2021 M AY I N R E V I E W
ROYALTY COMPANIES AND EXPLORERS ARE ON SALE Mergers and Acquisition in Iron ore Mining
Profiles In Mining Lara Smith, Founder, Managing Director, Core Consultants
The Decarbonizing Capability of Hydrogen
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30 The Decarbonizing Capability of Hydrogen-A Source to Reduce Emissions in Iron and Steel Production
mine emergency in the municipality of Neira, Caldas
38 Pelangio Exploration discovers the
42 Global Shipping Chaos: An Unfore-
11 Mergers and Acquisition in Iron ore PROFILES IN MINING
26 Interview With Lara Smith: Founder,
Mining: Royalty companies and explorers are on sale
05 A plan has been submitted to explore a
46 March 2021 crude steel production
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latest development and Prepares to Drill at Ghana's Dankran Project
37 More valuable than gold and important for
47 crude steel production December 2020
green energy production - what is it?
state-owned nonferrous metals lease
06 Bill Gates-backed Heliogen assists in the powering of a massive mine
08 JDS Mining & Energy Inc. and the Elk Gold Project - an investigation
20 Report: For Maximizing North America EVs Built Canada is Mining Materials
22 Further in clean Energy: Virginia Coal-mining equipment Supplier
44 This extremely rare metal is outperforming all other products, including Bitcoin
44 1,100 miles west Alabama mine employees have announced their intention to strike
45 The ANM rescue team responds to a www.skillings.net | 3
MAY 2021 VOL.110. NO.05 2021 M AY I N R E V I E W
ROYALTY COMPANIES AND EXPLORERS ARE ON SALE Mergers and Acquisition in Iron ore Mining
Profiles In Mining Lara Smith, Founder, Managing Director, Core Consultants
The Decarbonizing Capability of Hydrogen
Skillings Mining Review of CFX Network LLC, publishes comprehensive information on global mining, iron ore markets and critical industry issues via Skillings Mining Review Monthly Magazine and weekly. SMR Americas, Global Skillings and Skilling Equipment Gear newsletters.
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A plan has been submitted to explore a state-owned nonferrous metals lease
alon Nickel (USA) LLC (Talon) proposed a proposal to search for metallic mineral deposits on leased state mineral rights north of Tamarack, Minnesota, in Aitkin County. Since the early 2000s, Kennecott Exploration Company (Kennecott) and Talon have been exploring this field. At planned and historic boring sites, Talon's exploration strategy calls for down-hole geophysical surveys as well as ground-based surveys. Talon intends to dig exploratory borings in bedrock using the diamond core drilling process.
A part of the plan includes drilling the borings on 20 drill pads; Talon can drill multiple borings from each drill pad. Temporary access trails and plastic flotation mats are also proposed by Talon to safely approach several drill sites. Talon recommends that the borings be sealed in accordance with Department of Health regulations. The majority of Talon's ground-based surveys will be done on foot. Talon can use motorized vehicles to travel across the land if site conditions allow. When conducting geophysical surveys, Talon
will position signs. Talon may be required to cut a small amount of brush in order to position survey equipment; however, Talon will not cut lines or grids. Talon owns the right to explore stateowned lands following DNR approval, as long as the exploration plan, any stipulations, and relevant laws and rules are followed. Find more details at DNR’s official webpage https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ lands_minerals/metallic_nf/regulations.html
www.skillings.net | 5
Bill Gates-backed Heliogen assists in the powering of a massive mine
Bill Gates’ clean energy startup, Heliogen revealed Wednesday that mining behemoth Rio Tinto plans to deploy Heliogen’s revolutionary solar technology at California's largest open-pit mine, located in Boron, to get heavy industry carbon-free electricity.
eliogen can harness the sun's strength using artificial intelligence and a network of 40,000 machine visioncontrolled mirrors, similar to smart magnifying glass. Heliogen told that the first machine at Rio Tinto, Heligoen’s first customer, would be the size of around 100 football fields. The collaboration will be to confirm if Heliogen's technology can substitute fossil fuels in large-scale industrial operations. "Our goal is to deliver completely carbon-free energy to Rio Tinto for less than the cost of fossil fuels and with zero-emission," said CEO 6 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Bill Gross. Rio Tinto intends to use the Heliogen AI to power its nearly centuryold California mine, which produces borates, a mineral used in fertilizer, heat-resistant glass, etc. According to the agreement, Heliogen's AI-powered field of mirrors would produce 35,000 pounds of carbon-free steam per hour to help power the site. If successful, Rio Tinto will use the AI technology to cut the site's carbon footprint by up to 24%. Moreover, it is also attempting to restor e its image after desecrating a sacred Indigenous site in Australia last year. Heliogen needs more industrial giants like Rio Tinto to abandon fossil fuels. "Heliogen is being bombarded with customers from all over the world already,” said Gross.
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JDS Mining & Energy Inc. and the Elk Gold Project - an investigation JDS Mining & Energy Inc. has concluded, after several trade-off studies, that the Prefeasibility Study should include a section investigating underground mining at the Company's 100 percent operated Elk Gold Project announced Gold Mountain. “With recent drilling encountering deeper vein extensions and JDS's trade-off study recognizing a case for transitioning to a potential open pit-underground hybrid mine plan, an obvious path is forming to showcase the Elk Gold Project's long-term expansion potential from both a resource and production perspective," remarked Gold Mountain CEO, Kevin Smith. GOLD MOUNTAIN MINING DETAILS (APPROVED BY GRANT CARLSON, P.ENG. - A COMPETENT INDIVIDUAL)
Gold Mountain - a gold and silver exploration and production company based in British Columbia - concentrates on resource expansion at the Elk Gold Project - a past-producing mine in South Central British Columbia. The TSX Venture Exchange or its Regulation Services Provider has not acknowledged the adequacy of this release. Under applicable Canadian securities law, this press release contains some statements - better called "forward-looking statements" - founded on expectations as of the date of this press release. 8 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Forward-looking statements may be based on estimates and assumptions that, while reasonable, are subject to factors that could change actual results from those reported. Forward-looking statements, therefore, aren’t 100% right.
Gold Mountain, however, disclaims any intention to amend any statements as a result of new knowledge or future events. Please see the Filing Statement on Gold Mountain's SEDAR profile for risks that may affect the business.
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copper tubes in Greece. High quality in production is achieved through strict controls applied throughout the production process. With a consistent quality focus, the company implements an ISO 9001:2015 Certified Quality Management System and leverages high technologies and expert staff. As a result of the Group’s strategic investments in research & development, Halcor is recognized as one of the leading copper producers globally, setting new
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10 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
MERGERS AND ACQUISITION IN IRON ORE MINING
Royalty companies and explorers are on sale The money manager Adrian Day examined the contemporary developments at gold and resource companies stating that “by happenstance, this review includes most of my very favourite long-term resource holdings, all 'buy' at current prices." ROYALTY AND STREAMING SECTOR IN CONTEMPT OF COVID:
The Royalty and streaming sector had a pretty fair 2020; their business is also well established. In contempt of COVID, there's a limitation on many deals. They have made small and most significant deals for the most extensive amounts in the previous ten years. Moreover, the previous year saw many newcomers that included private companies going public, also the new companies and old companies making a transition to the royalty model. In company with the gold sector in general, in contempt of a weak performance by the end of the year, royalty companies generally continue to work with large miners throughout the year, with some performance improvements. Stocks that the generalists extensively owned, such as Franco Nevada Crop and Barrick Gold Crop among miners - there was a further downward trend as unskilled people exited the market rapidly. Royalty and streaming www.skillings.net | 11
companies continue to play a game of high prices, which means they have lower capital costs, and diversification helps limit any asset risk. However, smaller companies take advantage of the rapid and growing, as well as multiple expansion capabilities. FRANCO NEVADA CROP
Franco Nevada Crop is the greatest of them all. It reported record earnings and cash flow in the most recent quarter, although sales for sales were lower than in the last quarter of 2019. Since all the mines returned to the entire operation after the closure of COVID, we should have a record sale again. Franco expects to be at the top of its 2020 guidance for the whole year when it reports this coming week. Its oil and gas
revenues have also increased, representing 15% representations of the company. Franco continues to add assets, albeit minor, mostly buying royalties in search of higher options, as difficulties over the
Franco expects to be at the top of its 2020 guidance for the whole year when it reports this coming week. Its oil and gas revenues have also increased, representing 15% representations of the company.
