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Asia Times Financial - February 24, 2021
The country’s growing need for both industrial and rare earth metals will force it to invest in overseas projects to source the copper and ...
Japan’s rare earth metals quandary is far from over

Japan is ramping up its renewables and clean energy push to help it reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reach its carbon neutral goal by 2050…The MEIT added that the potential increase in renewable energy for the power sector will also increase demand for batteries as storage, which will also boost use of vanadium, lithium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, and copper…Japan’s growing need for both industrial and rare earth metals will force it to invest in overseas upstream projects, similar to its decades long oil and natural gas investment build-out, needed to offset its hydrocarbon deficiency, that saw its global footprint spread across the globe, with investments in coal, oil and gas reaching into hundreds of billions of dollars…Currently, Japanese upstream coal, gas and oil production across the globe is valued at over $70 billion, according to a report earlier this month by energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie…Tokyo is also considering increasing government control over Japan’s strategic rare earth metals reserves, as well as increasing inventories of some strategically important metals such as cobalt…The government has designated 34 metals (including rare earths) as having the potential for stockpiling. It already holds reserves of seven metals, including nickel, chrome, tungsten, cobalt, molybdenum, manganese and vanadium

CBC News - Canada - February 25, 2021
domestic supply of the metals and minerals like lithium and nickel that go into making lithium-ion batteries, witnesses told a House of

This week's meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden was a signal of momentum for electric vehicles that those in Canada's industry have been waiting for…In the roadmap released following the meeting, both leaders promised to work together to build supply chains for electric vehicle (EV) battery development so Canada and the U.S. could compete globally…Capitalizing on Canada's access to the minerals and metals needed to make electric vehicle batteries is something experts in the renewable energy industry have long said needs to happen…Now is the time for Canadian companies, researchers and governments to seize on the U.S. and Canada agreement and become leaders in specific areas including battery development, said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association…"Canada has its own in-the-ground opportunity to be a superpower in the battery space, which will drive where some of those investments are. The risk of Canada falling behind is a Canadian risk."..A quarter of the cost of an EV is the lithium-ion battery, while four-fifths of the cost of the battery itself is the minerals, metals, and chemicals that go into it, said Simon Moores, London, U.K.-based managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence…But there is little ability in Canada to process the raw material into the components that ultimately go into producing batteries…"Relative to the European Union and Asia, Canadian battery metals supply chains are currently in their infancy," said Liz Lappin, president of the Battery Metals Association of Canada…"However, with surging demand for battery metals to serve the expanding EV supply chain, the market opportunity for Canada is growing."…"While the world's governments and automakers focus on building EVs and battery plants, a true leader is yet to emerge in building the supply chains to feed them," Moores said…Both Trudeau and Biden promised they would work together to make the U.S. and Canada "global leaders in all aspects of battery development and production," according to a news release from the prime minister's office…On Monday, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan announced that a new "federal-provincial-territorial task team" is developing an inventory of Canadian "critical minerals" that would help build an "integrated, all-Canadian critical minerals and battery value chain."…Joanna Kyriazis with Vancouver-based energy think tank Clean Energy Canada says the federal government also needs to promote our raw minerals if Canada is to keep up with the global demand. …"What we need now is to move from the discussion, the talk into action," she said.

Bloomberg - February 24, 2021
Middleman made $40 million from Congo minerals within weeks Investor denies NGO allegations he represents billionaire
around the world. Congo dominates global production of cobalt, a key ingredient in the rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles.

