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Cobalt
 
Unknown - December 1, 2020
Copper, soybeans, wheat and gold have enjoyed spectacular run-ups this year, reigniting interest in commodities as the global economy recovers from the pandemic. More than a snapback, the gains are raising the question of whether a commodities supercycle is now in the works.

The mere mention of a supercycle – where prices for a swath of commodities remain elevated for many years, as demand outpaces supply – is sure to lift the spirits of Canadian investors with money tied to the country’s major benchmark…Goldman Sachs, one of the more ebullient voices here, expects that demand for commodities will be driven by huge investments in green energy and a postpandemic boost to consumer spending, while the supply of commodities will be held back by a lack of investment in recent years…“Looking at the 2020s, we believe that similar structural forces to those which drove commodities in the 2000s could be at play,” Jeffrey Currie, global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, said in a note…But even these supercycle skeptics expect that investors can do well with bets on specific commodities…They believe that global demand for copper, lithium, cobalt, silver and nickel will remain strong because of thin inventories and mining plans that can take years to add new supply. These metals are integral to the expansion of green energy as countries attempt to lower their carbon dioxide emissions and stimulate their economies with infrastructure projects…The last supercycle in commodity prices peaked in 2011 after a 15-year upswing, and its demise left commodity producers reluctant to bet big on new projects…“There are significant lags between when you need the metal and when you can actually get it. No doubt, we will need higher [commodity] prices to incentivize investment, to assure future supply,” Mr. Melek said.

 
Yahoo news - December 2, 2020
As U.S. policymakers grapple with China’s dominance in producing the materials needed for so-called clean energy and other cutting-edge ...
at highest risk of supply disruptions. Most of the world’s cobalt is currently produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nedal

As U.S. policymakers grapple with China’s dominance in producing the materials needed for so-called clean energy and other cutting-edge technology, the case of cobalt serves as a warning…China’s state-directed industrial policy has outmaneuvered America’s laissez-faire approach to securing access around the world to a metal that’s taking on growing economic and strategic importance. Its success is sparking a debate over whether Washington needs to intervene to encourage more mining at home…Used for millennia to make rich blue pigment for ceramics, cobalt now plays an important role in lithium-ion batteries — conducting heat to prevent them from catching fire in smart phones and electric vehicles. Cobalt’s other commercial, industrial and military applications, from jet engines to magnets, spurred the U.S. government in 2018 to deem it a commodity of “strategic and critical” importance to U.S. securityYet today’s global cobalt supply chains are dominated by China — the result of two decades of Beijing’s relentless efforts to dominate what it assesses as likely to be key industries of the future…“This is a strategic thinking on their part — that ‘these are materials that are strategic for our needs and we're going to make sure that we have access to them,’” Nedal Nassar, chief of the Materials Flow Analysis Section at the National Minerals Information Center at the U.S. Geological Survey, told the podcast…In a USGS review of 50 commodities, Nassar identified cobalt as one of the of materials at highest risk of supply disruptions. Most of the world’s cobalt is currently produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nedal estimates that somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of the DRC’s cobalt production is owned by Chinese companies. “A lot of it leaves the DRC and gets shipped to China for further processing,” said Nassar, adding that about two-thirds of the entire world’s cobalt refining takes place in China…China’s drive to secure its own access to cobalt has been driven by an approach that put long-term goals over short-term profits. For the last two decades, China has invested heavily in cobalt mining operations in Africa…Analysts contrast China’s government-led approach to securing direct control over the supply chain with America’s reliance on outside producers in the marketplace, accepting greater risk of disruption or shortages in exchange for lower short-term costs…Sharon Burke, a former Pentagon official now leading the resource security group at the New America think tank, told a recent episode of the podcast. “They wanted to have a vertical production. They wanted to own the raw resource, but also be fabricating the batteries and all of that. And so they had a very strategic approach to this, whereas ours was dominated by a private sector that was operating on different principles.”…Demand for cobalt is expected to grow as the world moves to a greater reliance on renewable energy and electric vehicles.

 
S&P Global Platts - December 1, 2020
London — The Democratic Republic of Congo's mining sector is now almost 70% dominated by Chinese investors and that makes it ...
increasingly governed by environment, social and governance issues. Artisanal mining by small operators is said to account for between 20%

The Democratic Republic of Congo's mining sector is now almost 70% dominated by Chinese investors and that makes it vulnerable to Chinese economic developments, John Kanyoni, vice-president of the country's Chamber of Mines said during the DRC Mining Week organized by Mining Review Africa…The country's latest mining code seeks to broaden the investor base, he indicated…Chinese investors are particularly dominant in the DRC's copper and cobalt-rich Haut Katanga and Lualaba areas of former Katanga province, he said, with investors including China Molybdenum's Tenke Fugurume, and Minerals and Metals Group MMG…The DRC is by far the world's largest producer of cobalt, with its output reaching 90,000 mt last year, almost 70% of global supply. Demand for cobalt has increased dramatically in recent years for use in battery production for electric vehicles, where Chinese and other Asian manufacturers are in a leading position, although European manufacturers are now rapidly gaining ground, spurred on by regional policies to increase EVs market share…Some battery and carmakers have made moves to source cobalt from outside the DRC, or reduce their dependence on cobalt supplies overall due to fears of purchasing material from the DRC that may be linked to child labor or other practices no longer acceptable to supply chains increasingly governed by environment, social and governance issues. Artisanal mining by small operators is said to account for between 20% and 40% of the DRC's cobalt production.

