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Excerpt from June 30, 2020 BMO Metals Brief:
Chinese imports of cobalt hydroxide dropped 61% m/m and 57% y/y to approximately 40ktpa Co contained in May. With South Africa's Durban port operating at reduced capacity through April, material from the DRC was unable to find a route to China. Prices only saw a marginal uptick in May and have since retracted. SMM estimate that Chinese imports of cobalt will be at a similar level in June, before recovering in July. Given prices are yet to react, we expect that Chinese stocks built late last year will have been drawn down over the past two months.

 
Cobalt
 
EURACTIV - June 30, 2020
The European Union needs to transform its coal-mining regions into the source of minerals for clean technology, such as cobalt and rare ...
China. Jorna said a Commission report found Europe will require five times more cobalt by 2030 for uses including ...

The European Union needs to transform its coal-mining regions into the source of minerals for clean technology, such as cobalt and rare earths, if it is to meet its climate goals and curb import reliance, a senior official said on Monday…The European Union has long wrestled with its dependency on imported natural resources…But the debate has gathered momentum as it seeks to use the coronavirus crisis to spur a green recovery and meet its ambitions to become a net zero economy by 2050…It has also proposed a €40 billion Just Transition Fund that could support new mining projects and retrain some of Europe’s 230,000 coal workers…“We have a question to ask ourselves, whether we want to continue as we did in the past, to import all these materials and to depend on their import into Europe… or whether, in terms of diversification, we extract part of this here,” director general of the Commission’s industry policy department Kerstin Jorna told a virtual event on Monday…Currently, the Democratic Republic of Congo produces more than 60% of the world’s cobalt, while more than 70% of rare earths are sourced from China…Jorna said a Commission report found Europe will require five times more cobalt by 2030 for uses including electric car batteries… 

 
 
EVs & Energy Storage
 
Unknown - June 30, 2020
House Democrats on Tuesday will issue an ambitious plan to combat climate change, a move intended to reassure their base of supporters but that’s sure to inflame opponents on the right.

The more than 500-page plan, from the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis convened by Pelosi and chaired by Representative Kathy Castor of Florida, seeks to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and calls for achieving 100% clean vehicles by 2035, according to people familiar with the details…It also demands an extension of a lucrative tax credit that’s successfully boosted the use of solar power, the people said…The plan, written by the Democratic majority on the bipartisan committee, also sets a goal of achieving net-zero emissions for the electricity sector by 2040. And it calls for putting a price on carbon, among other environmental regulations, but is silent on how that should be achieved and leaves much of the nitty-gritty of legislating to other committees. With Republicans in control of the Senate the plan serves as little more than a climate wish-list for Democrats. But it’s a marker of what the party may pursue if it wins full control of Congress and the White House in November.

 
Bloomberg - June 30, 2020
Byton cites financing, production challenges in memo to staff Workers to be furloughed during six-month suspension period
Photographer: Bridgette Bennet/Bloomberg Byton Ltd., the Chinese electric-vehicle startup that has plotted a U.S. entry ...

Byton Ltd., the Chinese electric-vehicle startup that plotted a U.S. entry for years but never sold a car, is suspending all domestic operations and furloughing staff after the coronavirus pandemic made it tougher to get its business off the ground…Byton is one of the highest-profile Chinese EV startups to see its troubles exacerbated by the pandemic, which has hit demand for cars and other consumer goods…Founded by former BMW AG managers, Byton has about 1,000 employees in China and about 500 elsewhere, including the U.S. Its investors include state-owned China FAW Group Corp. and battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., which has a deal to supply batteries to Tesla…Initially named Future Mobility Corp., Byton was set up in 2016 with backing from investors such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Foxconn Technology Group. The technology giants later dropped out, with Tencent becoming a major investor in rival NIO Inc. and Foxconn backing Xpeng Motors. Byton co-founder Carsten Breitfeld, a former manager at BMW AG, left in 2019 to join another startup before moving again to Faraday Future…Following years of rapid growth, China’s EV market has been slumping since mid-2019 on reduced government incentives and overall economic slowdown. Total sales of new-energy vehicles, including electric cars, fell 26% last month to 70,200 units, following a drop of 30% in April and 49% in March, according to the China Passenger Car Association. The government still considers electric cars a priority growth area and has added a slew of fresh stimulus measures to help the industry recover.

 
 
Congo
 
Engineering News - June 30, 2020
Transnational nonprofit organisation Crisis Group says tensions continue to build in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) mining ...
, titled 'Mineral Concessions: Avoiding Conflict in DRC’s Mining Heartland', the frustration between industrial ...

Transnational nonprofit organisation Crisis Group says tensions continue to build in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) mining heartland between industrial and artisanal miners. The organisation highlights in its latest report, titled 'Mineral Concessions: Avoiding Conflict in DRC’s Mining Heartland', the frustration between industrial and artisanal miners owing to competition, in the Haut-Katanga and Lualaba provinces…Crisis Group economics of conflict fellow Anouk Rigterink explains that artisanal miners lack economic opportunities. They are often denied access to industrial sites, even for purposes of exploiting commercially non-viable deposits and the region lacks artisanal mining zones…Crisis Group Central Africa project deputy director Nelleke van de Walle notes that the local tensions shoot multiple fault lines through the governing coalition that DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, whose family hails from Kasaï, has formed with his predecessor Joseph Kabila, whose power base is Katanga…Crisis Group believes the DRC government should help artisanal miners earn livelihoods by carving out new small-scale mining zones, together with the private sector, and remove impediments to industrial subcontracting of artisanal miners…It recommends that companies do initial groundwork to prepare sites within these zones for artisanal mining, and that these sites be protected from being taken over by industrial mining companies…The government should also protect the right of industrial companies to subcontract with artisanal cooperatives by carving these arrangements out of the decree directing a newly established (but not yet stood up) government entity to buy all artisanally mined cobalt…For their part, mining companies should subcontract artisanal miners to exploit deposits they cannot profitably mine – conditional on artisanal miners upholding basic safety, labour and environmental standards – and comply with provisions in the recently enacted iteration of the mining law that require mining companies to contribute a set percentage of their revenue directly to local development.

 
 
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For further information about the NICO Project and its Mineral Reserves, please refer to the Technical Report on the Feasibility Study for NICO, entitled "Technical Report on the Feasibility Study for the NICO-Gold-Cobalt-Bismuth-Copper Project, Northwest Territories, Canada", dated April 2, 2014 and prepared by Micon, which has been filed on SEDAR and is available under the Company's profile at www.sedar.com.

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