Tesla joins Fair Cobalt Alliance in Congo
Tesla has recently appeared on the list of members on the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA) website. It joins companies including the mining major and trader Glencore and the Chinese cobalt refiner Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt in backing the initiative, which aims to improve working conditions and end child labour in mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The DRC produces approximately 70% of the world’s cobalt, but the industry’s clients - predominantly makers of cars and batteries - have become concerned by reports of unethical practices in the country’s mines. Child labour is particularly widespread at informal, artisanal mines, where cobalt is often dug by hand.
Rather than refusing to work with small mines, which creates tens of thousands of jobs in DRC, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said that it is better for companies to engage with the informal cobalt sector, to try to push for changes. The Fair Cobalt Alliance has been created to make this happen, by lobbying for smaller mines to pay fairer wages and adhere to international practices.
Global demand for cobalt is predicted to grow in the next few years, as Tesla expands into China and Europe, and Volkswagen and BMW develop their own ranges of electric vehicles.
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.