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The 10th China Zero Waste Forum

Break Free From Plastic - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 19:46

On December 15th, the 10th China Zero Waste Forum convened in Beijing under the theme "Long-Term Mechanisms for Waste Management and Public Participation Under Dual Carbon Goals." The morning session featured the main forum, while the afternoon included three sub-forums on waste sorting, plastic issues, and end-of-life treatment. Despite heavy snowfall in Beijing, nearly 200 participants from across the country attended the forum in person.

The forum was jointly organized by the Alxa SEE Ecology Association North China Project Center, China Zero Waste Alliance, SEE Foundation, Shenzhen One Foundation, and Shanghai Hongkou Green Industry Development Center. It received support from the Vanke Foundation and Friends of Nature Foundation. Co-organizers included the Shanghai Aifen Environmental Protection Technology Consulting Service Center, Wuhu Ecology Center, and Zero Waste Shenzhen.

Keynote Speeches
  • Professor Liu Jianguo from Tsinghua University discussed waste's relationship with carbon emissions and waste classification optimization in his presentation, "Scientific Management and System Optimization of Waste Classification."
  • Professor Du Huanzheng from Tongji University, in his speech titled "From Zero Waste to Waste-Free Cities—China's Path to Green Transformation," emphasized the need for a transformation in consumer concepts to drive a new green supply chain.
  • Associate Professor Li Changjun from Nanjing Agricultural University shared insights on "Policy, Reasons, and Suggestions in the Replication of China's Waste Classification Policy."
  • Pan Yonggang advocated for the reuse of recycled raw materials in his speech, "Improving the Recycling System to Promote the Green and Low-Carbon Utilization of Recyclables."
  • Professor Wen Zongguo from Tsinghua University proposed that a circular economy, through ecological design and service substitution, is more conducive to carbon emission reduction than recycling.

Sub Forum - Waste Classification

The first part of the waste classification sub-forum explored the sources of long-term sustainability for waste classification. In the second part, participants shared experiences on enhancing different groups' enthusiasm to participate in zero waste activities.

Sub Forum - Plastic Pollution

In the plastic pollution sub-forum, stakeholders discussed solutions against the backdrop of China's "Dual Carbon" goals and the "Global Plastic Treaty" negotiation. Guest speakers who attended and spoke included Associate Researcher and Assistant Director Zhao Nana from the School of Environment at Tsinghua University/Basel Convention Regional Center for Asia and the Pacific, who is also one of the delegates participating in INC3 held in Nairobi,  Zhang Xunyang, researcher from the Energy Research Institute at Peking University, Deng Ping, Chief Representative of the Pacific Environment Chongqing Office, Zheng Lixia, Vice Secretary-General of the Recycling Plastic Branch of the China National Resources Recycling Association, Shao Xuefei, Senior Manager of Sustainable Development Operations at BASF Greater China, and Li Chunhua, the General Secretary of the Nanjing Greenstone Environmental Protection Center. In the roundtable session of the sub-forum, in addition to the aforementioned guest speakers, Chen Xi from the Hainan Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment also participated in the discussion.

Sub Forum – End-of-life Treatment

In this sub-forum, experts presented social cost analyses of various domestic waste disposal methods, discussed carbon emissions and sustainable development in domestic waste systems, and explored the potential of commercial models in waste management under the "Dual Carbon" context.

During the closing session, Dr. Mao Da, Chairman of the Shenzhen Zero Waste, interpreted the "Zero Waste Consensus and Initiative." Professor Tan Shuang, Deputy Dean of the School of Law at China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing), summarized and concluded the forum with the theme "Multilateral Dialogue Driving Collaborative Governance of Waste."

Finally, the Zero Waste Forum announced its action plan for 2024, extending the zero waste concept from the forum to daily lives through initiatives by various organizations. The event, adhering to the zero waste concept, minimized single-use items and actively promoted waste sorting and responsible disposal.

As part of this year's Zero Waste Forum, the Zero Waste Carnival on December 16 featured the "Zero Waste Citywalk" activity, inviting the public to explore urban "zero waste" practices and embrace a more considerate "no waste" lifestyle for the Earth.


Shell’s Nigerian Legal Hoopla: Supreme Court Says ‘Yes’ to Pollution Appeal

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 13:36
Shell is still juggling legal hot potatoes both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. In one corner, about 1,200 plaintiffs in Akure are crying foul over a 2011 oil spill. In the other corner, a UK court is letting a group of Nigerian fishermen cast their legal nets against Shell in yet another lengthy legal saga.

Posted by John Donovan: 8 Jan 24

In a plot twist worthy of a courtroom drama, Shell plc’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Co. (SPDC), has scored what can only be described as a legal slam dunk. Nigeria’s Supreme Court, in a move that surely had Shell’s execs high-fiving, upheld its appeal in a pollution case. This 2022 decision is a big deal, potentially unlocking the gates for Shell to sell off its multi-billion-dollar assets in Nigeria.

Let’s set the legal scene: SPDC, clutching a 30% stake in a Nigerian joint venture, found itself in a pickle when a court order put a big red stop sign on divesting assets until the pollution case was wrapped up. This not only put a wrench in Shell’s plans to offload its onshore oil operations but also highlighted the tangled web of legal challenges in the region.

While the world eagerly awaits the juicy details of the court’s judgment, insiders, preferring the shadows of anonymity, whispered about the favorable outcome for Shell. This legal victory is more than just a win for the company; it’s a strategic chess move reshaping its future in Nigeria.

In a statement dripping with caution, an SPDC spokesperson noted, “We note the Supreme Court’s judgment on SPDC’s appeal,” while stressing the ongoing evaluation of the verdict’s implications. It’s a classic case of ‘we won, but let’s not get too excited just yet.’

Shell, a veteran in Nigeria’s oil scene for over half a century, hit a legal speed bump about three years ago. Then-CEO Ben van Beurden, in a moment of candidness, signalled Shell’s intent to bail on onshore oil due to the headache of sabotage and theft. Now, with the court’s nod of approval, SPDC might just see the light at the end of this legal tunnel.

But don’t pop the champagne yet! Shell is still juggling legal hot potatoes both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. In one corner, about 1,200 plaintiffs in Akure are crying foul over a 2011 oil spill. In the other corner, a UK court is letting a group of Nigerian fishermen cast their legal nets against Shell in yet another lengthy legal saga.

This whole ordeal shines a spotlight on the complex legal maze multinational corporations navigate in their quest for oil and gas glory. The outcomes of these legal battles could very well become the blueprint for how other companies dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge through similar challenges.

As Shell basks in the glory of this legal triumph, the implications for the oil and gas industry are still up in the air. SPDC’s knack for wriggling through legal loopholes will undoubtedly influence its future moves in Nigeria and beyond. The Supreme Court’s decision is just one chapter in Shell’s ongoing saga, with the industry watching with bated breath as the story continues to unfold.

DISCLAIMER: Content published on this non-commercial platform may incorporate information generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and various other technological means, including translation and information published on Wikipedia. The articles presented may be satirical adaptations derived from one or more previously published sources, crafted to maintain factual accuracy while incorporating elements of satire. Individuals or entities mentioned in our articles are encouraged to notify us of any inaccuracies that may require rectification. Readers are advised to verify all information for accuracy and completeness independently.

Shell’s Nigerian Legal Hoopla: Supreme Court Says ‘Yes’ to Pollution Appeal was first posted on January 8, 2024 at 10:36 pm.
©2018 "Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at

New critical mineral mines in British Columbia could generate nearly $600 billion, study says

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 13:28

In the province of British Columbia, 16 proposed critical mineral mines worth C$36 billion in near-term investment, 300,000 person-years of employment and C$11 billion in tax revenues are at a critical juncture, a new independent economic impact analysis conducted for the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) has found.

There are currently 10 metal mines, seven steelmaking coal mines and two smelters operating in BC, which is regarded as a key global mining jurisdiction. BC is Canada’s leading producer of copper and steelmaking coal, second largest producer of silver, and only producer of molybdenum, MABC said.

The study by Mansfield Consulting examined 14 potential critical mineral mines and two mine extensions, and found the long-term economic impact of operating these mines over several decades could be nearly C$800 billion ($599bn).

While Canada is aiming to become a bigger player on the world stage in terms of critical minerals supply, the mining permitting process in British Columbia is known for its lengthy delays, and finding solutions are a priority, the provincial government has said.

The report showing the resource opportunities B.C. offers comes almost one year after the federal government announced a C$1.5-billion fund aimed at supporting critical minerals projects across Canada. It’s part of a larger set of initiatives targeting development of the minerals needed for the green energy transition, namely Ottawa’s C$3.8-billion Critical Minerals Strategy. 

“The realization of benefits from these critical mineral projects is dependent on BC having competitive fiscal and regulatory policies that will attract the investment necessary to grow and sustain the sector. The provincial government’s forthcoming critical minerals strategy is fundamental to these efforts,” MABC CEO Michael Goehring said in a statement on Monday.

