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Excerpt from November 20, 2023, BMO Metals Brief:

During Asia Copper Week, China’s CMOC noted that it expects challenges with electricity supply to limit its expansion plans in the DRC. Electricity supply is viewed as sufficient for current operations, but given the long lead time on hydro availability CMOC does see a constraint on expansion. Both copper and cobalt output in the DRC have surged over the past 24 months, putting pressure on open market infrastructure with intermittent power issues and truck availability problems. Given the low cobalt price and oversupply in that market, we would not be surprised to see existing copper-cobalt operations manage capacity over the course of 2024. Meanwhile, with the Argentinian election complete, focus will start to shift to the presidential election in the DRC on December 20.

Reuters - November 20, 2023
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo has made no secret of his ambition to leverage the country's vast nickel resources to become an Asian hub for manufacturing electric vehicles (EV)…Now Widodo also needs a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States for Indonesian materials to qualify for the generous EV subsidies available under the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)…In September Indonesia asked Washington for talks on a limited trade deal covering EV battery inputs such as nickel and cobalt…What it got after last week's bilateral meeting was a commitment "to develop a critical minerals action plan (...) with a view toward establishing the foundation to launch future negotiations on a critical minerals agreement" …What was only hinted at is the even bigger hurdle facing Indonesia, namely the heavy Chinese foot-print in its nickel production sector…Indonesia has engineered a massive build-out of its nickel sector in recent years to the point the country now accounts for more than half the world's production…The nickel deposits come with cobalt as a by-product, another hot battery metal, and Indonesia last year overtook Australia and the Philippines to become the world's second largest cobalt producer…Sure enough, the joint statement stressed that both sides "affirm the importance of strong worker and environmental protections to prevent exploitation and promote sustainability in the international mining sector"…Much of Indonesia's nickel carries a heavy carbon foot-print due to the country's reliance on a coal-fired power system and the nature of some of the processing routes being used to convert low-grade ore into battery-grade metal …The IRA not only makes tax credits conditional on domestic or FTA partner sourcing but excludes battery inputs derived from a foreign entity of concern (FEOC)…The whole point of the linkage, according to its architect Senator Joe Manchin, is to "help end China's domination of various mineral commodities and supply chains"…Writing to Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Manchin urged the imposition of "the strictest possible standards for FEOCs to ensure the minerals in electric vehicles are, to the greatest extent possible, sourced in the United States or from legitimate allies."…This is a big problem for Indonesia. Chinese companies, led by the pioneering Tsingshan Group, have been the drivers of the country's ascent to the world's top nickel producer…And they continue to invest. Benchmark Minerals projects that by 2032 over half Indonesia's refined nickel output will come from Chinese-owned companies…While Indonesia faces slow-track talks about talks, others are rushing to capitalise on the IRA's spectrum of clean energy subsidies "…"I am incredibly concerned by recent reports that suggest Chinese battery companies are actively pursuing business opportunities and arrangements, including joint ventures and investments, in South Korea and Morocco to take advantage of the IRA," Manchin wrote, warning against what he termed "mineral laundering". 

JP - November 20, 2023
Chinese mining company CMOC Group said it expects electricity supply issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo to remain a constraint on expansion of its cobalt and copper production in the central African country.

Chinese mining company CMOC Group said it expects electricity supply issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo to remain a constraint on expansion of its cobalt and copper production in the central African country…The DRC, the world’s top cobalt supplier and no. 3 copper producer after Peru and Chile, has struggled with power shortages, as well as difficulties in getting metals to ports in South Africa, Tanzania and Namibia for export…Electricity supply is sufficient for CMOC’s existing capacity, but power is the main impediment for future growth of its DRC operations, Li Chaochun, the company’s vice chairman and chief investment officer, said in an interview during Asia Copper Week in Shanghai…“We are more inclined to invest in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia than in developed countries such as Australia and Canada,” he said. “This is related to geopolitical relations. Investment in these countries may encounter difficulties in approval.”

