African Mining Leaders Gather in London for Summit
Global mining leaders are gathering in London tomorrow (June 24) for the beginning of a three-day summit aimed at creating a greater understanding and improving the social and economic outcomes of African mining.
Mining On Top – Africa 2014 has an impressive line-up of speakers including government ministers and CEO’s of some of the continent’s biggest mining companies.
The prestigious event allows governments to meet the investors, the mining community and civil society to plan how to create shared value from the continent’s mining sector.
Africa boasts all 10 of the world’s fastest growing economies and foreign direct investment has risen five-fold in the past decade.
Continued maximisation of extractive revenues is essential to support the growing expectations of the expanding middle classes and sustain the increased urbanisation of the population.
However, commodity prices have declined, from recent highs; exploration spending has slumped and mining companies of all sizes are focusing on reducing costs.
The summit will discuss how the resource rich continent should respond to these challenges and focus on the collaboration required to ensure its abundant mineral wealth is developed to the benefit of all.
The London Summit, which is being held at One Great George Street, London, brings all constituents to African mining together to promote understanding, and to grapple with the realities of how this can be achieved.
Among the speakers will be Angola’s Minister of Geology and Mines, Francisco Queiroz, who will focus on discussion of public management of the mining resources, public infrastructure to support the National Plan of geology and business opportunities.
Other leading speakers from major companies include: Frahad Abasov, President, CEO and Director of Allana Potash; Tom Albanese, CEO Vedanta Resources; Harry Anagnostaras-Adams, Non-Executive Chairman of Australia-based KEFI Minerals; Andrew Bone, Director of International Relations for De Beers; and Stuart Brown, CEO of Firestone Diamonds.
Government and academic officials include: Dr Andu Ezbon Adde, Under Secretary Mining of South Sudan; Darky Africa, Commissioner of Development Planning, NW Province, Republic of South Africa; Dr Ana Elizabeth Bastida, Mining Programme Director, Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law & Policy, University of Dundee; and Nicola Barnfather, Extractives Adviser (Environment) Department for International Development.
Lithium producers bullish as EV revolution ramps demand
Rising demand for lithium is stoking prices for the electric vehicle battery metal, fueling long-delayed expansions that still may not produce adequate supplies that automakers need to meet aggressive production plans.
Growing industry optimism from higher lithium prices is a change from last year when funding for mines and processing plants dried up during the pandemic.
Albemarle Corp, Livent Corp and other producers are scrambling to make more lithium, but some analysts worry the recent price jump will not spur a big enough expansion to meet a planned wave of new EV models by mid-decade.
Since January, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co, along with other automakers and battery parts manufacturers, have said they will spend billions of dollars on EV plants.
U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed spending $174bn to boost EV sales and infrastructure. The European Union has similar plans, part of a rush to catch up with global EV leader China.
Those moves have helped an index of lithium prices jump 59 percent since April 2020, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a commodity pricing provider.
The rising demand “reflects what feels like a real and fundamental turning point in our industry,” said Paul Graves, chief executive of Livent Corp, which supplies Tesla Inc. On Monday, it said it would more than double its annual lithium production to 115,000 tonnes.
Graves warned, though, that “it will be a challenge for the lithium industry to produce sufficient qualified material in the near and medium term.”
Albemarle, the world’s largest lithium producer, aims to double its production capacity to 175,000 tonnes by the end of the year when two construction projects are complete. Albemarle's Q1 profit beat expectations thanks to rising lithium prices. Chile’s SQM, the No. 2 producer, said its goal to expand production of lithium carbonate by 71 percent to 120,000 tonnes should be complete by December.
Australia’s Orocobre is paying $1.4 billion for smaller rival Galaxy Resources, a strategy designed to boost scale and help it grow faster in regions closer to customers.
“The next few years are going to be critical in terms of whether there’s enough available lithium supply, and that’s why you’re starting to see commodity prices start to ramp,” said Chris Berry, an independent lithium industry consultant.
The price gains helped Albemarle and other major producers, including China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co and SQM, post big gains in first-quarter profit and boost forecasts for the year.
Even China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, saddled with debt due to years of low lithium prices, signaled that recovering demand should help it swing to a profit this year.
Forecasts call for demand for the white metals to surge from about 320,000 tonnes annually last year to more than 1 million tonnes annually by 2025, when many automakers plan to launch new EV fleets, according to Benchmark.
Still, demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2025 by more than 200,000 tonnes, so lithium prices may need to rise to encourage producers to build more mines. That could boost the prices consumers pay for EVs. “Companies across the lithium-ion supply chain are in the best position they’ve been in for the last 5 years,” said Pedro Palandrani of the Global X Lithium & Battery Technology ETF , which has doubled in value in the past year.