“This is a generational opportunity which must be seized and could position BC as a leading global supplier of responsibly-produced critical minerals. We want to move forward with the Governments of Canada and British Columbia, First Nations, local governments, and labour, to unlock critical mineral developments for the benefit of all British Columbians,” Goehring said, adding that the proposed critical mineral projects create opportunities for First Nations partnerships to advance economic reconciliation and self determination.

The study also assessed the economic benefits of advancing five proposed precious metal mines, including gold. The long-term combined impact of the proposed precious metals mines over their lifespan exceeds C$29.5 billion, creating over 96,000 person-years of employment and generating C$5.3 billion in tax revenue.

Seabridge Gold’s Kerr-Sulphurets Mitchell (KSM) project in British Columbia’s famed Golden Triangle is the world’s top-ranked gold project, but the last new gold mine – the Brucejack, one of the highest grade gold mines in the world– went into production seven years ago.

“With the right government policy, these critical and precious mineral projects would further advance the mining and smelting sector’s foundational role in BC’s economy which includes well-paid family-supporting jobs and opportunities for service and supply businesses in both rural and urban communities,” Goehring said.

QC Copper says Opemiska resource tops 1.88 billion lb. copper, 915,000 oz. gold

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 11:21

QC Copper and Gold (TSXV: QCCU) has updated the resource estimate for its Opemiska project to over 1.88 billion lb. of copper and 915,000 oz. of gold. The project is located in the Chapais-Chibougamau district of Quebec.

The pit-constrained measured and indicated resource is 87.3 million tonnes grading 0.77% copper (0.93% copper equivalent), containing 1.49 billion lb. copper, 762,000 oz. of gold and 762,000 oz. of silver. The pit-constrained inferred resource is 9.8 million tonnes at 0.48% copper (0.59% copper equivalent), containing 104 million lb. copper, 55,000 oz. of gold and 689,000 oz. of silver. A cut-off of 0.15% copper equivalent was used in this estimate.

Opemiska also has out-of-pit resources calculated with a cut-off of 0.8% copper equivalent. The measured and indicated portion is 10.1 million tonnes grading 1.20% copper (1.37% copper equivalent), containing 268 million lb. of copper, 83,000 oz. of gold and 5.5 million oz. of silver. The inferred portion is 11.0 million tonnes at 0.53% copper (0.54% copper equivalent), containing 127 million lb. of copper, 70,000 oz. of gold and 907,000 oz. of silver.

“We are proud to deliver to shareholders an MRE that defines Canada’s highest grade copper open pit deposit,” said QC Copper CEO and chair Stephen Stewart. “This MRE details the immense value of owning such a sizable, high-grade asset with excellent accessibility and infrastructure.

“Furthermore, QC Copper and Gold’s Opemiska is in the heart of northwestern Quebec, a stable mining jurisdiction, where we see Opemiska as the anchor to revitalizing the storied Chapais-Chibougamau copper-gold district in Eastern Canada.”

The project has a starter pit of 19.1 million tonnes at 1.1% copper equivalent, with confirmed potential to expand the pit and go underground. Potential satellite pits to the east as well as the former Cooke and Robitaille mines have been identified. As well, preliminary metallurgical tests have confirmed favourable recovery characteristics.

The Opemiska project includes the former Springer and Perry copper-gold mines, operated by Falconbridge from 1953 to 1991. Together, they produced 23 million tonnes of ore grading 2.4% copper and 0.3 g/t gold.

QC Copper acquired the property in 2021, and the company is aiming to outline resources containing at least 2 billion lb. of copper equivalent.

US Supreme Court dismisses Alaska’s bid to keep Pebble project alive

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 10:48

The US Supreme Court on Monday dismissed Alaska’s bid to keep the Pebble mine project alive after it was essentially shot down by the Environmental Protection Agency a year ago.

The proposed mine in the Bristol Bay area, which would have become the largest copper, gold and molybdenum extraction site in North America, has met with nearly two decades of resistance for its potential impact on nature and the communities that depend on them.

In January 2023, the EPA sided with the opposition groups by blocking Northern Dynasty Minerals (TSX: NDM; NYSE: NAK), the project owner, from storing mine waste in the Bristol Bay watershed, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fisheries.

Alaskan lawmakers in support of the project filed in July a motion asking the Supreme Court to overturn the EPA decision, arguing that the nation’s highest court had the authority to hear their case before lower courts reviewed the matter.

In a more typical legal process, the state must start with a lower court and then appeal any unfavorable decisions with the Supreme Court.

“Alaska tried to persuade the court that this is the rare kind of dispute that the justices should hear as a trial court, without having it go through lower courts first,” Steve Vladeck, Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, told CNN.

“Although there’s no explanation accompanying today’s denial, it stands to reason that a majority of the justices disagreed and were willing to let the case go through ordinary litigation in the lower courts first,” he said in the CNN interview.

Northern Dynasty has also not given up and has considered legal options to challenge the EPA. “The proposed mine for the Pebble project would provide good-paying, year-round employment for thousands of Alaskans, something desperately needed in southwest Alaska,” the company has said.

“While it is a disappointing decision, it is important to note that this is not a comment on the arguments put forward by the state. We have long stated our belief that the EPA has acted outside of its regulatory authority and that remains our position today,” Northern Dynasty said in a statement on Monday.

Over a 20-year mine life, the Pebble mine is expected to churn out 6.4 billion lb. of copper; 7.4 million oz. of gold, 300 million lb. of molybdenum; 37 million oz. of silver and 200,000 kg of rhenium. It has a post-tax net present value (NPV) of more than $2 billion (at 7% discount rate) with an internal rate of return (IRR) of roughly 15%.

Northern Dynasty’s stock plunged 26.9% by 1:45 p.m. ET on the latest development. The Vancouver-based miner has a market capitalization of C$204.9 million ($153 million).

Vizsla boosts grade to 289 g/t silver, 88.2 million oz. contained silver for Panuco project in Mexico

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 10:35

Vizsla Silver (TSXV: VZLA; NYSE: VZLA) has increased the resources at its 100%-owned Panuco silver-gold project in Sinaloa, Mexico, in both the indicated and inferred categories by 48.7%.

That puts 155.8 million silver equivalent in the indicated resource and 169.6 million oz. silver equivalent in the inferred resource. There was also a 17% boost to the average indicated grade to 511 g/t silver equivalent.

The indicated resource is 9.5 million tonnes grading 2.89 g/t silver, 2.41 g/t gold, 0.27% lead and 0.84% zinc. Contained metals are 88.2 million oz. of silver, 736,000 oz. of gold, 56 million lb. of lead and 176.1 million lb. of zinc.

Vizsla says the updated resource estimate is centred on the western portion of Panuco and includes 100,222 metres or 178 new holes drilled between September 2022 and September 2023.

“What’s most impressive is that although we continue to expand the project’s mineral inventory year after year, our current resource still accounts for less than 10% of the known veins we have in the district,” said Vizsla CEO Michael Konnert said in a news release.

“Going forward, we will focus on de-risking and advancing the high-grade resource in the west towards development, taking advantage of the project’s incredible infrastructure, while simultaneously hunting for the next epicenter of mineralization in the central and eastern portions of the district,” he added.

Vista Gold evaluates staged development for Mt Todd gold in Australia

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 10:33

Vista Gold (TSX: VGZ; NYSE: VGZ) is taking a close look at staged development for its 100%-owned Mt Todd gold project in Northern Territory, Australia. The company has received all major operating and environmental permits, but phased development would lower the initial capital requirement.

The 2022 feasibility study estimated that there are 7.9 million oz. of gold in the measured and indicated resource, and 7 million oz. are within proven and probable reserves. The mine has a life of 16 years with average annual production being 479,000 oz. gold. The capex requirement was given as $892 million.

Vista refined its plans with a scoping study last year. The initial capex will be less than $350 million, assuming contract mining. Initial production would be 150,000 to 200,000 oz. annually.

The Batman deposit will be the first to be developed, but there is potential to expand those resources as well as find more resources over a district-scale area, the company said. The Batman deposit contains proven and probable reserves of 287 million tonnes grading 0.79 g/t gold (6.7 million oz.). There are also heap leach reserves of 13.4 million tonnes grading 0.54 g/t gold (232,000 oz.).

The total measured and indicated resources for Batman, the heap leach, and Quigleys deposit is 299.1 million tonnes grading 0.82 g/t gold and containing almost 7.9 million oz. The total inferred resource for the three is 65.3 million tonnes grading 0.77 g/t gold and containing about 1.6 million oz. of gold.

Ivanhoe eyes higher copper output at Kamoa-Kakula

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 09:13

Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) produced 393,551 tonnes of copper last year at its flagship Kamoa-Kakula complex in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, up 18% from 2022 levels and it expects to churn out between 440,000 and 490,000 tonnes of the metal this year.