last year due to onsite prevented him from making drastic transactions. With no major purchases, cash is being replenished. It recently repaid Cobre Panama's mainstream debt and now has a business capital of 44 9,449 million (mostly in cash). The company also has a 1.1 billion facility, which gives it the firepower to complete a big deal. At the moment, the environment is not conducive for royalty companies to complete large transactions. Most of the royalties have been sold within the major mining companies (Pan American, Yamana Gold, Inc. - a better equity market (despite the slide in prices in recent weeks), which means that companies can raise funds without royalties. And the miners of twenty metals are in a solid financial position, unlike five or six years ago when they made large-scale streaming deals to repair balance sheets. There is still a chance for significant development or merger and acquisition (M&A) transaction to be part of a multi-faceted financing package. I suspect that some of these works are in progress, with complete delays due to travel restrictions on the site. Franco (and other large royalty companies) has
12 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
traditionally traded at a higher price than miners, and for a good reason. The business model mitigates risk and provides insight into future earnings. Last summer, Franco was trading at its historic high, but the stock has moved away from those heights, and now it represents a good buy for long-term, conservative investors who are exhibiting in the gold market. Want to It offers extensive exposure to multiple golds and other mines with multiple counterparts, with solid management and a rock-solid balance sheet. Franco is a buy. We may have additional comments following the earnings call next week. OSISKO GOLD ROYALTIES LTD:
Royalty saw record revenue growth, but revenue was offset by higher-thanexpected sales costs, as well as several unusual items, including higher G&A (general and administrative costs), business development costs and taxes. In particular, the financial stability of OESCO Development (OD), which ended in October (see Bulletin 766), caused "noise". Currently, it has 75% OD, less than 88%. The goal is to reduce both ownership by chance with both potential sales. No shares have been sold yet, and not participating in future equities raised by OD. Silver contributes 24% to its revenue, with a maximum percentage of companies named "Silver"! It has a good balance sheet, with more than CA $ 300 million in cash alone and $385 million available at its convenience. It has recently restored its debt by saving interest rates of 1.5 percentage points. It also has values for different parts of the CA, which at the end of the year is CA $286million. ASSETS PIPELINE IN OSISCO DEVELOPMENT
The company has a strong asset pipeline in OSISCO Development (also OSISCO 14 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Silver contributes 24% to Royalty's revenue, with a maximum percentage of companies named "Silver"! It has a good balance sheet, with more than CA $ 300 million in cash alone and $385 million available at its convenience.
Mining, Metals and O3), including royalty interests and equity. This pipeline is essential when the competition for royal assets is so intense and prices are high. In a recent phone call, CEO Sandeep Singh targeted the accelerator model's importance, which had been "greatly successful" financially and developed the pipeline. He said he liked what he described as the pure accelerator model” but said fewer assets were available after last year's market rally. The company has guided 78,000 to 82,000 GEOs (equivalent to an ounce of gold) for the coming year, which has described itself as quite conservative and purposeful after many disappointments in recent years. In particular, the elevator is stable and now reverses, as does the diamond mine renard, although it is not in the direction. It has a lower price in big companies, maybe justified, though I think it's much more expansive. It is the highest yield, of 1.5%. OSISCO is not getting credit for its progress, including turning to the diamond mine Reynolds, as well as the cost-free built-in pipeline.
Assets pipeline has a strong asset pipeline in OSISCO Development (also OSISCO Mining, Metals and O3), including royalty interests and equity. This pipeline is essential when the competition for royal assets is so intense and prices are high. partner to co-invest in new properties (see Bulletin 758). The unit's public debut came much sooner than many expected, demonstrating its rapid development. Altius currently owns around 60% of ARR,
worth about $60 million on the market and royalties on various properties. The renewable business will generate its own money by spinning it off, and we expect strong growth in the coming years. CHAMPION IRON LTD'S ACQUISITION:
The completion of Champion Iron Ltd's acquisition of the Kami iron ore project out of receivership brought more good news (CIA: ASX). It is a high-grade, highquality project that the recent decline has hampered in iron ore prices. They have since made a full recovery. Altius, a shareholder, lender, and royalty holder of the previous owner (after spinning out the project into a new company), now owns shares in Champion (worth over CA$20 million) and receives productionbased payments. The company's project generation business is also continuing. Last year, over $150 million was spent on these
ALTIUS MINERALS CROP:
Noticed the Revenues of nearly $22 million were recorded for the fourth quarter, up 33% from the previous quarter. A big dividend from Labrador Iron Ore Royalty Corp. (LIF.UN: TSX), which had withheld dividends for much of 2020, boosted receipts, as did a doubling of thermal coal revenue, the purchase of an additional royalty in July; and higher commodity prices overall. Copper sales account for about 5% of overall revenues. Altius Renewable Royalties' IPO was the most significant recent growth (ARR: Toronto; 10.55). Altius founded and established the company, and Apollo Capital recently joined as a www.skillings.net | 15
assets, none of which were purchased by Altius. Altius has successfully sold 61 assets for royalties and shares in the last four years, and it is still putting together new ventures for which it is searching for partners. It had $136 million in cash and public equities at year's end (only $30 million in cash) and $141 million in debt. "We don't see a lot of places to invest it," the company says, despite continued sound cash generation. Altius is now in the harvesting process after spending the lean years assembling properties. The dividend may increase in the coming years. Midland Exploration Inc. (MD: TSX.V, 0.75) is making progress on a variety of fronts. Last fall, it reported promising exploration results, including discovering a new gold-bearing zone on its Maritime-Cadillac project, which it co-owns with Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM: TSX; AEM: NYSE). Drilling on various projects, including joint ventures and sole-owned properties, is currently underway or will be before the end of the winter season. Drilling by partners Probe Metals Inc. (PRB: TSX.V) and Wallbridge Mining Co. Ltd. (WM: TSX) is part of this, as is drilling on the wholly-owned Samson project, were discovered during last year's drilling. Moreover, it introduced the results of the regional alliance's first field program with BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP: NYSE; BHPLF: OTCPK). Under the deal, $1.4 million is still to be spent on discovery, plus spending on "designated projects." We should hear something soon, and drilling will take place later this year. This new land includes a sizeable nickel-copper land area in Grenville, declared at the end of February, both through staking and acquisition. Midland has as good a chance at exploration success as anyone, with a solid balance sheet, ambitious management, several joint ventures, and a 16 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Primary crushers and a conveyor at First Quantum Minerals’ Cobre Panama copper mine under construction in Panama. Credit: First Quantum Minerals.
pipeline of projects with several ready for new partners. It's a good deal at this price. Lara Exploration Ltd. (LRA: TSX.V, 0.60) is quietly evolving, building value and producing stable revenue streams. It currently has two properties in development and expects to drill on up to six projects this year, three in Brazil and three in Peru. Development at the Celesta copper project in Brazil is ongoing, with royalty revenue earned in the last few
months. When a new mill is installed and a second mining front is established, it could dramatically increase production. Lara is now seeking credit for the project's delays. The ground has been optioned at a second project in the region, Planalto, to increase strike potential. Capstone Mining Corp. (CS: TSX) plans a $1.8 million drill program to start next month. For an organization like Capstone, the project needs
to remain in the relationship, with another $2.5 million due next July. There are other successful ventures in Peru and Brazil and the Colombian Biofax project, which began producing at the end of last year and for which Lara holds a royalty. Lara, known for its frugal ways, is well-funded, with $1.7 million in cash on hand and $2.3 million in revenue for the year. Lara is fully funded for the coming year, assuming Hochschild remains in Corina. Lara is a good investment. CANADIAN GOLD PRODUCER MONUMENT:
Monument Mining, a Canadian gold producer, has signed a definitive agreement to sell Fortress Minerals a 100% stake in its Malaysian subsidiary. Monument Mengapur (MMSB), which owns a 100 % stake in the Mengapur Copper and Iron Project, will be sold by the group.
to be larger, but the findings so far show that it will quickly find another partner if Capstone drops it. Finally, Lara plans to start a small drill program on its 100%-owned Itaituba vanadium project in the hopes of raising the value of any potential option earn-in. Lara's Peru workers had trouble getting about due to COVID, but one project is moving along nicely. The Corina copper plant is being drilled by Hochschild Mining Plc (HOC: LSE), a partner with a flagship mine nearby running out of ore reserves. Corina has the potential to substitute the ore by providing feed to a mill that already exists. Hochschild will pay Lara $1 million in July
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Vale’s Salobo copper-gold mine in Para state in northern Brazil, where Silver Wheaton holds a 75% gold stream. Credit: Vale.
Monument Mining president and CEO Cathy Zhai said: “This is a part of our corporate restructuring that will spin off the base metal project and allow us to focus on the development of our gold portfolios in both Malaysia and Western Australia.” Fortress Minerals will pay Monument Mining $30 million in cash and offer a royalty of 1.25 per cent of gross sales on all goods generated at the Mengapur Project in exchange for MMSB shares. Fortress Minerals' gross magnetite reserve will rise from 7.18 million tons (as of February 2020 from its Bukit Besi mine) to 17.93 million tons due to the proposed acquisition. According to the company, the acquisition will help Fortress Minerals achieve its goal of becoming a major regional iron ore player. It will also explore and develop various iron ore assets in Malaysia, adding to its current advanced iron ore projects. The deal is subject to Fortress shareholders' approval, SGX-ST approval, and 18 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
TOP BUYS OF THE WEEK All is on sale in the gold section, and it's like being a child in a candy store. We can afford to be very selective now that we have it figured out. Best buys, in addition to those listed above—and all five of those as mentioned above are excellent buys include Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM: TSX; WPM: NYSE, US$36.21); Royal Gold Inc. (RGLD: NASDAQ; RGL: TSX, US$104.55); Fortuna Silver Mines Inc. (FSM: NYSE; FVI: TSX; FVI: BVL; F4S: FSE, US$6.68); and Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX: TSX; GOLD: NYSE, US$19.83) There may be better buys or pending advances that might weigh on the stock in the short term, so a business may not be on this list.
other conditions spelt out in the definitive agreement. The agreement is supposed to be concluded in three months from the date of signing. The net proceeds will be used to fund the construction of corporate and gold ventures. Monument Mining owns 100% of the Selinsing Gold Mine in Malaysia and works on several exploration and development ventures.
