Santacruz Silver reports rise in production in Q3-2020

Santacruz Silver Mining (TSXV: SCZ) announced that, as its operations have returned to normal, it has seen a rise in production with Q3-2020 reaching 977,679 silver equivalent ounces.

The figure implies a 38% increase from the previous quarter’s output, which was affected by the decision of Mexico’s Ministry of Health to suspend non-essential businesses for 42 days, in response to the global pandemic. 

According to Santacruz, following the resumption of activities, AgEq production at its Zimapan mine in the eastern Hidalgo state increased by 44% compared to Q2-2020 and 52% compared to Q3-2019. 

On the other hand, AgEq production at the Rosario mine in the north-central state of San Luis Potosí decreased by 20% compared to Q2-2020 and 57% compared to Q3-2019.

Despite the lower production at Rosario, the miner said that consolidated AgEq production continues to improve quarter over quarter

Despite the lower production at Rosario, the miner said that consolidated AgEq production continues to improve quarter over quarter and clarified that Q3-2019 results included only 50% of Zimapan and 100% of Veta Grande production, whereas Q3-2020 results reflect 100% of Zimapan and the discontinuance of operations at Veta Grande, whose Q3-2019 production was 214,284 AgEq oz.

“During Q2-2020, when operations were suspended due to the Mexican Ministry of Health’s federal decree, we took the opportunity to make certain structural and management adjustments,” Carlos Silva, Santacruz Silver’s CEO, said in a media statement. “As demonstrated by our third-quarter results, these adjustments positioned us for improved performance. With the closing of our recent private placement, we added seven new scooptrams (five at Zimapan mine and two at Rosario mine), which will allow us to further increase production at the Zimapan mine and move the Rosario mine towards budgeted production.”

Silva said that after taking all the 2020 challenges into consideration and evaluating precious metals prices, management believes Q4-2020 will be a turning point in the success of Santacruz.

“We are very excited about the future of the company as we continue to execute our production plans aiming for solid production results for Q4, and a strong start to 2021,” the executive said.

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Young Mining Professionals announces 2020 scholarship winners

Young Mining Professionals (YMP) has announced its 2020 scholarship recipients. A total of C$61,500 in scholarships has been awarded to students studying mining-related programs in Canada.

“The scholarships are not only supporting the students but also helping to address the talent gap in the mining industry,” Stephen Stewart, director of YMP Toronto and president and chief executive of Orefinders Resources (TSXV: ORX), said in an interview.

This year, there are two categories of winners. The first category consists of the traditional scholarships, which range from $1,000 to $10,000. The second category, which is new this year, is the lottery scholarship program that consists of 33 awards of $500 each. The new mining lottery scholarship program is intended to cast a wider net, Stewart said, and make a bigger impact by giving smaller financial amounts to as many students as possible.

“The larger scholarships were based on merit,” Stewart explained, “whereas to be eligible for the lottery, all the applicants had to do was to prove that they were pursuing a geology program, and then it came down to the luck of the draw.”

The new lottery awards were funded by contributions from several companies, including Iamgold (TSX: IMG; NYSE: IAG), Orefinders Resources, Mistango River Resources (CSE: MIS), and Osisko Mining (TSX: OSK).

This year’s scholarships were funded by Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD), Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM), TD Bank, Kinross Gold (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC), Iamgold, Mistango River Resources, Champion Iron (TSX: CIA; ASX: CIA), Osisko Mining, Yamana Gold (TSX: YRI; NYSE: AUY), and Orefinders Resources.

