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Foreign Policy - June 30, 2022
The scramble for battery metals threatens to replicate one of the most destructive dynamics in global economic history.

In June, the European Parliament voted to effectively outlaw the sale of new cars using gasoline or diesel by 2035. If approved by the European Union, the move would revolutionize the world’s third-largest auto market after China and the United States—and hasten the global transformation of the entire automotive industry to battery technology…What the parliamentarians didn’t mention: The world cannot mine and refine the vast amounts of minerals that go into batteries—lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, palladium, and others—at anywhere close to the scale for this rapid transition to electric vehicles (EVs) to occur… As battery metals take on a strategic significance in many ways similar to the central role long played by oil, it will be very hard for developing countries with significant resources to keep their development trajectories from being hijacked by geopolitics. No country illustrates that problem better than the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which controls the world’s largest known reserves of cobalt—a metal that has emerged as key to the green transition, not least because EV batteries produced with cobalt tend to allow longer driving distances between charges…Enter China, whose government identified EV batteries and their supply chains as a strategic industrial niche early on. In 2016, when the cobalt price was relatively low, Beijing went on a shopping spree. The mining giant China Molybdenum bought one of the world’s largest cobalt mines, Tenke Fungurume, located in southeastern Congo, from the U.S. company Freeport-McMoRan. Today, Chinese companies control 60 percent of global cobalt reserves and 80 percent of the world’s cobalt refining capacity, which has helped China secure a significant lead as an EV battery maker. A single Chinese company, CATL, controls one-third of the entire global battery market….China’s targeting of batteries as part of its strategic industrial planning has spurred anxiety in the United States. In May, the Biden administration announced a $3 billion plan to boost the domestic production of EV batteries. But for any attempt to wrest a larger part of the battery supply chain from China to succeed, U.S. manufacturers will also need greater access to minerals such as cobalt. 

Reuters - June 30, 2022
Samples of rare earth minerals from left: Cerium oxide, Bastnaesite, Neodymium oxide and Lanthanum carbonate at Molycorp's Mountain Pass ...

A metallic NATO is starting to take shape, though no-one is calling it that just yet…The Minerals Security Partnership (MSP) is in theory open to all countries that are committed to "responsible critical mineral supply chains to support economic prosperity and climate objectives"…But the coalition assembled by the United States is one of like-minded countries such as Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany with an Asian axis in the form of Japan and South Korea…It is defined as much as anything by who is not on the invite list - China and Russia…China's dominance of key enabling minerals such as lithium and rare earths is the single biggest reason why Western countries are looking to build their own supply chains…The United States and Europe have realised that they can't build out purely domestic supply chains quickly enough to meet demand from the electric vehicle transition…The answer is "friend-shoring". If you can't produce it yourself, find a friendly country that can…U.S. and Canadian officials have been working closely as Canada fleshes out a promised C$3.8 billion ($3.02 billion) package to boost production of lithium, copper and other strategic minerals…The days of unlimited Chinese mining investment in countries such as Canada and Australia are probably over…This is not just a question of ownership but also of off-take deals if material is being shipped to China for refining. "Canada needs to ensure that it is protecting itself in an area that is clearly strategic and ensuring that those supply chains will be robust for our allies," Wilkinson said…The MSP marks a new chapter in the critical minerals story. The pressure to decouple from China has been growing for several years but Russia's invasion of Ukraine has concentrated minds…"Being dependent on countries that do not always share our perspectives on global affairs, and that have shown the ability at times to use their control of some of these resources as a weapon, is not a very good strategy," warned Canada's Wilkinson…Friend-shoring is going to be "the big economic and geopolitical issue" going forwards and "the world has not yet really started to properly grapple with how big a deal this is". 

EVs & Energy Storage
Reuters - June 30, 2022
The EU deal to phase out combustion engine cars in just over 12 years is challenging, but a more daunting obstacle will be making enough batteries to power the electric cars needed as a result, a senior Volkswagen executive said on Wednesday.