The targets for 2024 should be reached following the anticipated completion of the 5-million-tonne-per-annum Phase 3 concentrator during the third quarter of 2024, executive co-chair Robert Friedland and president Marna Cloete said in the statement.

BMO’s analysts Andrew Mikitchook said that while positive, Ivanhoe’s only achieved the lower end of its 2023 guidance due to continuous power disruptions.

“While we see solving the power constraints playing a key role in achieving the guidance, Ivanhoe’s copper production growth is one of the few sources of additional copper units this year in our estimates,” he wrote in a note to investors.

The news followed the announcement last week of first shipment of copper concentrate from the DRC complex arriving to the port of Lobito, in Angola. 

The trial run showed that Ivanhoe could shorten its export route from Kamoa-Kakula by two thirds, simplifying logistics and cutting costs. 

The company also noted that a daily milling record was achieved on Jan. 1, 2024, as 31,084 tonnes of ore were processed by the Phase 1 and 2 concentrators over 24 hours. This is equivalent to an annual milling rate of 10.4 million tonnes, Ivanhoe said.

Kamoa Copper has been working with DRC’s state-owned power company, La Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL), to identify the causes of the instability across the southern DRC’s grid infrastructure and to identify long-lasting solutions.

SNEL and Ivanhoe Mines Energy DRC, a subsidiary of Kamoa Holding Limited, signed in December an amendment to the existing financing agreement to cover identified infrastructure upgrades. The original financing agreement consisted of a loan of up to $250 million for the refurbishment of 78 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity at the Mwadingusha dam and 178 MW of generation capacity from Turbine #5 at the Inga II dam.

The refurbishment of the Mwadingusha facility was completed in September 2021, and the refurbishment of Turbine #5 at Inga II is on schedule to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024, the company said.

Changes to the financing agreement expand the loan up to a total of $450 million, which will be assigned specifically to grid infrastructure upgrades.

The Vancouver-based miner said it would issue 2023 financial results and host a conference call for investors on February 26.

Lithium Chile awarded huge concession in Argentina’s Arizaro Salar

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 09:11

Lithium Chile (TSXV: LITH) said on Monday that its Argentine subsidiary Argentum Lithium has been awarded the largest concession block in the Salar de Arizaro.

Argentum was one of 13 companies that competed in a public tender process by the Salta provincial government that encompassed five different blocks. Block IV was the largest of the five blocks.

It covers an 84.5-sq.-km concession located north of Lithium Chile’s project in the Arizaro basin, about 18 km north of drill hole ARDDH-02 that the company had already completed.

The Salar de Arizaro project covers more than 200 sq. km. of the basin, containing an estimated 1.5 million indicated tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent and 1.8 million inferred tonnes.

“Being awarded Block IV is a wonderful achievement for us. It has the potential to significantly increase our lithium resource without the added expense,” Lithium Chile CEO Steve Cochrane said in a news release.

“We have the equipment, capable team and infrastructure already in place, which positions us to swiftly advance the project. Adding an additional 8,400 hectares to our already substantial land position makes Lithium Chile a dominant player in the basin,” Cochrane said.

Argentum’s bid win marks it as yet another explorer pursuing the battery metal in South America’s Lithium Triangle, as companies continue seeking to develop lithium to meet demand for green technology manufacturing materials.

However, the rising supply of lithium is a contributing factor to the metal’s declining prices, which could drop to $2,200 per tonne next year down from an average of $3,840 per tonne last year, according to a recent report from Australia’s Department of Industry, Science and Resources.

In accordance with the commitment made in its successful bid, Lithium Chile has provided an initial payment of around $5.74 million to REMSa, the provincial mining and energy company, for the award.

An environmental impact study will be filed for an exploration program to be completed on Block IV during the year. The company’s established infrastructure near Block IV will allow for optimized resource utilization and seamless integration of exploration activities, it said.

JV opportunity

According to Lithium Chile, there is already extensive geological data available on Block IV from an exploration program completed by Portofino Resources (TSXV: POR) during 2023. That exploration activity included more than 40 surface samples brine samples and 69,000 metres of geophysical surveys.

Capitalizing on the extensive work during the exploration program carried out on Block IV, the company has signed a partnership agreement with Portofino outlining a joint venture arrangement.

The agreement would enable Portofino to acquire a 50% net equity interest in Block IV by contributing 50% of award expenses and exploration costs. Completion of the joint venture is contingent on Portofino raising the necessary funds and entering into a definitive agreement – anticipated to be completed in the next 60 days, Lithium Chile said.

“Combined with Lithium Chile’s exploration success and infrastructure located immediately south, the partnership can move forward quickly. This is a win-win for both companies,” Portofino said in a separate release.

Shares of Lithium Chile rose by 6.0% as of noon ET on the Block IV award announcement. The Calgary-based lithium explorer has a market capitalization of C$109.4 million ($81.9 million).

Shell’s Financial Rollercoaster: Big Bucks in Gas, Oopsies in Chemicals

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 08:03

Posted by John Donovan 8 Jan 24

In a stunning display of financial gymnastics, Shell has managed to pull off a spectacular feat: raking in the dough from gas trading while simultaneously flagging a modest $2.5 billion to $4.5 billion in impairment costs.

The FTSE 100 energy behemoth, in a Monday announcement that must have had its accountants in a tizzy, warned that it’s expecting to declare these little oopsies in charges. Apparently, these are mostly thanks to its Singapore-based refining and chemical hub having a bit of an off day.

But fear not, shareholders! Shell’s gas division is strutting its stuff, forecasting up to 920,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, and a dazzling 7.3 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas. It seems seasonal shifts and ‘optimisation opportunities’ (corporate-speak for ‘finding clever ways to make more money’) are working wonders.

In what might be a scene from a corporate yard sale, Shell is reportedly looking to offload some of its assets in Singapore, including an ethylene plant and a refinery churning out a mere 237,000 barrels per day. This is all part of a ‘wider strategic review’ launched last year, because why keep old toys when you can get new ones?

According to Reuters, potential buyers are lining up like kids at a candy store, with names like Eversun Holdings, Befar Group, China National Offshore Oil Corporation, and Vitol. Shell, in the spirit of an auctioneer, has asked for formal bids by the end of February, aiming to seal the deal later this year.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Shell’s chemicals and products segment is expected to make an adjusted earnings loss in the fourth quarter. It seems trading oil products and chemicals isn’t quite the cash cow it used to be.

Nevertheless, Shell still enjoyed a pretty decent 2023, riding the wave of high oil and gas prices courtesy of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and OPEC+ production cuts. For the opening nine months, Shell flaunted adjusted earnings of $21 billion, though this was a tad lower than last year’s record profits when oil prices were playing hopscotch above $100.

Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, chimed in with a reality check. She suggests that solid US output and a weak demand outlook ‘could keep a lid’ on oil prices this year. But hey, there’s always hope with OPEC+ supply cuts and China’s economy potentially perking up.

Despite the ups and downs, Shell’s gas trading division has been a bright star, especially with the increased volatility in fuel prices post-Ukraine invasion. And let’s not forget the chemicals unit, playing second fiddle but still expected to break even compared to last year.

RBC Europe Ltd. analyst Biraj Borkhataria summed it up nicely: “Overall, we see the statement as neutral given a reasonable operational result.” Translation: Shell’s doing okay, but it’s not exactly fireworks.

So there you have it, folks: Shell’s financial report card – acing it in gas, but could do better in chemicals. Stay tuned for the next episode in the thrilling saga of Shell’s financial rollercoaster!

DISCLAIMER: Content published on this non-commercial platform may incorporate information generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and various other technological means, including translation and information published on Wikipedia. The articles presented may be satirical adaptations derived from one or more previously published sources, crafted to maintain factual accuracy while incorporating elements of satire. Individuals or entities mentioned in our articles are encouraged to notify us of any inaccuracies that may require rectification. Readers are advised to verify all information for accuracy and completeness independently.

Shell’s Financial Rollercoaster: Big Bucks in Gas, Oopsies in Chemicals was first posted on January 8, 2024 at 5:03 pm.
©2018 "Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com". Use of this feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this article in your feed reader, then the site is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact me at

Alcoa set to announce Kwinana refinery closure

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 07:37

Aluminum producer Alcoa (NYSE: AA) is poised to announce plans for its Kwinana refinery in Australia, with full closure of the facility being the most likely option, The West Australian reported on Monday.

The US-based company kicked off a “restructuring program” at the alumina refinery located near Perth last year, amid environmental scrutiny and financial pressure.

The plant was the first of Alcoa’s three Western Australia alumina refineries that’s been in operation for about 60 years, with the capacity to produce about 2.2 million tonnes of the raw material used to make aluminum. 

Kwinana has been operating well below nameplate capacity for the past year owing to operational issues, falling grades of bauxite and permitting setbacks. BMO analysts noted the refinery has historically been a relatively major supplier of merchant alumina to the Middle East, so a closure announcement at a time of high alumina prices in China following bauxite availability challenges may see upward pressure on the international spot price. 

