25% of the project and may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work. The 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin property sits 65 kilometres north of Albemarle’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak mine, North American’s only lithium producer.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont has a 50% stake in two uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the remainder.

Subject to exchange approval, Belmont expects to close a private placement first tranche of $67,500. In July the company closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

Infographic: Climate Smart Mining and minerals for climate action

March 14th, 2019

sponsored by the World Bank | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | March 14, 2019

Climate Smart Mining Minerals for climate action

 

Countries are taking steps to decarbonize their economies by using wind, solar and battery technologies, with an end goal of reducing carbon-emitting fossil fuels from the energy mix.

But this global energy transition also has a trade-off: to cut emissions, more minerals are needed.

Therefore, in order for the transition to renewables to be meaningful and to achieve significant reductions in the Earth’s carbon footprint, mining will have to better mitigate its own environmental and social impacts.

Advocates for renewable technology are not walking blindly into a new energy paradigm without understanding these impacts. A policy and regulatory framework can help governments meet their targets, and mitigate and manage the impacts of the next wave of mineral demand to help the communities most affected by mining.

This infographic comes from the World Bank and it highlights this energy transition, how it will create demand for minerals and also the Climate Smart Mining building blocks.

Renewable power and mineral demand

In 2017, the World Bank published The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future, which concluded that to build a lower carbon future there will be a substantial increase in demand for several key minerals and metals to manufacture clean energy technologies.

Wind
Wind power technology has drastically improved its energy output. By 2025, a 300-metre-tall wind turbine could produce about 13 to 15 MW, enough to power a small town. With increased size and energy output comes increased material demand.

A single 3 MW turbine requires:

  • 4.7 tons of copper

  • 335 tons of steel

  • 1,200 tons of concrete

  • 2 tons of rare earth elements

  • 3 tons of aluminum

Solar
In 2017 global renewable capacity was 178 GW, of which 54.5% was solar photo-voltaic technology (PV). By 2023, it’s expected that this capacity will increase to one terawatt with PV accounting for 57.5% of the mix. PV cells require polymers, aluminum, silicon, glass, silver and tin.

Batteries
Everything from your home, your vehicle and your everyday devices will require battery technology to keep them powered and your life on the move.

Lithium, cobalt and nickel are at the centre of battery technology that will see the greatest explosion in demand in the coming energy transition.

Top five minerals for energy technologies

Add it all up, and these new sources of demand will translate into a need for more minerals:

 

  2017 production 2050 demand from energy technology Percentage change (%)
Lithium 43 KT 415 KT 965%
Cobalt 110 KT 644 KT 585%
Graphite 1200 KT 4590 KT 383%
Indium 0.72 KT 1.73 KT 241%
Vanadium 80 KT 138 KT 173%

 

Minimizing mining’s impact with Climate Smart Mining

The World Bank’s Climate Smart Mining (CSM) supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals to secure supply for clean energy technologies, while also minimizing the environmental and climate footprints throughout the value chain.

The World Bank has established four building blocks for Climate Smart Mining:

  • Climate change mitigation

  • Climate change adaptation

  • Reducing material impacts

  • Creating market opportunities

Given the foresight into the pending energy revolution, a coordinated global effort early on could give nations a greater chance to mitigate the impacts of mining, avoid haphazard mineral development and contribute to the improvement of living standards in mineral-rich countries.

The World Bank works closely with the United Nations to ensure that Climate Smart Mining policies will support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

A sustainable future

The potential is there for a low carbon economy, but it’s going to require a concerted global effort and sound policies to help guide responsible mineral development.

The mining industry can deliver the minerals for climate action.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Update: Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals resume drilling Nevada lithium target

March 1st, 2019

Update: On March 1 Belmont Resources announced drilling had restarted after “highly unusual” weather had delayed the program. “Belmont expects that the drilling will proceed with no further delays,” the company stated.

 

by Greg Klein | December 18, 2018

Encouraged by their last round of lithium assays, these two companies aren’t waiting for the post-Christmas season to reactivate the rig. With a new program now underway at the Kibby Basin project in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG focus on an area 2,300 metres northeast of hole KB-3, where previous results averaged 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals resume drilling Nevada lithium target

Previous drill results have Belmont and
MGX optimistic about the current program.

The team expects KB-4 to reach an initial depth of 300 metres into lakebed sediments, focusing on the centre of a gravity low interpreted as a potential fault. Geophysical and geological analysis suggests potential geothermal activity might have brought concentrations of dissolved minerals close to the surface, the companies stated.

Belmont also announced the appointment of two new directors. Karim Rayani has 14 years’ experience providing consulting and investment banking services to junior mining, bio-medical and technology sectors. Over the last four years he has helped raise more than $45 million for public and private companies.

As CEO/director of MGX, Jared Lazerson built a company with exploration properties in four countries and industrial technology subsidiaries including rapid lithium extraction and battery mass storage. MGX holds four million Belmont shares, four million two-year warrants and the right to acquire up to 10 million additional shares.

Under an option with Belmont signed in July, MGX has earned an initial 25% interest in Kibby Basin by spending $300,000. An additional $300,000 by year-end would make the company operator of a 50/50 joint venture.

The companies interpret the 2,056-hectare property’s geology to hold similarities with Nevada’s lithium-rich Clayton Valley, 65 kilometres south.

Belmont also holds a 50% stake in two Saskatchewan uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the remainder.

Last July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

92 Resources plans 2019 advancement of Canadian energy metals projects

January 22nd, 2019

by Greg Klein | January 22, 2019

With a portfolio that features lithium projects in Quebec along with vanadium and frac sand properties in British Columbia, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY now has its new year agenda in preparation. Taking precedence will be the FCI claims, a recent acquisition that enhances the company’s adjacent Corvette lithium project in Quebec’s James Bay region.

