May 17, 2020

REPORT: Codelco to Buy Anglo American's Copper Assets in Chile

Anglo American
2 min
REPORT: Codelco to Buy Anglo American's Copper Assets in Chile
The worlds largest copper producer Codelco is reportedly interested in acquiring copper assets from Anglo American, which is expected to sell at least t...

The world’s largest copper producer Codelco is reportedly interested in acquiring copper assets from Anglo American, which is expected to sell at least three of its Chilean copper mines and a smelter.

“We are currently evaluating the optimal structure for our copper portfolio in Chile and will be engaging with a range of our stakeholders over the coming months as part of this evaluation process,” said an Anglo American spokesman.

• Copper Miner Codelco to Sign $1 Billion Investment Deal with UK

• Codelco Appoints New CEO to Revitalize Chile Copper Mines

Anglo is currently in the midst of wide-ranging efforts to cut costs and remove less-profitable parts of its business.

The UK miner hopes to raise $1 billion by the sale of its Mantos Blancos and Mantoverde mines, along with its 50.1 percent share in the El Soldado mine and Chagres smelter.

The deal seems ideal for Codelco. The company is also looking to boost copper production by 35,000 tons in 2015 and plans to invest about $22 billion in its mining operations by 2018. The state-run company also recently formed its own smelters business division, making the addition of Chagres a natural fit to grow the unit.

Despite plans to sell its copper assets in Chile, Anglo American will keep its larger operations, which include Los Bronces and Collahuasi.

Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani has repeatedly stated he plans to increase the company’s return on capital to at least 15 percent by 2016. That will include plans to divest from certain parts of the business.

According to one analyst, Anglo is in no hurry and will take a strategic, sensible approach without overpromising on delivery.

"Anglo doesn't need the cash desperately, so it's more about aligning the portfolio correctly rather than trying to reduce the debt level. It can probably be seen as neutral - proceeding but slow, focusing on the right assets."

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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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