INITIAL REACTION TO CLEVELAND-CLIFFS ACQUISITION OF ARCELOR MITTAL USA:
Overall, it seems that this is a wise decision for all parties concerned. ArcelorMittal sells old assets with a highcost structure for producing steel while keeping a mill with one of the world's lowest-cost structures. Cliffs, on the other hand, gains a vast auto book of business with high margins. Furthermore, it would
phase obsolete, costly capacity out of the steel industry. TACORA RESOURCE INC COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF SYDVARANGER
The Tschudi Group’s Shipping and Logistics: From 1910 to 1997, from 2009 to 2015, Sydvaranger produced high-grade iron ore concentrate with a 68 per cent iron content for pelletizing operations. Since 2006, the Tschudi Group, a Norwegian shipping and logistics firm, has been working with the Sydvaranger Mine.
The Sydvaranger assets were re-acquired by the Tschudi Group in 2016, and the company has since based its efforts on completing a feasibility study and planning to restart operations. Sydvaranger's high-quality, low-impurity magnetite iron ore concentrate has significant environmental and cost benefits for steel producers and pelletizing operations, including improved blast furnace efficiency. Reduced slag volumes, lower CO2 emissions per ton of steel generated, and lower energy requirements for pelletizing are just a few of the benefits.
THE PRESIDENT AND CEO OF TACORA:
Thierry Martel, the President and CEO of Tacora, will lead the expanded organization. Mr Martel said, "With this acquisition, we bring together two responsible mining companies with the capacity to produce an iron ore concentrate with characteristics very desirable to steelmakers. The Sydvaranger Mine builds upon our strategy to deliver high-grade iron ore products to steelmakers globally, allowing them to produce more steel per tonne of raw material input and therefore reduce their environmental footprint."
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Report: For Maximizing North America EVs Built Canada is Mining Materials The shift from gasoline-powered to electric vehicles has affected the value of available products in the automotive industry. Now the auto industry only needs exploration (mining) of more minerals for making electric motors and batteries for electric vehicles, despite drilling for petroleum. In Canada, Cobalt and lithium mines are already under development (Reuters reported).
he U.S-Canada supply chain is not surprising; in fact, such automotive supply chains at a global and local level used to be set for since long. As per Reuters report, A Virtual meeting was scheduled last week by the U.S. Department of Commerce with miners and battery manufacturers for discussing getting more minerals from Canada and providing to U.S. auto manufacturers for electric vehicles. International competition is the key reason behind such cooperation. Six battery Giga factories to be built in Europe were recently announced by VW, while China is also interested in its own regional supply-chain efforts. As soon as Tsingshan, a stainless steel producer, announced that it would provide nickel matte of 100,000 tons to two Chinese battery producers, the overdriving of the nickel market was predicted by the South China Morning Post. Its proof is the dominance of China in the global battery supply chain." 20 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
FOR ASSISTING NORTH AMERICA TO CONTROL ITS ELECTRIC-CAR DESTINY, A U.S.-CANADA SUPPLY CHAIN HAS BEEN PLANNED BY THE TWO COUNTRIES.
This past week, a private meeting was fixed by the U.S. and Canada to discuss the strategy of getting requisite minerals from Canada on grounds as well as across the border (Reuters reported). So the two countries have given the signal of working together in building more electric vehicles. These materials are highly required by North American automakers if they want to make the millions of motors and battery packs required for tomorrow's EVs. Such cooperation is an ongoing trend of industry nowadays; the same kind of cooperative network has already been introduced to Europe and Asia.
Reuters got no response on a question about the meeting by the U.S. Department of Commerce, although meeting included about 30 attendees, including Tesla, Talon Metals, and Livent Corp. as per Reuters, the American officials are looking for getting Canada as a reliable source with 13 of 35 minerals that the U.S. is treating now as "critical for national defence,". The Department of Commerce is in view to assist U.S. companies in spreading their influence in Canada as well as controlling logistical challenges for accessing it to the United States.
VIRTUAL CONFERENCE BETWEEN PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU AND PRESIDENT BIDEN ON FEBRUARY 23.
The U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in late February. They discussed on cooperative work of two countries to build more EVs. Both leaders admitted that both countries would make supply chain in cooperation to bring Canada and the United States as the global leaders in terms of battery development and production. So both leaders committed to strengthening the Canada-U.S bond and for net-zero
industrial transformation, batteries for zero-emission vehicles, and rechargeable energy storage. According to Reuters, Some agreements between the two countries were already decided, like no U.S. tariffs on Canadian parts for EVs and battery metals, although Canadian restrictions may be on the U.S. government for EV minerals. According to Canadian natural resources minister Seamus O'Regan that the U.S. is aware of the fact that Canada is "the most secure and most resilient source of metal imports for them."
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Further in clean Energy: Virginia Coal-mining equipment Supplier
he Virginian Flourished in Knoxville. Her academic performance was a chance to go span and then Brussels for a graduate degree in IL (international law) and IR (international relation). She made her foot-print around the world, spending years aiding refugees on the EthiopiaSudan border while doing humanitarian law. She, by 2007, got married to a globetrotter Fernando Protti, residing in the countryside of Washington D.C.
energy in diversifying Lawrence Brothers Inc.'s line beyond coal-related products. Currently, only 10% of its business is coal-related, a sharp and planned drop from 95% in 2008.
in California, or store energy generated by wind farms in Europe? Both thinkers, along with the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority to bring close to $500,000 in state grant to provide help to Lawrence Brothers and some other family-owned firms such as West River Conveyors & Machinery Co., Simmons Equipment Co., and AMR PEMCO inc., to transcend coal-centric commencement.
“If we had stuck solely with coal, we would be out of business,” Protti-Lawrence said. “You can’t strategically plan or grow if you’re relying on one industry. We made an absolute effort to go beyond our wheelhouse.”
Likewise, co-leader Wells and Patil aim to attract national and international businesses that are willing to purchase domestically manufactured energy storage products and consider setting a physical presence in southwest Virginia.
After twelve months, to be exact, she got back at home. The family business that made battery trays for coal-mining tools was looking for leadership from the third generation.
Such grit and innovation inclined an "aha" energy save the moment for Adam Wells of Appalachian Voices and Vivek Shinde Patil of Ascent Virginia.
Virginia Growth and Opportunity (GO), the 24-members Board, is scheduled to cast a vote on the proposal on March 16. It, in January, was passed by a regional GO council. GO was formed in 2015 to create private-sector jobs in a state long relying on the military and the federal government.
In 1998, when Melanie Lawrence gathered her belongings for the university of Tennessee to pursue a degree in Spanish and English, she desired to leave Tazewell country in the dust.
The eldest of four sisters, Protti Lawrence, took herself by surprise when she replied a "yes" to the family's urge. She knew that a gap between the nation's capital and Appalachia isn't fathomed in mere miles. For a long time, Melanie, president, and Fernando, CEO, have invested their 22 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Both thinkers have been persistent about linking a forgotten slice of their business to the richness of jobs and knowledge, flourishing in the growing renewable energy sector. Why couldn't firms in Tazewell and Buchanan areas turn to the export of batteries and other tools that fuel cars in Asia, bring light to the house
The fervent Wells had scanned the whole of the GO Virginia manual a long ago. Therefore, he would be a vigil to strike when the timing was favorable. Before
August, GO Virginia had reimbursed a local market analysis coordinated by the Solar Foundation. A particular report pointed out that the batteries and related casing, electrical components, and accessories as a potential gold mine for job and investment growth. Those points of the report were a soothing balm for Wells, who has devoted his career to making solar into an economic catalyst in Appalachia. Being the major force behind the creation of the Solar Workgroup of Southwest Virginia five years ago, he carries on guiding an alliance ushering the daunting policy, utility, and cultural impediment to the commercial solar system. Being the non-profit regional director of his own community and economic development, he knows that the stakes are higher in the battery project. Philanthropists who fund rooftop solar projects are very patient and don't expect an instant breakthrough. However, Wells knows that the case with taxpayer dollars is different. “We can’t mess this up,” Said Wells, a knowledgeable county native.
“If we had stuck solely with coal, we would be out of business,” Protti-Lawrence said. “You can’t strategically plan or grow if you’re relying on one industry. We made an absolute effort to go beyond our wheelhouse.” "There's no room for error because we're talking about the jobs for our people. If we do it well, we'll be a piece in the puzzle, figuring out the future of this area for the next 50 years and keeping it from going farther down the drain. We are the ones in the region to do this. I know a lot of people are watching as to whether we will succeed or not," He added further. IMPACT OF HEEDING THE TALK LOCALLY.
