India’s Larsen & Toubro lands largest mining equipment order
The Construction and Mining Equipment business of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has secured one of the biggest orders in its history to supply 46 units of Komatsu Mining Equipment to Tata Steel.
In a statement, the company, one of India’s leading engineering, procurement and construction projects, manufacturing, defence and services conglomerates, states that the order consists of 41 units of Komatsu HD785-7, a 100-ton dump truck; three units of Komatsu WA900-3E0, a nine-cum wheel loader); and two units of Komatsu D275A-5R, a 410HP crawler dozer.
It adds that the scope of work for the contract includes the supply of equipment and a full maintenance contract for up to 60,000 hours of equipment operation. It did not specify the contracts' values.
“Komatsu’s superior products and L&T’s seamless support over the years, paved the way for securing this prestigious order and we look forward to partnering India’s largest steel producer - Tata Steel, in their growth journey,” says S N Subrahmanyan, CEO and managing director of Larsen & Toubro, commenting on the order.
26 of the 46 units will be deployed at Tata Steel’s iron ore mines in Joda, Noamundi and Khondbond in Odisha, while 20 units of Komatsu’s 100-ton dump trucks will be deployed at Tata Steel’s West Bokaro coal mines in Jharkhand.
Arvind K Garg, executive vice President and head - Construction & Mining Machinery Business, L&T, adds that the company is “delighted to receive this prestigious order from our esteemed client, Tata Steel for their iron ore and coal mines”.
Tata Steel operates captive coal mines at Jharia & West Bokaro, in the state of Jharkhand, located within 200km from Jamshedpur, while its iron ore units are located in Noamundi, Joda, Khondbond and Katamati in the states of Jharkhand and Odisha.
Shares of Larsen & Toubro moved higher by 4 percent to Rs 1,126 on the Bombay Stock Exchange following the company’s announcement about the Tata Steel order. Furthermore, the conglomerate’s management expects domestic ordering activity to gain traction in the second half (October-March) of the current fiscal year 2020-2021, given the Indian government’s continuous focus on infrastructure and an uptick in economic indicators and tax revenues.
India’s Oil and Steel Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, recently stated at the Virtual National Mining Summit organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, that reforms in the mining sector have helped to distribute revenue equally to respective states. He asserts that there is a need to exploit, access, and monetise natural resources, and at the same time, leverage technology.
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.