Scholarship winners

Name: Morgan Weller

School: University of British Columbia

Program: Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering

Graduation year: 2021

Prize amount: $10,000

Scholarship name: Peter Munk Scholarship

Sponsor: Barrick Gold

Name: Lerena Ashevak

School: Acadia University

Program: Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences

Graduation year: 2025

Prize amount: $10,000

Scholarship name: Perseverance/Kajussissimainarniq Scholarship

Sponsor: Agnico Eagle Mines

Name: Angus McInnes

School: Queen’s University

Program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Mining Engineering

Graduation year: 2022

Prize amount: $5,000

Scholarship name: TD Mining Capital Markets Scholarship

Sponsor: TD Securities

Name: John Byng

School: University of Calgary

Program: Bachelor of Science in Geology

Graduation year: 2021

Prize amount: $4,000

Scholarship name: Yamana Student in Mining Scholarship

Sponsor: Yamana Gold

Name: Rim Kouider

School: McGill University

Program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Mining Engineering

Graduation year: 2021

Prize amount: $2,500

Scholarship name: Kinross Student in Mining Scholarship

Name: Emika Morris

School: Queen’s University

Program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Mining Engineering

Graduation year: 2022

Prize amount: $2,500

Scholarship name: Kinross Student in Mining Scholarship

Name: Connor Hameliy

School: Queen’s University

Program: Bachelor of Applied Science in Mining Engineering

Graduation year: 2021

Prize amount: $2,500

Scholarship name: Kinross Student in Mining Scholarship

Sponsor: Kinross Gold

Name: Pedro Pablo Vasquez

School: Laurentian University

Program: Doctoral student in Natural Resources Engineering

Graduation year: 2021

Prize amount: $1,000

Scholarship name: Yamana Student in Mining Scholarship

Sponsor: Yamana Gold Print

(This article first appeared in The Northern Miner)

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Barrick’s Loulo-Gounkoto on track to meet 2020 guidance

Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX; NYSE: GOLD) announced that its 80%-owned Loulo-Gounkoto complex remains on track to meet the upper end of its 2020 guidance, set at 540,000 ounces of gold, despite having faced multiple challenges including the covid-19 pandemic and a military coup in Mali.

According to Barrick’s president and chief executive Mark Bristow, this performance can be attributed to the company’s long-established relationships with partners in Mali.

In 2019, Loulo-Gounkoto exceeded its own guidance after having produced 714,802 ounces of gold

“We’ve always had great confidence in Mali and its people, hence our continuing commitment to the country. It’s gratifying to note that Mali is dealing with its political challenges and has already returned to a civilian-led transitional government. We look forward to being part of its future,” Bristow said in a media statement.

The executive also pointed out that over the past 24 years, Barrick and its legacy company Randgold Resources have contributed $7.4 billion to the Malian economy in the form of taxes, royalties, salaries and payments to local suppliers.

Loulo-Gounkoto, the giant’s most recent venture in the country, has spent $275 million with local contractors and suppliers.

The complex has also paid dividends totalling $160 million in the year to date with Loulo paying a maiden dividend in the quarter on the back of the mine’s convention amendment.

Barrick’s CEO also highlighted the fact that the development of a third underground mine at Gounkoto is on track to deliver its first ore tonnes in the second quarter of 2021.

Comprising two distinct mining permits, the Loulo-Gounkoto complex is situated in western Mali, bordering Senegal.

Back in 2019, the operation exceeded its own guidance after having produced 714,802 ounces of gold. 

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Teck profit drops by almost 67% on weak coal prices

Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.A | TECK.B)(NYSE:TCK), Canada’s largest diversified miner, saw third-quarter adjusted profit fall by 66.6% as steelmaking coal prices collapsed in the period and covid-19-related restrictions continued to hit the commodities market.

The Vancouver-based miner said coking coal’s sale price decreased 34.6% to $102 per tonne in the third quarter, while sales stood at 5.1 million tonnes compared with 6.1 million tonnes a year earlier.

Teck expects coking coal prices to fall further, with site cash cost of sales ending the year below $60 per tonne.

The cost of coal as it leaves the mine, excluding depreciation, amortization and other factor, fell to $67 per tonne in the July-September quarter.

Adjusted site cash cost of sales are expected to fall even further over the remainder of 2020, Teck said, adding it anticipated the commodity would end the year below $60 per tonne.

The covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the commodities market in different fronts. Companies have been affected by isolated outbreaks, government-mandated shutdowns and lower demand for many commodities, which has forced them to shut mines and cut production.

Teck said that all of its mines had recovered from pandemic-triggered production disruptions. Labour intensive activities such as maintenance, mine operations and projects, however, continue to be impacted by ongoing safety protocols, the miner said.

Quebrada Blanca impact

Teck expensed $130 million in costs in the past quarter related to the temporary suspension in March of its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) expansion project in Chile.

The company estimates the impact from the suspension, including expensed costs, will be between $350 and $400 million (excluding interest), with a schedule delay of five to six months.

The miner is also investing a further $45 million in additional camp space that would have not been needed without the coronavirus pandemic.

Teck noted construction work at the copper mine was being ramped up and that it expects the project to be about 40% complete by year-end as activities remain partially on hold to limit the transmission of covid-19.

First production at QB2 is now expected in the second half of 2022, depending on the company’s continued ability to successfully manage through virus outbreaks going forward, it said.