Needless to say, Patil's path to southwest Virginia was challenging than Well's. Being a college graduate, he emigrated from India to pursue a doctorate in chemical engineering at Ohio University. Having founded two biotechnology
startups, he professionally specializes in human and environmental health. Having moved to Arlington county in 2015 and entering local politics, he started visiting his adopted home state on a listening tour in a short span of time. He finds out that in every poorer pocket sprung a cry for the job. His desire to construct bridges to employment induced him to co-found Ascent Virginia as a social impact venture, encouraging clean technology and economic development in early 2018. In the same year, he had the first trip of approximately 25 self-funded fellow-up trips to coal country. "Southwest Virginia has become my second home," Patil articulated about what he deems his love of labor. "Here, people are so warm-heart and welcoming." He added a few words. During his trip, he made a connection with Wells, company leaders, and Jonathan Belcher, executive director of the Virginia coalfield Economic Development Authority. Within a short span of time, they started collaborating with a few other partners on a plan to launch the energy storage project.
Employees at Lawrence Brothers Inc. in Tazewell County, Virginia, use lasers to create steel battery trays for a range of industries. Laser technology has helped the business diversify beyond coal. Credit: Lawrence Brothers Inc. / Courtesy
In order to beef the current local manufacturers, their primary aim has to be providing practical data-based technical assistance and market diversification opportunities. For many years, the region had a few so-called popular people who www.skillings.net | 23
points out that those figures are in line with the existing cost of economic development. “In all honesty, if you’re able to invest $10,000 to $25,000 for each manufacturing job, that’s not abnormal at all, he expressed. “It’s common for that average to go as high as $50,000 for highly trained people.” “And I’ve seen state projects that are as high as $100,000 apiece. It depends on the type of job and the skill level. These would be skilled jobs.”
made high promises yet departed after evading axes. "The way ascent operates, we never use the word 'help' because it sounds condescending," Patil expressed. He also expressed that a lot of outsiders enter the region with an extractive motive. "Where we excel is by listening with intent and connecting the dots to facilitate conversations that empower local organizations to take," Further he said. Wells puts the baseball analogy to clarify two predominant strategies: one, amid local companies, requires hitting singles and double to keep progress. Other, broader, demand swinging for the fence. Scoring a home run would amount to landing a battery, electrification, or electric vehicle company with reach to markets far and wide. “It’s a little matchmaking,” Wells enunciated about the latter. “We’ll be finding out which companies have a soft spot in their heart for southwest Virginia.” At the economic development authority on the home run strategy, Wells and Patil, as GO money can't make it to market, intends to collaborate with Belcher and his staff. 24 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
For example, late last year, the economic development authority made a $1m Renewable Energy Fund to attract businesses and train residents to create more jobs in a flourishing field. Government organizations work on fossil fuel dollars. “Adam’s baseball analogy is correct,” Belcher contributed. “Single and doubles are what win ball games, so we’d take those as well,” He added.
Virginia would have a reasonable boom for their penny because of an anticipated uptick in indirect jobs, particularly if an outside energy storage company comes in the region, he said. “It would be a good impact if we are able to be successful, which I think we will be,” Belcher said, accentuating that energy storage is a natural segue. "It wasn't picked arbitrarily," he pointed out about mining's great reliability on batteries and electrification. "The local knowledge and skillsets might not be an exact match with electric vehicles, but there's a foundation to build on. Not every region has that aptitude." ANTICIPATION IS NOT A STRATEGY.
THE ERUPTION OF 26 JOBS
An analyst files an application for $486,366 to GO Virginia heralded that the project could create 26 jobs and millions in investment. The needed fund would be acquired from the four targeted companies, the Thompson Charitable Foundation, and share with other project partners. For instance, the companies would invest in recruiting and training workers, broadening factory and buy equipment. Even in the absence of matching funds, earmarking approximately $500,000 to create about 200 jobs amounts to spending around $25,000 per job. Belcher
Protti-Lawrence is rejuvenated by the notion of a homegrown diversification project that could allow her neighbor to burgeon. “We often continue to sell ourselves short,” she expressed her view on the ingrained trait of Appalachians. "This is about shifting that mindset. Instead of taking what the local politicians tell us we have to take, we can let them know what we actually see and want." On paper, she further added, it's not difficult to cherish the idea of expanding the company's item offerings. What is glorified is laborious work, consistency, and long hours it results in. “Hope is not
a strategy,” Philosophized the 41-year-old said. “You have to be able to take risks and make something your own.” Her family business had grown on different levels since 1974 when her grandfather, Jim, invented in collaboration with his brother, Dale, as a welding shop in a three-car garage in Bluefield. Protti-Lawrence's father and Jim's son rose to the ranks before retiring in 2018. For so long, her company’s products were the steel enclosure, shaped to save the battery cells powering the heavy equipment that is the lynchpin of underground coal and hard rock mining. She and her
to come full circle and figure out how our business fits into that puzzle.”
husband have not only progressed the technology with laser tools but have also expanded their market abroad and progressed further into the energy sector and airline and forklift industries. Despite the ebbs and flows of business, they currently recruit 82 on an 80,000-square-foot factory floor.
Wells of Appalachian Voice does not deny the fear of coordinating such a titanic project haunts him when he jumps awake during wee hours. “But then I remind myself that the opportunities are great and aligned with what we want to do,” he said about how the team has balanced both data and human needs. “The universe keeps sending us green lights. And that’s not just because of dumb luck.”
Thus, the strategy of clean energy instead of dangerous fossil fuel is not lost when it comes to Protti-Lawrence. “I’ve always been about taking care of Earth and mitigating climate change,” she pointed. “This is an excellent opportunity
Industrial General Contractor Specializing in Equipment Installation and Maintenance Millwrighting l
Building Construction l
Offices: Byron, GA Escanaba, MI Muskegon, MI Coleraine, MN Tulsa, OK Chester, PA Oshkosh, WI Green Bay, WI Rhinelander, WI www.skillings.net | 25
PROFILES IN MINING
Founder, Managing Director, Core Consultants Lara Smith is a Natural resources leader in Business Development/Corporate Advisory/Investor Relations/Corporate Public Relations/Digital and Social Media- based in Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv, Israel. She is passionate about commodity markets and seeing companies thrive independent of the commodity cycle. Her company, Core Consultants assists their mining clients in helping them to understand whether their mining project is commercially viable and works with them on their strategy in how to ensure that it becomes a bankable project. Their analysis is completely independent and therefore they are often asked by investment banks to review feasibility studies. From the end-users perspective, Core Consultants assists in sourcing offtake agreements and choosing ethical supply partners. 1. What are ways in which you feel that COVID-19 has impacted the mining industry and what mechanisms have been put in place to manage the effects of the pandemic? I would say depending on which aspect one is considering, the impact has been numerous and varied. First to deal with the effects of COVID, many mines had to go onto 50% capacity in order to implement safe distance measures. So for a while many mines were and some still are running on a lower capacity rate which affected not only output, but profitability as well. It also added to the uncertainty around supply. Prices initially came down when China was shut over the December-Feb 2020 period, but then as China began to reopen its economy, while the rest of the world was still struggling with their economies to get supply up, prices on the whole improved. 26 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Gold hit an all time high- a reflection of the uncertainty and the need for a safe haven. This was not all due to COVID, but COVID was certainly a factor. As such many mines especially in South Africa were actually able to use this period to pay back or reduce debt substantially. So now going forward economies around the world need to rebuild and that is going to drive mining- so metals especially is getting a lot of tailwind right now,
2. What do you think that the election of Joe Biden as the new US President means for the Mining sector. How will his policies be different from Donald Trump? They both agreed on the infrastructure need in the US which was always going to be positive for mining, such as copper, iron ore and steel. Biden has a stronger push towards reducing the carbon footprint and environmental factors. So
this means that we will likely see more minor metal exploration projects and a focus on production and procurement. China has been a strong factor- the hope is that a Biden Presidency would see the end of this trade war between the two nations, which will likely remove this kind of "tit for tat" trade tariffs that we've seen. However COVID highlighted the imperative that nations become self sufficient so I don't think that an end of the trade war will reduce North America's appetite for mining exploration (and I include Canada in this)
3. What motivated you to introduce the topic of battery minerals and rare earths to the Africa Mining Indaba when you gave a keynote address on critical metals in 2010? Haha- I started Core in 2009 with around 8000 rand in my bank account and I
I think inevitably markets will normalise and market participants will do what is economically best for business.
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PROFILES IN MINING
really wanted to launch my business and I figured Indaba which was one of the largest mining conferences in the world was the place. I couldn't afford the ticket so that meant I needed a place in the program if I wanted to be part of it. So I looked at the program and noticed that there was no battery metals. I had covered the battery metal industry quite extensively by then as I had worked as the lead analyst for a company invested in Cobalt and I led a study to consider moving our assets into lithium. When I left to start on my own, I managed to get my foot in the door by producing a book on the lithium market which was published in 2009. So I was very focused on the battery sector and I saw that this could be a way for me to speak at Indaba.
