Ellie Saklatvala, Senior Editor — Nonferrous Metals, provides a bitesize overview of the key price movements that happened in Q1 and how supply and demand fundamentals are shaping up as we move through Q2.

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Rare earths
12/07/24

Germany's Aurubis copper smelter back from maintenance

Germany's Aurubis copper smelter back from maintenance

London, 12 July (Argus) — Germany's Aurubis today announced that its Hamburg copper smelter returned to service on 11 July from the largest maintenance shutdown in the company's history that began 7 May. A restart is now under way following the €95mn 60-day maintenance that included an overhaul of the flash smelter, installation of heat exchangers in the contact acid plant, as well as the installation of a tap hold drill and tamping machine for improved safety of copper slag tapping. Hydrogen-ready anode furnaces were also installed as measures to improve sustainability. Investments in automation are set to improve efficiency and extend the frequency of planned maintenance rounds to three years from two. The Hamburg smelter's outage has exacerbated sulphuric acid tightness in Europe , and the operational restart is expected to provide some relief to the market. This comes in addition to the lack of availability of molten sulphur in the region, leading to shortages of sulphur burnt acid , which has prompted some consumers to replace burnt acid with smelter acid, lifting demand. Aurubis produced 1.19mn t of sulphuric acid during the first six months of the 2023-24 financial year (October-March), up by 1pc on the same period a year earlier. Output at Aurubis' Hamburg smelter rose by 11pc to 512,000t in the period, while output from the Pirdop smelter saw a 6pc decline on the period to 679,000t . For the first three months of the year, Aurubis produced 598,000t of acid, unchanged from the same quarter of 2022-23, as increased output at its Hamburg smelter offset a decline from Bulgaria's Pirdop plant. Production at Hamburg totalled 258,000t from January-March. By Maria Mosquera Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Rare earths

Australia’s BHP to import sulphuric acid for Lynas


12/07/24
Rare earths
12/07/24

Australia’s BHP to import sulphuric acid for Lynas

Singapore, 12 July (Argus) — Australian resources firm BHP has "affirmed its commitment to using reasonable efforts" to supply imported acid to Australia-listed mining company Lynas Rare Earths, Lynas said today. This comes after BHP announced a temporary suspension of its Western Australia nickel business from October, citing bearish expectations against nickel prices. Lynas has a supply contract with BHP Nickel West for the provision of sulphuric acid from the Kalgoorlie nickel smelter or imported sources to its Kalgoorlie rare earths processing facility, with the initial term until 30 June 2027. By Deon Ngee Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Rare earths

Australia’s QPM gets $5.4mn for battery chemical hub


11/07/24
Rare earths
11/07/24

Australia’s QPM gets $5.4mn for battery chemical hub

Singapore, 11 July (Argus) — The Australian federal government has awarded an A$8mn ($5.41mn) grant to the country's battery materials developer Queensland Pacific Metals (QPM) for its Townsville Energy Chemicals Hub (Tech) project, which produces chemicals for lithium-ion batteries. The grant, awarded under the International Partnerships in Critical Minerals programme, is subject to matched funding and an agreed project scope. QPM said the matched funding would be sourced independently, without affecting its gas and energy business, adding that discussions to secure the funds are ongoing. The grant would be used for the commercial validation of the Tech project to produce nickel and cobalt sulphates, as well as other valuable co-products. QPM has been seeking independent funding for the progress of the project. The validation stage includes testing work, piloting, and engineering to produce a bankable feasible study. The project aims to produce around 16,000 t/yr of nickel sulphate and 1,750 t/yr of cobalt sulphate for the electric vehicle and energy storage battery market. The funding for Tech was reduced in February , given a "challenging investment environment," owing to a downtrend in nickel and lithium prices. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Rare earths

India’s Attero to expand lithium-ion recycling capacity


11/07/24
Rare earths
11/07/24

India’s Attero to expand lithium-ion recycling capacity

Mumbai, 11 July (Argus) — India's Attero Recycling plans to increase its lithium-ion (Li-ion) recycling capacity to 200,000 t/yr in the next 2½ years, and to 300,000 t/yr in the next five years. The firm currently can recycle 15,000 t/yr of Li-ion batteries and about 144,000 t/yr of electronic waste (e-waste) at its plant in Roorkee city, Uttarakhand state, Attero's chief executive Nitin Gupta told Argus . The firm plans to further expand Li-ion battery and e-waste recycling capacity to 300,000 t/yr and 1mn t/yr in the next five years. Attero is currently finalising the location for its 100,000 t/yr Li-ion recycling plant in Andhra Pradesh state, which is expected to begin commercial production within the next 14 months. The firm also plans to set up a 100,000 t/yr Li-ion recycling plant in Poland, which is expected to be commissioned in the next 12 months. There is also a plan to establish a 100,000t/yr Li-ion battery recycling plant in the US, once the Indian and Polish plants are commissioned. Attero has 46 global patents on NASA-approved recycling technologies in India. It can extract metals and minerals from all types of end-of-life Li-ion batteries of various chemistries such as nickel-manganese-cobalt, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium-ion manganese oxide, lithium titanate and lithium iron phosphate. The firm's extraction efficiency of pure battery grade cobalt, lithium carbonate, graphite, nickel and manganese dioxide are around 98pc for pure battery grade material, as compared to the global average of 75pc, Gupta said. Most firms are not recycling LFP batteries, as most technologies are focused on extraction of nickel and cobalt, according to Gupta. The firm has secured sourcing agreements that are sufficient for its next two years of consumption, Grupta added. Attero is also considering filing an initial public offering in the Indian market within the next 24-36 months. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Rare earths

BP to expand EV charging to US malls


10/07/24
Rare earths
10/07/24

BP to expand EV charging to US malls

Houston, 10 July (Argus) — BP has agreed to install its electric vehicle (EV) charging gigahubs at 75 Simon Property Group sites across the US. The deal will create more than 900 charging bays that can "support nearly every make and model of EVs on the market today" at Simon properties, which are primarily shopping malls. The first gigahubs, which will be installed by the company's BP Pulse subsidiary, are expected to open in early 2026. BP Pulse's EV charging network includes 39,000 bays across the US, UK, Germany and China, and the company aims to surpass 100,000 globally by 2030. BP plans to invest $1bn into domestic EV charging infrastructure by the end of the decade, as well. The agreement with Simon follows BP's 2023 deal with car rental agency Hertz to add gigahubs and charging bays in "high-demand locations" of major cities in the US. By Alex Nicoll Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.