Can Finland and Sweden help decarbonize EU economies?
Demand for key metals is booming. Geopolitical realities and pandemic-related supply chain issues are increasing the pressure on EU countries to proceed with mining activities of their own to decarbonize their economies.
The European Union wants to decrease its dependency on Russian fossil fuels while accelerating its decarbonization effort. Metals and critical raw materials will play a pivotal role. Minerals, especially lithium, are most needed for clean-energy technologies. Relevant mining activities are concentrated in Asia, Oceania and South America.
Finland and Sweden, the two European countries currently applying for NATO membership, have a long mining tradition and could help solve the EU’s deficit, but question marks remain.
“We are the most important mining countries in the EU. Sweden alone produces over 90% of all the iron ore produced in the EU, Maria Suner, CEO of the Swedish Association of Mines, Mineral and Metal Producers (Svemin), told DW. However, that’s just a little over a quarter of what the bloc needs, meaning that the EU still has to import 70% of its iron ore, she added.
Finland and Sweden also share the mineral-rich Fennoscandian bedrock. According to Suner, the solid rock beneath the Scandinavian and Kola peninsulas has the potential to provide everything that’s on the EU list of critical raw materials.
The European Commission compiled a list of critical raw materials (CRMs) in 2011. Economic value and supply risk are the two criteria used to determine the importance of the materials. The list is getting longer.
Russia and supply security
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the major reason for Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership, and arguably, to step up mining in the medium term.
Svemin’s CEO says the focus on mining increased due to the COVID pandemic and ensuing supply chain disruptions, but more so after Russia invaded Ukraine. It has added to the increase in demand, pushing raw materials prices to a new high.
China is the top producer of graphite and rare earth materials. According to data from the International Energy Agency, it also refines 87% of the rare earths, 65% of cobalt, 58% of lithium, and 35% of nickel. Russia is the second-most-important country in the world for nickel extraction and the third-most-important for cobalt extraction.
“If there’s more support for mining activities in Europe, I don’t see that as a result of Russian hostilities. It’s more a question of whether Europe has woken up to the fact that it lacks metals,” Pekka Suomela, executive director of the Finnish Mining Association (FinnMin), told DW.
Land competition is always an issue in Nordic regions with a focus on forestry. Increased mining is opposed by many environmentalists citing the need to protect biodiversity.
In March, when the Swedish government allowed the exploitation of the Scandinavian country’s largest unexploited iron ore deposit, Swedish climate protection activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement said Sweden was “waging a war on nature.”
Finland, Norway, and Sweden are the least densely populated countries in Europe, which might theoretically be a plus for mining activities. Nonetheless, many scarcely populated areas are protected.
“Almost half of the Swedish territory is reindeer herding area for the Sami people, the only Indigenous people in Europe,” said Suner. “But the area needed for mining is very limited and we know how to minimize the impact.”
In the EU, it can take up to 25 years from the exploration phase to the start of commercial mining. Svemin has proposed 27 reforms, including shortening the permission procedures. Worries about the medium-term environmental impact often clash with long-term decarbonization efforts.
While EU member states are responsible for mining legislation, Brussels deals with aspects related to health, water and land usage.
The current geopolitical situation might increase social acceptance, but caution is needed. According to Suomela, the European Union must be careful not to put too much pressure on any single country to avoid local resistance that could easily shift public opinion.
Another possible future obstacle has to do with energy prices. They remain fairly moderate in northern Sweden and Finland, well below the levels reached in central Europe. But an increase in mining activities requires coherent investments in energy assets.
“The mineral and mining sector is planning for a tenfold increase in electricity use by 2050,” Suner commented. “Additionally, we have other projects for battery production and fossil-free steelmaking. Such projects are not covered by the electricity production we have in Sweden today.”
Estonia, another country bordering Russia, is active in the cleantech supply chain, hosting the only commercial rare earth processing facility in Europe. The facility is owned by Toronto-based rare earth materials technology company Neo Performance Materials. The company launched an initiative in 2020 to expand the supply of rare earth feedstock to their Sillamae processing facility near the Gulf of Finland.