92 Resources plans 2019 advancement of Canadian energy metals projects

High-grade channel sampling has brought
Corvette’s CV1 pegmatite to the drill-ready stage.

Under a 75% earn-in, 92 has a year one spending commitment of $250,000 on FCI. The company has been reviewing historic data while working with operator Osisko Mining TSX:OSK to plan a surface program for the spring and summer. Following that will be a new field campaign at Corvette to precede the first-ever drill program on the two bordering properties.

Encouraging developments from Corvette last year include channel sampling on the CV1 pegmatite that revealed lithium grading as high as 2.28% Li2O over 6 metres and 1.54% over 8 metres, along with tantalum results. The team discovered two more spodumene-bearing pegmatites that suggest a potentially large mineralizing system along strike and at depth, 92 reported. A substantial staking expansion to Corvette along with the FCI earn-in covers about 15 kilometres of potential strike.

Looking at other possible sources of Quebec lithium, 92 also has field programs planned for the Pontax, Eastman and Lac du Beryl properties. Pontax grab samples have graded up to 0.94% Li2O and 520 ppm Ta2O5.

Additionally, the 2019 agenda calls for surface sampling on the Silver Sands vanadium prospect acquired in B.C. last November. The property features regionally mapped rock units that potentially host vanadium-bearing horizons.

Last year 92 filed a 43-101 technical report for its Golden frac sand project in southern B.C., adjacent to Northern Silica’s high-grade Moberly silica mine.

In the Northwest Territories, 92 holds an interest in the Hidden Lake lithium project, the subject of a maiden drill program last year by Far Resources CSE:FAT. The latter company has completed 60% of a 90% earn-in from 92.

92 closed a private placement of $618,000 in late December.

Read more about 92 Resources.

‘The great enabler’

January 16th, 2019

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

by Greg Klein

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

 

Gold and precious metals can attract people seeking wealth or beauty, while diamonds and other gems convey an intrigue of their own. But who becomes downright passionate about a base metal? To those who’ve head him talk, Gianni Kovacevic quickly comes to mind. Copper’s his metal of interest but his real fascination is the future—that, and a vision of the importance this metal holds to a new era of energy history.

Chairperson of CopperBank Resources CSE:CBK, an authority on energy systems and author of My Electrician Drives a Porsche?, he’s an especially engaging public speaker who’s possibly more effective than anyone in communicating mining’s importance to non-mining people.

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

The era of electrification offers promise to both
developed and emerging economies, says Kovacevic.

But those in the industry find his message captivating too. He calls mining, metals and especially copper “the great enabler” of electrification. And electrification’s the key to a new era in which copper usage will grow by magnitudes, he declares.

That’s happening already as developed countries wean themselves off fossil fuels and emerging countries use more and more electricity for consumer items and transportation or—from village to village and home to home—as they adopt electricity for the first time.

Among other vital metals are aluminum, lithium, vanadium and cobalt. “I like anything that enables electrification,” Kovacevic explains. “The sensitive one is cobalt. If people are talking about reducing cobalt in batteries or eliminating it altogether, who wins? Nickel. But no question about it, we will require hundreds of millions, in fact billions, of new battery cells.”

Overall, approximately 19% of energy use now comes from electricity, he says. But he expects the number to reach about 50% by 2050. His data for current and planned copper production, however, shows alarming shortfalls in capacity.

Half of the world’s primary copper production now comes from 25 mines. Just two countries, Peru and Chile, provide a combined 45%. One major copper mine, First Quantum Minerals’ (TSX:FM) Cobre Panama, has commissioning planned this year. Nothing else over 110,000 tonnes is expected until around 2022.

A new era of energy depends on mining and especially copper, says Gianni Kovacevic

First Quantum’s Cobre Panama will be the only
major new copper mine until about 2022, Kovacevic says.

In 2010 the 15 largest copper producers boasted average grades around 1.2%. The 2016 average was 0.72% and falling. Over the next half-century he expects average grades to slip below 0.5%.

Clearly more copper production will require much higher prices to make lower grades economic, Kovacevic emphasizes. He’s not alone in that outlook. Among others extolling the metal’s virtues is Robert Friedland, who also considers copper the key to electrification and maintains that declining grades will require higher prices.

Over the last nine months, however, prices haven’t co-operated. In late May spot copper approached a five-year high in the range of $3.30 a pound, but fell steeply after June 1. Current prices sit around $2.60 to $2.65, although that’s well above levels seen through most of 2015 and 2016. But Kovacevic says warehouse inventories suggest the market has reached a supply deficit.

Two decades of prices show an ironic connection with the commodity that fueled the previous energy era, he adds. “Copper’s never left its long-term bull market but it’s been pushed around by oil, because 90% of the time it’s correlated with oil. But now the prices have to decouple. Copper has to go much, much higher.”

Referring to himself as a “realistic environmentalist,” Kovacevic says the metals and mining crucial to the new energy era also remain crucial to emerging societies. Blocking new mines from development hinders new economies from development. “I can’t say to someone in India, for example, that they’re never going to have electricity or running water in their homes. You can’t say ‘build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone.’ People want basic human progress. Fortunately, as we go into this new pivot of energy we’re going to bypass the old ways of receiving energy in many applications.”

Kovacevic expands on his message in an illustrated keynote speech and also hosts a lithium investment panel discussion at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference on January 20 and 21. To avoid the $30 admission fee, click here for free registration.