“With Rio Tinto also writing down the value of its Yarwun refinery last year, we see potential that future years will see higher volumes of bauxite exported from Australia and lower volumes of alumina,” BMO Colin Hamilton, head of Global Commodities, said in a note.

Nearly 1,200 workers could lose their jobs if Alcoa decides to close Kwinana, some of which could be relocated to Alcoa’s two mines in the state’s south-west, as well as to its other two refineries in the region.

The “imminent” announcement would follow Alcoa’s recent change in leadership. The Pittsburgh-based company announced in September that William Oplinger was replacing Roy Harvey as chief executive officer.

Alcoa’s alumina business segment accounts for about 28% of total revenue. The division was described as “marginal” by Oplinger after assuming the top post.

Nature emits mercury but not as much as humans do – study

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 05:05

Even though it has been estimated that anthropogenic activities have increased the global mercury reservoir in the earth’s oceans by 21%, the total amount of the toxic heavy metal, which includes what is produced by natural sources, has not been calculated until now.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, an international team of scientists produced the first global estimate of mercury emissions from hydrothermal sources at mid-ocean ridges, volcanically active areas in the world’s oceans, based on measurements.

“Hydrothermal vents are the most important direct source of natural mercury in the ocean,” Sven Petersen, co-author of the study and a geoscientist at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, said in a media statement. “But until now, the data on how much mercury they contribute has varied between 20 and 2,000 tons per year.”

Petersen explained that the data discrepancy is mainly because previous studies have only measured the hot solutions escaping from the sources.

For the current study, however, he and his colleagues analyzed not only the escaping fluids but also clouds of suspended matter known as plumes, seawater and rocks.

The samples were collected during the GEOTRACES and ODP (Ocean Drilling Program, predecessor of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, IODP) expeditions. GEOTRACES expeditions focus on the study of trace metals and their distribution in the oceans, while ODP expeditions drill rock samples from the seafloor.

“Our combined observations suggest that most of the mercury accumulated in the hot solutions is diluted in seawater,” Lars-Eric Heimbürger-Boavida, a CNRS scientist and the study’s lead author, said. “Only a small fraction is precipitated locally and remains on the seafloor. Overall, the results show that the global hydrothermal mercury flux from mid-ocean ridges is small compared to anthropogenic mercury emissions.”

Such a flux ranges from 1.5 to 65 tons per year. This suggests that the majority of mercury in the ocean is of anthropogenic origin, with mining and fossil fuel burning among its main sources.

With this result, the researchers hope that the strict implementation of emission reductions under the Minamata Convention will reduce mercury levels in fish and human exposure.

The United Nations Environment Program’s Minamata Convention was signed in 2013 by 128 countries that committed to reducing mercury emissions worldwide.

Lithium junior Kali Metals soars on ASX debut

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 03:47

Shares in lithium explorer Kali Metals (ASX: KM1) jumped as much as 86% on its first day of trading on the Australian Stock Exchange, following an initial public offering in November that opened and closed in under 30 minutes.

The Western Australia-based junior entered the ASX on the right foot, having raised A$15 million ($10m) on a heavily oversubscribed IPO through the issue of 60 million shares at A$0.25 each ($0.17).

Kali attracted interest from some of the local mining sector heavyweights, including Mineral Resources’ managing director Chris Ellison through his private company, Wabelo.

The success of the company, a spin off of Kalamazoo Resources’ (ASX: KZR) and Karora Resources’ (TSX: KRR) lithium assets, contrasts with the struggles of other Australian juniors. 

Core Lithium (ASX: CXO) had to halt operations at its Finniss complex last week due to what it called “tough” market conditions. Other small players have been at the centre of a battle for controlling sources of the coveted battery metal. Albemarle (NYSE: ALB), the world’s largest lithium producer, agreed last year to buy Liontown Resources (ASX: LTR) for $4.3 billion. The takeover was blocked by Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest woman, who acquired a 19.9% stake in the target company. 

Rinehart also thwarted the takeover of Azure Minerals (ASX: AZS) by Chile’s SQM (NYSE: SQM) by buying an 18% blocking stake.

Australian lithium juniors are in a place of disadvantage compared to peers elsewhere, as several have high levels of Chinese ownership or processing. This would make them ineligible for US government subsidies, as the Biden Administration issued a draft guidance in early December that defined a “foreign entity of concern” as any company more than 25% owned by Chinese, North Korean, Iranian or Russian shareholders.

Ganfeng and Tianqi, two Chinese firms, were among the first foreign players to invest in Australia’s lithium sector. They still hold large stakes in major mines like Mt Marion and Greenbushes.

Kali Metals’ board comprises Sloan as MD, Kalamazoo chairperson and CEO Luke Reinehr as non-executive chairperson, supported by non-executive directors Paul Adams, John Leddy and Simon Coyle.

The stock closed up 74% at A$0.435 each, leaving Kali Metals with a market capitalization of A$33.2 million ($21.5m).

Simandou build expected to start in 2024 after almost 30 years of setbacks

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/08/2024 - 02:30

Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO; ASX: RIO) expects to begin infrastructure work on the massive Simandou iron ore project in Guinea this year following almost three decades of setbacks and scandals.

Set to be the world’s largest and highest grade new iron ore mine, the project will add around 5% to global seaborne supply when it comes on line. It is a partnership between Rio Tinto, the Guinean government and at least seven other companies, including five from China. Project development requires initial funding of about $11.6 billion, Rio Tinto said in December.

Rio Tinto first secured an exploration license for Simandou in 1997. Since then, the country has experienced two coups d’état, seen four heads of state, and undergone three presidential elections.

TIMELINE: The battle for Simandou

In 2024, once the miner’s state-owned Chinese partners receive the final approval from Beijing, Rio Tinto intends to commence its most complex project in history.

“There is nothing else out there of this scale and size,” Rio Tinto’s head of the copper business, Bold Baatar, told the Financial Times in an interview.

Rio Tinto plans to build one iron ore mine at the Simfer project in partnership with a consortium led by Chinalco. A second mine, the WCS project, will be built by Baowu in partnership with a consortium led by the Singapore-based Winning International Group.

The parties are also expected to co-finance the construction of a 552-kilometer railway.

Baatar told the Financial Times that Simandou has the potential to help decarbonize the Chinese steel industry.

“A part of the ore body that we’re looking at is very suitable, we think, for direct reduction iron,” Baatar told FT.

“The only way the steelmaking industry globally decarbonizes is if China decarbonizes.”

First production from the two blocks co-owned by Rio Tinto is expected to ramp up over 30 months from 2025 to an annualized capacity of 60 million tonnes per year.

The company said its share of the production will be 27 million tonnes.

(With files from Reuters)

Spanish activist group blasts exploration project in Huelva

Mining.Com - Sun, 01/07/2024 - 13:20

Activist group Ecologistas en Acción (Ecologists in Action) have issued a statement regarding Geoland Services, S.L., the company behind the Valdegrama project in the southern Spanish province of Huelva. 

According to the organization, Geoland’s plans to explore 2,000 hectares of land spanning the municipalities of Aroche, Cortegana and Almonaster la Real will endanger the Alcalaboza riverbank, one of the best-preserved banks in Huelva, which flows into the Chanza River.

The Chanza River supplies a large portion of the province’s freshwater and is part of the Natura 2000 Network. It also flows into the Guadiana River, which defines a long stretch of the Portugal-Spain border. 

Geoland Services plans to carry out 20 drill campaigns covering 200 metres in the area in its search for graphite, gold, silver, and nickel.

However, Ecologistas en Acción noted that some sections of these rivers and nearby bodies of water already have a water quality classified as “worse than bad” in the province’s hydrological plans.

“This is fundamentally due to the destruction of their ability to support life due to discharges and spills from mining operations,” the communiqué reads. “The few stretches or banks that were not affected in the past by mining exploitation, continue to barely house important remains of biodiversity, among which are endemic and endangered species of freshwater fish such as jarabugo, short-headed barbel and Guadiana boga, which have their last pockets of survival on the banks that go down to the Guadiana, especially in the Alcalaboza and the Chanza.”

In addition to the NGO, residents of the area, farmers, ranchers and others have joined forces in the Alcalaboza Viva platform, and have also expressed concern over the project, particularly taking into account that there are already 13 abandoned, four inoperative and four active mines in the region.

Shell’s Pennsylvania Plant: A Not-So-Smooth Start in the World of Ethylene Cracking

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Sun, 01/07/2024 - 09:22

Posted by John Donovan: 7 Jan 2024

Welcome to the tale of Shell’s Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex, an ethylene cracker plant nestled in Potter Township, Pennsylvania.

This story begins with controversy, as most good stories do, which was so elegantly highlighted in an alarming New York Times article – “A Giant Factory Rises to Make a Product Filling up the World: Plastic” – published on August 2, 2019.