Constantine Karayannopoulos, Neo’s president and CEO, told DW that the war in Ukraine caused refining companies to look more closely at their global supply chains. “Neo is no exception,” he explained, recalling that its supplier in Kola, the Russian peninsula, had been a reliable supplier for over 40 years.
“Geopolitical considerations are always a factor, but our primary driver remains customer demand,” said Karayannopoulos.
Right now, it looks like demand will increase. According to the European Association of Metals (Eurometaux), lithium usage in clean technologies could increase by a staggering 2,109% by 2050. Demand for dysprosium, tellurium and scandium is expected to more than double over the next 30 years, DW writes.
Outokump’s Kemi chrome mine in Finland targeting carbon neutrality by 2025
Outokumpu says it has established a roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality at its Kemi underground chrome mine in Finland by 2025. The roadmap includes several initiatives that will decrease the mine’s emissions towards zero. Carbon neutrality of the Kemi Mine is an important step in achieving Outokumpu’s ambitious science-based climate targets.
“To reach carbon neutrality, we have reviewed all emissions from the Kemi Mine and established a carbon neutrality roadmap to minimise emissions towards zero by 2025. Carbon neutrality of the Kemi Mine supports Outokumpu’s journey towards ambitious climate targets. We are proud that the Kemi Mine will be a forerunner on this journey,” says Martti Sassi, President, BA Ferrochrome, Outokumpu.
The three main factors to reach carbon neutrality at the Kemi Mine are the utilisation of carbon free electricity, using biofuels in transportation and machinery as well as replacing natural gas and propane gas with biogas in heating. Mining machinery electrification will also be extended to reduce the need for fuels.
Outokumpu’s Kemi Mine is the only mine in the EU to produce chrome which is an essential raw material in stainless steel production. Chrome from the Kemi Mine is transported to Outokumpu’s nearby ferrochrome plant in Tornio. The environmental impacts of the underground Kemi Mine are very limited due to the concentration process based on gravity separation without chemicals. Outokumpu announced its updated climate targets in December 2021. The targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative and are aligned with keeping global warming below 1.5°C, IM writes.
Mawson Gold has received key planning and regulatory decisions
Mawson Gold has received key planning and regulatory decisions related to its Rajapalot gold-cobalt project in the Lapland region of Finland.
“This is a watershed moment in Rajapalot’s journey from discovery to potential mine development,” said Mawson CEO Ivan Fairhall in a release. “On the ground, Mawson continues the important project definition work to support this transparent process to rezone the project area for mining.”
Certain parts of the Rajapalot property are covered by the European Union’s Natura 2000 network that is in place to conserve nature’s diversity across the continent.
“The overwhelming support for development of mineral deposits in Natura 2000, by the highest decision-making authority in Lapland, makes it crystal clear that Natura 2000 designation is not to be misconstrued as a constraint in the sustainable development of these strategically important assets,” Fairhall added.
Mawson acquired 100% of the Rajapalot project from Areva in 2010 for €1 million along with Areva’s other exploration properties in Finland. Gold and cobalt occur in two different host rocks, either iron-magnesium or potassic-iron types.
Inferred resources as calculated last August are 10.9 million tonnes grading 2.5 g/t gold and 443 ppm cobalt (3 g/t gold-equivalent). In terms of contained metals that is 887,284 oz. of gold and 4,836 tonnes of cobalt (1 million oz. gold-equivalent). The portion recoverable by open pit methods is 2.2 million tonnes grading 1.6 g/t gold and 396 ppm cobalt, and the underground portion is 8.7 million tonnes at 2.5 g/t gold and 443 ppm cobalt.
The most recent resource estimate has a 19% higher gold grade and 47% more contained ounces than the previous estimate released in September 2020.
