Weekly Nugget

Mining News Roundup, May 26 2021

An order sent to miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 26 banned the export of copper and cobalt concentrate.

DRC Confuses Markets on Metal Concentrate Export Orders

An order sent to miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 26 banned the export of copper and cobalt concentrate. However, the ban was clarified the next day. 

According to Fastmarkets, three companies operating copper and cobalt mines in DRC that they received a notice, signed by Bernard Bosele Pilipilithe provincial director of Customs and Excise in the Katanga province of DRC.

However, a follow-up letter from the DRC’s Ministry of Mines dated Thursday May 27, Pilipilithe clarified that exports will be allowed by companies that have appropriate export permits.

Prospector Portal has a total of 56 technical reports on projects in the DRC.

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Ivanhoe Begins Copper Concentrate Production at Kamoa-Kakula, DRC

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN, OTCQX: IVPAF) Co-Chairs Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun  announced the start of copper concentrate production at the Phase 1, 3.8 million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) Kamoa-Kakula Mine, on May 25th.

Phase 1 plans to produce ~200,000 tonnes of copper per year, and phases 1 and 2 combined could produce approximately ~400,000 tonnes of copper per year.

The project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mtpa would make Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 tonnes.

An initial mineral resource estimate was prepared for the project in 2009. The estimate has been updated in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2020.

The current resource estimate outlines the combined Kamoa-Kakula Project Indicated Mineral Resource with 1,387 million tonnes grading 2.7% copper for 83.7 billion pounds of copper. The Inferred Mineral Resource Estimate outlines an additional 12.5 billion pounds of copper in 339 million tonnes grading 1.68% copper.

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Lithium Outlook Fully Charged, Fitch Solutions

According to Fitch Solutions, the outlook for the lithium sector is “as bright as ever.” Fitch forecasts global lithium production will more than triple from 442,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate-equivalent (LCE) in 2020 to 1.5 million tonnes of LCE by 2030.

EV sales will drive lithium consumption growth by as much as 7x over 2020 through 2030, while yearly EV sales will grow from 3.1 million to 21.2 million units.

The EV sector will account for about 80% of total lithium demand by 2030, compared with between 40 and 45% currently. The lithium content of the next generation of batteries is even higher than the batteries that will be dominating over 2021 to 2025.

Prospector Portal has 133 technical reports on lithium projects.

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The World's Insatiable Copper Appetite

The copper market is facing a supply deficit that could deepen over the next several years. Demand from the power and construction industries, and vehicle electrification are consuming current production.

Roskill forecasts total copper consumption will exceed 43 million tonnes by 2035, driven by population and GDP growth, urbanization, and electricity demand. Total world mine production in 2020 was 20 million tonnes

Demand in 2021 is expected to outstrip supply leading to a potential deficit of at least 200,000 tonnes. Fitch Solutions expects a shortfall of 489,000 tonnes in 2024 to rise to 510,000 tonnes in 2027.

There are 1113 technical reports on copper projects available through Prospector Portal.

“Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.” — E. F. Schumacher 

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