May 17, 2020

17-Pound Gold Nugget Discovered by Chinese Herdsman

Mine site
gold discovery
2 min
17-Pound Gold Nugget Discovered by Chinese Herdsman
Last week the unthinkable happened. A Chinese herdsman traveling through western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region discovered a 17-pound (7.85-kilogram...

Last week the unthinkable happened. A Chinese herdsman traveling through western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region discovered a 17-pound (7.85-kilogram) gold nugget.

The Kazak herdsmen, Berek Sawut, told Chinese news agency Xinhua that he found the massive nugget “practically lying on bare ground” last Friday at around 5:00pm. The gold nugget, which according to sources is shaped like China, is roughly 23 centimeters long, 18 centimeters on its widest side and eight centimeters at its thickest. 

Based on latest gold prices, the estimated price for the unforeseen discovery is $255,133 ($1.6 million yuan). According to local expert, Zhu Xinfeng, the price of natural gold, considering its uniqueness, is often several times higher than that of standard gold.

Traditionally called “dog head gold” or “horseshoe gold,” the nuggets are not pure, typically composed of gold ore, quartz, and traces of other minerals.

Xinjiang is known for having an array of natural resources from coal and natural gas to oil. The region is home to an estimated 600 working gold mines and more than 200 tons of gold reserves.

According to International Business Times, Sawut is worried the state might take the gold nugget from him because the residents are made to understand that all the ore from the mines belong to the state. However, no government official has come to claim the gold piece yet.

In 2010, a 1.84-kilogram nugget was discovered in the same region.

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

3 min
The ever-increasing need for electric vehicles is mounting pressure on British Lithium as the 2035 deadline inches closer

The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change. 

It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.

British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad. 

Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe 

After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company. 

“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”

Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector. 

Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial. 

Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production

“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”

The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction. 

Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably. 

“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.

“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”

Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK. 

“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”

Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.

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