Energy & Commodities

Indonesia miners seek a solution as coal export ban rattles global sector

Indonesian coal miners are seeking a quick resolution to a government coal export ban that is already causing fuel prices to rise and could disrupt the energy needs of some of the world’s biggest economies.

The world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal on Saturday banned the shipments because of concerns it could not meet its own power demand. But the prohibition risks undermining the energy needs of global economic linchpins China, India, Japan, and South Korea, which together received 73% of Indonesian coal exports in 2021, according to shiptracking data from Kpler.

Though key coal trading hubs such as Australia are closed on Monday, prices for coal to India’s west coast have already climbed by as much as 500 rupees ($6.73) per tonne since the ban was announced, said Riya Vyas, a business analyst at iEnergy Natural Resources Limited.

But, she did not know of any exporters who had declared force majeure, which describes when companies cannot supply fuel because of events beyond their control.

The ban follows a tumultuous year for global coal as prices surged amid a supply crunch in China, the world’s biggest consumer. Prices of the most commonly exported grade of Indonesian coal rose to a record $158 per tonne in October thought it slipped $68 on Dec. 29, according to data from Caixin…read more.

2022 Will Be A Pivotal Year For Mining

  • The global mining industry is facing its most important decade ever as the world races to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.
  • The energy transition has sparked a race for critical metals used in solar power and battery technology.
  • Miners will also have to keep their operations safe and sustainable in the years to come if they want to remain relevant.

The international mining industry is facing arguably “its most important decade” as the world starts the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the CEO of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), Rohitesh Dhawan, said in an interview earlier this month.

Dhawan emphasized that mining will be at the very center of this transition because of the burgeoning demand for metals used in solar and wind power, and in the batteries needed to drive electric vehicles.

On the back of his confirmed participation at the Future Minerals Summit in Riyadh, Dhawan stressed ICMM’s simple message of “mining with principles” to maximize the benefit of mining while minimizing the harm to people and the environment.

Dhawan said that ICMM seeks to ensure that the lives of everyone touched by mining are made better, and that the operations are safe, fair, equitable, just and sustainable.

ICMM’s 28 corporate members represent one-third of the global mining industry, and through its association members the council has an indirect influence on most of the sector…read more. 

Lithium miner’s woes may exacerbate strain in EV supply chain

Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS), one of Australia’s top lithium miners, slashed its forecast for shipments, further exacerbating tight supply for the key ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries.

The Perth-based company cited a raft of issues — from delays in commissioning and ramping up more processing capacity, to unplanned shutdowns and skilled worker shortages — in lowering its guidance for spodumene concentrate shipments to between 380,000 and 440,000 tonnes in the year ending June 30, from 440,000 to 490,000 tons previously.

 

  • The global push toward electrified transport has fired up consumption for lithium and the battery material’s prices have more than tripled this year to a record. Miners are scurrying to expand capacity, but they can’t keep up with demand and market tightness is likely to persist in the near term.
  • “We expect both lithium chemicals and spodumene prices to continue to go up,” said Dennis Ip and Leo Ho, analysts at Daiwa Capital Markets. Spodumene — lithium-bearing hard rock and the material Pilbara produces — is in particularly short-supply, they added, with ongoing price hikes likely…read more.

Lithium Prices Rise as Supply Fails to Meet EV Demand

The short supply of industrial grade lithium is causing prices to spike, which could snarl a push by governments to ramp up the use of electric vehicles.

Lithium is used to power rechargeable car batteries, among other uses, but a recent bear market and supply chain issues have prices rising. So far that has benefited only a small group of companies while inconveniencing many others, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The problem isn’t the supply, but the the high cost of converting the metal into industrial use. That process has pushed prices up about 240% for the year, according to research firm and price provider Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

The Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT) – Get Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF Report is up more than 40% year to date.

Chile has the world’s largest lithium reserves by a large margin. Its estimated 9.2 million metric tons is nearly double the 4.7 million metric tons that second place producer Australia has…read more.

California Is Addicted To Oil From The Amazon

California is by far the most ambitious U.S. state when it comes to things like emission standards, EV sales, and renewable energy. California is shutting down its nuclear power plants to double down on wind and solar.

It is also importing more oil from the Amazon rainforest than any country in the world.

Ecuador accounted for a little over 24 percent of California’s oil imports as of 2020. That equaled 55,219 barrels daily, according to the California Energy Commission. Interestingly, this is a substantial increase from the previous year, when Ecuador accounted for 18.22 percent of California’s oil imports, and from the year before, when Ecuador accounted for 14 percent.

This oil from Ecuador, according to a recent investigation by NBC News, comes from the Amazon rainforest—an area that is the target of massive conservation efforts and yet remains one of the most exploited parts of the world because of its natural resource wealth.

Ecuador is home to the Yasuni National Park, which contains some of the most diverse ecosystems globally, including two uncontacted indigenous tribes. For these tribes, the government even approved a so-called Intangible Zone—a border not to be crossed in order to protect these tribes. But that was before 2019. Two years ago, the government of Ecuador approved a plan to open up Yasuni National Park to oil and gas drilling…read more.