Newsletter 25-03-2024

Newsletter – 25.03.2024

25/03/24                                      WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
  • DRC: Why it's hard to make cobalt mining more transparent
  • UAE conglomerate seeks to gatecrash China’s JCHX Zambian copper deal
  • 7 gold mines in India that no one told you about
  • India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal
  • Saudi Arabia Launches New Incentives to Enhance Mining Exploration with $182 Million
  • Boliden sees $48m hit to Q1 profit from strike in Finland
  • The Middle East’s Oil Giants Have Entered the Critical Minerals Race
  • Saudi Arabia’s mining sector records 138% growth in exploitation licenses

DRC: Why it's hard to make cobalt mining more transparent
Child labor and unsafe mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo's cobalt industry tarnish the reputation of electric vehicles. Efforts to improve transparency in the cobalt supply chain face significant obstacles.
Mining engineer Pierre Amani Kangenda peers into the mouth of a narrow shaft that plunges straight down to the belly of a cobalt mine.
He can't quite make out the silhouettes of the young men whose job is to heave 20-kilogram (44-pound) sacks of dirt rich in cobalt and copper composite up the mine wall to the surface. But he can see their headlamps in the darkness.
The men use pickaxes and shovels to dig for cobalt in this small-scale mine known as UCK Drain on the outskirts of Kolwezi in the DRC's southern copper belt, where great amounts of cobalt are mined.
"As soon as they reach the vein of ore, they start extracting the raw materials," says Kangenda who is decked out in a high-visibility vest as he conducts his daily patrol of the site which has 59 shafts.
"When they reach a depth of 30 meters (98 feet), they stop and look for another place to dig. That's what the rules [on this site] say."
Elsewhere, shafts can sink as deep as 100 meters, depending on local regulations.

UAE conglomerate seeks to gatecrash China’s JCHX Zambian copper deal
A unit of International Holding Company, Abu Dhabi’s most valuable company, is interested in acquiring Zambia’s Lubambe copper mine, an asset that China’s JCHX Mining has already agreed to buy, three sources familiar with the details told Reuters.

International Resources Holding recently told EMR Capital that it is interested in bidding for the private equity manager’s 80% stake in the Lubambe copper project, which is up for sale, a development that may complicate a sale process that’s already underway, two of the sources said.
The IHC unit’s interest in Lubambe, with potential to be among Zambia’s largest copper mines, comes after Shanghai-listed JCHX, a mine servicing and contracting firm, entered into a deal to buy EMR’s 80% stake in Lubambe in January.
The sale process requires approval from the Zambian government, which is pending and unclear at the moment, one of the sources said.
The Zambian government owns a 20% stake in Lubambe through state-firm ZCCM-IH.
The IHC unit’s interest is spurred by an aggressive push by cash-rich oil majors United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to secure critical metal supply in Africa, as they bid to diversify their economies and engage with energy transition.
Middle East investors are pitted against Chinese companies in Africa, including state backed firms, also aggressively pursuing deals in Africa to strengthen China’s grip on minerals required to power a rapidly expanding domestic electric vehicle manufacturing sector.

7 gold mines in India that no one told you about
India is one of the largest consumers of gold in the world, importing about 800 metric tons of the precious metal every year. However, India is also a country with vast mineral resources, including gold. According to the WGC, India has 2,191.53 metric tons of gold ore resources. However, only a fraction of these resources have been explored and exploited, leaving a huge potential for gold mining in India. Here are eight gold mines of India that you may not have heard of.
Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) is a mining region in Karnataka, famous for being the oldest and deepest gold mine in India. It was established by the British in 1880 and operated until 2001, producing about 800 tonnes of gold during its lifespan. The mine was known for its challenging working conditions, as the miners had to descend to depths of up to 3.2 km and face high temperatures, humidity, and pressure. The mine was closed due to environmental and economic reasons, but there are plans to revive it with new technology and investment.

India in undersea race to mine world’s battery metal
India is taking another step in its quest to find valuable minerals hidden in the depths of the ocean which could hold the key to a cleaner future.

