Glencore in Joint Venture with Iberian Minerals for Spanish Iron Ore Project
Natural resource giant Glencore has entered a joint venture agreement with Canadian junior mining company Iberian Minerals in respect to the Cehegin Iron Ore Project in the Spanish Province of Murcia.
Glencore has taken a 20 percent stake in the operation as outlined in May 2014, which will now see the partnership commence with exploration and development studies with an ultimate view of building a new iron ore mine.
The Cehegin Iron Ore concessions were formerly owned and operated by the Spanish Ironworks company Altos Hornos de Vizcaya (AHV), the largest industrial company in Spain for much of the twentieth century.
In 1975, all 62 concessions were grouped together into one single subsidiary of AHV called Agrupacion Minera, who exploited one of the open pit mines, Mina Maria, for its own needs until 1989.
The site is home to historically high quality iron ore concentrate with low impurities and is 115 kilomters from the Port of Cartagena, with a connecting rail link just 14 kilometers from Cehegin.
Iberian Minerals, formerly known as Solid Resources, is a Canadian junior mining company focused in Spain on the exploration and development of rare and industrial metals.
Glencore’s industrial and marketing activities are supported by a global network of more than 90 offices located in over 50 countries. Their diversified operations comprise over 150 mining and metallurgical sites, offshore oil production assets, farms and agricultural facilities. They employ approximately 200,000 people, including contractors.
More details on the project can be found here: http://www.iberianminerals.ca/index.php?p=1_112_Overview
British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
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.