Articles in Category: Green

aluminum ingot stacked for export

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including the aluminum industry and its efforts to curb emissions, China’s latest foray in the global rare earths chess game and much more:

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Week of Feb. 15-19 (aluminum industry, rare earths and more)

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Ford logo

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After General Motors announced a series of electric vehicle and emissions targets last month, it is unsurprising that similar announcement from competitors have followed.

Today, Ford Motor Co. announced plans to charge ahead with its electrification plans in Europe.

Earlier this month, Ford announced it would invest an additional $29 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle development.

“The transformation of Ford is happening and so is our leadership of the EV revolution and development of autonomous driving,” Ford President and CEO Jim Farley said in a release Feb. 4.

In January, General Motors said it would invest nearly $800 million to upgrade its CAMI Assembly in Canada for the manufacture of EVs. Furthermore, GM said it would offer 30 all-electric models by mid-decade.

Ford ramps up electrification in Europe

Ford said it plans for 100 percent of its passenger vehicle range in Europe to be zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2026.

Furthermore, it plans to be completely all-electric by 2030.

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Manufacturing investment

The automaker plans to invest $1 billion to update its manufacturing facility in Cologne, Germany.

“The investment will transform the existing vehicle assembly operations into the Ford Cologne Electrification Center for the manufacture of electric vehicles, Ford’s first such facility in Europe,” Ford said today.

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carbon footprint

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Although originally borrowed from a book of the same name, some call Australia the “Lucky Country.”  Blessed with resource abundance, a warm climate and decades of near uninterrupted growth, it certainly seems to have it all.

But it isn’t alone.

For decades, industrialized countries have looked at the Middle East’s oil wealth with some degree of envy. Those countries have also looked on with a little irritation, particularly when OPEC artificially engineers oil price rises to reap huge financial rewards for member states.

The United Arab Emirates seems to have the best of both vast oil wealth and the nous (to use the British slang) to invest the proceeds, not just in palaces and Rolls Royce cars but in infrastructure, education and diversified industrial development.

As the world potentially approaches peak oil — how many times have we heard that over the decades? — the UAE is already beginning to exploit its other near endless resource: sunlight.

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Carbon-free aluminum

The output from its 1 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park — or, at least, 560,000 megawatt-hours of its output — will feed the Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) smelter.

That’s enough power, The Driven reports, to produce some 40,000 tons of carbon-free aluminum.

Originally based on low-cost, natural-gas-powered electricity, the UAE can now neatly transition its aluminum smelters into the future of renewable power.

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose by 4.4% this month, as the Energy Information Administration released a forecast on renewable energy.

February 2021 Renewables MMI chart

(Editor’s note: This report also includes the MMI for grain-oriented electrical steel, or GOES.)

Renewable energy growth in the US


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US electricity generation from renewable energy sources is forecast to double over the next 30 years, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Renewable energy sources accounted for 21% of US electricity generation in 2020.  The EIA forecasts that percentage will reach 42% by 2050.

The renewable energy increase will come on the back of declining coal and nuclear power usage, the EIA said. Furthermore, wind power will account for the majority of renewable energy gains until 2024.

After that period, however, solar power will take over the majority of the gains.

“After the production tax credit (PTC) for wind phases out at the end of 2024, solar generation will account for almost 80% of the increase in renewable generation through 2050,” the EIA said. “Based on the Internal Revenue Service safe harbor guidance, EIA assumes that utility-scale solar PV facilities will receive a 30% investment tax credit (ITC) through 2023, which will then be reduced to 10% beginning in 2024.”

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This morning in metals news: the Energy Information Administration forecast the renewables share of US electricity generation will double by 2050; meanwhile, the US unemployment rate fell to 6.3% in January; and, lastly, the tin price has bucked the recent general trend for base metals prices.

EIA: renewables share of electricity generation to double by 2050

The Energy Information Administration forecast the renewables share of US electricity generation will double by 2050.

Wind and solar, in particular, will account for most of that growth, the EIA reported.

Renewables accounted for 21% as of 2020.

Meanwhile, natural gas-fired generation will remain constant over the period. Furthermore, electricity generation from coal and nuclear will decline, the EIA forecast.

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US unemployment dips to 6.3% in January

The US unemployment rate fell to 6.3% in January, down by 0.4 percentage point.

“The labor market continued to reflect the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. “In January, notable job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.”

Meanwhile, Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, issued a statement on the latest jobs report.

“Data point after data point continues to reflect that our economy is being walloped by the pandemic and that robust relief is required,” Neal said. “The anemic and bifurcated job creation this past month demonstrates the inequitable and shaky condition of our labor market. So long as jobs are scarce and caregiving supports and working conditions are untenable, the federal government must help folks stay afloat until they can safely return to work.”

Employment in mining ros by 9,000 jobs in January. Manufacturing employment fell by 10,000 jobs in January on the heels of eight consecutive months of growth.