Fast forward to its first full year post a decade of planning and building, and oh boy, it’s been a rollercoaster! The plant had to press pause on production now and then for what they call ‘maintenance and adjustments.’ But wait, there’s more! It also caught the eye of state agencies, and not in a good way, racking up several citations for emissions and other trivial matters.

The Beaver County Times has become the go-to source for all the juicy details on the plant’s shenanigans. While Shell officials chalked up the hiccups to growing pains, The Times wasn’t content just parroting corporate lines. They bravely ventured out to consult environmental experts and others to get the real scoop on the happenings there.

The incidents at the plant were so frequent and varied that the Times had to be picky, focusing only on the big-ticket issues that affected more than just the plant’s neighbours. Still, they’ve kept a vigilant eye on the overall impact of the facility, weighing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So, there you have it, the ongoing saga of Shell’s Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex – a story of ambition, controversy, and a few too many ‘oops’ moments in the world of ethylene cracking. Stay tuned for more thrilling updates!

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Brazilian government, miners join forces to improve security in gold mining areas

Mining.Com - Sun, 01/07/2024 - 08:00

The Brazilian Institute of Mining (Ibram) joined forces with the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety and some of the largest mining companies operating in the South American country to develop a special security plan for the municipalities that host gold mining operations.  

In a media statement, Ibram said that the main goal of the plan is to avoid cargo theft by organized crime.

The agreement signed between the government and the miners contemplates the preparation of studies and diagnoses that would lead to the formulation of strategies to confront the activities of organized crime impacting gold and precious metals operations.

The work will be carried out by the National Secretariat of Public Safety (SENASP) together with communities and local authorities. The idea is that the strategies developed incorporate defence mechanisms against criminal activities, and encourage the exchange of information between mining companies and municipal authorities, states and federations.

“Mining companies represent a strategic sector of the Brazilian economy and an important part of the trade balance,” Ricardo Cappelli, Minister of Justice and Public Safety, said at the event where the agreement was signed. “Security is one of the pillars for Brazil to attract investments.”

Also involved in this joint effort are other sectors, such as banks and cash/valuables-in-transit companies. 

The new protocol will focus on some 50 Brazilian municipalities where gold and diamonds are extracted, and whose total population adds up to 700,000 people. 

The pact also involves the dissemination of security and prevention measures for the residents of these areas.

“It only takes a few seconds for criminals to put an end to the efforts of long-term investments made by mining companies in their projects, which generate several benefits for the country and Brazilians,” Ibram’s vice-president, Fernando Azevedo, said. “This situation should not continue in the national territory.”

Emissions reach lowest level in 70 years due to sharp decline in coal use in Germany

Mining.Com - Sun, 01/07/2024 - 06:45

An unexpectedly sharp decline in coal use led to a reduction in Germany’s CO₂ emissions in 2023, reaching their lowest level in 70 years, according to a recent report by Agora Energiewende.

In detail, Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions fell to 673 million tonnes of CO₂-equivalent, which refers to all greenhouse gas emissions, including substances such as methane and nitrous oxide, that are converted into their CO2 equivalent and added to the emissions balance.

Emissions, thus, fell by 46% compared to the reference year 1990 – their lowest level since the 1950s. At the same time, CO₂ emissions were about 49 million tonnes of CO₂ below the annual target of 722 million tonnes of CO₂ derived from the Climate Protection Act. 

Agora Energiewende’s analysis shows that two main developments were responsible for the decrease of 73 million tonnes of CO₂ compared to 2022. 

First, coal-fired power generation fell to its lowest level since the 1960s, saving 44 million tonnes of CO₂ alone. The reasons for this were a significant drop in electricity demand, increased electricity imports from neighbouring countries – around half of which came from renewable sources of energy – as well as a commensurate decrease in electricity exports and a slight increase in domestic green electricity generation. 

Second, emissions from industry fell significantly. This was largely due to the decline in production by energy-intensive companies as a result of the economic situation and international crises. 

“While overall economic output shrank by 0.3% according to preliminary figures, energy-intensive production fell by 11% in 2023,” the paper reads.

Conventional electricity generation fell by 24% in 2023 in Germany compared to the previous year. Kernkraft is nuclear power; braunkohle is brown coal; steinkohle is hard coal; erdgas is natural gas; mineralöl is mineral oil; sonstige is other.

The think tank’s calculations, however, show that only about 15% of the CO₂ saved constitutes permanent emissions reductions resulting from additional renewable energy capacity, efficiency gains and the switch to fuels that produce less CO₂ or other climate-friendly alternatives. 

About half of the emissions cuts are due to short-term effects, such as lower electricity prices. Therefore, Agora notes that most of the emissions cuts in 2023 are not sustainable from an industrial or climate policy perspective as emissions may rise again as the economy picks up or if a share of Germany’s industrial production is permanently moved abroad.

The study found that CO₂ emissions from buildings and transportation remained almost unchanged in 2023, resulting in these sectors missing their climate goals for the fourth and third successive time, respectively. 

“2023 was a two-speed year as far as climate protection in Germany is concerned: the energy sector notched up a climate policy success with its record level of new renewable power, taking us closer to the 2030 target,” Simon Müller, director of Agora Energiewende Germany, writes in the report. “However, we don’t consider the emissions reductions seen in the industrial sector to be sustainable. The drop in production due to the energy crisis weakens Germany’s industrial base. If emissions are simply shifted abroad as a result, this won’t benefit the climate. The buildings and transport sectors are also lagging as far as structural climate protection measures are concerned.” 

In Müller’s view, to permanently replace CO₂-intensive forms of electricity production in the electricity mix, the deployment of renewables needs to grow in the coming year. 

“Industry needs adequate conditions to be able to invest in Germany – such as in the production of climate-neutral steel and the transition from gas to electricity for process heat,” the document points out. “In the building sector, the measures agreed need to be resolutely implemented in 2024. And transportation requires a fundamental political course correction to achieve a breakthrough for climate-friendly mobility.”

Coal’s performance

Looking specifically at coal, the report shows that emissions from electricity generation fell by 46 million tonnes of CO₂ to 177 million tonnes of CO₂ – less than half the level recorded in 1990. The 21% drop in emissions compared to 2022 is mainly due to the sharp decline in coal-fired power generation: lower electricity production from lignite saved 29 million tonnes of CO₂, while hard coal-fired power generation saved 15 million tonnes of CO₂.

The main reasons behind the decline were, first, a 3.9% drop in electricity consumption compared to 2022 as a result of the fossil fuel crisis. 

Second, the strong renewable electricity generation across Europe meant that Germany imported more electricity instead of producing it in domestic coal-fired power plants. Over the year, Germany sold around 58 terawatt hours of domestically generated electricity abroad and imported 69 terawatt hours. About 49% of electricity imports came from renewable sources – primarily hydro and wind power – and 24% from nuclear power. 

Third, renewable energy production increased by 5%. Total emissions from the energy industry, including refineries and district heating in addition to the electricity sector, amounted to 210 million tonnes of CO2 and were therefore 46 million tonnes of CO₂, or 18%, below the previous year’s levels.

The report notes that, overall, the supply situation in the energy market eased in 2023, and both electricity and natural gas prices fell compared to the previous year.

“The price of electricity is more strongly affected by levies and surcharges than the prices of fossil fuels such as oil and gas. This is slowing the switch by households to climate-friendly technologies such as electric cars or heat pumps,” Müller said. “A reform of the levy and surcharge system is necessary to correct the imbalance. The changes should make it possible for low electricity prices to reach consumers in times of high wind and solar power generation.”

Renewables’ performance

The executive also emphasized that record levels of newly installed solar capacity contributed to the drop in electricity prices: Germany added 14.4 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity last year, an increase of 6.2 gigawatts compared to the previous record in 2012. Although there were fewer hours of sun in 2023, solar power facilities produced 61 terawatt hours of electricity – one terawatt hour more than the previous year. Photovoltaic expansion was therefore well above the target pathway for 2030. Wind energy generation had a record year. This was due to favourable weather conditions and a slight increase in the number of wind turbines. 

“At 138 terawatt hours, wind remained the largest source of electricity, producing more than all of Germany’s coal-fired power plants (132 terawatt hours),” the dossier points out. “However, the expansion of onshore wind power was much too low at 2.9 gigawatts. To achieve the country’s binding expansion targets for 2030, annual average wind capacity additions need to rise to 7.7 gigawatts from 2024. Permits, meanwhile, increased: at 7.7 gigawatts, the output of approved wind projects rose 74% compared with 2022.”

Overall, renewable energy managed to supply more than 50% of the total gross electricity demand in Germany for the first time in 2023.

Lithium lowdown: Q4 2023 roundup and analysis

Mining.Com - Fri, 01/05/2024 - 13:48

A critical review of developments in the global lithium industry during the fourth quarter 2023 and key takeaways by Chris Williams, Analyst at Adamas Intelligence.

Livent invests in EnergySource Minerals DLE technology ILiAD

Livent announced it has acquired a minority stake in ILiAD Technologies’ parent company, a subsidiary of EnergySource Minerals. The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal. 