The Rajapalot project includes eight distinct zones, and the growth potential remains strong, according to Mawson. Drilling has so far covered only 20% of the Rajapalot property, which itself is only 5% of the 100-sq.-km land package owned by Mawson in Finland.
Eurobattery Minerals has the option to acquire 100% of FinnCobalt Oy in a staged acquisition
FinnCobalt Oy has informed Eurobattery Minerals AB that it has joined BATTRACE, a Finnish research project focusing on traceability and sustainable processing of battery metals. Eurobattery Minerals has the option to acquire 100% of FinnCobalt Oy in a staged acquisition.
“Identification of the geographical origin of battery minerals, and the ability to track this along the value chain – from mine to battery cell – will create a competitive edge for future battery manufacturing. Joining this project will help our acquisition target FinnCobalt Oy and the Hautalampi mine project to participate in and monitor developments in this important area,” said Roberto García Martínez, CEO of Eurobattery Minerals.
FinnCobalt’s role in the project will be the delivery of nickel-cobalt concentrate material from the Hautalampi mine development project for further traceability studies. FinnCobalt has obtained this battery metals concentrate from its earlier extensive process development testing work, which was conducted by GTK Mintec and Outotec Oyj metallurgical laboratories, Finland.
The three-year BATTRACE project (sustainable processing and traceability of battery metals, minerals, and materials), run by research partners VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), focuses on the traceability of battery metals, minerals and materials, and the optimisation of production processes. The project involves several industry partners, of which FinnCobalt Oy is one.
The traceability of raw materials is becoming increasingly important as the raw materials produced by the mining industry are required to come from well-known and responsibly operated sources. At present, it is not clear to what extent different analytical methods could be used to verify the origin of the metals used in the production of batteries. Verification of the origin of metals is important in the sustainable production of batteries. Each ore deposit has its own fingerprint based on its mineralogical and geochemical composition. The BATTRACE project identifies this fingerprint and investigates its preservation along the value chain. Improving the sustainability of battery production also requires optimised production processes that recover metals from ores and process them into raw materials for responsible battery producers.
Aurion Resources Ltd. is a Canadian exploration company that has assembled a commanding land position in northern Finland
The company’s CEO Matti Talikka said the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt in northern Finland is “emerging into a major gold camp and Aurion is positioned to be at the core of this exciting development”
The company is focusing its efforts on its wholly-owned Risti and Launi projects, yielding multiple discoveries.
The company’s flagship Risti project covers 16,197-hectares in the prolific Central Lapland Greenstone Belt in northern Finland. In 2017, Aurion shot to prominence on the back of a massive boulder field discovery. The team has since traced the source of one group of the gold-splattered boulders back to an in-situ drill bit discovery at Aamurusko on its Risti property, including 789 grams per tonne (g/t) gold (Au) over 2.9 metres (m).
Shareholders who kept their faith were handsomely rewarded – the average Aurion stock price in 2017 was 45 times greater than in 2015.
In July 2021, Aurion reported promising drill results from its Aamurusko discovery at its Risti property. Gold was intersected in multiple lithological settings, expanding the gold mineralized footprint. The company recorded 29.06 g/t gold over 1.85m, which included 88.90 g/t gold over 0.40m. Significantly, to date 80% of all holes drilled at Aamurusko have intersected gold exceeding 1.0 g/t gold, with 51% of drill holes over 3.0 g/t gold, and 31% over 10.0 g/t gold.
Meanwhile, Aurion’s Launi property consists of two blocks – Launi East and Launi West. The property is just 10 kilometres (km) south of the Risti property. Over 2,300 samples have been collected from boulders and outcrops assaying up to 709 g/t Au with an average grade of 4.20 g/t Au at Launi East.
Aurion has drawn marquee partners and investors like B2Gold, Kinross Gold and Newmont Corporation, the world’s largest gold mining company.
Proactive sat down with Aurion CEO Matti Talikka to learn about the company’s ongoing drill and sampling program at Risti and Launi. A mining industry veteran, Talikka knows northern Finland like the back of his hand.
