Newsletter 28-05-2024

Newsletter – 28.05.2024

28/05/24                                      WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
  • Copper prices could surge to $40,000, says top trader Andurand
  • Ma’aden Resorts to International Expertise to Exploit Saudi Arabia’s Largest Discovered Resources
  • Electric mining vehicle industry’s value to reach $23 billion by 2044 – report
  • Gold mine collapse in northern Kenya leaves 5 people dead
  • CITIC Metal to sell up to 2% stake in Ivanhoe Mines
  • Nigeria cracks down on illegal lithium mining with dozens of arrests

Copper prices could surge to $40,000, says top trader Andurand

Copper prices could reach $40,000 per tonne in the next few years, hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand told the Financial Times.

The metal has risen almost 20% this year, reaching a record $11,000 per tonne ($5.00/lb) this week.

“We are moving towards a doubling of demand growth for copper due to the electrification of the world, including electric vehicles, solar panels, wind farms, as well as military usage and data centers,” the top trader told the Financial Times.

Andurand, a former Goldman Sachs trader who co-founded BlueGold Capital before launching Andurand Capital, manages approximately $2 billion in assets.

“I think we could see prices up to $40,000 per tonne ($18.18/lb) over the next four years or so. I’m not saying it will stay there indefinitely; eventually, we will get a supply response, but that supply response will take more than five years.”

Ma’aden Resorts to International Expertise to Exploit Saudi Arabia’s Largest Discovered Resources

The Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) is seeking to benefit from its relationships with its global partners, and to rely on the latest technologies, in order to raise the maximum capabilities and potential to work on the unexplored mineral resources project in Saudi Arabia, which is valued at $2.5 trillion, through an appropriate set of investments, sources have revealed.

In January, the Kingdom announced that it had raised its estimates of the value of untapped mineral resources, including phosphate, gold, minerals, and rare earths, to SAR9.4 trillion ($2.5 trillion), an increase from the previous estimation of SAR4.9 trillion ($1.3 trillion).

Ma’aden operates 17 mines and sites, employing more than 68,000 workers, and exports its products to more than 30 countries. It is also implementing a plan to increase the volume of its business within its 2040 strategy, in phosphate, aluminum, gold, and copper, in addition to exploring new minerals.

Electric mining vehicle industry’s value to reach $23 billion by 2044 – report

The electric mining vehicle industry is expected to be valued at nearly $23 billion by 2044, according to a new report by IDTechEx.

ABB, Boliden, and Epiroc’s first battery-electric underground truck with a trolley system

The analysis points out that large EV batteries and innovative fast-charging methods are driving the adoption of electric and autonomous mining vehicles.

“Mining vehicles come in a wide range of sizes so mining batteries can vary wildly too – from 100 kWh for light vehicles up to 2 MWh for large electric haul trucks. The uniquely large nature of these batteries means they are only now becoming sufficiently developed and competitively priced,” the report reads. “Turnkey battery suppliers, including CATL, ABB, and Northvolt, have developed products that are particularly well-suited to mining vehicles, and their development work is continuing.”

The document notes that lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) and lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries are the two battery chemistries that have, so far, been used in mining. In detail, just under 80% of mining vehicles use LFP despite such batteries’ tendency to have lower energy densities, which is not a major concern as mining vehicles are already heavy and carry hefty loads of ore.

“Where LFP does win out is in its cycle life. IDTechEx expects that some of the most demanding mining vehicles, such as haul trucks, will far exceed the cycle life deliverable by a single NMC or LFP pack and require multiple battery replacements. Minimizing the frequency of replacements by using a longer-life battery pack is an effective way to make EVs more economical,” the dossier notes.

Gold mine collapse in northern Kenya leaves 5 people dead

NAIROBI, Kenya -- An illegal gold mine collapsed in northern Kenya, leaving at least five miners dead, police said Saturday.

The collapse of the Hillo mine in the Dabel area near the Kenyan border with Ethiopia on Friday was attributed to a landslide. Marsabit County Police Commander Patrick Mwakio said the miners died on the spot after the debris covered them.

No other miners have been found and it was not clear if anyone else was missing in the collapse.

Interior Minister Kithure Kindiki in March declared the area disturbed and banned mining activities after clashes over a mining dispute led to the deaths of seven people.

The mining activities were also in violation of the law because no environmental impact assessment had been done, and the tunnels were described as weak and on the brink of cave-in. Residents told media outlets that mining had continued despite the March ban and blamed authorities for allowing it.

CITIC Metal to sell up to 2% stake in Ivanhoe Mines

CITIC Metal Co. is planning to sell a small portion of its holdings in Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) through public trades or privately through block trades, or the combination of both.

The Chinese commodity trader is Ivanhoe’s largest shareholder. It owns about 314.7 million of Ivanhoe’s Class A shares, representing 24.78% of those outstanding. The next largest shareholder is Zijin Mining Group, also based in China, with an approximate 13% shareholding.

In a press release via the Shanghai Stock Exchange, CITIC said it has received board approval to sell at most 25,390,428 shares, or 2% of Ivanhoe’s outstanding share capital. Shareholder approval for the divestment will be sought in a meeting scheduled for June 11.

Assuming CITIC gains the approval and sells the maximum amount, it will then hold approximately 289.3 million shares, for a 22.78% shareholding in Ivanhoe.

The announcement by CITIC comes at a time when the Canadian government is placing higher surveillance on foreign money flowing into its critical minerals sector, with extra scrutiny on those coming from China.

Nigeria cracks down on illegal lithium mining with dozens of arrests

Nigeria's government is cracking down on illegal mining, making dozens of arrests since April for unlicensed miners allegedly stealing lithium, a critical mineral used in batteries for electric vehicles, smartphones, and power systems.

The crackdown comes as Nigeria seeks to regulate its mining operations, curb illegal activity, and better benefit from its mineral resources. The global demand for lithium has surged due to the clean energy transition. However, corruption and minimal government presence in remote areas have led to rampant illegal mining, which has fueled militia groups in the north.

In mid-May, a joint team of soldiers and police raided a market in Kishi, Oyo State, arresting 32 individuals, including two Chinese nationals. The market, once known for farm produce, had become a hub for illicit lithium trade. Community leader Jimoh Bioku reported clandestine searches for lithium by Chinese nationals, who then engaged locals to mine for them, turning the market into a transit point.

President Bola Tinubu has blamed illegal mining for worsening conflicts in the north and called for international help to stop it. The Chinese embassy in Abuja has not commented on the arrests, but previously urged Chinese nationals to abide by Nigerian laws.

Nigeria is emerging as a significant lithium source in Africa, but illegal mining denies the government substantial revenues. Emeka Okoro from SBM Intelligence highlighted the exploitation of vulnerable workers from conflict-affected regions. The government estimates that resource theft causes annual losses of $9 billion.


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