The ILiAD absorption DLE technology has been under development for seven years, principally for the Salton Sea geothermal resources in California. Livent will have the right to license ILiAD at its Hombre Muerto operation in Argentina where commercial utilization could begin as early as 2025. Livent is also reviewing opportunities to apply it elsewhere within its portfolio.  

As previously forecasted by Adamas, M&A in the 3rd party DLE space is gaining momentum. The move is particularly fascinating when considering Livent’s 25-year history with absorption DLE. A closer look into Livent’s operational metrics reveals deficiencies in their water, energy and carbon footprint. This possibly explains why we’re seeing this deal today.

Bolivia signs $450m deal with Russia’s Uranium One

Bolivian state’s YLB has signed a deal with Russia’s Uranium One to the tune of $450 million.

The funds will be used over several years to build a pilot plant at the Uyuni salar. 

The initial scale will be 1 ktpa lithium carbonate before eventually scaling up to 14 ktpa. 

A tangible development in Bolivia’s long-awaited entrance into lithium production. The mammoth lithium reserves at Uyuni will undoubtedly require significant technical work, given their challenging brine characteristics and elevation. 

Winsome Resources releases long awaited maiden MRE at Adina

Winsome Resources announced this week a maiden Mineral Resource estimate (MRE) for its Adina project in Quebec, Canada.

The MRE stands at 58.5 Mt grading 1.12% Li2O (100% inferred) using a 0.6% cut-off. The resource is based on 27,600m of drilling along a 1.3km strike length at 100 x 100m spacing. 

A separate 25,000m of results are being assayed with an MRE update expected in H1 2024. The company also expects to undertake a further 50,000m drill program in 2024. Five drill rigs are currently on-site conducting infill and extensional drilling along the full 3.1 km strike of identified spodumene mineralization. 

The drill program has been exceptionally efficient, yielding 2.14 Mt/km. The results solidify Adina as a premier North American hard rock deposit worth paying attention to in 2024. The two pegmatites identified at Adina are adjacent to one another, thick, high grade and near surface which offer attractive open pit potential. 

Volt Lithium releases Rainbow Lake PEA

Volt Lithium released its PEA for the Rainbow Lake oil field brine project in Alberta, Canada, this week.

The company envisions a three-phase 1 / 5 / 23 ktpa LiOH DLE operation over a 19-year life of mine. The study features the company’s proprietary DLE process which has undergone pilot scale testwork. 

Total CAPEX required is $1.5 billion (including 10-15% contingency) while operating costs range from $3,276/t to $4,454/t LiOH ($3,722/t to $5,165/t LCE). Volt has also entered into a capital expenditure recovery program and cost sharing arrangement with a private oil and gas company which features in the project economics. Using a flat price of $25,000/t LiOH the NPV8% post-tax comes in at $1.1 billlion. 

With average grades of 49 – 92 mg/L Li, it is easy to be skeptical of the low operating costs featured in this PEA (though the cost estimates are class 5 which encompasses a +50% uncertainty margin). The purported synergies with a 3rd party E&P company are also an intriguing feature worth paying attention to as more details emerge. 

Arizona Lithium adds 0.6 Mt LCE to Prairie MRE

Arizona Lithium this week announced an update to their Mineral Resource estimate (MRE) at the Prairie project in Saskatchewan, Canada.

By appending more land packages, 0.6 Mt LCE was added onto their resource base for a total of 6.3 Mt LCE at 105 mg/L Li concentration (71% in the inferred category). 

The company is preparing a PFS due for release this month which will feature the company’s proprietary ion exchange resin. 

The news is unlikely to have a material impact to the project economics which should be revealed next month. 

Atlas Lithium secures $50m funding for Minas Gerais project

Atlas Lithium has received commitment of funding from China’s Chengxin and Yahua for $50 million, it announced this week. Funds will be used to construct Phase 1 of the Minas Gerais project in Brazil. 

$10 million will be placed as new equity at a 10% premium to recent VWAP, while $40 million will be product prepayment. The funding is in exchange for 80% offtake of Phase 1’s 150 ktpa spodumene concentrate output, split equally between the two parties.

The company is scoping out a modular dense media separation (DMS) concentrator design. A maiden resource and PEA is yet to be announced, although targeted for Q1 2024, while a DFS for Phases 1 & 2 (300 ktpa) is targeted for Q2 2024.  

This funding is very encouraging for one of the fastest development stories we’ve seen. However, hand-in-hand with speed to market is pronounced design and execution risks which the company will need to tightly manage going forward.

Green Technology Metals releases PEA and obtains ML

Green Technology Metals released PEA results for the Seymour/Root project in Ontario, Canada this week. The company also announced it has received the project’s Mining Lease.

The phased development starts with Seymour’s $212 million DMS-only plant producing ~207 ktpa of 5.5% Li2O concentrate. Root’s $350 million DMS & Flotation plant would extend this production rate out for a total of 15 years. LOM operating costs are calculated at $938/t SC5.5. Using a weighted average price of $2,029/t SC5.5 FOB Thunder Bay, the NPV8% comes in at U$892 milllion. 

An optional $798 million chemical plant was scoped at Thunder Bay which could produce 24,400 tpa LiOH. The plant adds an incremental NPV8% of $238 million. 

The company looks to accelerate the project’s development with a DFS and possible FID planned in 2024. 

Having to build two separate concentrators for a 15-year project weighs heavily on capital efficiency metrics. Further, operating costs are relatively high, owing to such factors as location, a 21.1 strip ratio and 1.09% Li2O average grade. 

Latin Resources adds 18.3 Mt to Colina deposit MRE

Latin Resources announced this week an updated Mineral Resource estimate (MRE) for the Salinas project in Minas Gerais province, Brazil.

18.3 Mt was added to the principal Colina deposit, which now sits at 63.5 Mt grading 1.3% Li2O. 41 Mt are now contained within M&I categories, up from 30 Mt. 

In addition, a separate deposit known as Fog’s Block was defined at 6.8 Mt grading 0.9% Li2O. The project’s global MRE now sits at 70.28 Mt grading 1.27% Li2O. 

Drilling is ongoing with 16 diamond drill rigs, as the company looks to define Mineral Reserves. DFS is targeted for completion in mid-2024. 

The Colina deposit appears to be mostly tapped out in terms of scale. As such, resource growth is dependent on prospects along strike. To this end, an aggressive 16x rigs will be used for infill drilling prior to the DFS, while some highly prospective targets offer upside potential. 

Power Minerals releases PEA for its Rincon DLE project

Power Minerals released the PEA results for its Rincon project in Salta province, Argentina. The project employs SunResin DLE technology to extract ~7,000 tpa Li2CO3 over 14 years from its 292 kt LCE resource. 

The estimated CAPEX came in at $216.55 million with an operating cost of $7,786/t Li2CO3. Using an average lithium carbonate price of $27,600/t the NPV10% post-tax came in at ~$309 million.  

The operating costs are in the upper percentiles relative to DLE competitors, even much higher than competing Latin American companies looking at using SunResin. It is possible the especially rural location of the project is probably driving this, and/or the high sulphate contained in the brine.

Vulcan Energy launches €40 million DLE optimization plant

Vulcan Energy launched its Lithium Extraction Optimization Plant in Germany last week.

The plant tests the brine-to-LiCl intermediate DLE flowsheet which was designed and refined from earlier pilot plants. The purpose of the plant is to optimize operational parameters, train staff and for product qualification. 

The plant uses absorption-type DLE technology on a geothermal brine resource containing 181 mg/L Li. After power generation and DLE steps, reverse osmosis concentrates eluate prior to purification steps which includes ion exchange and crystallization of select impurities. 

The product is a 40% lithium chloride which proceeds to a separate electrolysis and crystallization process to create lithium hydroxide. 

The operational readiness of advanced DLE projects such as ZCL might catch some observers off guard as projects ramp in coming years. 

SQM acquires 20% stake in French DLE company, Adionics

The world’s largest lithium producer, SQM, announced in its 3rd quarter results the acquisition of a 20% stake in French direct lithium extraction company Adionics. 

The deal was worth $20.3 million valuing the firm at $101.5 million. Adionics is developing its cold lithium extraction and hot regeneration process which derives from its research in desalination.  

SQM has a target to reduce water consumption by 50% by 2030, yet little information has been released to date as to how. Given this timeframe, DLE technology acquisition would be the most logical option. DLE technology acquisitions is a trend we expect more broadly throughout the decade.

Lake Resources adds 2.5 Mt LCE to MRE

Lake Resources announced this week an updated MRE for its Kachi DLE project in Catamarca province, Argentina. 

The total resource now stands at 10.6 Mt of LCE (up from 8.1 Mt) with a 223 mg/L Li concentration. Confidence has improved with 69% now in measured and indicated categories (up from 36%). 

The expansion results from step out wells which encountered lithium bearing brines over 600m deep. 

