Grupo Mexico Could Begin Mining for Rare Earth Metals
Mexican powerhouse Grupo Mexico is mulling over the idea of entering the rare earth metals sector. The company, which is the third largest copper producer in the world, could possibility begin operations in Sonora and Chihuahua states later this year.
Recent reports conducted by universities in Mexico have shown economically viable rare earth deposits in the States of Sonora and Chihuahua as well as further south in Oaxaca and Chiapas. Scientists discovered concentrations of 10 to 15 percent in Oaxacam; four to five percent in Hidalgo; and four percent in Coahuila, Sonora, Sinaloa and Durango.
Rare earth metals are becoming increasingly important in a wide variety of industries including green technology, consumer electronics and high-tech applications. At the moment 95 percent of the world’s earth metals come from China.
According to Mexico’s Geological Survey (SGM), global demand for rare earth metals in 2016 will hit 160,000 tons. China is expected to produce upwards of 80 percent of that demand, leaving ample space for Grupo to enter.
The possibility of mining for rare earth metals represents a great economic prospect for Mexico as the country has been looking for an optimal way of providing Mexico with a high technology sector.
There are currently only two sites in existence that mine for rare earth metals. One of them is Lynas Corp’s Mount Weld mine in Australia, and the other is in California, owned by Molycorp.
The mining industry in Mexico is the country’s fourth largest industry in dollar income, behind automotives, oil and electronics.
Grupo Mexico is engaged in exploration and operations in the mining-metallurgic industry. The company has operations around the world including United States, Peru and Chile.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.