The miner also noted that copper sales in the quarter fell to 69,000 tonnes from 75,000 tonnes.

Based on changes at its Highland Valley Copper, in south-central British Columbia, Teck has cut its forecast for copper production for the second half of the year by 5,000 tonnes.

The company now expects copper output in the period to be between 140,000 tonnes and 155,000 tonnes.

Shares in Teck Resources nosedived in early trading in New York. They were trading 6.6% lower to $12.47 by 9:40 am ET.

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50,000 more mining and gas jobs steer Queensland towards recovery

The number of jobs supported by the resources industry in Queensland, Australia has now reached 420,000, following the release of new data showing an extra 50,000 jobs have been created by the sector in the past financial year.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has released industry figures confirming mining, gas and energy companies added a record A$82.6 billion to the state economy in 2019-20, representing a A$5 billion increase on the year before.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest data shows one in every five dollars in the state economy and one in six jobs are due to the Qld mining and gas industry.

Source: Queensland Resources Council

“The overall number of jobs supported by resources in Queensland has risen by 13% since June last year, increasing from 372,000 to 420,000-plus people now working across our sector,” he said.

“Of these, 52,676 people are directly employed in resources and a further 367,493 jobs are supported by the sector, which emphasises the significant flow-on benefits to the wider community from having a strong resources industry in Queensland.

“This is more important than ever as Queensland businesses continue to battle the headwinds of covid,” Macfarlane added.

The latest QRC figures show Brisbane has maintained its position as Queensland’s largest mining town

The number of Queensland businesses directly supported by mining, gas and energy companies rose by 5% since June last year from 14,400 to reach 15,199, with companies reporting a 19% increase in spending during this period.

The latest QRC figures show Brisbane has maintained its position as Queensland’s largest mining town with McConnel, Clayfield, Cooper and South Brisbane being in the top 10 electorates to benefit economically from the resources industry.

The top 10 Queensland electorates ranked in order of economic contribution are McConnel, Mackay, Burdekin, Gladstone, Gregory, Whitsunday, Clayfield, Cooper, Mirani and South Brisbane.

Collectively these 10 seats contribute A$46.3 billion to the Queensland economy and support the jobs of nearly 244,000 Queenslanders.

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China’s new infrastructure plan to boost metal demand – report

China’s acceleration of its ‘new infrastructure’ plan will support the government’s beneficiation ambition in the metals industry, boosting production of high-end metals as opposed to primary metals, industry analyst Fitch Solutions finds in its latest report.

Despite this being a long-held strategy as part of the Chinese government’s shift away from export-oriented growth and the pivot towards domestic consumption, the focus on high-tech infrastructure has been more concerted in 2020 following a slowdown in economic activity arising from the covid-19 pandemic as well as heightened tensions between the US and China, the report reads.

Fitch predicts this new infrastructure plan work in tandem with China’s other industrial policies such as Made in China 2025 and China Standards 2035 Plan – which together signal China’s ambitious long-term strategy of becoming the global leader in high-tech and innovative industries of the future.

New infrastructure projects including 5G networks, data centres and artificial intelligence systems, together with transport and energy infrastructure, namely ultra-high-voltage (UHV) technology, charging stations and high-speed rail, require a substantial amount of metals in their construction, especially lighter and more advanced metals, Fitch reports.

Fitch predicts this new infrastructure plan work in tandem with China’s other industrial policies – which signal China’s ambitious long-term strategy of becoming the global leader in high- tech and innovative industries of the future

Fitch believes that Chinese domestic demand for high-end copper, aluminium and steel will face a strong boost from 2020 onwards, along with the government’s existing ambition to move up the metals production value chain and strengthen the market share of metal state-owned enterprises (SOEs) who have the technical know- how to produce these higher-end products as compared with smaller private players.

The technical expertise and financial abilities of large metal SOEs will ensure that they emerge as the biggest beneficiaries of this move up the value chain, Fitch asserts.

Fitch anticipates that new infrastructure projects in China would require close to 1mnt of high-end aluminium and 32mnt of specialty steel in 2020 alone, accounting for 3% of domestic demand for both metals.

This figure will rise in 2021 and 2022 as more projects are under construction. UHV power cables will be the key driver of demand for these metals, followed by urban mass transit and high-speed rail, and 5G network base stations.

According to the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute, a government think tank, specialty steel includes products with other metal content and a different proportion of carbon that requires additional smelting and processing and has higher physical performance than normal steel products such as rebar used in construction.