Proactive: Aurion entered Finland with the thesis that the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt in northern Finland is similar in geologic setting and prospectivity to the famed gold camps of Canada, Australia, Africa, and South America. Do you still have the conviction that Finland is a top jurisdiction for exploration?
Matti Talikka: Yes, absolutely! Finland, and particularly northern Finland offers all the ingredients for successful and sustainable exploration and mining.
The basis is the prospective geology as demonstrated by the existence of major mines such as Agnico Eagle’s Kittila gold mine and over 20 recent gold discoveries including the high-grade Aamurusko discovery by Aurion and the 4-million-ounce Ikkari discovery by Rupert Resources. The increasing frequency and quality – very low finding cost per ounce – of recent discoveries resembles the early stages of development of most of the great gold camps. Camps like Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Red Lake blossomed rapidly after their initial discoveries with multiple new deposits identified often within months of the first exploration success.
As a jurisdiction, Finland is among the best in the world with superb infrastructure, safe operational environment, and transparent permitting processes. We consider that the Central Lapland Greenstone Belt is emerging into a major gold camp and Aurion is positioned to be at the core of this exciting development.
Since Aurion acquires and evaluates mineral properties in Finland does it help that you previously worked for Dragon Mining and have strong exploration and project development experience in the country?
Our team combines the best local knowledge with world-class international knowledge including experience in orogenic gold exploration in Canada and Australia. I have spent more than a decade exploring in northern Finland, and actually was on the other side of the table when Aurion acquired their initial properties in Finland in 2014. I was invited to Aurion’s board in 2015 and commenced full-time as the CEO in November 2020. I believe my local knowledge and experience in geology, relationships with stakeholders and understanding of operational requirements is complementary to the broader experience on the Aurion team.
Please tell us about the multiple gold in-till anomalies that the exploration team recently identified from sampling at the Risti and Launi and what it means for Aurion.
In-till covered terrains, base of till sampling is one of the key exploration methods and has been successfully used in northern Finland in the discovery process of most deposits including Agnico’s Kittila mine, Anglo’s Sakatti and Rupert Resources’ Ikkari.
Aurion’s highly efficient prospecting team initially focused on areas with surface exposure and was very successful in discovering a number of gold mineralizations in outcrops and subcrops, which we are currently following up on with drill testing.
Early this year, we started to expand our regional exploration to till covered areas, which are considered prospective, but have never been explored. During the first half of 2021, we collected approximately 3,500 base of till samples. The results are very encouraging as we identified a large number of gold anomalies in previously untested areas. These results further support our belief that we have a very extensive system, with the potential to find gold in various geological settings including sediment-hosted gold mineralization like Aamurusko and mafic-ultramafic-hosted gold mineralization such as Kutuvuoma, Kaaresselka and Ikkari.
What are the growth catalysts for the company in the near-term?
We have three programs ongoing concurrently. Firstly, we are drilling at Aamurusko with an aim to expand the footprint of the mineralized zones. Secondly, we are drill testing selected regional targets identified via prospecting, geophysics and till sampling. Lastly, we will continue our regional base of till sampling program with an aim to define gold anomalous zones and further expand exploration into previously unexplored areas.
In addition, B2Gold, our joint venture (JV) partner on several properties, including Kutuvuoma and Sinermä, is planning to have an active second half of 2021.
Please elaborate on your joint venture with B2Gold and how you are advancing the Kutuvuoma and Sinermä prospects?
We are pleased to have B2Gold as a JV partner. The current focus of the exploration activities is in the Kutuvuoma-Ikkari corridor. The 4 million ounces (Moz) Ikkari discovery is located just a few hundred meters from the JV boundary, and it seems that the same geologic sequence that hosts the mineralization at Ikkari extends several kilometers into the JV area.
The exploration plans in the near future include a 5,000-meter diamond core drilling program, base of till sampling, trenching and geophysical surveys.