 
S&P Global Platts - December 1, 2020
London — Cobalt demand is expected to roughly double by 2030, largely driven by use in battery applications, according to consultancy ...
and maintenance until at least 2022, she said. Cobalt supply from artisanal and small-scale mining operations is also expected to drop, due

Cobalt demand is expected to roughly double by 2030, largely driven by use in battery applications, according to consultancy Roskill…Despite the growing trend toward reducing cobalt use where possible, especially in the automotive sector -- driven by high costs and environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns -- demand should still be boosted by the growing penetration of electric vehicles (EVs) in the coming decade, as well as demand from the portable electronics industry, Roskill senior cobalt and nickel analyst Ying Lu told a webinar Nov. 30…Looking at 2020, Lu said that the cobalt market was expected to grow slightly, but at the slowest rate since 2016, to reach around 136,000 mt…She noted that aircraft deliveries had fallen by around 20% year on year and that although there is a time lag of a couple of years between purchasing and commissioning of aircraft, cobalt volumes used in these applications would still drop by over 10% and it would take several years for aerospace demand to recover…Cobalt demand from the battery sector has fared better and Roskill expects to see a 5-10% year-on-year increase in 2020, despite COVID headwinds in the automotive and also portable electronic sectors…Prokhodtsev added that, with the rollout of 5G technology and the increase of the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), battery demand could be driven by an increasing number of connected devices, rather than increased battery sizes…Roskill expects global refined cobalt production to fall 5% in 2020 to just over 130,000 mt, which would mark the first decrease in global production since 2016…However, total refined capacity is expected to grow by more than 10% in 2020, with nearly all the increase coming from China…The fall in production after three consecutive years of oversupply, was due to due to logistical issues caused by the pandemic, as well as the closure of Glencore's Mutanda mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

 
Metal Bulletin - December 2, 2020
It has been almost one year since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak and global economies are still recovering from the fallout. ...
economies are still recovering from the fallout. Fastmarkets analyzes the effects of the pandemic on global cobalt supply and trade flows.
 
 
EVs & Energy Storage
 
Bloomberg - December 2, 2020
A maintenance check on an EVgo fast charging station in Los Angeles. Photographer: Education Images/Universal Images Group ...

In a bid to fight climate change and build a stronger, greener economy, Joe Biden is starting with plugs…Specifically, the president-elect has a plan to install 500,000 electric vehicle charging cordsby 2030, roughly a five-fold increase in the nation’s EV infrastructure that could cost more than $5 billion…The infrastructure milestone would cover 57% of the charging that U.S. vehicles will need by 2030 and could spark the sale of some 25 million electric cars and trucks, according to forecasts by BloombergNEF…“It’s spot-on with what the market needs,” said Cathy Zoi, chief executive officer of EVgo, one of the country’s largest charging networks. “The sweet spot is to actually accelerate the electrification of our transportation, and this can bring that forward by three to five years.” (Biden’s transition team declined to comment on the president-elect’s stated plans.)…Right now, there are about 90,000 public charging plugs at 28,000 U.S. stations, according to the latest Energy Department tally. However, one in five of those is exclusive to Tesla; of the remainder, only one in 10 tops a car up quickly enough to be useful on a road trip. Most public charging options are still relatively slow—useful for drivers idling at work, for example, or grinding through a long grocery hunt…For automakers, the policy push provides confidence to maintain or accelerate electric vehicle rollouts, even as adoption has been relatively tepid. Car companies plan to offer at least 121 battery-powered machines to U.S. consumers by 2025 and will be able to crank out 1 million of them a year by the end of Biden’s first term. 

 
 
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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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The materials appearing in this email contain forward-looking information. This forward-looking information includes, or may be based upon, estimates, forecasts, and statements as to management’s expectations with respect to, among other things, the size and quality of the Company’s mineral resources, progress in permitting and development of mineral properties, timing and cost for placing the Company’s mineral projects into production, costs of production, amount and quality of metal products recoverable from the Company’s mineral resources, anticipated revenues, earnings and cash flows from the Company's mineral projects, demand and market outlook for metals and coal and future metal and coal prices. Forward-looking information is based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the information is given, and is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the exploration and development of mineral properties, uncertainties with respect to the receipt or timing of required permits and regulatory approvals, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drilling results and other geological data, fluctuating metal and coal prices, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, the possibility that production from the Company's mineral projects may be less than anticipated, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future, uncertainties related to metal recoveries and other factors. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Inferred mineral resources are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves. There is no certainty that mineral resources will be converted into mineral reserves. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information because it is possible that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forms of forward-looking information will not be achieved by the Company. The forward-looking information contained herein is made as of the date hereof and the Company assumes no responsibility to update them or revise it to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.