Fitch believes that Chinese metal SOEs will benefit significantly from the acceleration of the new infrastructure plan as these larger players with financial buffers have the technical know-how to produce higher-end metals (or the ability to engage in partnerships with foreign companies to acquire the technologies needed) and the economies of scale to profit from them.

Since 2018, the government has already focused on a metals replacement and consolidation strategy whereby outdated and inefficient production facilities have …read more

Nokia, Area X.O bring 5G, drones to mission-critical scenarios in Canadian tour

Nokia has announced that, as part of its continued partnership with Area X.O (formerly known as the Ottawa L5 and led by Invest Ottawa), it will deploy 4.9G/LTE and 5G private wireless solutions and Nokia Drone Networks via the Area X.O 5G Mobile Command Centre. The van will tour Canada to demonstrate to emergency responders and industry verticals how they can use private wireless for increased situational awareness to aid in unsafe conditions and help prevent disasters.

Using high-performance, reliable, low-latency private wireless connectivity between the van and Nokia drones, emergency responders can understand what’s happening in critical situations in real time. The securely connected drones can be equipped with HD and thermal cameras, and rapidly deployed to specific locations providing aerial insight from live video streams, as well as sensors and data, without putting responders in harm’s way. The thermal technology can be used to detect people, steam, gas and smoke, as well as leakages and heat variation. This makes it an effective tool for prevention, incident monitoring and support, and inspection across multiple use cases.

Complementing the drones, the van will also showcase how the use of 5G standalone private wireless “deployables” can help first responders be more efficient and easily gain situational awareness with a range of environment sensors.

Nokia’s Integrated Operations Center (IOC) offers a unified real-time view into all assets, bringing efficiency with analytics integration, while facilitating a rapid response based on automated workflows across multiple applications.

Area X.O and Nokia will send the van on a road trip to visit 10 sites in Canada, where they will showcase live 5G demonstrations for public safety, mining, rural broadband, and hydroelectric applications.

For instance, at a remote mine, the Nokia Drone Networks solution can be used to conduct perimeter patrols or to detect gas leaks or thermal fluctuations in pipes. At a hydro-electric plant, rather than using helicopters, drones can be sent in to survey hydro lines to keep employees away from high voltage power lines.

In rural regions, fixed networks can be deployed to the most economical point, and 5G can be deployed to provide last-mile connectivity, bringing the benefits of high-speed broadband to everyone.

“As a leader in 5G and with a long-established presence in Canada, Nokia is the ideal partner as we take 5G on the road. We hope to inspire the first responders, industry verticals, and businesses of all sizes to discover what 5G can do to keep them safe and thrive,” Michael Tremblay, president and CEO of Area X.O, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards said in a release.

“The combination of our unmatched expertise in private wireless deployments and the Nokia Drone Networks will bring 5G to life for people and organizations across the country,” added Shawn Sparling, VP of enterprise and public sector for Nokia Canada.

Nokia offers a comprehensive portfolio of network equipment, software, services and licensing opportunities across the globe. With a commitment to innovation, and driven by the award-winning Nokia Bell Labs, the company is a leader in the development and deployment of 5G networks.

Area X.O combines its diverse …read more

Hudbay resumes mining at 777 after hoist incident

Underground mining has resumed at Hudbay Minerals‘ 777 mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba, two weeks after a hoist rope detached from the skip at the operation, causing the skip to fall to the bottom of the shaft.

Damage to the shaft from the Oct. 9 incident, which occurred during routine maintenance, is still being assessed, with a full inspection scheduled for early November. An initial video inspection indicated that damage is limited to the headframe and the bottom of the shaft in the skip compartment, with no apparent damage to the cage compartments, the ore loading area, or to the structural integrity of the shaft.

Limited production has now resumed through the mine’s ramp access, but Hudbay believes it should still meet its 2020 production and cost guidance for its Manitoba operations.

If no more damage is found during the full inspection, the company expects the shaft could be back in service in December with repairs costing no more than $5 million, with the mine resuming full production.

After the suspension of mining, Hudbay reassigned equipment and personnel to its Lalor mine in Snow Lake and continued to operate the zinc plant using existing zinc inventory and optimizing production of zinc concentrate from its Snow Lake operations.

There were no injuries during the incident, with all personnel evacuated via the secondary ramp access.