In 2017, Kinross Gold acquired an initial 9.9% position in Aurion, then Newmont inherited a 3.8% interest from Goldcorp. What does it say for Aurion that you are able to attract major gold companies and are you looking for more strategic investors?
I think the fact that majors such as Kinross and Newmont – in addition to our JV with B2Gold – are invested speaks volumes to the potential they see in Finland, and in particular, on our extensive land package. All the majors that invested had the opportunity to visit the properties to see the gold that we had sitting on-surface and all came away with the same comment “We’ve never seen anything like this in our career.” And this is coming from seasoned veterans who have looked at hundreds, if not thousands, of projects globally.
We are very sensitive to maintaining strong relationships with our current corporate investors. However, should there be interest from other parties, we would be open to discussions.
How much cash do you have on hand, and how long will it last?
As of June 30, 2021, we have approximately C$12 million in working capital, which will cover all planned activities through mid-2022.
Compared to high-grade, pre-resource peers, would you say Aurion trades at a discount?
I think a picture is worth a thousand words. As you can see in the graph below, we trade at a deep discount to our peers.
That wasn’t always the case. When we made the boulder discovery in 2017, we were market darlings, and would have traded at a significant premium to our pre-resource peers. However, we had challenges in performing exploration activities including drilling in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as we brought our Canadian staff and drillers home. Had we drilled our discovery hole – hole 42 with 789 g/t Au over 2.90m – in 2020, our valuation would likely look significantly different than it does now.
Therein lies the opportunity for investors. We have now been able to fully resume drilling and other exploration activities.
We believe that we have an opportunity to make multiple new discoveries within our vast land package as well as expand the already identified zones of gold mineralization at Aamurusko, and the market values new significant discoveries as we have seen in the successes of New Found Gold, Great Bear and Rupert Resources.
Finland: Sibanye Stillwater backed Keliber has reported a 32% boost in lithium reserves
The Finland-based company’s ore reserves have risen from 9.37 million tonnes to 12.3Mt at an average grade of 0.94% lithium oxide.
The reserve at its largest deposit, Rapassaari, has grown 55% from a 2019 estimate to 8.21Mt at 0.89% Li2O.
The company is aiming to start producing battery-grade lithium hydroxide in 2024, using its own ore.
CEO Hannu Hautala said the Rapasaari increase would extend Keliber’s planned mining operations by more than two years.
A 2019 study, improved in 2020, had estimated a 13-year operation based on the then-9.3Mt in reserves at several spodumene deposits, producing 15,000t of battery-grade lithium hydroxide annually from a plant to be built 50km from the mining area.
Keliber is aiming to publish an updated definitive feasibility study in early 2022.
“By continuing our exploration activities and systematic drilling programme, we will ensure Keliber’s position as a lithium hydroxide producer well into the future,” Hautala said yesterday.
Keliber had €18.1 million cash on hand at the end of June.
Sibanye-Stillwater announced a €30 million investment in February to take a 30% stake in Keliber, marking the South Africa-based miner’s first foray into the battery minerals sector.
It followed this with a deal in July to acquire a nickel processing plant in France for €65 million and today agreed to invest US$490 million for a 50% stake in ASX-listed ioneer’s flagship Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada.
Residents of Inari municipality, northern Finland, were taken by surprise this week
Residents of Inari municipality, northern Finland, were taken by surprise this week, when it was announced that Swedish mining company Arctic Minerals AB had left a reservation notification for large land areas in both Inari and Sodankylä municipalities. The reserved area spans over 3000 square kilometres, over reindeer herding areas and important lakes. This is part of a series of mining conflicts around Lapland – most recently in Enontekiö in Finland and ongoing issue with Nussir copper mine in Repparfjord in northern Norway.
Mining is one of the most conflicting issues in Lapland – on one hand there is a growing need to invest in renewable energies and move away from fossil fuels. On the other hand there is the importance of preserving the unique nature of the North.