India's deep-sea exploration vehicle Matsya 6000, which is currently under development
The country, which already has two deep-sea exploration licences in the Indian Ocean, has applied for two more amid increasing competition between major global powers to secure critical minerals.
Countries including China, Russia and India are vying to reach the huge deposits of mineral resources - cobalt, nickel, copper, manganese - that lie thousands of metres below the surface of oceans. These are used to produce renewable energy such as solar and wind power, electric vehicles and battery technology needed to battle against climate change.
The UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) has issued 31 exploration licences so far, of which 30 are active. Its member countries are meeting in Jamaica this week to discuss regulations around giving out mining licences.
If the ISA approves India's new applications, its licence count will be equal to that of Russia and one less than China.

Saudi Arabia Launches New Incentives to Enhance Mining Exploration with $182 Million
The Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources launched new incentives, in cooperation with the Ministry of Investment, amounting to approximately SAR 685 million ($182 million), aiming to support mining exploration in the Kingdom and reduce risks facing exploration companies during their early stages, in addition to encouraging investment in this vital sector according to the objectives of Vision 2030.
In a statement, the ministry said that the new incentive package includes a series of financial facilities for companies and investors wishing to invest in mineral resource exploration activities in the Kingdom, in addition to a priority framework for investors who commit to fostering local talent and expertise in the sector.
The ministry added that the new incentives also include financial support for companies that have licenses valid for less than 5 years, as each license is entitled to a maximum support of SAR 7.5 million ($2 million), while each company can benefit from support for up to 15 licenses according to the program’s terms and conditions.

Boliden sees $48m hit to Q1 profit from strike in Finland
Sweden’s Boliden expects a hit of around 500 million crowns ($47.6 million) to its first-quarter operating profit from an ongoing industrial strike in Finland, the company said.
Of the 500 million crowns, 200 million is due to reduced production and 300 million to delayed deliveries to customers, Boliden said in a statement.
Finland’s industrial, logistics and electrical workers said on Wednesday they would extend their ongoing two-week strikes by one week until March 31 in protest against government labour reforms and welfare cuts.
Boliden now expects a negative cash flow impact in the first quarter of around 1 billion crowns, up from its previously communicated 500 million crowns.

The Middle East’s Oil Giants Have Entered the Critical Minerals Race
As the clean energy transition takes off, the region’s biggest players are making sure they have a seat at the table.
Oil may be the lifeblood of many Middle Eastern economies, but some of the region’s biggest players are now setting their sights on another booming energy sector: critical minerals.
Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and rare earths power the world’s clean energy technologies and electric vehicle batteries. As these resources take center stage with the clean energy transition, oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also ramping up investment in critical minerals supply chains in a bid to diversify their economic portfolios and carve out a stake in the growing industry.
“This is not about replacing the bedrock of their economic engine away from oil to minerals,” said Ahmed Mehdi, managing director at Renaissance Energy and a visiting fellow at the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy. “This is more about making sure that they have a seat at the table in the energy transition, especially given how geopolitically charged this industry is.”
Rising geopolitical tensions have cast a new spotlight on these minerals and the countries that wield outsized influence over their supply and production. China, in particular, dominates the processing of many of these resources, which has heightened fears of strategic vulnerabilities and catalyzed efforts to secure alternative supply chains. And in the Middle East, where fears of fossil fuel revenue over-dependence run high, many governments refuse to be left out of this new race.

Saudi Arabia’s mining sector records 138% growth in exploitation licenses
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s mining sector is on an impressive upswing, recording a 138 percent increase in the issuance of exploitation licenses since the implementation of the new Mining Investment Law in 2021.

The number of permits rose from eight in 2021 to 19 last year as the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources actively works to boost mineral production and investment. 

The strategic shift is part of the Kingdom’s efforts to transform mining into a foundational industrial pillar. The Kingdom’s mineral wealth is valued at an estimated SR9.4 trillion ($2.4 trillion), according to a press release from the ministry.

Data further revealed a surge in building materials quarry licenses, which rose from 158 in 2021 to 538 in 2023, and a leap in exploration licenses, from 58 to 259 during the same period. 

These increases, 241 percent and 347 percent, respectively, are propelled by strategic undertakings like the Accelerated Exploration Program initiative and more efficient licensing procedures. 

Saudi Arabia’s mining sector has been expanding both locally and internationally, with significant strides being made.


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