The 777 zinc-copper mine is near the end of its mine life, with closure slated for 2022. Hudbay’s focus has been shifting toward its Snow Lake operations since the gold-rich Lalor deposit was put into production there in 2014.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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Australian miners urged to beware of modern slavery risks

The Minerals Council of Australia and human rights advisory firm Pillar Two joined forces to create and release a guide whose goal is to assist mining companies in identifying and managing modern slavery risks associated with the covid-19 pandemic.

The guide states that since modern slavery occurs primarily in the private sector and that it is more prevalent in countries and regions with high inequality, difficulties meeting basic needs and where governance and legal protections for workers are weak. This is why the Council deemed it important to come up with some industry-specific suggestions to prevent companies from knowingly or unknowingly contributing to the practice.

“Modern slavery involves offenders using deception, threats and coercion to undermine the freedom of individuals. Human trafficking, debt bondage, servitude and the worst forms of child labour are types of modern slavery,” the document reads. “Approximately 40 million people are living in modern slavery globally, including approximately 25 million people in the Asia Pacific region.”

Vulnerability to modern slavery increases when people lose jobs or receive less income

According to the guide, the covid-19 pandemic has increased the risks of falling into modern slavery for certain groups and individuals, particularly in remote areas such as those where mining companies operate

“The pandemic has led to significant job losses around the world. The International Labour Organization estimates that approximately 1.6 billion workers may lose their livelihoods. It is also estimated that millions of people are likely to be pushed into poverty increasing vulnerability to modern slavery. The Asia Pacific region is particularly affected. In addition, with many schools suspended and family members that may have lost jobs, more children may be vulnerable to exploitation.”

The analyses ran by the MCA and Pillar Two also found that people already living in modern slavery, many of whom are migrant workers, may be dealing with increased risks due to reduced assistance from support networks, lack of access to basic sanitation and healthcare services, and potential difficulties returning to their home countries.

To avoid mining companies from contributing to modern slavery, the guide presents a series of recommendations such as developing a business case for action, which could include enhanced risk management and stronger stakeholder relationships. This means getting involved with host communities, workers, investors and other business partners across the value chain, governments and civil society in light of changing expectations during the pandemic.

The report also encourages miners to understand modern slavery and its risks by getting familiar with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and relevant legislation such as the Commonwealth Modern Slavery Act 2018 Guidance for Reporting Entities. 

Once this is done, it is suggested to start identifying high-risk countries and categories in relation to its operations and supply chains. This involves identifying how risks or risk profiles have changed as a result of the pandemic, including if particular countries or categories of goods or services …read more

Clean energy, EVs and the two sides of the US election

Market analyst Wood Mackenzie published a report laying the cards on the table as to what the future of clean energy and electric vehicles may look like following the November 3 election. 

On one hand, President Donald Trump is promising to maintain the status quo somehow favouring oil, gas and coal and rejecting the idea of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Contender Joe Biden, on the other hand, promises to launch a “clean energy revolution” whose goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

According to Ed Crooks, Wood Mac’s vice chair for the Americas, Biden’s proposal would entail one of the most radical infrastructure overhauls in US history, particularly the aspect related to creating a carbon-free electricity system by 2035. 

While Trump rejects the idea of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Biden promises to launch a “clean energy revolution”

“The plan creates enormous opportunities: it could mean a seven-fold expansion of US onshore wind and utility-scale solar generation capacity, coupled with steep growth in offshore wind and battery storage,” Crooks writes in the report. “It would lead to the emergence of a new generation of energy majors, with total investments in new renewable energy generation and storage of over $2.2 trillion.”

The positive sides of the proposal, however, don’t cancel out its pitfalls. 

“Grid reliability will weaken under high renewables penetration unless market reforms incentivize the deployment of enough carbon-free balancing power,” the analyst’s document states. “‘Made in America’ requirements will be very difficult to meet. Demand for solar modules could exceed 100 GW a year, but US-based solar module manufacturing capacity is only about 4.7 GW a year in 2020.”

If Trump were to be reelected, clean energy is also expected to continue growing but at a slower pace. In this case, the growth wouldn’t be pushed by federal policies but by decisions by the private sector and state governments.

Despite his promises, under Trump, coal-fired power plants are also expected to continue to disappear. 

“If Trump secures a second term, the US power sector is likely to continue along the path it has followed in his first. Although he campaigned on a pledge to “bring back coal”, and his administration has taken actions to support the coal industry, unfavourable economics and state policies have meant it has continued to decline, with output dropping 30% during his time in office,” the report reads.

