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.
Global iron ore production to recover by 5.1% in 2021
Global iron ore production fell by 3% to 2.2bnt in 2020. Global production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% to 2,663.4Mt between 2021 to 2025. The key contributors to this grow will be Brazil (6.2%), South Africa (4.1%), Australia (3.2%) and India (2.9%). Key upcoming projects expected to commence operations include South Flank in Australia (2021), Zulti in South Africa (H2 2021), Serrote Da Laje in Brazil (H2 2021) and Gudai-Darri (2022), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, comments: “Declines from Brazil and India were major contributors to the reduced output in 2020. Combined production from these two countries fell from a collective 638.2Mt in 2019 to an estimated 591.1Mt in 2020. The reduced output from the iron ore giant, Vale, was the key factor behind Brazil’s reduced output, while delays in the auctioning of mines in Odisha affected India’s output in 2020.
“Miners in Australia were relatively unaffected by COVID-19 due to effective measures adopted by the Australian Government, while a speedy recovery in China led to a significant 10.4% increase in the country’s iron ore output.”
Looking ahead, the global iron ore production is expected to increase by 111.3Mt to 2,302.5Mt in 2021. Rio Tinto is expected to produce up to 340Mt of iron ore, while BHP has released production guidance of 245–255Mt, supported by the start of the Samarco project in December, which is expected to produce between 1–2Mt.The company has retained its guidance for Australian mines at 276–286Mt on a 100% basis, due to scheduled maintenance work at its ore handling plant and tie-in activity at the Area C mine and South-Flank mine.
Bajaj added: “The remaining companies are expected to produce more than 600Mt of iron ore, including FMG, whose production is expected to range between 175–180Mt supported by its Eliwana mine that commenced operations in late December 2020, and Anglo American, which is expecting to produce between 64–67Mt. Vale is expected to resume 40Mt of its production capacity, taking its overall production capacity to 350Mt in 2021, with production guidance of 315-335Mt.”