May 17, 2020

Glencore Takes Over Operation for Rio Tinto at Clermont Coal Mine

Rio Tinto
Clermont mine
Mining news
2 min
Clermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia
Mining giant Glencore has officially taken over management of the Clermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia after completing the $1.015 billion acquis...

Mining giant Glencore has officially taken over management of the Clermont coal mine in Queensland, Australia after completing the $1.015 billion acquisition from Rio Tinto. Although the sale agreement was sign in October 2013, the two sides have been patiently awaiting certain regulatory approvals.  

According to a Glencore spokesperson, the decision to purchase the Clermont mine reflected the company’s focus on developing high quality assets that complement existing operations and market capabilities.

"It is a producer of high-energy thermal coal, with minimal capital requirements," the spokesperson said.

In October 2013 when the deal was signed, Glencore coal assets manager Peter Freyberg said the company expects to earn an attractive financial return from the purchase.

"As well as being Australia's third-largest thermal-coal mine, Clermont is structurally low-cost," Freyberg said.

Glencore will now focus its attention on its new site and review operations to find synergies in production and marketing with its existing Queensland operations.

Opened in 2010, the open-pit mine currently produces an output of 12 million tons of coal annually. Glencore is expected to expand production to 165 million tons in the next 16 years.

With the purchase of Clermont, Rio Tinto chief financial officer Chris Lynch said the company will continue in the optimization of its portfolio.

“It also demonstrates our focus on strengthening our balance sheet and taking a disciplined approach to allocating capital across the group,” Lynch said.

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May 7, 2021

Lithium producers bullish as EV revolution ramps demand

Electric Vehicles
3 min
Lithium producers are drawing optimism from rising prices for the electric vehicle battery metal

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.

Electric Vehicles

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.

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