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  • Heilongjiang offloads second tranche of state-owned graphite mines 17 April 2015

    The auction follows an earlier divestment of assets by the northeast Chinese province, as the Chinese government looks to increase competitiveness in the domestic mining sector. Read More

  • Abrupt fall in oil and gas activity forces Schlumberger to slash 11,000 jobs 17 April 2015

    Schlumberger, the world’s biggest oilfield service provider, is to reduce the number of its employees by an additional 11,000, shrinking its total workforce by 15% since 2014. Oil and gas E&P spending in North America is expected to fall 30% in 2015, leaving suppliers to the industry – including frac sand, barite and bentonite producers – with no choice but to make further cuts. Read More

  • Laixi graphite industry buckles under strictest Chinese water pollution law yet 17 April 2015

    New rules aimed at limiting pollution of public water courses by the graphite industry in Shandong could force the closure of a number of companies in Laixi city as the government moves to crack down on offenders. Read More

  • Cobre Montana produces battery grade lithium in Czech Republic 17 April 2015

    The production of battery grade lithium at the Czech Republic site has confirmed that Cobre Montana can move forward with commercial development of the project. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 10 – 16 April 16 April 2015

    StratMin ups monthly production while Eagle secures permit for Black Crystal project in BC. Read More

  • Chinese rare earths producers report first ever collective loss 16 April 2015

    Continued weakness in rare earths prices led to the Chinese industry reporting its first overall financial loss for the full year 2014. After showing signs of picking up from winter lows, prices now appear to be softening again. Read More

  • UKOG Horse Hill may not be such a good bet for oilfield minerals after all 16 April 2015

    The AIM-listed investment company has clarified its estimate of billions of barrels of onshore oil in Sussex’s Weald Basin, saying that the resource should not be considered as “either contingent or prospective” – a climb down which paints a less rosy picture for oilfield mineral demand in the UK. Read More

  • Bentonite prices remain flat despite oil market woes 15 April 2015

    Suppliers of drilling clay mineral stand firm over offers as buyers push for cheaper deals. Read More

  • Rainbow Rare Earths to offload entire production to ThyssenKrupp 15 April 2015

    The UK-based explorer has signed an offtake with a subsidiary of the German engineering group to supply 5,000 tpa rare earth oxides from its project in Burundi, which consists principally of lower value light rare earths. Read More

  • Siemens selects Molycorp as rare earths supplier for wind turbine magnets 15 April 2015

    In a welcome break from consistently poor earnings results and processing difficulties, Molycorp has signed a supply agreement with a large international conglomerate operating in the high-tech industries in which rare earths are heavily used. Read More

  • Uragold subsidiary signs MoU with Anzaplan to develop high purity quartz sands 15 April 2015

    The Canada-based junior says its new deal with Anzaplan represents a strategic step forward in its quartz strategy, as it claims that the material has become one of “today’s key strategic minerals” with applications in pharmaceutical, semiconductor and solar applications. Read More

  • Victory Nickel shuts Canadian frac sand plant just as full production reached 14 April 2015

    Following disappointing 2014 financial results posted at the start of April, Victory Nickel has announced the closure of its 7P frac sand plant in Alberta, which only reached nameplate capacity at the end of last year. Though it had predicted a market recovery a few weeks ago, the company today said that prices had reached levels which were no longer sustainable in the long term. Read More

  • Galaxy Resources left with A$50m following lithium plant sale 14 April 2015

    Galaxy Resources will have A$50m from the sale of its lithium plant to Tiangi Lithium Industries, which will help offset any operating losses occurring in its upcoming results.The company has been struggling with operating costs for a few years now and the sale is one of a number of routes Galaxy has pursued to generate extra cash flow. Read More

  • Saft lithium batteries to smooth out Faroe Island wind power issues 14 April 2015

    For the very first time, Li-ion batteries are being used in wind farm technology, with France-based Saft agreeing to provide a grid-regulating solution to the Faroe Islands. The energy storage capacity of a Li-ion battery can help iron out the fluctuations in wind power availability. Energy grids are traditionally used to coping with a steady supply of power, and not the peaks and troughs that come with a renewable energy source. Read More

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 8 – 13 April 2015 13 April 2015

    China North expands reach with New Damao stock acquisition; Montero reports encouraging results from bulk leach tests on Wigu Hill ore. Read More

  • China announces first rare earths production quotas for 2015 13 April 2015

    China’s MIIT is to allow increased output of rare earths from domestic producers this year as it forecasts a recovery in the sector. However, signs that major importers like Japan are looking to reduce their reliance on Chinese minerals may mean this move is over optimistic. Read More

  • Twin Eagle opens fourth US frac sand terminal 13 April 2015

    Twin Eagle, one of the largest independent US frac sand terminal developers, has opened its fourth strategically located frac sand terminal in the DJ Basin, Colorado. However, while the company maintains that proximity to the wellhead and a reliable service is important to its sand customers, other logistics networks in North America are struggling in the wake of a faster than anticipated drop in demand for the hauling of oil and gas extraction materials. Read More