When it comes to the costs of pollution, a second Trump term would not see major changes from current policies. A Biden administration, on the other hand, could seek to institute a carbon tax whose impacts could be more intense than those of his proposed 28% rise in corporate income tax.

Such effects, however, are expected to vary widely between different assets and depending on the tax’s design and rate.

In Crook’s view, while the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and the Permian Basin are to remain competitive, the reserves …read more

Graphene-infused copper wire may be key for more efficient EVs

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the US have increased by 5% the conductivity of copper wire used in vehicle motor components.

According to the scientists – who partnered with General Motors to test out the souped-up copper wire – their invention can make a big difference in motor efficiency as less copper may be needed, which can reduce the weight and volume of various components that are expected to power future electric vehicles.

The new wire can make a big difference in motor efficiency as less copper may be needed

Using a new, patented and patent-pending manufacturing platform, the experts added graphene to copper and produced wire. The increase in conductivity compared to pure copper is made possible by a first-of-its-kind machine that combines and extrudes metal and composite materials, including copper.

The process has been dubbed ShAPE, which stands for Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion.

In this process, oppositional – or shear – force is applied by rotating a metal or composite as it is pushed through a die to create a new form. This approach creates internal heating by deforming the metal, which softens it and allows it to form into wires, tubes, and bars.

“ShAPE is the first process that has achieved improved conductivity in copper at the bulk scale, meaning it can produce materials in a size and format that industry currently uses,” Glenn Grant, the initiative’s principal investigator, said in a media statement. “The benefit of adding graphene to copper has been investigated before, but these efforts have primarily focused on thin films or layered structures that are extremely costly and time consuming to make. The ShAPE process is the first demonstration of considerable conductivity improvement in copper-graphene composites made by a truly scalable process.”

Researcher Keerti Kappagantula holds an ultra-high conductivity copper wire with graphene additives. (Image by Andrea Starr, courtesy of the PNNL).

According to Grant, adding graphene to copper has proved difficult because the additives do not blend uniformly, creating clumps and pore spaces within the structure. But the ShAPE process eliminates pore spaces while also distributing the additives within the metal uniformly, which may be the reason for improved electrical conductivity. 

“ShAPE’s uniform dispersion of the graphene is the reason only really tiny amounts of additive are needed — about six parts per million of graphene flakes — to get a substantial improvement of 5% in conductivity,” material scientist Keerti Kappagantula said in the brief. “Other methods require large quantities of graphene, which is very expensive to make, and still have not approached the high conductivity we’ve demonstrated at a bulk scale.”

Kappagantula said that General Motors Research and Development engineers verified the higher conductivity copper wire can be welded, brazed, and formed in exactly the same way as conventional copper wire. This indicates seamless integration with existing motor manufacturing processes. 

In the researcher’s view, the technology can apply to other industries that use copper to move electrical energy, including power transmission, electronics, wireless chargers, generators, under-sea …read more

South32 moves towards a low-carbon future

Karen Wood, chair of the board of South32, believes the covid-19 pandemic has led broader industry to become more focused on the importance of the social element.

Wood spoke with McKinsey and Company’s Michael Ellis about the importance of the ESG agenda during the pandemic.

“I think about the countries where South32 does business, such as South Africa and Mozambique, where the pandemic presented a significant challenge and has required a collaborative approach between government, business, and civil society. We all have a role to play in addressing the crisis,” Wood told McKinsey.

Wood said South32 strategy is to make a ‘genuine difference’ in four areas: Education and leadership, empowering young people to take leadership roles in their community; Supporting participation in the local economy; Helping with mental-health issues, which have been a concern for a long time in some of the remote communities where South32 operates, and in natural-resource resilience.

“Even before covid, discussions with shareholders had been much more centered around the ESG risks we confront as a company. People are actively looking for a dialogue on what part companies are playing in that space. You can’t have a productive company unless you’ve got one eye on your impact,” she told McKinsey.

The days of separating shareholder interests from broader social interests are gone

“We often have the luxury of a decision-making process that can go on for months or years. In this scenario, that wasn’t the case. We thought about our work in three phases: What do we need to do immediately to address the health crisis to keep our people safe and support local communities? What do we need to do in the medium term to make sure that our business is protected? And what does the long term look like?,” asked Wood.

The world’s largest producer of manganese plans to move to a simpler commodity portfolio with a bias toward base metals.

According to the chair of the board, it will be a portfolio with commodities that are necessary in a low-carbon future.

“South32 has made a commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050, and our broader capital-management strategy is consistent with that,” Wood said.

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