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  • Andhra Pradesh concludes tortuous barite tender 22 May 2015

    The settling of contracts to mine and sell 400,000 tonnes Indian drilling grade barite has taken months of bitter wrangling between the APMDC and local barite companies, with two of the six qualified bidders failing to take part in the auction and a forced reduction in prices in order to get the process moving. Read More

  • Proppants exempt from sales taxes in Arkansas 22 May 2015

    The legal dispute between Weatherford and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration has led to an alteration of state law, which now exempts proppants users from paying sales taxes. Read More

  • Twin Eagle delivers first 130-car frac sand unit in Texas 22 May 2015

    Responding to calls from the frac sand industry for a smoother logistics operation, Twin Eagle now has four frac sand terminals located at the heart of US fracking destinations. Its latest delivery of 130 rail cars to Texas is one of the largest sent to the Eagle Ford formation. Read More

  • Eagle Materials increases revenue despite oil price decline 22 May 2015

    While Eagle Materials’ business was held up by a strong fiscal year for cement and gypsum markets, it also managed to significantly increase revenues in its proppants segment after growing its frac sand business and acquiring CRS Proppants. Read More

  • Sonora drill results indicate double lithium resource and expansion possibilities for Bacanora 22 May 2015

    Companies with stakes in the Mexican lithium project may need to court financing partners as drill results confirm that the lithium reserves are larger than expected. Read More

  • Complaints withdrawn as I-Minerals prepares to counterclaim 21 May 2015

    Legal proceedings appear to be winding down and in I-Minerals’ favour. A claim had originally surfaced that the company did not meet its payment obligations for the Helmer-Bovill quartz-feldspar-halloysite-kaolin deposit. The company is continuing to push the project forward despite the legal action siphoning away I-Minerals’ time and cash reserves. Read More

  • North Carolina ruling temporarily halts fracking approval 21 May 2015

    The North Carolina lawsuit prevents any fracking applications from being accepted or approved until an agreement is reached on the legality of the Mining and Energy Commission. Read More

  • Halliburton, BP, reach agreement over Deepwater Horizon disputes 21 May 2015

    After resolving remaining issues relating to Deepwater Horizon, Halliburton and BP are expected to negotiate new project agreements, which could in turn increase the demand for oilfield minerals. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 15 – 21 May 21 May 2015

    GrafTech to merge with Brookfield; Talga announces site for German graphene plant. Read More

  • Aggregates producer Athabasca hit by low oil prices in Q1 21 May 2015

    Although Athabasca is not yet active in the North American fracking industry, its key role as aggregates supplier to major oil sands customers means the company has failed to escape the effects of the oil price plummet in Q1 2015. Read More

  • Potash West commissions mini plant for low-cost lithium carbonate extraction 21 May 2015

    As demand for lithium is expected to grow, companies like Potash West and Cobre Montana are entering into collaborations with technology providers to improve their prospective capacities. Read More

  • New Nigeria port to boost dry bulk 21 May 2015

    The Lekki deep seaport project is set to be completed in 2019 and will be the largest port in Nigeria. With a 4m tpa dry bulk handling capacity the port could result in increased industrial imports to supply the oil and gas and cement industries. Read More

  • China tells WTO it has scrapped rare earths export restrictions 21 May 2015

    The world’s top rare earths producer has moved to assure the global trade regulator that it has complied fully with rulings handed down last year to liberalise trading of rare earths, however the US has expressed scepticism over whether the WTO demands have been implemented in the spirit in which they were intended. Read More

  • US Silica to lay off 30 staff at Sparta frac sand facility 20 May 2015

    Tough market conditions, brought on by the oil price decline, have caused US Silica to join the ranks of other oilfield minerals companies forced to make staff layoffs and production slowdowns. While the company hopes the decision will be temporary, many say an uptick is not likely before the end of 2015. Read More

  • SQM revenues drop 27.4% in fraught first quarter 20 May 2015

    It has been a deeply unpleasant quarter for SQM, encompassing the loss of CEO Patricio Contesse and an embarrassing tax probe. Understandably, the Q1 2015 performance of the Chilean lithium and fertilisers producer has suffered. However, ongoing demand for lithium and iodine should help the company to put its recent drama behind it and deliver better performance in the rest of the year. Read More

  • Victory Nickel posts Q1 loss; production still suspended 19 May 2015

    A lack of E&P activity in Canada owing to low oil prices and road bans preventing the transport of heavy equipment contributed to low demand for frac sand, resulting in a Q1 2015 loss for the producer. Victory Nickel hopes that its production halt, refinancing, cost cutting and sales from frac sand stockpiles will better position it to grow when the market rebounds. It is possible that an uptick might not happen until 2016. Read More

