|February 20, 2013|
PDAC Booth Invitation
Publisher: Formation Metals Inc.
Management of Formation Metals extends this invitation for you to visit us at
We will be hosting
To schedule a meeting please Click Here
|February 19, 2013|
'Triangle of death' looms over DRC's mining heartlands
Author: Jonny Hogg & Clara Ferreira-Marques
Mineweb - February 21, 2013
Author: Jonny Hogg & Clara Ferreira-Marques
While international attention has focused on a rebellion along the DRC's restive eastern border, the violence in the Katanga mining region has simmered largely unnoticed.
Trucks of workers and building materials hurtle through the mining town of Likasi at the heart of Congo's copper producing south, evidence of the billions being poured into the region after years of war and underinvestment.
But rebel fighters feeding off local grievances and secessionist sentiment are threatening to resurrect the spectre of a southern breakaway, in a fresh challenge to the stability and integrity of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The rebels, estimated to number anything from a few hundred to a few thousand, armed with bows, arrows and assault rifles, could re-open decades-old political fissures in Katanga, Congo's economic engine but also its most independent-minded province.
Their forays south, away from their stronghold in the province's north and towards Katanga's mining heart, raise the stakes in a region that is also a power base for a government already stretched by a separate insurgency in the east.
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is one of a handful of aid organisations in Katanga operating in the vast and virtually roadless northern area known to locals as the "Triangle of Death" in reference to atrocities including massacres, rape and cannibalism carried out by the rebels, known as the Mai Mai.
"The Mai Mai are coming out of their normal zone within the triangle. Since December we've seen an intensification of clashes with the army," said Pascal Duchemin, head of MSF-Holland in Katanga's capital Lubumbashi.
While international attention has focused on a rebellion along Congo's restive eastern border with Rwanda and Uganda, the violence in Katanga has simmered largely unnoticed.
MSF has been forced to reduce its presence because of security concerns in the north, where it reports empty, burnt villages for kilometres at a stretch. Footage shot by a local journalist shows Congolese troops marching through hamlets gutted by fire and families housed in makeshift bush shelters.
Since 2011, starting in Katanga's remote and desperately poor northeast, Mai Mai fighters - a coalition of hardline Katangan secessionists and remnants of militias left over from Congo's last war - have forced more than a quarter of a million people from their homes, according to the United Nations.
Now they are pushing south, with attacks reported in January just 70 km from Likasi, and have also moved into artisanal mining areas, where a traumatised population is fleeing to escape them. Government soldiers are also accused of pillaging.
Earlier this month at least 14 bodies, including women and children, washed up in a river near President Joseph Kabila's hometown of Manono, an area where both Mai Mai and the army are active, and where the UN has reported civilian killings by the rebels and summary executions by the security forces.
The rebels have also been blamed for repeated assaults on the airport in the regional capital Lubumbashi over the last two years, in which presidential guardsmen have been killed.
"The population is afraid of the army as well as the Mai Mai, and we're worried for those who are living in the bush, because anyone found there can be considered as a rebel," Duchemin adds.
Decades of corruption and a brutal civil war brought Katanga to its knees. Relative stability since the 2003 peace deal and ensuing elections, plus high metal prices, brought private miners. Officials say Congo's copper exports jumped to 600,000 tonnes in 2012, from under 20,000 a decade ago.
Copper giant Freeport McMoRan, trader and miner Glencore and others have invested billions to tap Congo's high-grade deposits. All plan further growth.
So far, the rebels have mostly hit civilian and government targets, though one international mine executive said company buses carrying miners to work had been hijacked. The region's major miners declined to comment, but several operators active in the region expressed quiet concern at what could shift from being a sideline annoyance to a major disruption.
"It's expanded geographically from being in a fairly remote and isolated part of Katanga," Neil Wigan, Britain's ambassador to the country, said in Lubumbashi.
"As it pops up in more places, then security becomes a problem. As we've seen in Algeria, natural resources companies need to be particularly alert to security constraints at the moment," he added, in reference to the recent hostage crisis at an Algerian gas plant in which at least 80 people died.