The material update is the M&I upgrade as it feeds into the upcoming DFS reserve estimate. The scale of the resource, although impressive, offers strategic value in the long term only as it is beyond the comprehension of a financeable plant size. 

Standard Lithium announce DLE test work results

Standard Lithium released DLE test work results from its demonstration plant in Arkansas this week. 

The plant uses Koch Industries LiPROTM LSS, an absorption type DLE system. Over a given 2-month period the process was able to recover 96.1% of lithium on average in the DLE step only. Impurity rejection averaged over 99% and boron rejection averaged over 95%. 

The parameters exceed the goals of the company set in its last DFS publication, which is encouraging. If these recoveries are to be relied upon, the effective whole-of-process Li recovery could be some of the highest in the industry.

Infinity Lithium unveils ‘new look’ Scoping Study for the San Jose project in Spain

Infinity Lithium announced updated Scoping Study results for its San Jose zinnwaldite project in Spain this week. The company envisages an underground mine feeding a 2 Mtpa hydromet plant. Crushed ore is put through a high-pressure sulphuric acid leaching process to produce lithiumsulphate before neutralization, impurity removal and causticisation to lithiumhydroxide. Relative to the 2021 PEA which used a flotation and sulphate roast water leach process, recoveries are now 90% (from 53%) resulting in 33 ktpa of lithium hydroxide output (up from 19.5 ktpa). 

The initial CAPEX is $1,544 million (including 20% contingency), while the operating cost EXW Spain is estimated at $5,922/t LiOH.H2O including by-products ($6,730/t LCE). Using a flat price of $27,000/t LiOH.H2O the NPV8% comes in at $2.87 billion post-tax.  

The ambitious project now shares a capital intensity in line with Thacker Pass and perhaps equally as difficult regulatory and technical challenges. The project will sure test the determination of Europe on its quest for lithium self-sufficiency.

Sibelco – Avalon joint venture finalised

Avalon Advanced Materials and Sibelco have closed a joint venture agreement, first announced in June 2023. Avalon contributes its Canadian hard rock lithium assets in return for ~€34.87 million (~C$51.3 million) JV cash contribution, resulting in a 60/40 Sibelco-Avalon JV. Concurrently, Avalon has issued a private placement to Sibelco raising C$10 million for 19.9% of Avalon’s shares together with a C$3 million secured loan. 

The deal involves the PEA stage Separation Rapids petalite-lepidolite project and the exploration stage Lilypad cesium-tantalum-lithium(spodumene) asset. Avalon is working with Metso to develop a petalite concentrate to lithiumhydroxide processing facility in Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

Although not your typical spodumene M&A event, the JV is a healthy development for Ontario and its lithium-bearing mineral projects which need some encouragement when competing with the likes of Quebec or Western Australia. The implied valuation of C$143/t LCE is decently high when considering market conditions and the rate of progress seen on the project. 

POSCO signs MOU to invest in oilfield brines

POSCO has signed an MOU with a private investment company Invest Alberta Corporation with the intention to invest in oilfield brine lithium extraction projects. 

The scope is broadly set to evaluate exploration and development opportunities with viable commercial processes for lithium extraction. 

Invest Alberta Corporation will provide administrative support, critical resource development information, tax incentives, and networking opportunities. 

In a culture where MOUs are taken seriously, so should the intentions of POSCO here. The company is not shy with trying different approaches, such as its phosphate precipitation technology being put into practice at the Hombre Muerto salar, Argentina. 

Azure Minerals enters binding takeover bid with Chile’s SQM

Azure Minerals has entered a binding scheme implementation deed with SQM for A$3.52 cash per Azure share. Azure’s core asset is 60% ownership of the pre-resource Andover hard rock project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The deal implies a project valuation of A$2.71 billion ($1.71 billion) on a 100% basis. The Creasy Group holds the remaining 40% and is free-carried to FID. 

SQM was an early investor in Azure, picking up 19.99% of the company for A$20 million in January this year. Following drill success, the company revealed SQM had made a takeover offer at A$2.31 per share, which was not pursued. 

Andover has an exploration target of 100 to 240 Mt grading between 1.0% to 1.5% Li2O. 

The hefty valuation implies a resource somewhere in the middle of the exploration target. Given the project’s vast network of pegmatite outcrops with initial proof of spodumene mineralization, this outcome would not be unreasonable, however it will be many years before value is realized. Highlighted once again are the great lengths mining insiders are going to secure the rock.

SQM moves in on 1,411 km2 of prospective Pilbara land

SQM has agreed to acquire up to 40% interest in Pirra Lithium, a privately held JV with tenements in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. 

A 30% interest will be acquired from JV partner Hoama Mining for A$2.5 million cash with the remaining 10% earnt via A$3 million JV contribution. 

JV partner Calidus Resources retains its 40% stake by contributing A$2M. Hoama is also contributing additional tenements to the JV on a earn-in basis and may earn back shares now worth ~7.3% should a resource of >20mt @ >1.0% Li2O be delineated. 

SQM appears to target repeat success following its pre-discovery investment into neighboring Azure Mineral’s Andover project.  This strategy is either an objective growth opportunity or continued diversification from its Chilean operations following the country’s nationalization initiatives.

Atlantic Lithium obtains mining license for Ewoyaa project

Atlantic Lithium has been granted a Mining License for its Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana. 

The terms include an increased Government of Ghana free carried interest of 13% (from 10%) and a 10% royalty rate (from 5%). 

In addition to the previous announced 6% earn-in interest from the Minerals Income Investment Fund of Ghana, Atlantic will own 40.5% of the project once in production, down from 45%. 

For one of Africa’s most promising development projects this is a significant de-risking event. Although the deal destroys value to Atlantic shareholders relative to previously held assumptions, it is a typical compromise observed in late-stage projects especially when the underlying commodity has seen value appreciation.

Azimut / SOQUEM confirm Adina extension with 78m visual spodumene intercept

Azimut Exploration and Quebec province-owned SOQUEM have intercepted spodumene pegmatites at their Galinée project adjacent to the Winsome Resources Adina discovery. 

Intercepts of up to 78.4m were made, the geometry of which is interpreted to be a possible subparallel zone above Adina’s “Main Zone”. Another intercept of 26.85m is interpreted to be an extension directly down-dip of the Main Zone. Assays are pending. 

The company’s drill program has also been extended to >5,000m to further delineate the extensions.

Although not entirely unexpected, the news is notable as it adds color to the significant and evolving story of Winsome’s Adina discovery. 

Vulcan receives A$200m letter of support from Australian ECA

Vulcan Energy has received a conditional, non-binding letter of support for A$200M of debt finance from Export Finance Australia. 

Funds will be used for Phase One of its Zero Carbon Lithium Geothermal DLE project in Germany. To date, similar in-principle agreements have been received from French, Italian and Canadian ECAs. 

Phase One’s DFS CAPEX estimate of €1,496 million is set to be updated in the upcoming Bridging Study. Thereafter, equity financing will formally commence in November 2023. Vulcan is targeting project level debt-to-equity ratio of 65:35%. 

This broad-based ECA support is an encouraging lead-in to equity negotiations, which will be crucial in realizing one of the European continent’s (and the industry’s) most ambitious projects.

Lithium Energy updates Solaroz MRE

Lithium Energy Ltd has published an updated MRE for its Solaroz brine project in the Olaroz salar, Jujuy province, Argentina. 

The contained lithium remains unchanged at ~3.3 Mt LCE, though 2.4 Mt LCE has been upgraded from inferred to indicated category. The total resource brine concentration sits at 305 mg/L (from 310 mg/L).

The resource specific yield dropped ~36%, from 11.4% to 7.3%, upon inclusion of lab porosity test data to correlate with downhole BMR porosity data. The previous MRE relied solely on BMR results from 3 of 8 wells.

Highlighted is the risks in publishing a resource with immature datasets. Here, the old 3.3 Mt LCE inferred resource has effectively reduced to 2.1 Mt LCE only to be offset with the inclusion of additional volume.

Albemarle – Liontown Resources takeover fallout

Albemarle has pulled out of its A$6.6 billion ($4.2bn) takeover bid for Liontown Resources citing “growing complexities associated with executing the transaction”. 

The move follows Gina Rhinehart’s accrual of 19.9% of Liontown shares. The company was placed into a trading halt before releasing details of a funding package aimed at bringing Kathleen Valley into production. 

The package consists of A$376 million equity (via institutional placement and a shareholder purchase plan) and A$760M debt (from a syndicate of commercial banks and government credit agencies). The equity is being raised at A$1.80 per share, a substantial drop from Albemarle takeover offer of A$3.00 per share. 

The eye-watering 40% drop in valuation is a spectacular conclusion to this high-profile M&A saga. Highlighted are the divergent views of lithium production value by strategic interests versus financial speculators at present.

Chilean lithium strategy underway with binding Lithium Power offer

Lithium Power International (LPI) has entered a binding scheme implementation deed with state-owned Codelco for A$0.57 cash per LPI share, with an implied valuation of ~A$385M. LPI’s core asset is the shovel-ready Maricunga brine project in Chile.

