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Cobalt - June 21, 2022

Canada is launching an industrial strategy for its natural resources, with critical mineral infrastructure, hydrogen production and other low-carbon projects set to be a major focus…The strategy, formally known as the Regional Energy and Resource Tables, will see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government partnering with each province to “identify, prioritize and pursue opportunities.”…The rollout began this month in British Columbia and Manitoba in the west, and the east-coast province of Newfoundland and Labrador, with the program set to reach every other region by early 2023…The types of projects each region is keen to advance with the government is already becoming clear, the minister said… “Part of the job of this table will be prioritizing those, looking at where they’re at, are they ready, and looking at the tools that we could bring to the table,” the minister said…He pointed out that one tool the government wields is, of course, money, with C$3.8 billion ($2.9 billion) already earmarked for critical minerals in the April budget…On top of that, “we have a billion and a half dollars in the Clean Fuels Fund, we have eight billion dollars in the Net Zero Accelerator, we’re setting up the Clean Growth Fund, we have the Canada Infrastructure Bank,” he said…Wilkinson emphasized that the focus needs to be on getting projects moving forward as soon as possible if the energy transition is going to happen at scale…“The average mine takes 15 years to bring into production,” he said. “In the context of the energy transition, we don’t have 15 years if we’re actually going to provide enough of the minerals to be able to support just the battery development. So it behooves us to bring everybody into the room to figure out how to do it.”…Canada’s emphasis on critical minerals also aligns with the priorities of its neighbor and biggest trading partner, with the US hoping to shift its dependence away from rival nations like China for their supply. - June 22, 2022
Korean companies importing Chinese mineral resources including lithium and cobalt may be put on the…

Korean companies importing Chinese mineral resources including lithium and cobalt may be put on the sanction list of the Uyghurs Forced Labor Prevention Law, which takes effect on June 21 under the Biden administration. Under this law, importers of the products and raw materials produced in Xinjiang Uyghur must prove they are not relevant to forced labor…The New York Times suggested on Monday, adding the imports of various products including EVs, battery, and renewable energies might be prohibited once the law takes effect. The NYT said the minerals in Xinjiang have been exported to the United States, Germany, the U.K., Japan and South Korea…The KIEP pointed out that Korean companies might face the trouble of getting subjected to the trade sanctions under the law. As of 2020, Korean companies relied on Chinese imports for 80% of their lithium and cobalt needs used to manufacture trains and batteries. - June 21, 2022

Cobalt prices are crashing back to earth as sellers offer increasingly steep concessions to Chinese buyers who have turned cold on the battery metal as demand slumps in electric vehicles and smartphones…The benchmark price for cobalt in Europe has slid more than 13% since a peak in May, and an even sharper decline in Chinese prices signals the sell-off could have further to run. Buyers in the country are racing to renegotiate supply deals in order to stem heavy losses arising from an unusual disconnect between domestic and international prices, according to cobalt traders and buyers…China’s wave of strict pandemic curbs have since stifled cobalt’s main markets, with President Xi Jinping’s steadfast pursuit of zero-Covid ravaging manufacturing and consumer activity…Lockdown-hit Shanghai registered zero car sales in April, reflecting the kind of ructions throughout the EV supply chain that have left China’s cobalt refiners exposed to losses on expensive imported raw materials. Buyers have walked away from similarly onerous supply deals in the past, and this time miners are granting significant concessions on prices to keep cobalt flowing into the all-important Chinese market, according to traders and buyers who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter…“Suppliers have probably learnt from past experience that playing hardball can eventually backfire,” Andries Gerbens, a cobalt trader at Darton Commodities Ltd., said by phone. “Everyone is looking for long-term relationships and therefore in circumstances like this it’s better to talk things through and come to a compromise.”…There are already tentative signs of a demand recovery. China’s EV sales rose more than expected in May, and top carmaker BYD Co. showed almost no impact from the lockdowns and supply snarls…“Demand from EV batteries and traditional usage such as in the airplane industry is expected to pick up in the next six months alongside subsidies support for EV while travel restrictions ease,” Susan Zou, senior analyst at Rystad Energy, said by phone from Shanghai. “But demand from consumer electronics remains uncertain.”…The global benchmark cobalt price, published by researcher Fastmarkets, dropped Monday to a mid-point of $34.5 a pound, its lowest since January. 

EVs & Energy Storage
U.S. - June 22, 2022
South Korean automaker Kia Corp will use batteries from China's CATL in an electric vehicle (EV) to be sold domestically, a newspaper said on Wednesday, in what would be its first use of non-Korean EV batteries for local sales.

South Korean automaker Kia Corp will use batteries from China’s CATL in an electric vehicle (EV) to be sold domestically, a newspaper said on Wednesday, in what would be its first use of non-Korean EV batteries for local sales…Kia, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor Co, has chosen batteries from CATL - Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd - for its electric Niro crossover SUV in a move to expand its range of battery suppliers, Hankook Ilbo newspaper reported, citing an unnamed Kia official…CATL, whose clients include Tesla Inc and Volkswagen AG, is the world’s largest battery maker with a share of more than 35% of a booming global EV battery market, according to industry tracker SNE Research, a market that analysts say is worth tens of billions of dollars…Analysts said Kia would be keen to lower costs for its Niro EV by using CATL batteries that are considered more cost-effective. Batteries are typically the most expensive component of EVs, making up about 30-40% of total manufacturing cost.

Reuters - June 22, 2022
A car is plugged in at a charging point for electric vehicles in London, Britain, March 6, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson June 22 (Reuters) - ...

Belgium's Umicore on Wednesday presented a 5 billion euro plan to bulk up its battery materials business by 2026, as it prepares for soaring demand largely driven by electrical vehicle production…Averaging some one billion euros of spending per year, the price tag roughly doubled analysts' forecasts…"This is an 'all in' approach to battery materials," Berenberg analyst Sebastian Bray said, adding investors were likely surprised by the magnitude of investments…Analysts raised concerns the plan could lead to higher debt, and require significant external funding, all against the backdrop of rising costs…Umicore said it would invest the bulk of funds in battery recycling and making materials for rechargeable batteries.

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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