4. As someone who spent a lot of time in South Africa, what challenges do you think that COVID-19 has posed to South Africa's mining sector? I think the one positive aspect with Africa is that we've gone through the Ebola crisis, Aids, TB etc so most of these mines already have safety and hygiene procedures in place and also dedicated clinics, where people can get their ARVs and other basic treatments so if there was a vaccine available these could be effective distribution channels (I do recognise that the pfizer temperature requirements however make using these facilities challenging). So in many ways South Africa was more prepared than other mining jurisdictions. However, we face other challengesmining accounts for a large percentage of the employment in the country both directly and indirectly so to just shut down and isolate is not possible. Our electricity runs on coal- which is supplied locally- so again an example that shutting down is simply not possible. Also as a nation we are relatively poor so while 28 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
harm" and this is both the challenge and the tragedy of South Africa.
Gold hit an all time high- a reflection of the uncertainty and the need for a safe haven. This was not all due to COVID, but COVID was certainly a factor. As such many mines especially in South Africa were actually able to use this period to pay back or reduce debt substantially.
there is social aid and by comparison to other African countries there's quite a lot of social aid, we could not afford to have such a large proportion of people out of work. Then there is the issue of living conditions, around 10% of the country live in informal settlements- where they share accommodation and ablution facilities, they cannot isolate. So relying on quarantining was never going to be easy from a practical perspective from a cost perspective and from the point of view that mining is critical to the economy. So South African mines had to implement measures and educate their workforce very quickly and then "hope" all while trying to meet the ideals of "zero
5. Is COVID likely to have a major impact on future relations between the mining markets of China and the West? I think inevitably markets will normalise and market participants will do what is economically best for business.
6. Briefly, can you discuss the in-depth studies you authored which led to the formation of Core Consultants in 2009? I authored two in-depth reports - the first was a lithium market study - the outlook for 5 years to 2013. This considered the use of lithium as a battery metal, provided a cost comparison and feasibility of hard rock vs hectorite vs brines and looked at different growth potentials of the various end user markets. I think the biggest factor in this report was that at the time there were over 40 lithium players all waiting for the world to start driving electric cars which disappointed big time. The fact that oil was at an all time high of over $120/bbl really drove the excitement. There was discussions of different business models, some which don't exist anymore- like Shai Agassi's Better Place and it considered a bottom up analysis of the lithium requirement for each HEV and BV car model. Today these batteries are much more efficient, and they have lower usage requirements and different metals, but at the time no one had modelled this. The second book was published in 2010it was an outlook for coking coal until 2020. At the time, like lithium this market was largely under-analysed. There was an impending shortage of coking coal due to the infrastructure expansion in China and China was at times using its poorer qual-
ity coking coal for thermal uses as both demand for electricity and demand for steel was competing head on. As such China was actively looking for renewable energy sources. Germany meanwhile had announced a shutdown of their coking coal facility by 2018 and the Moatize Basin was meant to be the Panacea for coking coal supply if only they could sort out the transportation issues- but we all know now that beyond transportation there were issues with actually mining the ore body and that deposit has since changed ownership and experienced mega budget cost overruns. Anyway, it was certainly a hot topic at the time
7. What influence has Brexit and Boris Johnson had on the mining industry in the UK? Since Brexit, a new coal mine planning was approved- the first coal mine in the country in 30 years in an effort to reignite jobs to the region. Yet at the same time Government has announced that they would be carbon neutral 2050 and is pushing the green/clean resources, including Batteries, recycling and anything to do with EVs so we are seeing a definite push from investors in this post-Brexit era.
what many mining participants and investors feel is an endless list of demands to improve worker safety, retain jobs and foster job growth, contribute to community wellbeing and so the list continues. Yet South African mining investors still battle with erratic electricity, labour unrest, transport delays and issues, falling head grades in many underground mines, policy issues-all which reduce the attractiveness of South African Mining as an Investment which on the one hand leads many to question the effectiveness of Ramaphosa's leadership compared the hope he brought with him, but on the other hand- what can one man do against decades of poor regulation, corruption and mismanagement of our resource endowments causing investors to turn away from South African mining and look to other jurisdictions and/or sectors.
A lot of the funding is coming from abroad notably Canada. Definitely seeing an interest in both new and disused mine projects- industrial minerals/metals is resurfacing. There's been around 3/4 of mining and resource funds in London that I know of that have recently received funding- around $6001bn- some of this funding is flowing from impact funding for clean energy and minerals.
8. What influence has Cyril Ramaphosa's Presidency had on the mining sector of South Africa? His presidency I feel would be remembered by the mining sector for "fostering good relations" between government, the mining sector and its workers. He has taken investor concerns under advisement and has taken to resolve policy and regulatory issues that have been said to hinder investment. He has also outlined a plan for a long term energy procurement strategy for the country. He regards mining as a driving force in job creation for the country ( ~ 500,000 ppl directly employed and contributes 8% of GDP), so many believed that his presidency would be a silver bullet for the mining industry and a chance to right all the wrongs and bring the economy back from the brink. Instead the mining industry in South Africa attracts relatively little exploration investment compared to other mining jurisdictions and the industry is faced with www.skillings.net | 29
The Decarbonizing Capability of Hydrogen A Source to Reduce Emissions in Iron and Steel Production The steel production, which emits about 7% global CO2, was evaluated by RFF’s Jay Bartlett and Alan Krupnick through the decarbonization process under Hydrogen and CCUS.
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This article is aimed to look at the recent report and to compare the other sources of reducing carbon emissions like carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) and Electrification with zero-carbon power with hydrogen decarbonization. This comparison and evaluation of other options of decarbonized Hydrogen By evaluating decarbonized Hydrogen against these other two methods of reducing CO2 emission help us to know when, where, and how the use of Hydrogen for reducing CO2 emissions can be a cost-effective method.
It can be seen that in feedstock applications, along with the replacement of “grey" or "brown" Hydrogen with "blue" or "green" Hydrogen, the decarbonized Hydrogen displaces coal feedstock and natural gas and helps in further reduction of emissions. It is also found that nowadays, the prominent use of decarbonized hydrogen feedstock will be a good opportunity in iron and steel production because such productions emit almost 3 billion tons of CO2 ( 7% of global CO2 emissions). Besides, it is not necessarily be said that the use decarbonized Hydrogen despite high-carbon feedstock can only benefit iron and steel production. Although Decarbonized hydrogen is also useful in the production of methanol and urea, here is a little problem that the use of this method in such industry may demand a non-emitting source of carbon like direct air capture along with the use of decarbonized Hydrogen.
How the “blue” and “green” Hydrogen and decarbonized Hydrogen can effectively be used for reducing CO2 emissions from oil refining and ammonia production was the primary concern of previous blog 32 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
posts. But, these articles will inspect how the use of Hydrogen for heat and energy storage and policy mechanisms can be effective for reducing CO2 emission in the industrial and power sector.
That’s why, in this article, we will just deal with iron and steel production and the evaluation of decarbonized hydrogen usage versus CCUS applied to emissions from natural gas or Coal to know which method is best and effective for the reduction of steelmaking emissions. The manufacturing of Steel happens under the two phases of productions, the
primary production, for first converting iron ore into iron and later into Steel while the secondary production is for recycling of scraped Steel. The primary production process mostly processes through the blast furnace–basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) route, though the primary steel production in a smaller amount happens through the process of direct reduction of iron (DRI) processed in an electric arc furnace (EAF). However, secondary steel production is less energy-intensive that is done in an EAF. The quantities of both primary and secondary steel production by methods in the United States and globally are shown in table 1. Here we see secondary display gives 66% of US steel production through the EAF method, while globally, it only produces 22% of Steel. So this article is also for exploring the BF-BOF and DRI-EAF steelmaking methods and inquiring about different options and sources for deep decarbonization. The BF-BOF steelmaking processes in a way that iron ore, coke (high-carbon Coal purged of volatile compounds), and limestone are put to a blast furnace, here the reaction of the iron ore with carbon monoxide to produce high-carbon crude iron and CO2. At a later stage, the iron is shifted to a basic oxygen furnace, where it includes the combination of oxygen and some of the carbon to produce low-carbon Steel and additional CO2. The whole BF-BOF process, along with combustion, produces almost 1.73 tons CO2 per ton of Steel.
Table 1. US and Global Steel Production, by Method Primary Production 2017 Production
Total Steel Production
% of Primary or Secondary
% of Total Production
% of Primary or Secondary
% of Total Production
477,070 1,245,978 8,010
“DRI-EAF” refers to “direct reduction of iron–electric arc furnace.” “BF-BOF” refers to “blast furnace– basic oxygen furnace.” “kt” refers to “kilotons.” Source: World Steel Association (2019).
Although Decarbonized hydrogen is also useful in the production of methanol and urea, here is a little problem that the use of this method in such industry may demand a non-emitting source of carbon like direct air capture along with the use of decarbonized Hydrogen.