  • REM's stake increase in Sonora symptomatic of consolidation trend 10 April 2015

    REM's move to up its stake increase in Bacanora Minerals is the latest example of consolidation in the lithiun sector, as would be producers position themselves for an anticipated boom in demand led by new energy technologies. Read More

  • Midden Mining discovers bentonite in South Africa’s Western Cape 10 April 2015

    The discovery of a rich bentonite resource near Mossel Bay coincides with an interest in shale gas exploration in the Karoo, a semi-desert region of South Africa, where any prospecting activity is likely to require significant volumes of the drilling mud. Read More

  • Price Briefing 3 – 9 April 10 April 2015

    Barite prices confirmed as flat despite Indian market ructions; rare earths broadly steady as dysprosium rises. Read More

  • UKOG Horse Hill tight oil discovery to be drilled not fracked 09 April 2015

    The identification of 158m barrels of oil per square mile in the south of the UK has raised eyebrows with the announcement that despite being a shale oil resrve, the discoverers UKOG believe it can be extracted using conventional drilling muds, rather than by fracking. Read More

  • Low opex sweetens light rare earths distribution for Rainbow 09 April 2015

    Rainbow Rare Earths has just received a $12m investment from Pala Investments, which it expects will enable it to bring the Gakara project in Burundi to full production. The low capital intensity project will not suffer from its light rare earths-dominated product basket, owing to an industry-leading grade figure and low opex costs, its managing director told IM. Read More

  • Lobbyists push to change the shape of Nevada mining 09 April 2015

    Although Nevada has far better environmental regulation than many parts of the world, it is still the most lax jurisdiction in North America. Changes to regulation for gold mining in the US state will also affect industrial minerals such as lithium and graphite, which are being developed for extraction in the state. Read More

  • Rare earths prices hold on as market confidence gains 09 April 2015

    A belief that demand and prices for rare earths used in magnets is turning positive is backed by flat and even slightly stronger prices for the minerals, which saw a steady decline throughout 2014. Read More

  • Low oil prices hurt US frac sand producers as more states sour on fracking 08 April 2015

    The plunge in the price of oil has hit demand for frac sand in the US, just as many companies approach record output in the wake of the North American fracking boom. Meanwhile, fracking has come under renewed criticism in Maryland and California, while ONSOL Energy and Halliburton are seeking to improve the industry’s image with new low-emissions technology. Read More

  • IM Lithium News in Brief 27 March – 8 April 08 April 2015

    Stanford puts forward aluminium battery as rival to Li-ion; Tesla proposes new Gigafactory in Japan; explorers move ahead with shareholder and community approcals. Read More

  • Indian barite prices steady as Andhra Pradesh tender stumbles 08 April 2015

    The APMDC tender to mine barite in the southwest Indian state has so far not received any bids, as local exporters complain that floor prices are too high and that the conditions of the tender are impractical. International market sources have however confirmed that prices are within published ranges. Read More

  • Chinese rare earths producers report steep fall in profits 07 April 2015

    Price falls throughout 2014 had a negative effect on Minmetals and China North, some of the largest producers of rare earths in China. Spring Festival effects on magnet exports were relatively limited this year, indicating that the a rare earths magnet industry renaissance may be starting to become reality. Read More

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 31 March – 7 April 07 April 2015

    GWMG and Frontier look to restructure in tough rare earths and financing climate; Kvanefjeld project permitting on the horizon; Rare Earth Salts loses out on city funding. Read More

  • No takers for RB Energy's lithium and iodine operations 07 April 2015

    The lack of buyers for RB Energy's lithium assets is more of a reflection of the status of the company's own assets and operations than of the lithium market as a whole, say analysts. Read More

  • IM Graphite News in Brief 27 March – 2 April 02 April 2015

    Magnis Resources signs binding term sheet with China National Materials Industry Import and Export Corp. for funding; Kibran Resources Ltd receives interest from a development finance institution in its Epanko graphite project. Read More

  • Tronox closes acquistion of soda ash business from FMC Corp. 02 April 2015

    The finalising of the sale means that Tronox will operate two vertically integrated businesses; one which focuses on TiO2 pigments and one on trona ore and natural soda ash. This will leave FMC able to fully focus on its lithium business under the name FMC Lithium. Read More

  • Triton secures $2bn offtake with China’s Yichang Xincheng Graphite Co. 01 April 2015

    Analysts have questioned the size of the deal and the minimum $1,000/tonne sale price, but Triton insists that its Chinese buyer is prepared to pay a premium for long-term supply of quality material and that it is confident in the expansion prospects of its new customer. Read More

  • Victory Nickel reports 2014 net loss following poor start to new frac sand plant 01 April 2015

    The company started production at its Canadian 7P Plant in August last year, which it now says was premature, resulting in lower sales and production. The situation has been aggravated by low oil prices and consequent low silica sand demand, as well as the spring break-up slowing activity. However, a number of factors are expected to push up demand for the mineral, leading to a frac sand recovery. Read More

