May 17, 2020

Fortescue Metals takes control of Nullagine Iron Ore Joint Venture for $1

Fortescue Metals
bc iron limited
nullagine joint venture
Dale Benton
2 min
Fortescue Metals takes control of Nullagine  Iron Ore Joint Venture for $1
Fortescue Metals Group has today announced that it has agreed to acquire BC Irons 75 per cent interest in the Nullagine Iron OreJoint Venture for the gr...

Fortescue Metals Group has today announced that it has agreed to acquire BC Iron’s 75 per cent interest in the Nullagine Iron Ore Joint Venture for the grand total of A$1.

As part of the deal, Fortescue will inherit all assets and rehabilitation obligations of the venture while paying a royalty from sales of future mined iron ore.

Nev Power, Chief Executive Officer at Fortescue, said: “We have enjoyed a strong working relationship with BC Iron through the life of the Nullagine Joint Venture and believe this is a positive outcome for both companies.

Nullagine Joint Venture

Located north of Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, BC Iron was the operate and manager of the joint venture, while Fortescu provided rail haulage and port services.

There is a capacity to export up to 6Mtpa of iron ore on the rail and port infrastructure put inplace through Fortescue.

The Nullagine mine was closed in December 2015 as a result of weak iron ore prices, though it was in full operation for a strong five years prior.

Nullagine is known for its extensive mesas, iron mineralisation in channel iron deposits.

BC Iron ltd
Formed in 2006, the exploration company transformed into a producer soon after.

The ASX listed iron ore mining and development company has assets in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. These include Nullagine (now wholly owned by Fortescue), Iron Valley and Buckland.

Iron Valley, located in Central Pilbara, is operated by Mineral Resources through an iron ore sales agreement. Buckland is more of a potential development project, with a feasibility study showing Ore Reserves of 134.3 Mt.

Fortescue Metals Group

Fortescue Metals, a global leader in the iron ore industry, was founded in 2003. The Western Australian company owns some of the most significant iron ore mining operations in the world.

These include the Chichester Hub and the Soloman Hub, and will now include 100 percent ownership of Nullagine.

Fortescue metals can boast a production of 165 million tonnes of iron ore per annum. Quite a feat.

Looking ahead

Fortescue is currently assessing the prospects of restarting operations at Nullagine following the acquisition.

“We will review operations over the coming months to determine the best path forward, taking into account all relevant factors including market demand and other potential opportunities to extract value from the assets,” Mr Power said.

 

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Jul 20, 2021

British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars

BritishLithium
mining
Lithium
Sustainability
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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