In the blast furnace, the Coal is the key element to the BF-BOF method because the reaction offers heat, carbon monoxide, and physical structure to the furnace. As a result, at a large scale, it is not possible www.skillings.net | 33
Table 2. Energy and Emission Intensities, by Steel making Process
Energy intensities by fuel and feedstock sources are from the International Energy Agency, except for H2 DRI-EAF, which also uses input from HYBRIT. Electricity emissions for BF-BOF and Natural Gas DRI-EAF assume the average CO2 intensity of the US grid, per US Energy Information Administration. Sources: International Energy Agency (2019); HYBRIT (2018); US Energy Information Administration (2020a, 2020b).
to entirely substitute Coal with a low-carbon source like decarbonized Hydrogen. However, in some biomass-rich countries like Brazil, the charcoal has effectively been utilized. The amount of Coal consumed in BF-BOF steelmaking can easily be reduced by Hydrogen, but such action may decrease CO2 emissions. The CCUS seems with a high potential globally for decarbonizing the BF-BOF process. Besides, feedstock and fuel substitution has the involvement of some technical challenges. An emissions reduction of 47 to 60 present has been estimated by reviewing three techniques 34 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
The elimination of electricity emissions causes retaining of CO2 that comes out of the use of natural gas for reducing iron ore, this ultimately brings to channels for the deep decarbonization of DRI-EAF steelmaking.
in BF-BOF steel production under CCUS integration CCUS. In the pre-commercial “demonstration” phase, the emissions-intensive steps of sintering (agglomerating iron ore) and coking has been eliminated
by HIsarna process to achieve further CO2 reductions. There are possibilities of 80 to 90 present reductions in CO2 emissions If HIsarna steel production is integrated with CCUS.
In India, coal-based DRI-EAF is common, and the first step in the production of grey or blue Hydrogen seems in bulk, as the majority of DRI-EAF steelmaking involves the reforming of natural gas to produce a mixture of carbon monoxide and Hydrogen. For the reduction of iron ore in a furnace, both carbon monoxide and Hydrogen are utilized and then they also solid iron, steam, and CO2. Now the iron is mixed into scrap steel and then melted in an electric arc furnace for removing impurities from it and produce molten Steel. Table 2 manifests a clear difference and shows that CO2 emissions of natural gas-based DRI-EAF steelmaking is about half than the emissions of BF-BOF production. The lower CO2 emission of natural gas-based DRI-EAF is due to the high efficiency of feedstock and fuel use. Besides, the lower carbon content of natural gas than Coal is also a reason.
International Energy Agency offers Energy intensities to feedstock and fuel, but H2 DRI-EAF sources from HYBRIT. As per the US Energy Information Administration, the average CO2 intensity of the US grid has been assumed by Electricity emissions for BF-BOF and Natural
Gas DRI-EAF. Sources: International Energy Agency (2019); HYBRIT (2018); US Energy Information Administration (2020a, 2020b). According to Table 2, if the energy is utilized from zero-carbon sources instead of the US grid, we can reduce 35% emission from natural gas-based DRI-EAF. The elimination of electricity emissions causes retaining of CO2 that comes out of the use of natural gas for reducing iron ore, this ultimately brings to channels for the deep decarbonization of DRI-EAF steelmaking. Firstly, the DRI reactor can be dealt with CCUS application that can effectively capture CO2 from the reduction of iron ore. The United Arab Emirates has already applied this technology in commercial operation. Secondly, the substitution of pure Hydrogen in place of natural gas can decarbonize the direct reduction of iron, in Sweden, HYBRIT project presented this technology. Recently, in the pre-demonstration “pilot” phase, for the production of Steel with minimal emission, HYBRIT is planning to utilize zero-carbon Hydrogen along with renewable power and sustainable biomass. www.skillings.net | 35
It’s optional that we choose the type of decarbonized Hydrogen—blue or green as per our interest for hydrogen-based DRI-EAF steelmaking. Our previous article aimed for decarbonized Hydrogen in existing feedstock applications, it was shown that blue Hydrogen is less expensive than green Hydrogen. Although, as the DRI process permits for CCUS, so first we should compare and evaluate blue Hydrogen–based DRI-EAF (i.e., capturing CO2 before use in DRI) versus natural gas-based DRI-EAF with CCUS (i.e., capturing CO2 after use in DRI). Such comparison might show natural gas-based DRI-EAF with CCUS to be more cost-effective than blue Hydrogen– based DRI-EAF. Green Hydrogen contains a production process that is different from natural gas, and green Hydrogen serves as a source for decarbonized Hydrogen in steel production. If the methods like BF-BOF and DRI-EAF steelmaking are observed, then three pathways, including HIsarna with CCUS, natural gas-based DRI-EAF with CCUS, and green Hydrogen–based DRI-EAF, have a high potential for 80 % cost-effective reduction in emissions or even more if the predominant process is BF-BOF. These processes can further be improved with profound research and development. What if the cost of green Hydrogen– based DRI-EAF is compared with the costs of HIsarna with CCUS and natural gas-based DRI-EAF with CCUS? So this question is well answered by The International Energy Agency, which concludes that a price of $0.70–$2.00 per kg H2 is required for green Hydrogen–based DRI-EAF for the production of Steel at the parallel cost to natural gas-based DRIEAF with CCUS. The high variation in natural gas prices is due to the high range price break36 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
down of Hydrogen; now, the areas with low natural gas prices (and CO2 storage) would find natural gas-based DRI-EAF with CCUS particularly competitive. A breakeven price range of $1.20–$1.60 per kg H2 has been estimated by the Hydrogen Council for turning green Hydrogen–based DRI-EAF competitive with HIsarna and 90 present CCUS. The midpoint of these two ranges (about $1.40 per kg H2) is effectively reachable for the delivered price of green Hydrogen over the long term. But, these costs of production, storage, and transportation are required to be declined, as discussed in a previous blog post. The increase in efficiency and decline in the carbon content of fuel and feedstock may reduce the emissions from steel production. Furthermore, the rise in the
magnitude of recycled Steel and Coal to natural gas transition is the most significant measures for the development of decarbonization approaches. A similar potential can be seen in Electrification of heat (e.g., the electric arc furnace), as the average US grid power currently causes high CO2 emissions, renewable and nuclear power would maintain zero-carbon electric heat. However, the feedstock emissions need to be minimized, either through CCUS or decarbonized Hydrogen, to approach deep decarbonization of steelmaking. Before becoming competitive, Green Hydrogen has a high potential path, but when the zero-carbon power is combined with green Hydrogen, it benefits to enable steel production with minimum emissions.
More valuable than gold and important for green energy production - what is it?
ellurium - one of the rarest elements on the earth - will soon be recovered as a byproduct of copper smelting at Rio Tinto's Kennecott mine in Utah. Rio Tinto's latest announcement means a new North American supply chain for the vital mineral, which forms a compound with enhanced electrical conductivity when alloyed with other elements including cadmium. The compound's thin films effectively turn sunlight into electricity. Tellurium can also be applied to steel and copper to make them easier to cut. The company will invest $2.9 million in the construction of a new plant to recover tellurium. The production will be replaced by a new supply chain, based in Amarillo, Texas. “The new tellurium plant is another valuable contribution to critical mineral independence and energy security in the United States,” said managing director Gaby Poirier. Kennecott, one of the world's largest man-made open pit excavations, has delivered more than 20 million tonnes of processed copper ore in its 118 years of operation, making it one of the best-performing mines in the world. Kennecott's smelting process also recovers gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and selenium, in addition to generating approximately 20% of the US copper supply. It recovers molybdenum from its Copperton concentrator, which has one of the highest melting points of all pure elements. Rio Tinto is seemingly entering the rising market for solar energy generation with the inclusion of tellurium, which grew by 22% on a global scale in 2019. www.skillings.net | 37
Pelangio Exploration discovers the latest development and Prepares to Drill at Ghana's Dankran Project Pelangio Exploration Inc. (TSXV: PX) (OTC PINK: PGXPF) ("Pelangio" or the "Company") is thrilled to publicize other significant assay results from an infill soil sampling program completed on its Dankran Project in Ghana during January 2021, with values up to 1325 parts per billion ("ppb") (1.325 g/t) gold ("Au").
he most recent findings further characterize the gold-in-soil anomalies at the property's northern end, which are now sufficiently defined for drill testing. The software also increased the number of irregularities in the southwest, refining with additional infill soil sampling. Prospecting also revealed a significant pattern of artisanal hard-rock workings extending from the historic Obuom Mine into the Dankran property. The upcoming 2,500 meters ("m") drill program prioritizes the exploration of this pattern. Drilling preparations are underway.
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Dankran's Infill Soil Sampling and Prospecting Program Summits: Infill soil sampling polished an earlier traditional gold anomalism in the property's northern end. Supplementary gold-in-soil anomalies were discovered in the wider-spaced sampling to the southwest, followed by additional infill soil sampling. Prospecting exposed a series of significant and latest artisanal complicated rock workings stretching from the historic Obuom Mine into the property's northern end. To cover this workings pattern and produce additional goals for the upcoming drill program, soil sampling, mapping, and prospecting programs expanded to the east.