  • Athabasca Minerals cost cutting boosts thirteen month 2014 sales 01 April 2015

    Athabasca Minerals appears to have successfully implemented cost cutting measures and improved its performance, but like-for-like figures will give a clearer picture of this. The group is refocusing itself on its Firebag Silica Sand project which will come into production in 2016. Read More

  • Triton hooks up with AMG for Ancuabe graphite exploration 31 March 2015

    The initial two-year agreement will see the ASX-listed junior and Germany-based carbon materials producer co-explore the past-producing graphite region in Northern Mozambique. The deal excludes Triton’s flagship Balama North project, however managing director Brad Boyle said that the arrangement could indirectly benefit the operation. Read More

  • Pele Mountain joins with Chinese rare earths processor to advance Eco Ridge 31 March 2015

    With processing technology fast becoming the most important consideration to rare earths investors, Pele has joined other companies in heading to the Chinese to acquire the critical and technically complex knowledge required for flowsheet design. Read More

  • FMC Lithium’s logistics disrupted by Argentina rainfall chaos 31 March 2015

    US-based FMC Corp. said that although deliveries to its Salar del Hombre Muerto brine production facility have been disrupted by 15 times the average rainfall in the region in the last week, lithium supply has not been dented. The news however highlights the vulnerability of South American brine operations to weather events. Read More

  • Galaxy Resources' lithium plant sale finally reaches closing stages 31 March 2015

    Galaxy is approaching the final hurdles in closing its Jiangsu lithium plant sale to Tianqui Lithium, which may spell the end of leasing agreements struck to give Galaxy some capital in the intervening period. Read More

  • Halliburton and Baker Hughes shareholders approve merger 30 March 2015

    The merger between Halliburton and Baker Hughes, which was announced in November last year, could be concluded before the end of 2015, creating a Houston-based oilfield services giant potentially rivalling market leader Schlumberger. At a time when low oil prices are dampening demand for oilfield services, a joint company could help to buoy product prices for oilfield minerals like barite and bentonite. Read More

  • Graphene light bulbs to go on sale in UK 30 March 2015

    Scarcely has Manchester's National Graphene Institute opened its doors and it already has partnerships with 35 companies looking to develop products off the back of its technology. Large scale production will be the challenge as graphene is difficult to mass produce, but affordable light bulbs are an encouraging step towards wider commercial uptake. Read More

  • IM Rare Earths News in Brief 24 – 30 March 30 March 2015

    Hastings and Commerce improve metallurgical testwork results; Montero refreshes licence for Tanzanian rare earths project; veracity of reports on North Korean rare earths deposit under question. Read More

  • Floods halt Chilean lithium, potash and iodine production 30 March 2015

    Freak rainfall has caused Chile's SQM, the world's largest producer of lithum, to suspend some of its Atacama desert salar plants as a precautionary measure. Other companies with assets in the region, such as Albermarle, may follow suit if weather conditions continue to hinder operations, while Argentinian lithium projects are also rumoured to have been affected. Read More

  • Baker Hughes and Halliburton shut down facilities ahead of merger meeting 27 March 2015

    Both companies announced that they would be implementing job cuts and facility shut downs as a result of lower activity in the oil and gas market. However, the oilfield service providers are set to meet today to vote on their proposed merger, which would create a business with greater market exposure the scope to be a competitor to industry leader, Schlumberger. Read More

  • Lithium’s ‘traditional’ markets and their price buffer role IM April 2015

    Attention to lithium’s traditional applications in ceramics and glass has been usurped by a focus on the energy storage market. However, non-energy storage uses like greases and ceramics continue to take up at least two thirds of worldwide lithium production. Josie Shillito examines how this may change as demand for lithium in energy storage grows. Read More

  • Recharging lithium supply IM April 2015

    With much of the lithium industry transfixed by demand projections based on new market growth, James Sean Dickson, Reporter, examines the ability of the existing lithium suppliers to meet these forecasts. Read More

  • REM: A song for Sonora IM April 2015

    UK AIM-listed Rare Earth Minerals Plc has taken Bacanora Minerals Ltd’s Sonora lithium project under its wing and is now singing, or rather shouting, from the top of the wall about the project’s credentials. Laura Syrett, Acting Editor, speaks to REM’s CEO, Kiran Morzaria, about his company’s ambitions for the Mexico-based deposit. Read More

  • Leaving lab status: Graphene’s various routes to industrial application IM April 2015

    The commercialisation of graphene is complicated by the many forms in which it can be obtained as well as its multifarious potential applications. Marko Spasenovic takes a look at the present state of the industry and assesses how the material is progressing from the research market to industrial products. Read More

  • The importance of Manchester’s “Graphene City” IM April 2015

    Graphene has continued to generate a buzz in both research and mining communities over the past year as companies search for that killer application that will bring the nano-material out of laboratories and into the commercial mainstream. Emma Hughes, Special Projects Editor, looks at how Manchester is leading the charge in the UK. Read More

  • Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre IM April 2015

    Manchester is looking to lead the UK in its efforts to keep up in the global graphene race. Read More

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