Rare earth milestones, permit progress for Baffinland and troubles for gold


Avalon Advanced Materials’ Separation Rapids lithium project in Ontario will supply LG Energy Solution with lithium hydroxide following a new partnership between both companies. Courtesy of Avalon Advanced Materials.

Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, where we catch you up on some of the news you may have missed. This week’s headlines include an unveiling of a new rare earths processing plant in Saskatchewan, places on the mine rescue podium, and a maintenance timeout at Teck Resource’s Elkview steelmaking coal operation.

Ivanhoe Mines’ Kamoa-Kakula Complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to be the new copper hotspot. The first two phases of the project’s construction have already been completed, with the Kakula deposit being the focus during the initial phases. Ivanhoe foresees that, following the project’s completion, the mine will be the third largest producer of copper globally, yielding 600,000 tonnes per annum.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) issued a report that recommended an extension of Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation’s six million tonne permit for the remainder of the year. Baffinland is awaiting the federal government’s decision to follow the recommendation, which would allow the company to resume operations at current levels. The company has announced that it is delaying termination notices for its employees until October 20, the date that the Minister of Northern Affairs’ office indicated it would respond to the recommendation by.

Trevali’s CEO Ricus Grimbeek, as well the company’s COO, Derek du Preez, have resigned following two of the company’s executives being convicted of involuntary manslaughter, as reported by CBC News. Their resignations are effective as of Oct. 14. In April, eight of the mine’s workers died following a flood that occurred in its Perkoa mine, located in Burkina Faso. Trevali is also in search of a buyer for its Caribou Mine, located in northeastern New Brunswick, as the company has filed for creditor protection.

Vital Metals and the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) unveiled the first phase of their rare earth processing facility located in Saskatoon. The facility includes three units: one processing unit where mixed rare earth carbonate is produced, a separation unit where rare earths are separated, and a metals unit that will produce rare earth metals. The new plant will process rare earth deposits that come from Cheetah Resources’ Nechalacho project in Thor Lake, NWT.

Teck Resources reported a structural failure of a plant-feed conveyor belt at the Elkview steelmaking coal operation, located in B.C.’s Elk Valley. It is estimated that operations at Elkview will be put on pause for one to two months while repairs are made. The company shared that “assuming a two-month suspension of plant operations, Teck expects the impact on 2022 steelmaking coal production will be in the range of 1.5 million tonnes.”

During the keynote address at Sudbury’s Maintenance, Engineering/Mine Operators Conference, Dumont Nickel’s president, Johnna Muinonen, explained that in order to satisfy global nickel demands, at least another 40 nickel mines will have to produce 38,000 tonnes per year by 2030. In order for Canada to increase its nickel production, Muinonen said that there would need to be more processing capacity, more technical expertise and improved integration along the supply chain.

Unionized longshore and warehouse employees at Westshore Terminals went on strike last Saturday, as reported by the Vancouver Sun. The strike has resulted in suspended operations at Vancouver’s Delta coal terminal, which is considered to be Canada’s busiest and largest port for coal exportation. Westshore handles over 33 million tonnes of coal each year from the Roberts Banks docks in Delta, as well as other commodities, including potash.

Several Canadian mine rescue teams took home medals from the 2020 International Mines Rescue Competition, as reported by Northern Ontario Business. The competition, which was delayed since 2020, was hosted last week in Beaver, West Virginia. A team from Newmont’s Musselwhite Mine took home third in the high-angle rope rescue, and Quebec’s Stornoway Diamonds Renard Mine, Saskatchewan’s Mosaic Potash Esterhazy Mine and the all-women team out of Saskatchewan, Diamonds in the Rough, also reached podium placements in different events.

LG Energy Solution (LGES) announced partnership agreements with three separate Canadian critical minerals suppliers to reinforce its battery materials supply chain. Snow Lake Resources will supply 7,000 tonnes of cobalt for three years starting in 2023, while Avalon Advanced Materials and Snow Lake Resources will supply 11,000 tonnes and 20,000 tonnes of lithium hydroxide per annum for five years and 10 years, respectively, beginning in 2025.

Gold mining executives expect rising costs to persist into 2023, as reported by Bloomberg. The volatile state of the global economy was a key topic of discussion among attendees of the 34th annual Denver Gold Forum. According to Barrick CEO Mark Bristow, “the last time we faced such uncertainty was the Second World War.”

That’s all for this week. If you’ve got feedback, you can always reach us at [email protected] If you’ve got something to add, why not join the conversation on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram pages?



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