The EU deal to phase out combustion engine cars in just over 12 years is challenging, but a more daunting obstacle will be making enough batteries to power the electric cars needed as a result, a senior Volkswagen executive said on Wednesday…The comment was made after European Union countries clinched deals on proposed laws to combat climate change early on Wednesday, including one requiring new cars sold in the bloc to emit zero CO2 from 2035…That would make it impossible to sell internal-combustion engine cars…"The most challenging topic is not ramping up the car plants. The most challenging topic will be ramping up the battery supply chain."…Major carmakers have been racing to secure battery cell supplies, but finding enough battery raw materials may be a bigger problem…Failure to obtain adequate supplies of lithium, nickel, manganese or cobalt could slow the shift to EVs, make those vehicles more expensive and threaten carmakers' profit margins.  

Reuters - June 29, 2022
Peter Rolton, executive chairman of electric vehicle battery startup Britishvolt, shows a billboard at the site of the company's large ...

Electric vehicle (EV) battery startup Britishvolt has signed a deal with South Korean battery materials firm Posco Chemical designed to secure the supply of cathode and anode materials, the two companies said on Thursday…The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding and are working on a longer-term agreement, which "paves the way to providing Britishvolt with a secure supply of active battery materials as we start to ramp up pilot production", Britishvolt chief executive Orral Nadjari said in a statement…Britishvolt said Posco's ownership of mines and processing facilities across the battery sector would ensure "end-to-end, stable, supply chain supply"…Major carmakers have been racing to secure battery cell supplies, but finding enough battery raw materials may be a bigger problem…Failure to obtain adequate supplies of lithium, nickel, manganese or cobalt could slow the shift to EVs, make those vehicles more expensive and threaten carmakers' profit margins.

The Wall Street Journal - June 30, 2022
Many drivers aren’t looking for free upgrades when they rent cars for summer road trips. They are more concerned with fuel efficiency.

Many drivers aren’t looking for free upgrades when they rent cars for summer road trips. They are more concerned with fuel efficiency…The cost of gasoline has retreated slightly from the record highs reached earlier in June, but filling up the tank can still make a significant dent in a driver’s wallet. High gas prices have created a potential double whammy for travelers given that rental rates are also still elevated. 

Reuters - June 30, 2022
A charging cable is plugged int o a Ferrari SF90 Stradale hybrid sports car during a media preview at the Auto Zurich Car Show in Zurich, ...

Ferrari makes some of the fastest cars on the road, but the luxury Italian automaker is taking the slow lane to an electric future as it tries to overcome the technology's disadvantages against today's powerful fossil fuel engines…At an investor day this month, executives promised a new era, with the first fully electric Ferrari in 2025…But for now, combustion engines remain the noisy heart of what it does. Unlike some rivals, Ferrari has not provided a roadmap for going all electric. Volkswagen's Bentley brand and Volvo are both targeting 2030…Its line-up could also grow to at least 17 models by 2026 from 12 today. But most new models will, at least initially, have a combustion engine - including its first SUV, the Purosangue, powered by its trademark huge 12-cylinder engine - though some may be hybrids…A zero-emission future poses the same challenges for Ferrari as it does for rivals - EV batteries weigh hundreds of kilograms, which affects aerodynamics and handling, and can't match the sustained power and throaty roar of a massive combustion engine…To solve those expensive challenges, Ferrari is researching solid state batteries, which could theoretically improve battery power, as well as hydrogen fuel cells and synthetic fuels, both of which face an uncertain future…European Union countries agreed this week to an effective ban on new fossil-fuel car sales, but will assess in 2026 whether hybrid vehicles and synthetic, or CO2-neutral, fuels could comply with that goal…But fully-electric sports cars currently have a weight problem because of the huge batteries needed to provide enough power…Ferrari is not alone in facing these challenges, and few ultra-luxury rivals are rushing to go electric…Lamborghini, for instance, doesn't plan a fully-electric car until the end of the decade.  

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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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.