The new reservation notification in Inari and Sodankylä does not yet allow the company to conduct any mineral prospecting, but it has already raised concerns in the community. Although mining can bring a lot of jobs to the area, municipal manager of Inari, Toni K Laine, does not see mining as an essential part of the Inari economy. “I find it hard to see how mining industries would fit in with our ‘mighty by nature’ brand or our brand that lies within experiences and nature”, he explains.
According to Laine, there are no plans from Inari municipality to support any mining plans. “Inari municipality does not consider this kind of mining to be favourable – instead, traditional gold digging is positive,” Laine explains, meaning traditional gold digging by hand, which he sees as a part of Inari’s culture and history. “The council has had a clear idea that there will be no mines in Inari”, he continues. Laine explains that the risks in Inari municipality are related to the bodies of water in Inari, as well as land use and culture. Laine goes on to explain that Inari has some of the cleanest natural waters in the world as well as large areas of nature reserves that mining is a threat to. “We also work in the Sámi area where the culture and livelihoods such as hunting, fishing, gathering and reindeer husbandry is important to everyone”, Laine explains.
Jari Natunen, mining specialist for the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, shares the concern for Finnish waters. According to Natunen, the sizes of mines have increased in the recent years and so have their negative effects: “If previously a small lake or pond was ruined, now the problems are tens or thousands of times bigger, which means that they can ruin large lakes and bodies of water”, Natunen explains. According to Natunen, the current systems that are in place to prevent these issues will work for a maximum of 300 years – after that, all of the problems are let loose.
And this is no small problem – Natunen explains that one million kilos of nickel, which is used in the batteries of electric cars, produces 50 million kilos of dangerous mining waste. “It is a ticking time bomb that mines are creating — and dismantling that bomb would cost billions and would make mining unprofitable”, he says. In addition, Natunen explains that the officials do not understand the sensitive nature of reindeer husbandry or the local nature.
Natunen himself believes that the public outcry seen in Enontekiö in the last year has likely done the trick and it is highly likely there will not be a mine there in the future. Furthermore, Laine explains that it is currently almost impossible to set up mines in municipalities where there is no support from the local council or the local people. “I am not aware of any mining projects in Finland where the municipality would not have stood behind the project”, Laine explains. ‘Setting up a mine and running it relies heavily on the support of the local community”, he continues.
Laine mentions that he is especially waiting for the changes to Finnish mining laws – a reform to the Mining Act is underway and would give the municipalities more control over their land use, better the level of nature protection as well as bettering the prerequisite for operation for mining companies. The previous law is from 2011 and the new reform was fueled by a citizen’s initiative that gathered 58 000 signatures. “The new reform promises municipalities a stronger role in enabling or prohibiting mining,” Laine explains. “I see mines as any other large-scale issues with land use and these should be decided on in the municipalities, since this is where the effects are seen”, he continues.
Laine says that he has not heard of any larger movements that would be in favour of mining projects in the municipality. The local culture and nature is important to everyone in the municipality; “I think that the local community weighs in the pros and cons, what economical benefits there could be and what are the risks”, Laine says. “I think this is created through political and democratic dialogue and the conversation needs to look at all of the perspectives”, he continues. Laine goes on to explain that he is not against all mining, but thinks that there is no place for one in Inari.
Laine does recognise the so-called ‘not in my backyard’ (often shortened as NIMBY) phenomena where residents of an area oppose any development in their area, often characterised by the fact that opposers would not be against the idea if it was taking place further away from them.
“The world and industries require metals and we all use gadgets that require these, but in Inari we have analysed the risks,” Laine says, pointing out the importance of the pristine nature and waters in the area. Mining specialist Natunen claims that the cost of the metals is being partly paid by the residents of Lapland and the northern nature. He illustrates this issue and explains that if every person in Finland would receive an even amount of the annual mining waste from one of the biggest mines in Finland, Talvivaara, that would mean approximately 10 tons of waste to every person’s backyard. In thirty years, that would be 300 tons of waste per person. “People should have information on what the effects actually are,” Natunen says.