The deal is supported by LPI’s board “in the absence of a superior proposal”, and is subject to approval from shareholders, an independent consultant and the Australian Government’s FIRB. The project’s declared resources total 2.88 Mt LCE, while a 2022 DFS using a volume-weighted-average price of ~$24,800/t LCE placed a NPV8% of $1.41Bn post-tax. 

No matter the chosen evaluation metric, the valuation is considerably lower than recent Argentinian deals. This is reflective of an M&A process lacking competitive price discovery, as to bid is to compete directly with government.

Bullish for locking up future supply, the precedent should not inspire confidence for Chilean developers as it speaks more to asset nationalization than it does “private-public partnership”. To be fair, the accompanying Tsingshan news is a solid example of the latter.

Chile selects Tsingshan Antofagasta lithium cathode plant proposal

China’s Tsingshan (under subsidiary Yongqing Technology) will invest $233.2 million in a 120 ktpa lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cathode plant in northern Chile. Chilean President Gabriel Boric recently visited China where the announcement was made. 

As part of the deal, Tsingshan has preferential pricing on 11,244 tpa of lithiumcarbonate from Chile’s SQM (until 2030). Chilean economic development agency Corfo announced a similar deal for Chinese company BYD back in April 2023. 
Tsingshan’s plant will create 668 jobs but is also aimed at “transferring knowledge” to Chile as part the broader National Lithium Strategy. 

The initiative is a bold but clever means to upskill local industry while using favorable access to the word’s lowest cost lithium units as incentive.

Develop Global achieves key milestone in Essential Metals acquisition

Develop Global Limited (DVP) has progressed through a positive shareholder vote for the takeover of Essential Metals (ESS). The transaction conducted via 1:6.18 equity swap valued the project at A$152.6 million when initiated in July 2023. 

The target asset is the scoping study level Pioneer Dome project near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, which hosts a 11.2 Mt resource at 1.16% Li2O. A number of formalities remain until the transaction is finalized, including a Federal Court of Australia hearing and an independent consultant review, set to conclude on or about the 6th of November 2023. 

First initiated with a failed bid from Tianqi Lithium, the 11-month long sale process received an 93% affirmative vote which is unsurprising given the deterioration of market conditions throughout 2023.

Lithium Ionic publishes PEA and updated MRE for Bandeira project

Lithium Ionic announced its PEA results based on an updated MRE for its Bandeira project in Minas Gerais, Brazil this week. The project now hosts 29.5 Mt grading 1.37% Li2O, including 2 Mt and 11.72 Mt at 1.40% Li2O in measured and indicated categories respectively. 

The company envisages an underground mine feeding a 1.3 Mtpa DMS plant, producing both a spodumene concentrate 5.5% Li2O product along with a SC 3% Li2O product via a DMS tailings recovery circuit. The initial CAPEX is $232.8 million, while the all-in sustaining cost CIF China is estimated at $469/t SC5.5 equivalent. Using a CIF $1,859/t SC5.5 price the NPV8% comes in at $1.6 billion post-tax. 

Another formidable Minas Gerais project is scoped out. What the development plan achieves on such a tiny tenement may surprise skeptics. The DMS-only plant is comparable to Sigma and Latin, however with the sublevel stoping, throughput is capped and as a result CAPEX intensity is considerably higher. Impressively, OPEX is contained at a level between Sigma and Latin which in a global context is not a bad place to be. 

Anson Resources project consolidation adds 45% to MRE

Anson Resources announced a 45% increase to its mineral resource estimate to 1.5 Mt LCE for its Paradox brine project in Utah, USA. The additional resources derive from the acquisition of the neighboring Green Energy LithiumProject.
The combined resource now has a lithium concentration in brine of 112 ppm and 3,023 ppm bromine. The advanced stage oilfield brine project aims to use Sunresin’s absorption + membrane direct lithium extraction technology which is operational in China. 

The project consolidation is a positive step for Anson, however, its rank remains among USA peers using “unconventional” technology with high CAPEX intensity, posing challenges.

Core Lithium adds confidence and ~400 kt to BP33 resource

Core Lithium announced a mineral resource upgrade for the BP33 resource, now 89% in measured and indicated categories (from 69%). 

In aggregate, 400 kt of ore has been added for 10.5 Mt at 1.53% Li2O (from 10.1 Mt at 1.48% Li2O) for an incremental +9 kt of contained Li2O. 

The underground target is the second in a line of ore bodies to be exploited at the Finniss lithium operation, near Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. 

The project now totals 31.1 Mt of resources (not including depletion from Grants). Underground development is subject to a final investment decision in early 2024. 

Any increase in confidence, whether in resource or metallurgy, is especially meaningful to Core at this stage as it recovers from its subpar DMS-only concentrator ramp-up.

Green Technology Metals adds 2 Mt to Root Bay MRE

Green Technology Metals announced a mineral resource upgrade for the Root Bay resource, adding 2 Mt for a total 10.1 Mt grading 1.30% Li2O (from 8.1 Mt at 1.32% Li2O) for an incremental +23 kt of contained Li2O. 

Root Bay is now the company’s largest single resource, spanning 1.3km and remains prospective along strike. There are currently two drill rigs on site testing extensions with an 8,440m 46-hole drill program. 

The momentum of resource building at Root Bay is encouraging, although tonnes continue to be added at considerable depth. Furthermore, the success is at odds with the companies plans to develop the asset after Seymour and accompanying hydroxide facility, a decision likely due to favorable infrastructure connectivity.

Azure Minerals releases metallurgical testwork from its Andover project

Azure Minerals announced sighter metallurgical testwork results from its Andover lithium project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Three samples tested from the “Target Area 1” showed sub-economic HLS / DMS results which were not disclosed.

Flotation testwork on one sample at a grind size of P100 212 µm returned a concentrate grade of 5.59% Li2O at 82.37% recovery. Mineralogical analysis on this sample returned 2.05% iron(III) oxide, a key deleterious element. Moving forward, flotation testwork will be a focus as seven drill rigs continue resource definition on site.
The results advocate a fine grind whole-of-ore flotation with magnetic separation, translating to theoretically higher capital and operational costs. In the context of Azure’s recently rejected A$901 million takeover bid from SQM, the news highlights the criticality of metallurgical testwork as a pre-condition to tonnage & grade value realization. This holistic perspective is central to Adamas Intelligence’s analysis process.

Tantalex Resources publishes PEA for the Manono Tailings project

Tantalex Resources announced its PEA results for its Manono Tailings project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo this week.

The company conceptualizes historic tin mine tailings as feed for a 1.6 Mtpa DMS + fines flotation plant, recovering a spodumene concentrate 5.5% Li2O product for shipment out of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

The initial CAPEX is $148 million, while the cash cost FOB is estimated at $1,002/t SC5.5. Using a flat price of $2,800/t SC5.5 FOB, the NPV10% comes in at $764 million pre-tax.

The valuation seems unreliable given aggressive price assumptions, project sizing and 6-year life of mine. However, with more drilling and tin & tantalum credits the plant may be justified, particularly if underpinned by development of the regions principle lithium project (AVZ Minerals).

Sibanye Stillwater gives the green light to Keliber Oy Phase Two

Sibanye Stillwater announced the approval of phase two of its Keliber integrated lithium project in Finland this week. The second phase includes the concentrator and develops the first of four open pits. Phase one’s 15,000 tpa lithium hydroxide refinery kicked off construction in February.

The total project capital estimate was also updated to €656 million, which is 11.5% higher than the €588 million estimate from the October 2022 DFS. Included is €10 million worth of flowsheet upgrades purported to increase recoveries, ensure environmental compliance, and maintain the project’s net-present value.

Continued momentum in Europe’s first integrated hard rock lithium project is encouraging. The late-stage capital cost upgrade is not uncommon particularly in the context of global inflationary pressures.


Amaroq Minerals exec sells $37,000 worth of shares to cover taxes

Mining.Com - Fri, 01/05/2024 - 13:34

Amaroq Minerals (AIM, TSXV: AMRQ) informed shareholders on Friday that its executive vice president Joan Plant sold nearly C$50,000 (~$37,000) worth of company stock this week to cover taxes related to an earlier exercise of options.

In a press release, Amaroq detailed that between Jan. 2-4, Plant sold a total of 41,558 shares at an average price of C$1.20 per share on the TSX Venture Exchange.

By late Friday afternoon, the stock traded at C$1.37 apiece for a daily gain of 10.5%. Earlier in the session, it had reached a 52-week high of C$1.40.

The company’s market capitalization was C$360.7 million ($270m) at the time of reporting.

Amaroq was founded in 2017 with the aim of exploring gold and other strategic minerals (copper, nickel, platinum group metals, etc.) in Greenland. Its portfolio covers an area of 9,785 km2, headlined by the past-producing Nalunaq gold mine, which it is in the process of redeveloping.


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