The government is keen to downplay the threat in a region that draws the vast majority of its big international investors.
"We want to re-assure investors there's no big security risk in Katanga. In any post-conflict state there will be some residual elements, that we will permanently neutralise," Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon told Reuters.
Rebel numbers remain low, but the UN says recruitment means their ranks may have swollen to more than 2,000.
In mid-January, Katanga's governor Moise Katumbi wrote to the UN's peacekeeping mission asking for help, and UN sources say blue helmets will deploy around the northern town of Pweto, on the border with Zambia, to help bolster Congo's notoriously ill disciplined and ineffective army.
The violence, as the country already begins debating 2016 elections that could spell the end for Kabila's rule, also risks re-opening old wounds in Katanga, which has always had a fractious relationship with central government.
It was long a separate part of the Belgian colonial empire and took just 11 days after Congolese independence in 1960 for Katanga to break away, under the leadership of secessionist leader Moise Tshombe and with the backing of Belgian companies keen to maintain the lucrative mining operations.
The independence bid failed but tensions remain. Katanga's many fault-lines separate the province's poor north and its richer south, native Katangans from workers brought to the mines from neighbouring Kasai, and even strains between the many tribes, including Kabila's own, the Balubakat.
There is also widespread perception that Kinshasa pockets Katanga's wealth but neglects its development, leaving Congo's most minerally rich region with some of the highest malnutrition and infant mortality rates in a country already ranked the least developed on earth by the UNDP.
Observers say rebel recruitment is aided by sympathy for the old secessionist cause and the poor conditions. Northern Mai Mai-dominated areas are cholera and malaria hotspots.
In Likasi, dilapidated low-rise buildings from the colonial mining boom line the streets, but there is little evidence of new growth, and the collapse of state miner Gecamines has left many jobless.
So desperate has the situation become, some might even welcome the rebels, say some on the streets of Likasi.
"We've been promised jobs by the government but seen nothing. It's just possible that the people behind the Mai Mai could do a better job than those currently in power," said one, student Pascal Assani.
MONEY DOESN'T LIKE NOISE
In Lubumbashi there is no sense of support for the rebels or out-and-out secessionism, but there is growing frustration with the government of Kabila; leading separatist politician Gabriel Kyungu wa Kumwanza says he has 300,000 signatures in favour of federalism in dozens of dog-eared, ringbound petitions piled haphazardly in the office at his lakeside home.
Kyungu, president of the provincial assembly, has long led the fight for greater autonomy from Kinshasa, but like other high-profile Katangan leaders, is opposed to the existing constitutionally approved decentralisation plan, which would see the break-up of the Katangan province into smaller entities.
"Our priorities are very different from those of central government ... Our country is a sub-continent; it must be federal. Katanga cannot be managed from 2,000 km away," he says.
Katanga is meant to receive 40 percent of its contributions to central government, but receives much less, according to Kyungu, a fact acknowledged even by pro-Kinshasa politicians.
This lack of resources at a provincial level is behind the under-development, which is in turn fuelling the violence. Although the situation is not yet catastrophic, it could threaten investor confidence, Kyungu warns.
"Yes, there's a risk ... Money doesn't like noise. While there's the sound of tanks and boots, money will not come in."
The coalition of two secessionist Katangan rebel groups - known as CORAK and CPK - with Mai Mai Gedeon, a brutal remnant of the defence groups set up by the current president's father during the civil war, has led many to question whether local politicians are stirring up trouble at a time when Kinshasa is already at full stretch trying to control the country's east.
"Given that the rebels have arms, food and communications, we're sure there are big characters behind them," Jean Pierre Muteba, the head of a group of nongovernmental organisations that monitor the mining sector in Katanga province.
"It's something the (politicians) can use against the government, to say they can do in Katanga what's being done in North Kivu, to show they can take territory, too."
With Kabila badly weakened after a 2011 re-election marred by fraud and his army's collapse in the face of the M23 rebellion, many are already looking to the next polls in 2016, when he is due to step down.
With the possibility Kabila might be replaced by a non-Katangan president, Muteba says hardliners backing the Mai Mai may already be making plans.