When it comes to the recently announced mining exploration reservation notification, municipal manager Laine was also surprised by this announcement and understands the concerns of the community. “I do not see any cause for worry as of yet,” he explains. Laine is hopeful that by the time any causes for concern would materialise, the new mining laws would be in place. “This kind of mineral exploration in such early stages mean they are just reserving large land areas so that no competitors have access to them,” Laine explains. The journey from exploration to mineral prospecting and further to an actual mine is very long. “I think it is most important now that we can move forward with the Mining Act reform — and local communities would have a chance to decide if they want mines in their areas or not”, he concludes.
“Perhaps in the future there is a way to mine minerals so that it will not leave any kind of marks on the land or reflect on nature”, Laine ponders. “Maybe it is better to leave the minerals to the ground until then”.
Source: The Barents Observer
Bluejay Mining’s drill targets on the Outokumpu Belt in Finland
Bluejay Mining said it had identified five initial drill targets on the Outokumpu Belt in Finland following re-evaluation of all available data.
The first stage of the drilling programme would focus on the Haapovaara target, located north of the historical Kylylahti mine, where 1,500 metres of drilling is planned, and the Haaponiemi target, a deep target with a planned drilling programme of 2,500 metres.
The company said it is in early discussions with various parties interested in partnering on this project.
‘The metal basket the Outokumpu Belt provides means it is a compelling exploration target in the context of increasing demand for base metals related to the battery industrial ecosystems, electrification and the green transition,’ it added.
Latitude 66 Cobalt finds fourth largest European cobalt deposit in Finland
In the eastern part of Lapland in Finland, Australian-Finnish mining company Latitude 66 Cobalt has found the fourth-largest cobalt deposit in Europe, with the highest cobalt density in the EU, the company announced.
The new discovery strengthens the position of Scandinavia as a raw material producer. Out of the twenty largest cobalt deposits in Europe, fourteen are situated in Finland, five in Sweden, and one in Spain. Finland is the biggest producer of battery metals and chemicals in Europe.
Cobalt is a vital ingredient in mobile phones, computers, and is used even for guitar strings. The demand is growing exponentially, especially due to batteries used in electric cars, which contain 36 kilos of nickel, seven kilos of lithium, and 12 kilos of cobalt. According to EU Commission estimates, the battery market in Europe this decade will be worth about €250 billion. Currently, most batteries are produced in Asia. The Commission has encouraged European battery production and there are plenty of on-going ventures. Likewise, the EU has emphasised the use of raw materials produced in a sustainable way, a strategy that Latitude 66 Cobalt markets itself on.
“We have had opportunities to invest in the African mining industry. That’s something we haven’t been willing to do. For example, I don’t believe big car manufacturers are in no way content with the current situation,” said company board member Russell Delroy in a statement.
Beowulf MoU with Epsilon Advanced on graphite processing in Finland
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between exploration and development company Beowulf Mining with Epsilon Advanced Materials Private, a subsidiary of Epsilon Carbon, to develop a concept for a strategic processing hub of natural flake and recycled graphite in Finland.
The MoU will enable Beowulf’s subsidiary, Fennoscandian Resources, to build its downstream capability, collaborating with a strong technology/processing partner.
“MoU is part of our acceleration plan for Fennoscandian, as the company fulfills its role as a potential future supplier of the raw materials, that Finland and Europe need for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries,” said CEO Kurt Budge.
Fennoscandian is pursuing a strategy to develop a production base of natural flake graphite that can provide ‘security of supply’ and enable Finland to achieve its ambition of self-sufficiency in battery manufacturing.
The company is a recipient of Business Finland funding, which is supporting Fennoscandian to move downstream, and develop its knowledge in processing and manufacturing value-added graphite products.
Fennoscandian is developing the Aitolampi graphite asset, which has a contained graphite resource of 1.28-million tonnes, possessing almost perfect crystallinity, an important prerequisite for high tech applications, such as lithium-ion batteries.