A transfer of lucrative cobalt and copper assets by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s state mining company enabled a little-known investor to make $40 million within weeks. The transaction and almost immediate resale of control of the assets to Eurasian Resources Group Sarl is the latest deal in Congo to face scrutiny by anti-graft campaigners. Alleged corruption in mining transactions in the central African nation has led to financial sanctions and multiple ongoing investigations by law-enforcement agencies around the world…Congo dominates global production of cobalt, a key ingredient in the rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles. Luxembourg-registered ERG owns one of the largest copper-cobalt projects in the country, which is at the forefront of the company’s efforts to position itself as a major player in the revolution toward more environmentally friendly transportation…A little over two years ago, ERG expanded its pool of raw materials by striking a deal in which French national Elie-Yohann Berros played a highly profitable intermediary role…On Nov. 7, 2018, state miner Gecamines leased rights to process billions of dollars worth of copper and cobalt reserves to Evelyne Investissement SAU, an entity Berros had created two months earlier, according to a copy of the agreement, Congolese corporate records and an ERG filing. In exchange, Evelyne made an initial $10 million payment, the documents show. Later in the same month, Gecamines signed off on Berros’ sale of 51% of Evelyne to ERG for $50 million, according to ERG’s annual report…The state miner still stands to gain hundreds of millions of dollars from the deal through royalties and a signing bonus, according to the contract…ERG and Berros declined to comment on what value he brought to the deal with the state miner and why ERG needed him as an intermediary to acquire the rights. ERG’s spokeswoman declined to clarify when the company first expressed an interest in securing the minerals that Gecamines transferred to Evelyne…“It is deeply concerning that ERG did not purchase this asset from Gecamines directly, but instead appears to have acquired it via Berros, a man with no public track record in DRC,” said Margot Mollat, a campaigner at Global Witness, a London-based corruption-watchdog that has investigated Berros’ business activities. “As a result, it appears that Gecamines may have lost out and within weeks Berros walked away $40 million richer.”..While the financial details of the transactions in late 2018 haven’t previously been reported, in July Bloomberg and anti-corruption organizations revealed links between Berros and Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who was sanctioned by the U.S. government in December 2017 for alleged corruption in Congo, which Gertler has denied. Global Witness and the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa, known as Pplaaf, described Berros as a “frontman” for Gertler in a joint report…Placing sanctions on the businessman, the U.S. Treasury said Gertler had used his friendship with former Congolese President Joseph Kabila to operate as a “middleman” between multinational mining companies and the state. The Evelyne transactions took place a month before elections to choose Kabila’s successor after nearly two decades in power…ERG holds assets, including several mining projects in Congo, that belonged to Eurasian Natural Resources Corp., a company that was listed on the London Stock Exchange. The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office has been investigating ENRC since 2013 for alleged corruption in its deals in Congo, including several where Gertler acted as an intermediary acquiring assets from Congo’s state-owned mining companies before ERG bought them at a higher price within months…According to ERG’s 2019 annual report, the reserves Gecamines leased to Evelyne, which are known as tailingsThe tailings, which stretch for miles in grayish heaps just outside the southeastern mining hub of Kolwezi, are a reminder of Gecamines’ glory days. Now -- like most of Gecamines’ most valuable assets -- they’re under private control. Evelyne’s five tailings dumps overlap with permits controlled by Glencore Plc, Ivanhoe Mines Ltd., and the Sicomines project, a $3.2 billion joint venture between Gecamines and several Chinese state-owned companies…ERG is already processing another tailings dump at its giant Metalkol project not far from the site of Evelyne’s resource. Gertler owns the rights to a 2.5% royalty on Metalkol’s net turnover, which one of his companies bought from Gecamines in 2017. The ERG spokeswoman declined to say if Metalkol’s facility will treat Evelyne’s copper and cobalt.

Medium - February 24, 2021
Two of days ago the Italian Ambassodor Luca Attanasio has been brutally killed in an ambush by a group of armed men in the Democratic ...
“More than half of the world’s total supply of cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo” — Amnesty International Amnesty

Two of days ago the Italian Ambassodor Luca Attanasio has been brutally killed in an ambush by a group of armed men in the Democratic Republic of Congo…At only 43 years of age he left a wife and two children. A horrific story from one of the darkest places in the world where violence rules. Tragic murders like this are not a singular case, but a common practice: only a month before six rangers were killed in that area in similar circumstances…Since the time the region has been called the “personal garden” of King Leopold II of Belgium over a century ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has never seen peace but a sequence of atrocities after atrocities…For historians, what happened in the Free State of Congo in the early 1900 is direct precursor of the future horrors perpetrated by Nazism in the Second World War…It didn’t help to reach full independence in 1960. As the country finally managed to escape Belgium’s colonialist grip, it quickly fallen prey of opposing interests in the Cold War…The implosion of nearby Rwanda in 1990 and the sanguineous tension between Hutu and Tutsi faction had been an earthquake with turbulent ripple effects along the border with RDC where many people fled to seek refuge…Is difficult, if not impossible, trying to discern who is the responsible for the recent strike of homicides in the region. To these days, there are hundreds of active military groups that operates in the region, whether if independently or backed by either the RDC, UN or the surrounding nations…Since the aftermath of the 1990 Rwandan Civil War, the United Nations have been a stable presence in the region. The mission, initially named MONUC, and comprised of 20.000 UN military personnel was intended to protect civilians and defuse the conflicts in the area, supporting the national military force, FARDC. Despite decades of military presence and multiple UN resolutions, MONUSCO yielded little results in the turbulent zone…Adding to that, the local population is growing increasingly hostile to the foreign presence of peacekeepers, accused of not doing enough to protect the population when a blitz of ADF militias killed hundreds of civilians in Beni…Google, Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Tesla have been named as defendants in a case pertaining to the use of child labour in the mining of cobalt in the DRC. A class action from an independent right activist group, IRA brought to light the inhumane Congolese mining industry where most of the raw material involved in the production of electronic devices come from. Specifically, cobalt is required to manufacture the rechargeable lithium-ion battery used in all of modern smartphones, laptops and tablets…Amnesty International has compiled a detailed report over the estraction of minerals in Katanga and the Great Lakes Region of Kivu in DRC. Despite the investigations regarding the mineral supply chain, and the public commitment of the corporations to ensure the respect of human rights in the sourcing of raw materials, substantial progress hasn’t been yet made…The death of Italian Ambassador Luca Attanasio opened the latest Pandora’s box of a country deep into a cycle of greed, corruption, war and atrocities still happening in plain sight, with the covert complicity of western countries and corporations that profit unimaginably from the ongoing conflicts. Nobody knows exactly the responsible of the vile attack that killed the higher diplomat…A memorandum of the profound unfairness of this eternal, unresolved war.

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


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