"Are they going to keep them armed and trained so that in 2016 they'd be a well organised force to claim independence? I think it's a question we have to consider."
|January 16, 2013|
Cobalt to see structural price recovery in 2013
Author: Greg Smart
Platts - January 16, 2013
The fundamental outlook for the cobalt market improved in 2012 and a structural price recovery is likely this year, UK-based trading company Darton Commodities said in its 2012-2013 cobalt market review.
"Whilst 2012 will not be remembered as the most exciting year for cobalt price wise, fundamentally the blue metal probably grew stronger and the seeds for a robust recovery in prices were sown," Darton said in the report issued earlier this month.
According to Darton, there was a 5% drop in global cobalt output last year with new projects forecast to come on-stream in 2012 failing to meet production deadlines.
During 2012, refined cobalt supply dropped an estimated 3,839 mt to 76,040 mt, 4.8% below 2011.
Cobalt metal production (excluding powder) dropped an estimated 6.9% to 28,720 mt, while production of cobalt chemicals and specialty products reached an estimated 39,220 mt, down 2.5% year-on-year.
"Only a fraction of the new and additional production that was previously forecasted to come on stream in 2012 materialized with only Ambatovy and Ramu being commissioned late in the year," Darton said.
In terms of demand, global cobalt consumption grew an estimated 6.8% in 2012, reaching 73,900 mt.
Consumption from the battery sector saw robust growth on the back of demand for tablet and smart phone devices, with cobalt usage breaching 30,000 mt, Darton said.
Likewise, demand from the superalloy sector continued to see strong growth from the aerospace and industrial gas turbine markets, with demand reaching 14,800 mt.
"Whil[e] the short-term outlook for the superalloy sector continues to be influenced by prevailing economic uncertainty, most superalloy producers anticipate continued and strong demand growth from the aerospace sector in the coming years," Darton said.
Strong demand growth in 2012 saw significant destocking of cobalt materials in China over the year.
At the end of 2011 it was estimated that China had stockpiled 25,000 mt of cobalt in raw materials and refined downstream products.
In November 2012, China research consultancy Antaike suggested that China had destocked as much as 9,300 mt of this material over 2012.
Darton estimated cobalt demand in China increased 13.7% from 2011 to 28,900 mt in 2012.
"Demand growth led to a gradual but significant destocking of both unrefined and refined cobalt materials in China. Consequently, the overall supply and demand imbalance which has undermined the cobalt market for the past couple of years appears to have been restored resulting in a fundamentally more balanced market outlook for 2013," the company said.
Darton expects cobalt prices to recover from the low levels seen at the end of 2012 when Platts assessment for 99.3% cobalt metal was in a range of $10.30-10.80/lb.
Darton is forecasting cobalt metal to trade in a range of $12-13/lb and $15-16/lb in 2013 with a strong likelihood that prices will push through the higher end of the range.
In October, Darton signed a multi-year marketing and distribution agreement with Dynatec Madagascar to promote exclusive use of Ambatovy cobalt products in Europe and India.
Ambatovy is a joint venture mining and refining company in Madagascar, specializing in lateritic nickel mining.
Ambatovy is expected to have an annual capacity of 60,000 mt/year of LME-grade nickel, 5,600 mt of refined cobalt and 210,000 mt of ammonium sulphate fertilizer.
--Greg Smart, email@example.com
Visit the Platts Website for this and other articles.
|January 15, 2013|
Cobalt demand growth likely at current prices - Uytdeqilligen
Author: Fleur Ritzema
MetalBulletin.com - January 15, 2013
Shrinking Chinese stockpiles, lower shipments from Africa and the booming smartphone industry will help limit the downside for cobalt prices, according to ex-Umicore svp Dirk Uytdewilligen.
Uytdewilligen, who after 27 years of service left his position as senior vp of Umicore's Cobalt and Specialty Material division at the end of last year, has recently launched his own minor metals consultancy firm.
He told Metal Bulletin in an interview that high cobalt stock levels in China have typically been necessary due to the long DRC/China pipeline.
