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Cobalt - February 27, 2024

A year after Canada tightened foreign investment rules for the critical minerals sector, Chinese money has continued to pour into Toronto-listed miners, according to proprietary research conducted by the University of Alberta…The inbound flow is raising hopes among some junior miners that it will be easier to find Chinese funding…Canada had forced three Chinese investors to sell their stakes in Canadian critical mineral companies in 2022. Some of these companies did not have their mines in Canada…In October 2022, the government added an extra layer of scrutiny for inbound deals in critical minerals…Still, Canada's critical miners received at least a dozen investments worth C$2.2 billion ($1.6 billion) in 2023 from new and existing investors in China and Hong Kong, a huge increase over C$62 million in 2022, data compiled by the University of Alberta's The China Institute shows…Daniel Lincoln, a researcher with The China Institute, told Reuters Canada may find it difficult to regulate all Chinese mining acquisitions notwithstanding the provisions in the Investment Canada Act, especially when both buyer and seller are keen for the transaction…In a latest test of Canada's new rules, China's state-owned Zijin Mining Group last month offered to buy a 15% stake in Solaris Resources Inc for C$130 million…While Canada lists copper as a critical mineral, the deal is likely to be approved since the funds will be used to develop Solaris' copper-gold project in Ecuador, two sources familiar with the deal told Reuters…Chinese investors have been among the most active in Canada's mining industry, plowing C$21 billion between 1993 and 2023, according to data from The China Institute…Some smaller miners and explorers have been lobbying the Canadian government to allow more Chinese investments, citing difficulty in raising capital…Soon after SRG Mining Inc received a C$16.9 million investment proposal from C-ONE, backed by Chinese entrepreneur Yue Min, the Montreal-based graphite miner announced plans to change the country where it is incorporated. On Monday, it said it would incorporate in Abu Dhabi Global Markets while maintaining its Canadian stock market listing.

Mining Weekly - February 26, 2024
Indonesia's coal-fired nickel output is pricing out greener metal that has so far failed to command a market premium.

With roughly half of all nickel operations unprofitable at recent prices, the bosses of the largest mining companies last week sounded a warning that there was little prospect of a recovery…The potential collapse of nickel mining from Australia to New Caledonia comes at a time when western governments are scrambling to secure the supply chains needed to decarbonize the global economy. But in an ironic twist, Indonesia’s coal-fired nickel output is pricing out greener metal that’s so far failed to command a market premium…Wresting control of strategic metals from China has become a focal point of Joe Biden’s administration. Yet while US officials have dashed around the world looking to strike deals for materials such as cobalt and copper, the heaviest reverse has come in Chinese-backed Indonesian nickel, a key component of electric vehicles…Indonesia now accounts for more than half of world supply, with the potential to reach three-quarters of all production toward the end of the decade…Commodity markets have always been susceptible to cyclical volatility, especially when sudden supply and demand imbalances get a push from wider macro upswings or downturns. But what’s happening in nickel right now is different, with the entire industry undergoing a structural shift that has upended forecasts and models…Combined with economic slowdowns in China and the US and the choppy adoption of EVs, nickel has been pummeled. The price fell 45% last year, and is currently hovering around $17 000/t. According to Macquarie, at $18 000/t 35% of production is unprofitable, while at $15 000/t that jumps to 75%...With more than half a decade of oversupply ahead, more mines are likely to close before things get better. Should the market finally rebalance, that will leave Indonesia and China with even more market share then they already have…Still, Indonesia’s rapid expansion has drawn criticism. Much of its production comes from coal-powered energy, giving it higher emissions per ton than rival producers, and its rapid expansion is eroding rainforests…With little prospect of a near term recovery, western miners are pinning their hopes on state aid in the short term and a push toward customers — such as carmakers — demanding “greener” nickel in the future and being willing to pay more for it.

EVs & Energy Storage
UK Yahoo! Finance - February 26, 2024
Chinese car manufacturer BYD commissioned the construction of its own ships to transport its vehicles (FOCKE STRANGMANN) Thousands of cars ...

Thousands of cars from China's BYD rolled off a ship in the German port of Bremerhaven on Monday, as the world's biggest electric carmaker brought its challenge directly to Europe's auto making powerhouse…The delivery was made by the BYD Explorer No.1, the first of eight cargo ships specially commissioned by the Chinese group to expand its export operations…The arrival of the shipment could become a further headache for established European auto giants, who have trailed upstart rivals in the switch from combustion engines to batteries…Some 3,000 vehicles were unloaded on Monday from the vessel, which carries the carmaker's own livery, the spokeswoman said…Vehicles produced by the Shenzhen-based company compete against Tesla on price inside China and in Europe.

The New York Times - February 27, 2024
It happened very quickly — so fast that you might not have noticed it. Over the past few months, America’s Big Three automakers — Ford, ...