Dankran Soil Sampling Results To-date
Figure 2: Contoured Soil Sampling Results for Northern Dankran
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467 soil samples obtained at 80m spacing in the north to 160m spacing in the southwest. Except for 26 models, assays have been received, with extra highly uncharacteristic values of up to 1,325 ppb Au recorded. More infill soil sampling is expected to fine-tune the southwest anomalies, while the northern monsters are now drillready. The reverse circulation ("RC") drill program is being mobilized to test some of the stronger anomalies that stretched for up to 1,250m southwest into the Dankran Property from the Obuom Small Scale Mining Permit boundary. "We are pleased that our Dankran farm, which we just acquired in November, continues to provide substantial assay results from the soil program, including 1.325 g/t gold," said Ingrid Hibbard, President, and CEO. These findings also provided goals for our initial drill program of 2500m, which will begin soon. Prospecting, mapping, and soil sampling were carried out to establish additional targets to the east and southwest, with an initial emphasis on the recently launched eastern trend. We expect that the next phase of work will include primary reverse circulation and diamond drilling to follow up on the current program's results and evaluate newly identified targets." INFORMATION ON THE DANKRAN EXPLORATION PROGRAMS:
The Dankran property is a 34.65 square kilometer ("km2") Prospecting License optioned by Pelangio Exploration from BNT Resources Ghana Ltd. in November 2020; it is contiguous to Pelangio's Obuasi project in the northeastern corner. The Dankran property is next to and on strike with the remarkable Obuom Mine, which produced 29,000 ounces of gold ("Au") from an alternative mechanism in the 1930s at an average grade of 16 g/t Au. 40 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
The property encompasses approximately seven kilometers of the strike of highly forthcoming geology and regional structures along the Ashanti Belt western flank, 20 kilometers northeast of AngloGold Ashanti's tier-one Obuasi mine deposit. Completed an initial soil sampling program consisting of 1126 programs on the Dankran property in December 2020. Pelangio Exploration announced ten significant gold-in-soil anomalies from this program on January 28, 2021. A program of infill sampling was performed in January 2021 to better identify these soil anomalies for drill testing, with
Tackled a simultaneous mapping and prospecting program through the January infill soil sampling program to identify small-scale artisanal complex rock mining movement sites extending from the significant Obuom Mine into the northern end of the Dankran property. On the Obuom Small Scale Mining Permit district, a series of small, historical, and current mining sites were found, including hand-dug vertical shafts accessing quartz vein material at depth. Assays from limited grab sampling at these mining sites have yet to return, and geographical
experiences and mapping to date have been inadequate to establish the widths of possible mineralization. This artisanal mining operation is concentrated by the side of the very eastern limit of the present soil example. In the perspective of this new knowledge, we have expanded our soil sampling program east to cover the additional strike room of artisanal mine mechanism to refine this target area for drill testing in the 2,500 m program. Upcoming work at Dankran will include other RC and diamond drilling programs to follow up on the open maiden RC drilling program's results at the property's northern end if required by the results. It Will also make hardwork to establish extra targets for drill testing somewhere else on the Dankran property, especially the challenging parts of anomalism that have emerged from previous work in the property's southwestern corner. Geophysical examinations are not considered at the moment; however, at some point, one or both aerial and ground geophysics may be needed to help in the search for mineralization that is not readily apparent in soil geochemistry. Soil geochemistry, mapping, and prospecting efforts to date, on the other hand, have
The Dankran property is a 34.65 square kilometer ("km2") Prospecting License optioned by Pelangio Exploration from BNT Resources Ghana Ltd. in November 2020; it is contiguous to Pelangio's Obuasi project in the northeastern corner.
been highly fruitful in defining a range of gripping targets for current drill testing. THE PROCEDURE, STANDARD GUARANTEE, AND LEADERSHIP:
Sampled Hand-dug pits 0.50 to 0.75m deep at 80m intervals along lines 80 to 320m apart. A hand-held GPS with a horizontal precision of about 5m was used to locate predetermined sample locations. Regardless of the regolith material present, collected a sample at each designated sample site. The majority of the models were residual soils, but alluvium and artisanal mining disturbed material were also collected on occasion. Sent Samples weighing 2 to 3 kg each. To the Intertek Minerals Limited laboratory in Tarkwa, Ghana, where they were dried and pulverized. More than 85 percent of the samples passed 75m or better. 1 kg subsample was riffled from the procedure sample and tested for gold using a 12-hour cyanide leach bottle roll with an AAS finish and a lesser exposure maximum value of 0.01 ppm Au using LeachwellTM. When the laboratory conducted replicate assays on samples, the two assays' mean was second-hand to plan the outcome. At a tempo of one in every ten samples, QA/QC samples were introduced into the sample flow. Reasonable bounds surrounded the QA/QC outcomes. The
laboratory also conducted its individual inner QA/QC tests, which were found to be satisfactory. ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUAL:
Mr. Kevin Thomson, P.Geo. (Ontario), is an eligible individual specified by National Instrument 43-101. Mr. Thomson has given his approval to the technical information revealed in this publication. REGARDING PELANGIO:
Pelangio receives and inspects firstclass property packages in Ghana, West Africa, and Canada on planned gold belts. In Ghana, the Company is prospecting two 100% owned camp-sized properties: the 100 km2 Manfo property, which has yielded seven near-surface gold discoveries, and the 284 km2 Obuasi property, which is situated four kilometers on strike and contiguous to AngloGold Ashanti's abundant high-grade Obuasi Mine, also its Dankran property, which is adjacent to its Obuasi property. In Canada, the Company is presently focusing its resources in Ontario on its Grenfell property, located 10 kilometers from Kirkland Lake, on its Dome West property, located 800 meters from the Dome Mine in Timmins, and on its Hailstone property in Saskatchewan. For more information, visit www. pelangio.com. www.skillings.net | 41
Global Shipping Chaos:
An Unforeseen situation With the increase in the cost of goods, transportation and other global economic recovery issues, the pandemic has profoundly shattered the international trade. At the coast of Los Angeles, We can observe More than two dozen indolent cargo ships for almost two weeks which are crammed with goods like fitness bikes, electronics, and other high-requisite imported goods.
esides, in Kansas City, it is quite problematic for Farmers to ship soybeans to the buyers in the Market. A good number of containers which delivered millions of masks to different countries in Africa and South America in the early days of pandemic are left empty and idle—For the reason that shippers have subjected their ships towards highly familiar routes which bridge the North America and Europe with Asia. Even, often ships get stuck in floating traffic jams for days, when they are tied to dock for unloading cargo. So at single location, both loading and unloading of a container have become difficult. The head of Global Ocean Network, the Lars Mikael Jensen says that “he has never seen such a huge shipping chaos in which almost all supply chains including shipping containers, trucks, and warehouses are under severe tension. Such a fluctuating effect is being felt by the economies of entire world. Like at different ports in Australia, New Zealand, and India the empty containers are being piled up. That’s why in India, the electronics manufacturers are compiled to transport their wares over 1,000 miles west across the Mumbai port through truck. 42 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
Although, there is no idea how further this chaotic situation will go, yet it is predicted by analytics that the containers will remain empty until the end of the year. The introduction of containers in trade since 1956 has revolutionized the shipping and has made products to be packed into standard-size container and loaded on rail cars and trucks to be shipped all over the world. Even these Containers are used for the transportation of flat panel displays of smartphones and laptops from South Korea to in China, and also for transporting completed devices across borders. THE FACTORS WHICH BROKE OUT THIS CHAOS
Earlier such chaotic situation was seen in shipping more than a decade ago during the global financial crisis. The shipping industry further faced problem when pandemic broke out in China which brought a heavy lock down of factories, stopped the transportation and the shippers had declined the shipping and idled many of their ships. The arrival of pandemic increased the demand for protective gear like surgical masks and gowns used by frontline med-
ical people. The production of such gear was increased in China. The china used container ships to transport its goods all over the world. The high demand of protection equipment made Shipping containers full of personal protection equipment like masks and gloves to be shipped to ports far from the main trade routes. The report of Sea-Intelligence (a Copenhagen-based research firm) says that exercise equipment delivery by container from Asia to North America has been doubled between September and November than time a year before. Even, shipping of other stove, range, and cooking related equipment have also been doubled. Besides, there is rise of over 6,800% in disinfectants. As per Alan Murphy, "All of the stuff that's been rising has been basically pandemic driven." That’s why the intensity of global trade in 2020 had decreased by just 1% as compared to 2019. Though it further declined by 12%, but soon got turnabout. This resulted in containers misplacement and rapid increase in shipping costs. In New York, the Baum-Essex that manufactures umbrellas for Costco, cotton bags for Walmart and ceramics for Bed Bath. Six months earlier, he was offered about
port them to Pacific ports by rail on their way to Asia.