But low recent cobalt prices, combined with local power interruptions, have led to lower shipments from Africa.
"At today's cobalt price, export and mining/upgrading costs are hardly covered, making shipment from certain sources in the DRC unattractive," he said.
"Margins are too small for many companies to move it out," he added.
"If the price goes up to around $15 per lb, cobalt can probably get to market again, but at $10/11, a lot stays stockpiled or unmined in the DRC," he explained.
Cobalt prices were stable on Friday January 11 at $11.10-12.40 per lb on the low-grade, and $11.50-12.80 per lb on the high-grade.
Prices have rallied since the end of December, but have recovered only some of the ground lost during the preceding three months of almost continual falls.
Meanwhile, in China, stockpiles have fallen, he said.
Uytdewilligen's views were supported by a recent report by UK-based trading house Darton Commodities.
According to the annual report produced for Darton's customers, Chinese cobalt imports fell 20% to 32,484 tonnes of cobalt contained in 2012.
Chinese cobalt stocks fell in 2012 by just over 6,000 tonnes, according to Darton's calculations.
And while availability of cobalt has shrunk over the past year, demand has grown, especially in the battery field, for use in electronics such as smartphones, according to Uytdewilligen.
In 2013, Deloitte predicts that global shipments of smartphones should exceed one billion units for the first time. The number of all devices in use is likely to be close to two billion by year-end.
Typically and historically the nickel to cobalt cost ratio has been around 3:1, yet the current level is closer to 1.5:1.
Uytdewilligen believes that this, combined with very good future supply prospects, means that cobalt will become attractive to buyers or developers of new applications.
"The big end users -- major battery users -- can live with cobalt at $10-15 per lb versus $30-50 per lb in 2007/2008. If there's a choice of material, cobalt is now back in the race."
For a free trial membership to MetalBulletin.com click HERE
|January 09, 2013|
Publisher: Resource Stocks Magazine
Author: Allan Trench
CLEANER, SMARTER...COBALT By Allan Trench |
Digging Deeper looks at one of the specialty metals set to play a key role as the world transitions in the 'electronic revolution': cobalt.
Click HERE to the full article.
For other cobalt news and current information on our Idaho Cobalt Project follow us on the following social media platforms:
You can also email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
|December 21, 2012|
Cobalt Investing News Interviews Formation Metals
Author: Charlotte McLeod
Cobalt Investing News (CIN) had the opportunity to speak with Rick Honsinger, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Formation Metals (TSX:FCO), about the company's Idaho Cobalt Project and the outlook for the cobalt market. Click on the link below for the full transcript of the interview.
|November 28, 2012|
Cobalt discovery replaces precious metals as industrial catalyst
PHYSORG.com (Chemistry / Metals Science) 27-Nov-12.
Cobalt, a common mineral, holds promise as an industrial catalyst with potential applications in such energy-related technologies such as the production of biofuels and the reduction of carbon dioxide. That is, provided the cobalt is captured in a complex molecule so it mimics the precious metals that normally serve this industrial role.
In work published Nov. 26 in the international edition of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists report the possibility of replacing the normally used noble metal catalysts with cobalt.
Catalysts are the parallel of the Philosopher's Stone for chemistry. They cannot change lead to gold, but they do transform one chemical substance into another while remaining unchanged themselves. Perhaps the most familiar example of catalysis comes from automobile exhaust systems that change toxic fumes into more benign gases, but catalysts are also integral to thousands of industrial, synthetic, and renewable energy processes where they accelerate or optimize a mind-boggling array of chemical reactions. It's not an exaggeration to say that without catalysts, there would be no modern industry.
But a drawback to catalysts is that the most effective ones tend to be literally precious. They are the noble metal elements such as platinum, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium, which are a prohibitively expensive resource when required in large quantities. In the absence of a genuine Philosopher's Stone, they could also become increasingly expensive as industrial applications increase worldwide. A push in sustainable chemistry has been to develop alternatives to the precious metal catalysts by using relatively inexpensive, earth-abundant metals. The chemical complexities of the more common metals have made this research a challenge, but the Los Alamos paper holds out hope that the earth-abundant metal cobalt can serve in place of its pricier relatives.