EVs & Energy Storage
BusinessKorea - November 19, 2023
Turning Crisis into Opportunity ...

Despite recent economic downturns and reduced subsidies globally leading to a slowdown in electric vehicle demand, the accumulated investments from South Korea’s three major battery companies -- LG Energy Solution, SK On, and Samsung SDI -- for this year have been confirmed to be double last year’s figure, surpassing the 16 trillion won (US$12.34 billion) mark…According to industry sources on Nov. 19, the cumulative investment of the three major battery companies in both domestic and international markets for the third quarter of this year reached 16.75 trillion won, marking a whopping 105.3 percent increase compared to the same period last year, which was 8.16 trillion won…LG Energy Solution led in investment during this period with 7.65 trillion won, followed by SK on with 6.66 trillion won and Samsung SDI with 2.44 trillion won. The most substantial increase came from SK on, which saw its investment surge by 184 percent in just one year. LG Energy Solution increased by 84.9 percent and Samsung SDI by 45.4 percent. The majority of the investment was allocated to facility installation, both domestically and internationally, as well as the addition of production lines..The reason for the increased investment by the three major battery companies is analyzed to be the temporary downturn in electric vehicle demand. A representative from a major battery company said, “It is true that the electric vehicle market has become more challenging due to factors such as high interest rates and prices. However, there is a high likelihood of making investments as planned due to the unchanged long-term perspective on electric vehicles.” 

Argus Media - November 20, 2023
Chinese technology firm Xiaomi is on track to release two electric vehicle (EV) models next year, according to the country's ministry of ...

Chinese technology firm Xiaomi is on track to release two electric vehicle (EV) models next year, according to the country's ministry of industry and information technology (MIIT)…A recent catalogue of new energy vehicle (NEV) models issued by MIIT indicates that Xiaomi has filed two battery electric cars with the ministry for approval. One of the models will use lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery produced by FinDreams Battery, a subsidiary of the country's largest EV producer BYD, and the other will be equipped with ternary batteries provided by China's largest battery manufacturer CATL…The new cars will be sold under the marque "Beijing Xiaomi", and state-owned automobile manufacturer BAIC will be responsible for the manufacturing of Xiaomi's cars…Xiaomi announced in March 2021 that it had entered the EV manufacturing industry, with a string of investments in establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary to develop EVs with artificial intelligence and acquiring autonomous driving company Deepmotion…Xiaomi has joined the so-called "new car-making forces" in China, including EV ventures such as Li Auto, Xpeng, Nio, Leapmotor and Neta, which have grown their output, sales and shares significantly in China's auto market during the past few years driven by the country's supportive measures…China's NEV sales rose by 38pc from a year earlier to 7.352mn during January-October, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

Reuters - November 20, 2023
Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi launched his re-election bid on Sunday in a packed-to-capacity stadium in the capital Kinshasa, urging voters to give him another mandate to consolidate his achievements.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi launched his re-election bid on Sunday in a packed-to-capacity stadium in the capital Kinshasa, urging voters to give him another mandate to consolidate his achievements…More than 43 million registered voters are eligible to take part in the general election and presidential polls on Dec. 20…Tshisekedi, 60, who came to power in 2018 following a disputed election in the world's largest producer of battery material cobalt and a major copper producer, is seeking another term following a turbulent five years in office…Tshisekedi will face 25 other candidates in the presidential race, including old rival Martin Fayulu, a 66-year-old former Exxon Mobil executive who came second in the 2018 election…Other challengers include Nobel Peace Prize-winning gynaecologist Denis Mukwege, who is running for the first time, Moise Katumbi, a millionaire businessman and former governor of the copper-rich Katanga region, and former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo…Tshisekedi, son of long-term opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, had on taking office promised to root out corruption and authoritarian rule, rebuild the economy, tackle inequalities and deal with Congo's prolonged security crisis, but critics say he has fallen short on these issues…Rival Fayulu launched his campaign in Bandundu, around 400km (249 miles) northeast of the capital, also on Sunday, while other candidates including Katumbi are expected to launch theirs from Monday.

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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