Manufacturing employment is up by 803,000 since April, the BLS reported.

Tin price gains

The tin price has outperformed other base metals of late.

The LME three-month tin price closed Friday at $23,035 per metric ton, up 8.81% from the previous month.

In 2020, the tin price fell to as low as $13,400 per metric ton in late March.

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Tailings mud after dam rupture in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Tailings mud after dam rupture in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Christyam/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: Brazilian miner Vale reached a $7 billion settlement with the state of Minas Gerais two years after a fatal dam collapse; the US goods and services deficit decreased in December; and Ford Motor Co. announced an increase in its planned investment in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Vale reaches $7B settlement

Approximately two years after a fatal dam breach in Brumadinho in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, miner Vale will pay a nearly US $7 billion settlement.

The breach in January 2019 led to the death of 270 people.

“In the socioeconomic part, the settlement encompasses projects demanded by the affected communities, a program of income transfer to the affected population – replacing the current payment of emergency aid – and projects for Brumadinho and for the other municipalities of the Paraopeba Basin, in addition to resources for the Government of the State of Minas Gerais to carry out the Urban Mobility Program and the Public Service Strengthening Program,” Vale said in its announcement.

“Regarding the socio-environmental reparation, the Global Settlement establishes the guidelines and the governance for the execution, by Vale, of the Reparation Plan, as well as projects to be implemented as compensation for the environmental damage already known and projects aimed at water security in the impacted region.”

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US goods and services deficit rises in 2020

The US’s goods and services deficit in December reached $66.6 billion in December, down from $69.0 billion in November.

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General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan

Katherine Welles/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner.

In sustainability news, Big 3 automaker General Motors said it intends to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2040. The automaker has also indicated it will offer 30 new all-electric models by mid-decade, as it — like other traditional automakers — aims to catch up to Tesla in the electric vehicle market.

In other news, US GDP gained by 4% in the fourth quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, US steel imports increased in December and the copper price rise has slowed down in recent weeks.

Week of Jan. 25-29 (General Motors makes carbon pledge, copper prices and more)

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London Metal Exchange

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was in metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including Stuart Burns on LME steel contracts, the green revolution in aluminum and much more.

Regarding the LME steel contracts, Burns noted, “For over 200 years, the London Metal Exchange (LME) has provided the trade – producers, traders and consumers – the opportunity to hedge their risk across a growing range of base metals.

“However, only recently have exchanges such as the LME, the U.S.’s CME and the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) in China introduced products allowing the trade to hedge raw material and finished steel price risk.”

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Week of Jan. 18-22 (LME steel contracts, green aluminum and more)

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carbon dioxide clock

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Greg Barker, the executive chairman of En+ Group — owner of Rusal — had free rein in the Financial Times this week to promote the Russian aluminum producer’s green credentials.

That is not to say there was not a valid underlying point to his article, namely that the aluminum and steel industries are heavy polluters and have an onerous responsibility to reduce their carbon emissions as part of wider efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.

Low-carbon aluminum

Maybe because of Barker’s prior experience as a U.K. energy minister, he has been at the forefront of driving Rusal’s move towards “low-carbon aluminium.”

Rusal has closed coal-fired power sources and invested in expansion of its already sizable hydroelectric power generating capacity in Siberia over recent years. In addition, it has developed proprietary inert anode technology to significantly reduce overall carbon emissions from every ton of aluminum it produces.

The article points out Rusal’s smelter emissions are 2.6 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per ton of aluminium. Meanwhile, the world average for the same scope is around 12.5 metric tons. Furthermore, from a typical Chinese coal-fired smelter, it is as much as 16 metric tons.

Hydro power accounted for 82% of North American aluminum production in 2018, according to the International Aluminium Institute (IAI) as reported by Reuters. This is largely due to Canadian hydroelectric-powered smelters.

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In the third partnership of its kind between Total SE and the Adani Group, Total will take a 20% stake in renewable power company Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) — the world’s largest solar developer — by way of acquiring shares held by the promoter group.

Last year, we reported on Adani Green Energy’s announcement of its intention to invest $6 billion toward Indian solar projects.

French firm to buy stake in India’s Adani

The French company will acquire 50% of a 2.35-gigawatt (GW) portfolio of operating solar assets owned by AGEL in a deal worth $2.5 billion, Total said in a statement. Total will also have a seat on the AGEL board.

Total SE CEO Patrick Pouyanné called the move a “major milestone” in the company’s strategy in the renewable energy business in India. Pouyanné also cited the size of the Indian market in touting the deal’s significance.

“We have a shared vision of developing renewable power at affordable prices to enable a sustainable energy transformation in India,” Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani said. “We look forward to working together towards delivering India’s vision for 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.”

Adani is now the second Indian company to raise money in this manner.

Last year, industrialist Mukesh Ambani raised U.S. $27 billion from Facebook, Google and private-equity investors for his technology and retail ventures.

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