Articles in Category: Minor Metals

The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose 9.1% for this month’s reading.

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The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) ticked up 4.8% this month.

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 1.0% this month. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes coverage of grain-oriented electrical steel.) 

First Cobalt, Glencore to open North American cobalt supply plant

Canadian firm First Cobalt and miner Glencore plan to bring a new cobalt plant to North America, one that will supply the electric vehicle sector, the Financial Times reported.

First Cobalt reported a positive feasibility study May 4.

“First Cobalt Corp. today announced positive results from an independent feasibility study conducted on its permitted cobalt refinery in Ontario, Canada,” the firm said. “The study contemplates expanding the existing facility and adapting it to be North America’s first producer of cobalt sulfate, an essential component in the manufacturing of batteries for electric vehicles.

“The feasibility study demonstrates that the First Cobalt Refinery project can become a viable, globally competitive player in the North American and European electric vehicle (EV) supply chain. The study reinforces the strength of First Cobalt’s business strategy for a rapidly evolving EV market that is heavily dependent on supply from China.”

The facility would mark the first North American cobalt supply location.

According to the study, the site would boast annual production of 25,000 tons of battery grade cobalt sulfate, which would account for 5% of the global refined cobalt market.

The project comes with an initial capital estimate of $56 million, First Cobalt said, and an operating cost estimate of $2.72/pound.

First Cobalt said discussions are underway with Glencore regarding “commercial arrangements, financing and allocation of project economics,” while “third party and government funding opportunities” are also “under review.”

Tesla, Alameda County reach deal

Electric vehicle maker Tesla and Alameda County — home to Tesla’s lone North American production facility — have reached a deal to resolve a row over the state’s COVID-19 shelter-in-place measures and CEO Elon Musk’s defiance of those measures this week.

Earlier this week, Musk dared authorities to arrest him as production at Tesla’s Fremont assembly plant restarted in defiance of shutdown orders in effect since March 23.

According to the Mercury News, Tesla and the county reached a deal to allow for the automaker to restart operations lawfully.

“We reviewed the plan and held productive discussions today with Tesla’s representatives about their safety and prevention plans, including some additional safety recommendations,” the county said in a statement, as quoted by the Mercury News. “If Tesla’s Prevention and Control Plan includes these updates, and the public health indicators remain stable or improve, we have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week.”

GOES

The GOES MMI, which covers grain-oriented electrical steel, fell 5.9% this month.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced a new Section 232 investigation covering imports of laminations and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers and transformer regulators.

“The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent review to determine the effects on the national security from imports of laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.

Previously, the Trump administration used Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

The U.S. GOES price fell 5.8% month over month to $2,418/mt.

Actual metals prices and trends

Japanese steel plate fell 0.2% month over month to $820.17/mt. Korean steel plate fell 3.7% to $494.28/mt. Chinese steel plate fell 0.6% to $569.78/mt.

U.S. steel plate dropped 7.4% to $637/st.

Cobalt cathodes rose 0.4% to $94,254.98/mt.

The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dropped 4.3% this month.

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This morning in metals news, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has reportedly locked down a mining province for 48 hours, the U.S. steel sector’s steel capacity utilization rate is 81.7% for the year through March 14 and Ford provided an update on its North American operations amid the coronavirus crisis.

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The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose three points for a March MMI reading of 23.

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The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) held flat this month for a February MMI reading of 20.

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U.S. mining production rises in 2019

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the estimated value of nonfuel mineral mining production reached $86.3 billion, up 3% from 2018’s revised total of $84.0 billion.

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The January 2020 Monthly Metals Index (MMI) report is in the books, including coverage of rising steel prices, U.S. automotive sales, construction spending and much more.

This month, all 10 of the MMIs increased.

The GOES, Rare Earths and Global Precious MMIs were the biggest risers, surging by 19.1%, 5.3% and 4.5%, respectively.

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Some highlights from this month’s MMIs:

  • U.S. steel prices made gains across the board during the first half of December.
  • Copper prices made gains but were capped somewhat by concerns over demand.
  • U.S. automotive sales were forecast to fall 1.7% in 2019 compared with the previous year.
  • U.S. construction spending in November picked up 4.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Read about all of the above and much more by downloading the January 2020 MMI Report below:

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The Renewables Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gained two points for a January MMI reading of 98. (Editor’s Note: This report also includes analysis of grain-oriented electrical steel.)

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Several U.S. majors named in lawsuit over child mining of cobalt

CBS News reported last month that several U.S. tech companies were named as defendants in a lawsuit alleging the use of child labor in cobalt mining operations in Africa.

According to the report, citing a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., the companies named in the lawsuit as defendants included Apple, Google parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, Dell and Tesla.

According to the report, the lawsuit was brought by nonprofit group International Rights Advocates on behalf of 13 anonymous plaintiffs from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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The Rare Earths Monthly Metals Index (MMI) ticked up one point for a January reading of 20.

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Malaysian regulators opt not to increase Lynas’ processing limit

Lynas Corp., the largest rare earths firm outside of China, announced in December that Malaysian regulators did not increase the firm’s lanthanide concentrate processing limit for calendar year 2019.

The Australia-based miner and processor operates a refinery in Kuantan, Malaysia. Last year, the Malaysian government granted Lynas a six-month renewal of its license to operate in the country.

However, regulators opted not to extend the firm’s permitted lanthanide concentrate processing limit for 2019.

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