May 17, 2020

Yancoal Gets Green Light for Moolarben Coal Mine

New South Wales
Moolarben coal mine
2 min
Yancoal Gets Green Light for Moolarben Coal Mine
Australian mining company Yancoal has received the green light for the expansion of its Moolarben coal mine in Upper Hunter Valley in New South Wales.Th...

Australian mining company Yancoal has received the green light for the expansion of its Moolarben coal mine in Upper Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

The company announced it had received approval from the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to move forward with the Stage 1 Modification 9 at the NSW mine, approving expansion of an additional 30 million tons of Run of Mine (ROM) coal over the life of the mine.

The approval for Yancoal includes two underground mines, a third open cut mine, an extension to current open pit mines and supporting infrastructure.

According to the mine’s manager John Blanning, the expansion will increase job numbers to around 300 to 400, including economic benefits to the community. “At peak production the project will contribute $47 million per annum in royalties to the NSW government and provide over $700 million in wider economic benefits to the local region.”

Conditions of the approval for the Moolarben Mine include $1.5 million in community enhancement works, upgrades to Ulan Road and ample water monitoring to ensure zero discharge from the site.

The Stage 2 project, which will also need approval, has the potential to double Moolarben production and put Yancoal’s  group production by more than 25 percent over a five-year horizon.

Yancoal owns 80 percent of the Moolarben Mine and current production is operating at a capacity of 8.0 million tons of coal per annum ROM production.  

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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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