Week of May 15, 2024

An instrument held up against pink- and cream-colored bands of mineralization.

High-grade gallium, rare earths verified

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | May 18, 2024

Idaho National Lab tests Sheep Creek samples; one rock from Montana project contains 17.8% rare earths and 350 ppm* gallium. Recent analysis by Idaho National Laboratories confirms that US Critical Materials Corp.'s Sheep Creek project in southwestern Montana hosts extremely high concentrations of gallium alongside the high-grade rare earth elements found there. "The gallium and rare earth grades, calculated and verified by Idaho National Laboratory, are higher than any that...

Closeup of chunks of uranium concentrate or yellowcake.

Russian import ban creates nuclear shift

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | May 15, 2024

New legislation heralds anticipated domestic nuclear energy transformation. With the signing into law of bipartisan legislation that effectively bans the import of uranium products from Russia, the Biden administration has signaled a monumental shift for America's civil nuclear energy sector. Signed by President Biden on May 14, the bipartisan Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act has finally been enacted into law. "This bill limits the importation of uranium from Russia....

US Strategic Metals battery materials recovery facility in Madison County, MO.

Missouri sparks battery materials collab

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | May 17, 2024

Missouri University of Science and Technology, US Strategic Metals; lithium-ion battery precursor cathode active material research. Pioneering a transformative shift in the American battery landscape, US Strategic Metals joins forces with Missouri University of Science and Technology to advance research on precursor cathode active material, leveraging the Show Me State's abundant natural resources and cutting-edge facilities in green innovation. Transforming from humble...

Aerial view of phosphor-gypsum stacks at the Phalaborwa project.

Billions in rare earths for U.S. at risk

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | May 13, 2024

Without investors, the future of South Africa's rare earth elements enriched Phalaborwa site may depend on Washington support. Bordering South Africa's renowned Kruger National Park stands Phalaborwa, a mine sporting two rare earths-enriched phospho-gypsum waste piles that could mean over a billion in critical minerals for the U.S. – if the project can get enough support to run. To challenge China's near monopoly on rare earths, Washington has committed funds to a...

The interior of WEST, a donut-shaped fusion reactor in France.

Fusion reactors switch to tungsten

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | May 14, 2024

Materials breakthrough improves the timeline of plasma stability, brings endless energy closer. This month in France, a donut-shaped fusion reactor the size of an eight-foot box called WEST has upgraded from a carbon interior to one made of tungsten, an improvement which successfully contained plasma hotter and longer than ever. Compared to this latest result, our own sun burns at temperatures 30% less while still powering grid-scale systems running on solar panels whose...

Overhead view of International Battery Metals DLE plant.

Mobile, modular direct lithium extraction

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | May 14, 2024

International Battery Metals and US Magnesium agree to install world's first modular DLE plant. This May, International Battery Metals (IBAT) and US Magnesium announced their partnership to install a first-of-its-kind modular direct lithium extraction (DLE) plant that can rapidly be deployed to a site and efficiently extract lithium from a variety of brine resources. The portable, modular design provides both a smaller footprint and scalability. The mobile facility is...

Photo of a splash resulting from a droplet of water into a pond.

More green hydrogen with less iridium

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech New | May 13, 2024

Riken researchers have developed a green hydrogen catalyst that reduces the amount of rare and expensive iridium needed by 95%. One of the most elementary chemistry lessons taught to schoolchildren is that water is a molecule made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Now, scholars at the highest level of academics are working to find the most efficient and sustainable means of breaking those hydrogen atoms off of water to produce a green fuel that turns back into...

Graphic with bubbles depicting hydrogen supply chain against green background.

DOE to loan Plug $1.7B for green hydrogen

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | May 17, 2024

Funds will be used to build out a complete green hydrogen ecosystem in the U.S.; will create new demand for PGMs. To help support the production of green hydrogen to fuel America's clean energy economy, the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office has conditionally committed to loan Plug Power Inc. $1.66 billion to help finance the construction of up to six domestic hydrogen facilities. "Green hydrogen is an essential driver of industrial decarbonization in the...

ABTC employees pose for picture at opening of recycling facility.

ABTC exceeds battery recycling capacity

A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News | May 14, 2024

Company ramps up recycling facility, operates at over 115% capacity. In a triumph of innovation, American Battery Technology Company announced a groundbreaking milestone: its lithium-ion battery recycling facility has been operating steadily at over 115% of its designed capacity, showcasing the efficacy of its proprietary recycling technology. Established in 2011, ABTC began its journey with a handful of mining claims out of Nevada. Stemming from a former Tesla employee's...

A smartphone displaying the EXIM website homepage.

NioCorp takes step toward $800M U.S. loan

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | May 15, 2024

Critical minerals company receives preliminary term sheet for mine financing from EXIM. The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has extended an offer to loan NioCorp Developments Ltd. $800 million to help fund the development of Elk Creek, a critical minerals project in Nebraska that would provide a domestic source of niobium, titanium, scandium, and rare earths. "Our goal is to make North America less dependent on foreign suppliers for the critical minerals we...

A man surveys a tidal habitat in Australian wilderness.

AU targets critical minerals in hunt

K. Warner, Metal Tech News | May 14, 2024

Latest budget's resource search focuses on battery metals and rare earth elements. Over the coming decade, Australia is prepared to spend A$566 million (US$373 million) to map out deposits of minerals critical to high-tech manufacturing and the green energy transition. "The critical minerals space is one of the reasons why there is so much attention from global and domestic investors, but we need to make sure we can attract and deploy that," Australia Treasurer Jim Chalmers...

Looking over long stockpiles of coal toward a power plant in Slovenia.

Turning European mines into batteries

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | May 14, 2024

Mining companies look to Gravitricity's gravity energy storage tech as anopportunity to extend usefulness of mine shafts after the ore is gone. Energy storage is the lynchpin of a clean energy future that will rely on enormous quantities of zero-carbon electricity from intermittent sources such as wind and solar. After all, the billions of lightbulbs illuminating a city at night or millions of air conditioners keeping homes and businesses cool on a still summer day do not...

Rows of metallic gold, red, and black battery cells.

Merging lithium battery supply chains

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | May 15, 2024

Talon and Argonne National Lab are working to transform iron waste products from nickel mines into a superior LFP battery cathode material. A mix of battery types is needed for a rapid and sustainable transition to electric vehicles. While lithium-ion batteries with nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathodes will continue to be the main choice for longer-range EVs in North America, lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) offers an alternative for lower-cost cars used primarily for...

A TruScan mobile unit parked and set up to receive drill core for scanning.

A TruScan of CuMo ore sorting potential

Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News | May 15, 2024

Idaho Copper is utilizing Veracio's digital ore scanning tech to accurately relog drill core in preparation for updated mine study. As the next step in its goal of providing a domestic source of copper to meet the United States' growing demand for this energy transition metal, Idaho Copper Corp. is leveraging Veracio's TruScan technology to digitally analyze more than 60,000 feet (18,290 meters) of core in preparation for ore sorting studies at its CuMo co...

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