I realize this may sound silly. Ford, General Motors and Stellantis made billions in profit last year, even after a lengthy strike by autoworkers, and all three companies are forecasting a big 2024. But recently, the Big Three found themselves outmaneuvered and missing their goals for electric vehicle sales at the same time that a crop of new affordable, electrified foreign cars appeared, ready to flood the global marketThe biggest threat to the Big Three comes from a new crop of Chinese automakers, especially BYD, which specialize in producing plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles. BYD’s growth is astounding: It sold three million electrified vehicles last year, more than any other company, and it now has enough production capacity in China to manufacture four million cars a year. But that isn’t enough: It’s building new factories in Brazil, Thailand, Hungary and Uzbekistan, which will produce even more cars, and it may soon add Indonesia and Mexico to that list. A deluge of electric vehicles is coming…BYD’s cars deliver great value at prices that beat anything coming out of the West. Earlier this month, BYD unveiled a plug-in hybrid that gets decent all-electric range and will retail for just over $11,000. How can it do that? Like other Chinese manufacturers, BYD benefits from its home country’s lower labor costs, but this explains only some of its success. The fact is that BYD — and Chinese automakers like Geely, which owns Volvo Cars and Polestar brands — are very good at making cars…They have leveraged China’s dominance of the battery industry and automated production lines to create a juggernaut…The Chinese automakers, especially BYD, represent something new in the world. They signal that China’s decades-long accretion of economic complexity is almost complete: Whereas the country once made toys and clothes, and then made electronics and batteries, now it makes cars and airplanes…Ford and GM plotted an ambitious E.V. transition three years ago. But it didn’t take long for them to stumble. Last year, Ford lost more than $64,000 on every E.V. that it sold. Since October, it has delayed the opening of one of its new E.V. battery plants, while GM has fumbled the start of its new Ultium battery platform, which is meant to be the foundation for all of its future electric vehicles…That creates a strategic quandary for them. In the coming years, these companies must cross a bridge from one business model to another: They must use their robust truck and S.U.V. earnings to subsidize their growing electric vehicle business and learn how to make E.V.s profitably…That’s why the flood of cheap Chinese electric vehicles poses such a big problem: It could wash away Ford and GM’s bridge before they have finished building it…The good news is that Congress has already done some of the work for him. You may have heard about the Inflation Reduction Act’s generous subsidies for domestic electric car production. Can it help here? It can, and it will, but the act alone is not nearly big enough to insulate these companies from the threat posed by Chinese E.V.s. The Chinese automaker Geely is preparing to sell the small, all-electric Volvo EX30 S.U.V. in the United States for $35,000. That price — which seemingly includes the cost of a 25 percent tariff, first imposed by the Trump administration — rivals what American automakers are capable of doing today, even with the Inflation Reduction Act’s subsidies…The Chinese carmakers represent the first real competition that the global car industry has faced in decades, and American companies must be exposed to some of that threat — for their own good. That means they must feel the chill of death on their necks, and be forced to rise and face this challenge.

National Post - February 27, 2024

Even before Guilbeault’s comments on funding for new roads, the federal government announced that it is phasing out the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035. The gas car has had a good run, but the truth is we’re now living through a period that can best be characterized as the last gasp of the gas-guzzling vehicle…Even without government-imposed electric-vehicle mandates, the future of the gas-powered vehicle in Canada, the United States and Europe is bleak. There are simply too many factors lined up against the continued production and sale of vehicles with internal-combustion engines…One of them is the growing concern about climate change and, more specifically, the amount of carbon emissions that come from vehicles. Globally, transportation is the second-largest source of carbon emissions, generating more pollution than manufacturing, agriculture, aviation and shipping…Governments will continue to clamp down on sources of greenhouse gas emissions, with the traditional gas car being one of the chief targets…But there are a host of other factors that signal the demise of the gas-powered car. A major one is the price of gasoline, which I believe will skyrocket over the next few years, making fuel-powered vehicles far too expensive to drive for many people…However, the major cause of soaring gas prices in the years ahead will likely be food shortages triggered by population growth, drought, soil depletion and vanishing farmland…What does food have to do with gasoline? Governments in Canada and the U.S. are increasingly requiring gasoline to have a higher content of ethanol, which is made mostly from corn. Most Canadian provinces mandate that ethanol make up between five and 15 per cent of gasoline blends, and the federal government’s clean fuel standards will see more ethanol added in the future…According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report from last February, approximately 40 per cent of the annual U.S. corn crop goes toward the production of ethanol and related products. But in a world grappling with rising food insecurity, there will be zero tolerance for turning one of our biggest food staples into automotive fuel…The future of transportation that I foresee is two-fold. First, we’ll move toward an increased reliance on public transportation — specifically, light rail transportation…Second, and more importantly, we’ll see the widespread adoption of small electric vehicles, sometimes referred to as “micro-mobility” vehicles. These zero-emission, one-or-two-person cars are small — four can fit into a regular parking space — and they’re also very affordable. Best of all, they only cost around $1 per day to charge, and they come with much lower maintenance and insurance costs…When it comes to transportation, we’re going electric come hell or high water. We might as well start preparing for it.

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.