$2,500 for shipping a 40-foot container to California. Though, before it the same person used to be charged just $6,000 to $7,000 for same. So he claims that this is the highest ever increase in rate since 45 years in the market.
them for the rearrangement of container stack on ship. Besides, According to Bryan Brandes, the chief of port maritime that the pandemic has confined dockworkers to their home looking after children who are not in school.
Under this condition, He had to wait for almost 90 days to adjust room in a ship for shipping wicker chairs and tables, which he contracted in early September.
Mr. Brandes said “they will ship into Oakland directly in normal times, as right now, they have almost seven to eleven ships at anchorage. As now the empty containers are being shipped back to Asia. And the dysfunction on the West Coast of the United States has prompted the issues thousands of miles away.
As per information of a Hamburg-based consultancy, the Container xChange, the shippers have been actively shipping scarce containers to Asia in recent days for the end of supply. Some analysts believe that if the vaccination rates rise and life goes back to normal routine, the Americans will surely shift their focus from products to experiences for reducing the demand of containers.
This has made Scoular, one of the largest agricultural exporters in country, to fill grain and soybeans into containers at ports in Chicago and Kansas City to trans-
On the return of normal life, the stores will be stocked up with supplies in preparation to fulfill demand of shopping fever for the holiday.
BACKLOG AT CALIFORNIA'S CROWDED PORTS
The pandemic made people either sick or quarantined, and caused a heavy shortage of dockworkers and truck drivers at the twin ports of Los Angeles and neighboring Long Beach which ultimately caused delay of Unloading.
HOW THIS CHAOS WILL END IS STILL UNCERTAIN.
In a recent board meeting, director of the Los Angeles port, Gene Seroka said “The backlog in volume is expected to last until midsummer,” The ships at the coast of Los Angeles have no option to be anchored. The drift boxes are vacated for such ships where they can float easily, as the planes circling over crowded airports. This Shipping traffic jam has troubled a profound consumer companies including Under Armour, a sportswear company, to Hasbro, a gaming and toy company etc. This made the cost of air shipment about eight times that of sea shipment, and the majority of goods were used to be transported by the cargo holds of passenger planes. But, such transportation was limited as the air transport is severely restricted. Some shipment carriers have redirected their paths, now first they stop at 400 miles north of Los Angeles, in Oakland, California, before carrying goods to Los Angeles. So they just stack containers on ships as per their destination to be unloaded. A sudden change in plan leads www.skillings.net | 43
This extremely rare metal is outperforming all other products, including Bitcoin
his year, one metal is eclipsing all other resources, including Bitcoin. Buying it is the difficult part for buyers.Iridium, one of the rarest precious metals and a byproduct of platinum and palladium mining, has risen 131 percent since January 1, outperforming Bitcoin's 85 percent gain. According to refiner Heraeus Group, it has risen as a result of supply disruptions over the last year and increasing demand for use in electronic screens. With a far smaller market than its more well-known sisters, production problems can have a huge effect on prices. It's also difficult to bet on it because industrial users control demand. Iridium isn't exchanged on a stock exchange, and retail customers can only buy ingots from a few dealers. The few big investors that deal in it go straight to manufacturers. According to Johnson Matthey Plc records, the price of iridium has risen to $6,000 per ounce - three times the cost of gold. Part of the appeal of iridium is the low investment in platinum processing, which is mainly used in autocatalysts to minimise emissions, as investors balance possible rises in platinum demand from emerging hydrogen technologies against a move to electric vehicles. Other platinum-group metals' prices rose as a result of the tight supply outlook. Palladium is down about 9% from its alltime peak, while rhodium hit a new high of $29,800 per ounce this week and ruthenium rallied to an almost 13-year high.
44 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
1,100 miles west Alabama mine employees have announced their intention to strike
arrior Met Coal has been presented with a strike notice by the United Mine Workers of America. According to the UMWA, the strike will begin at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday. The notification affects over 1,100 employees at the company's various facilities, including the No. 4 mine, No. 5 preparation factory, No. 7 mine, and its central store. Members who engage in picket line or other strike duty will receive biweekly strike assistance payments from the union's Selective Strike fund, as well as health care benefits for members and their families for the duration of the strike. The union members, says UMWA International President Cecil Roberts, “are the reason Warrior Met exists today." As Warrior Met emerged from the bankruptcy proceedings of the former Walter Energy, which declared bankruptcy in 2016, the new agreement with the union was negotiated. “They made the sacrifices to bring this company out of the bankruptcy of Walter Energy in 2016,” Roberts said. “But today, instead of rewarding the sacrifices and work of the miners, Warrior Met is seeking even further sacrifices from them, while demonstrating perhaps some of the worst labor-management relations we’ve seen in this industry since the days of the company town and company store,” Roberts said. Attempts to contact Warrior Met Coal for a statement were unsuccessful for some time. Warrior Met's behaviour during talks has prompted the UMWA to file unfair labour practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
Azcon ............................................ 45 Barr Engineering............................ 28
The ANM rescue team responds to a mine emergency in the municipality of Neira, Caldas
he Mining Protection and Rescue Group, the official Fire Department, Civil Defense, and local authorities respond to an emergency at a gold mine in the El Bosque village of the municipality of Neira in Caldas, which appears to be working illegally. The ANM triggered the emergency care protocol, after receiving the news of 11 people missing in a 17-cubic-meter flood on March 26, dispatched 10 rescuers, an engineer, and a team mechanic from the Marmato Mining Safety and Rescue point to respond to the emergency. Upon arrival, a PMU was set up in the Irra district of the Quinchia municipality, with the participation of the Risaralda Police Chief, Riosucio Firefighters Commander, Irra Firefighters Commander, Civil Defense Commander, two local miners (relatives), an Engineer, and an equipment mechanic from GSSM-AMM. The rescue tasks in the mine were carried out on Friday night with the installation of electric pumps that enable the extraction of water, and the Caldas Hydroelectric Power Plant was asked to make the necessary changes to leave 220v Three-phase current to ensure a higher power of the pumping equipment. During a tour of the region, it was discovered that four mine mouths are flooded. The rescuers' surveillance and actions have been ongoing in the region. The ANM calls on the miners to take the safety protocols seriously and avoid such incidents.
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MARCH 2021 CRUDE STEEL PRODUCTION
orld crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (worldsteel) was 169.2 million tonnes (Mt) in March 2021, a 15.2% increase compared to March 2020. CRUDE STEEL PRODUCTION BY REGION
Global crude steel production was 486.9 Mt in the first three months of 2021, up by 10.0% compared to the same period in 2020. Asia and Oceania produced 356.9 Mt of crude steel in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 13.2% over the first quarter of 2020. The EU (27) produced 37.8 Mt of crude steel in the first quarter of 2021, up by 3.1% compared to the same quarter of 2020. North America’s crude steel production in the first three months of 2021 was 28.1 Mt, a decrease of 5.2% compared to the first quarter of 2020. The CIS produced 26.2 Mt of crude steel in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 3.1% over the first quarter of 2020.
TOP 10 STEEL-PRODUCING COUNTRIES
China produced 94.0 Mt in March 2021, up 19.1% on March 2020. India produced 10.0 Mt, up 23.9%. Japan produced 8.3 Mt, up 4.6%. The United States produced 7.1 Mt, up 1.0%. Russia is estimated to have produced 6.6 Mt, up 9.4%. South
Table 1. Crude steel production by region Mar 2021 (Mt) Africa Asia and Oceania CIS EU (27)
% change Mar 21/20
Table 2. Top 10 steel-producing countries
Jan-Mar 2021 (Mt)
% change Jan-Mar 21/20
Mar 2021 (Mt)
% change Mar 21/20
Jan-Mar 21 (Mt)
% change Jan-Mar 21/20
Total 64 countries
Korea produced 6.1 Mt, up 4.7%. Germany is estimated to have produced 3.6 Mt, up 10.4%. Turkey produced 3.4 Mt, up 9.2%. Brazil produced 2.8 Mt, up 4.1%. Iran is estimated to have produced 2.6 Mt, up 10.7%.
United States Russia South Korea Germany Turkey Brazil Iran
The 64 countries included in this table accounted for approximately 98% of total world crude steel production in 2020. Regions and countries covered by the table: Africa: Egypt, Libya, South Africa. Asia and Oceania: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan (China), Vietnam. CIS: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. European Union (27). Europe, Other: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Turkey, United Kingdom. Middle East: Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. North America: Canada, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, United States. South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
46 | SKILLINGS MINING REVIEW May 2021
CRUDE STEEL PRODUCTION DECEMBER 2020. Source – World Steel Association COUNTRY
1 550 e
United Arab Emirates
7.7 1 052 999
1 700 e
1 600 e
1 351 117
Greece Hungary Italy
110 e 90 1 500 e
Other E.U. (28) (e)
European Union (28) 11 757 Bosnia-Herzegovina
6 110 e
1 070 e
2 660 e
Pakistan Taiwan, China
Asia Australia New Zealand Oceania
Total 64 countries (1) 160 858
5.8 1 829 140
(1) - HADEED only. (2) - the 64 countries included in this table accounted for approximately 99% of total world crude steel production in 2019. e - estimated
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