  • Pure Energy Minerals extends scope of POSCO MoU 19 May 2015

    Pure Energy Minerals' strong cash position means it has been taken seriously by industry heavyweights such as POSCO, who are keen to deploy their environmentally friendly technology into the much sought-after lithium space. Read More

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 12—19 May 19 May 2015

    Research into lithium battery technology is outpacing lithium production. Until more capacity comes on stream, the developments and innovations will remain in the laboratories. Read More

  • Asbury to require over 4,500 tpa graphite for US GNP facility by December 2016 19 May 2015

    Just over 4,500 tpa additional graphite supply will be needed by 2016 with the opening of Asbury’s new plant in North Carolina. The company will make a range of graphite nanoplatelet products at the site for nanometric conductive filler markets at the site. Read More

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 12 – 18 May 18 May 2015

    Stans announces new arbitration proceeding against Kyrgyzstan; Frontier releases positive PFS for Zandkopsdrift; SourcingLink finds rare earths mineralisation adjacent to Commerce’s Ashram project. Read More

  • China to produce 105,000 tonnes rare earths in 2015 15 May 2015

    Dominated by light rare earths, China has announced its production quotas for 2015. The majority has been assigned to China North Rare Earth Group, but, where unspecified, provincial governments may distribute their quota to companies by choice. Read More

  • Price Briefing 8 – 14 May 15 May 2015

    Bentonite balances while frac sand prices topple; India agrees to pay more for North American potash. Read More

  • Strict specifications: UK frac sand potential 15 May 2015

    The UK is actively looking at the potential production of shale gas and, as a result, the country’s extractive minerals industry is looking at the role it can play in providing minerals that could be used in hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Read More

  • EOG Resources faces opposition to Illinois frac sand facility 14 May 2015

    Despite receiving a green light from the town Mayor, EOG Resources is facing project opposition from Earlville residents, who are worried that its proposed frac sand facility could become health and safety hazard. Read More

  • Tantalus targets European market as it seals rare earths deal with ThyssenKrupp 14 May 2015

    The company’s CEO expressed excitement at sealing its second commercial rare earths agreement. This agreement news will help Tantalus to push ahead with its strategy to commence commercial production at its Madagascan TRE project in the second half of 2016. Read More

  • Sonora lithium doubles reserve estimate 14 May 2015

    The move by Rare Earths Minerals to increase its stake in Sonora lithium's operator Bacanora has proved wise, after the site has been found to contain double the amount of lithium previously thought. Read More

  • Low oil price topples frac sand values 13 May 2015

    Fire sales for ceramic proppants tempt frackers to grab bargains for better-performing materials. Read More

  • Fairmount Q1 income falls as demand for coated proppants slows 13 May 2015

    As activity in the oil and gas industry decelerates, exploration companies are opting for less expensive proppants such raw frac sand rather than ceramic or coated products. This was reflected in Fairmount Santrol’s sales, where sand volumes increased at the expense of coated proppants. The company however is continuing to invest in new products for the oil and gas industry to better protect it from the downturn, which is continuing for longer than anticipated. Read More

  • RB Energy bankrupt after zero offers for lithium and iodine operations 13 May 2015

    The market's lack of interest in RB Energy's lithium and iodine assets has forced the company into bankruptcy. Read More

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 5—12 May 12 May 2015

    Australian battery manufacturer Redflow has announced that it welcomes Tesla's home battery system. Other battery manufacturers will surely follow in reaching out publicly to Tesla. A recent study by consultancy Technavio has predicted that the all-electric vehicle market in Europe alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.2% in the next four years. Partnerships are one way to take advantage of this, as seen with Johnson Controls' product development partnership with fellow technology specialist the US' Lawrence Technological University this week. Read More

  • Bentonite prices expected to ride out oil price storm 12 May 2015

    Diversified end markets shield swelling clay from oilfield volatility, despite pressure for discounts. Read More

  • Qingdao Customs takes out $17.7m rare earths smuggling operation 11 May 2015

    Ending illegal mining and smuggling of rare earths has been a priority for the Chinese government in the sector since 2013. Operating at lower standards than corporate producers, the practice has been accused of causing significant environmental damage and has dented the profits of the industry by lowering prices. Read More

  • FMC Corp. suffers currency effects but optimistic on 2015 11 May 2015

    FMC Corp. found itself on the wrong side of the strengthened US dollar over Q1 2015. However, the business’ divestments and acquisitions from 2014 are expected to bolster its growth in the coming months, particularly as earnings from its acquired business Cheminova are amalgamated into the group’s total earnings. Read More

  • Rare Earths News in Brief 5 – 11 May 11 May 2015

    Ucore expands resource estimate in Alaska; Pele finds support from Canadian government tiers; Rare Earth Salts examines commercialisation opportunities. Read More