Cobalt, like iron and other transition metals in the Periodic Table, is cheap and relatively abundant, but it has a propensity to undergo irreversible reactions rather than emerging unchanged from chemical reactions as is required of an effective catalyst. The breakthrough by the Los Alamos team was to capture the cobalt atom in a complex molecule in such a way that it can mimic the reactivity of precious metal catalysts, and do so in a wide range of circumstances. The findings of the Los Alamos team have major ramifications and suggest that cobalt complexes are rich with possibility for future catalyst development. Due to the high performance and low cost of the metal, the cobalt catalyst has potential applications in energy-related technologies such as the production of biofuels, and the reduction of carbon dioxide. It also has implications for organic chemistry, where hydrogenation is a commonly practiced catalytic reaction that produces important industrial chemical precursors.
More information: Zhang, G. et al., Mild and Homogeneous Cobalt-Catalyzed Hydrogenation of C=C, C=O, and C=N Bonds, Angewandte Chemie International Edition. DOI: 10.1022/anie.201206051. Provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory
|November 28, 2012|
Cobalt News and Global Cobalt Interview
Publisher: Cobalt Investing News
Author: Adam Currie
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 4:00am PST|
By Adam Currie -- Exclusive to Cobalt Investing News
Cobalt, along with a number of other commodities, has come under increased scrutiny as prices continue to fall on concerns related to oversupply5. While prices are expected to remain under pressure in the near term, a number of market players suggest that prices cannot remain suppressed given the emergence of middle-class consumers in developing nations and the commodity's significant increased role in rechargeable batteries.
Cobalt Investing News (CIN) spoke with Erin Chutter, president and CEO of Puget Ventures6 (TSXV:PVS7), a mining exploration company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of strategic metals properties. The company's primary project focuses are in Ontario, Canada and the Altai Republic of Russia.
CIN: Can you provide a brief outline of Puget Ventures, its main project focus and the reasoning behind the impending company name change to "Global Cobalt Corporation?"
CIN: Cobalt prices recorded notable declines over the past 18 months on the back of concerns relating to oversupply. What is your price forecast for the commodity in the medium/long term?
CIN: Puget Ventures bills itself as "Canada's next primary cobalt producer," however, its flagship project seems to have shifted to Russia. Is this an accurate assumption and where will the company's main focus be moving forward?
CIN: The company has gained significant attention surrounding its Karakul cobalt project in Altai, Russia. Can you explain the significance of this project?
CIN: How will this affect the project's overall net present value (NPV)?
CIN: What are the next steps for this project. When might investors expect to see Puget Ventures producing cobalt?
CIN: With the majority of cobalt currently being supplied from "unstable" regions, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), do you feel that a project of this scale will alter market dynamics, and if so how?
CIN: Once production is up and running where will Puget's cobalt supply be headed, and who will be the main purchasers?
Securities Disclosure: I, Adam Currie, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
|November 06, 2012|
Idaho Cobalt Project Refinery Video Update
Publisher: Formation Metals Inc.
- FOR THE INFORMATION OF SHAREHOLDERS AND INTERESTED PARTIES ONLY -
Formation Metals Inc.'s Idaho Cobalt Project Video Update
The link below provides the viewer with an update on the construction of its Idaho Cobalt Project refinery. This update compliments the original video dated July 2012, and represents refinery construction work completed since that time.
It is recommended to first view the original July 2012 Corporate Video, which is available on the Company's website.
In addition, an update video on the Idaho Cobalt Project minesite construction (Oct 2012), is available on the Company's website.
Formation Metals Inc.
|November 02, 2012|
Congo Government Wants 35% of Mine Projects in Code Changes
Author: Michael J. Kavanagh
|The Democratic Republic of Congo may increase state participation in mining projects to 35 percent from 5 percent and raise royalties on mineral exports, according to a report obtained by the country's business association. |
Click here for the full story
|Adobe Acrobat Reader or Exchange is required to view PDF documents. You may download the free document viewer (Acrobat Reader) from Adobe's web site.|