  • UK General election conservative victory to bolster energy and construction sectors 08 May 2015

    The markets have spoken, and the rally of the FTSE and the pound shows confidence in a UK Conservative government. Though many mineral companies operate outside the UK, meaning the impact on their businesses will be minimal, the win is expected to to have a positive effect on the energy and construction sectors and the minerals used to supply them. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 30 April – 7 May 2015 07 May 2015

    Valence Industries seeks to raise $75m; Kibaran and Syrah receive environmental approvals; Zenyatta yields high purity graphite from Albany; Eagle starts 2015 exploration programme. Read More

  • Molycorp net losses widen as production ramp up continues 07 May 2015

    Continued listing for Molycorp on the NYSE is looking increasingly unlikely, as the company’s net losses mount up. While it now has liabilities of $1.79bn, production and sales volumes continue to increase and the company’s creditors are sustaining both their industry caution and patience. Read More

  • Select Sands receives quarry permit for Sandtown frac sand project 07 May 2015

    After complying with local regulatory procedures, Select Sands has been granted a quarry permit for its frac sand project. It now hopes to advance the project towards a feasibility study. Read More

  • Hi-Crush Q1 2015 revenues up despite challenging market 06 May 2015

    Houston-based frac sand producer Hi-Crush Partners LP saw first quarter revenues increase by 45% to $102m, compared to $71m the previous year. This is good news for the company, which has been faced with difficult market conditions following low energy prices. Read More

  • GrafTech enters into investment agreement with Brookfield 06 May 2015

    Following negative Q1 2015 earnings, GrafTech has entered into an investment agreement with Brookfield, the proceeds of which will be used to repay GrafTech’s senior subordinated notes. Read More

  • Emerge Energy's Q1 profit drops as frac sand prices fall sharply 06 May 2015

    The silica sand producer saw revenue and income decline over the first quarter of 2015 as activity in the oil and gas industry remains subdued. Higher volumes sold during the period were not enough to offset dramatically reduced prices for frac sand and an underutilised rail fleet, forcing the company to take steps to reduce costs while demand for its products remains low. Read More

  • Grafoid acquires advanced technology company MuAnalysis 06 May 2015

    Having secured a C$8.1m grant to develop its trademark MesoGraf graphene process earlier this year, Grafoid has now announced its third advanced technology acquisition in 12 months. The company hopes this latest move will bring MesoGraf-based industrial materials and products one step closer to market. Read More

  • IM Lithium News In Brief 1-6 May 06 May 2015

    Li-ion battery manufacturers and distributors are continuing to partner up to pool their expertise, Boston Power and Darfon Electronics being an example this week, Electrovaya and Litarion another. Uncertainty still hangs over the future of Li-ion battery air transport, as aviation authorities find that fire from Li-ion batteries cannot be extinguished under existing systems. Read More

  • Weir Group partners with Rolls Royce to develop efficient fracking technology 06 May 2015

    Low oil and gas prices have forced cut backs on production and exploration, meaning that companies like Weir group, which supply technology to the oilfield market, have seen order intake fall. The development of more efficient fracking technology could help both oil and gas companies and technology providers to increase revenues. Read More

  • Coretrack commences commissioning of fly ash proppant plant 05 May 2015

    Despite the fact that low oil prices are reducing global demand for oilfield minerals, pioneering developer Coretrack remains on target to begin initial production of its fly ash-based proppants in Q2 2015. Once in production, the company hopes to lead the industry. Read More

  • Lithium Americas and POSCO ready to form JV on lithium production 05 May 2015

    Lithium Americas and POSCO are coming closer to commercialising lithium production from Argentina, providing the market with future supplies of lithium as the press becomes awash with news of lithium home batteries made from the material. Read More

  • Borates barriers: European regulations stifle supply 05 May 2015

    Eti Maden, the world’s largest producer of borates, has told IM that the struggle to overcome legislation and trade barriers in Europe is still a very real issue for critical raw materials suppliers. Read More

  • Tesla diversifies Li-ion battery production into home ESS 01 May 2015

    Entering the home battery market will introduce competition in the li-ion battery storage sector, driving down the cost of producing the technology and potentially expanding demand for battery grade lithium and graphite. Read More

  • Steady as a rock IM May 2015

    After a tumultuous year for the mining and minerals industry in 2014, early indications for the first quarter of this year are that the sector has entered a period of relative calm. Read More

  • Bentonite as a nuclear barrier IM May 2015

    Many countries have constructed facilities in stable, geological formations for the disposal of radioactive waste, while some are in various stages of considering this disposal method as an option. As Nagra in Sweden enters the key phase of its FE experiment, Kasia Patel, Deputy Editor, takes a closer look at the role of bentonite in nuclear disposal. Read More

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