Welcome to the November Crucible
Dear MMTA members,
Welcome to your November 2023 edition of the Minor Metal Trade Association’s magazine, the Crucible.
Following on from the October webinar, Mastering Carbon Accounting for Minor Metals, in this issue, our sustainability partner, emissions tracing consultancy CarbonChain walks us through the basic steps to carbon reporting and why your business needs it.
Before we go any further, we cordially invite you to join us at the upcoming MMTA events.
At our final networking event of the year, drinks, carols and a festive meal await you at the beautiful Ironmongers’ Hall, Shaftesbury Pl, Aldersgate St, Barbican, London EC2Y 8AA
The MMTA Christmas Lunch is on Thursday 7th December.
Drinks reception from 12pm. Lunch at 1pm.
MMTA New York Dinner
After several years’ absence, the MMTA New York Dinner returns to the Cornell Club in central Manhattan in January.
As we enter the US election year in the midst of a complex and challenging nexus of domestic and international relations, the Minor Metal Trade Association’s North America Committee is delighted to bring our unique macroeconomic and geopolitical perspectives – with an eye on metals of course – back to New York City’s famed Cornell Club on Thursday evening, January 25, 2024.
Replete with a drinks reception, keynote speaker, and culinary adventure, the evening promises to continue in the tradition of edifying experiences with exceptional networking for which the MMTA and its New York Dinner are renown.
This year, the North America Committee is pleased to present a keynote address by Renè Javier Aninao: “2024 Macro & Policy Outlook: Managing Risk in Global Markets”
Renè is the Managing Partner of CORBŪ, a research intelligence and advisory platform at the intersection of trade, monetary policy, and markets.
A global macro strategist and policy expert, prior to founding CORBŪ Renè served as Managing Director at Evercore ISI, advising clients in the financial and official sectors, and as Director of Global Markets at Eurasia Group.
Prior to that, he spent seven years as a Director at Macroeconomic Advisers, working closely with former Federal Reserve Board governor Larry Meyer. Renè earned his degree in mathematical economic analysis from Rice University where he was also an all-conference athlete.
A member of the Enterprise Club at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, Renè is also a founding member of the new Whitney Museum in downtown New York.
The timings for this event are:
- 6pm – Networking drinks and canapes
- 7pm – Seated for Dinner and Welcome given by MMTA Director and North American Chair, Noah Lehrman
- 7.25-7.50pm – Keynote speaker
- 8pm – Dinner
- 10pm – Close
MMTA ‘s International Minor Metals Conference 2024
The MMTA’s International Minor Metals Conference and AGM are heading to Singapore on 17-19 April 2024.
The MMTA AGM will take place on Thursday 18th April from 9am. On Thursday evening, after the conference session, and new for 2024 will be the MMTA’s Gala Dinner with pre-dinner drinks. From 6pm.
Between now and 30 January 2024 you can take advantage of the early bird discount for the conference registration rate. See the conference page for details and the conference schedule.
High as the sky hopes
As this issue was being prepared and the COP28 UN climate change conference got underway, on 28th November a Boeing 787 powered by a Rolls-Royce Trent 1,000 engine flew across the Atlantic without making any use of fossil fuels.
The Virgin Atlantic Flight 100 from London to New York, partly funded by the UK government, was powered entirely by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) estimated to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by 70% compared with traditional jet fuel. The 50 tonnes of biofuel used by the flight was made up 88% HEFA (Hydroprocessed Esters and Fatty Acids) supplied by AirBP and 12% SAK (Synthetic Aromatic Kerosene) supplied by Virent, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum Corporation. The HEFA is made from waste fats while the SAK is made from plant sugars, a by-product of the food industry.
The 100% SAF powered flight was a world first and took place exactly a year after Rolls-Royce’s another world first, after it ran a first test of a hydrogen powered aero engine—a converted AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine — and a month after it achieved hydrogen powered take-off thrust on its Pearl 700 engine, both in collaboration with EasyJet, as part of a project to build a hydrogen combustion engine for narrow-body aircraft by 2030s. Rolls-Royce and EasyJet, along with Airbus and GKN Aerospace are members of the newly established UK Hydrogen in Aviation Alliance. Rolls Royce also aims to launch an electric passenger plane by 2025.
But while electric and hydrogen aerospace are years away, given also the time needed for new engine flight certification, SAF allows for conventional engines—the OEMs of high-temperature minor metals’ current supply chain — to remain in service as the industry faces the goal of net zero. Yet at present SAF accounts for less than 0.1% of global aviation fuel and regulations do not allow airlines to run their planes on more than 50% biofuel (Fright 100 needed a special permit from the UK government for its test of 100% biofuel. Another challenge is that for the global aviation industry to convert to SAF by 2030 would take tens of millions of hectares of crops to be grown for biofuel in a world where competition for agricultural land resources is fierce. You can read more about the fuel supply chain challenges in the recent excellent BBC reports on SAF and hydrogen needs of the aviation industry. And learn how to track you own CO2 with CarbonChain.
Rival roads to clean power
In this issue, you can read CRM Alliance’s highlights of the EU political agreement on the Critical Minerals Act p.23 and CPM Group’s p. 20 take of the western world’s efforts to reduce rare earth dependence on China. It is telling, in the context of the race to net zero that at the COP28 the EU called on China to act on climate as a “superpower”, not a developing country.
Slower out of the gate, the EU initiative Global Gateway with a €300m ($325m) budget, it trying to woo resource-rich developing countries with infrastructure investments, including in transport links and green energy, trying to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative with a $1tr budget.. It most recently showcased the initiative in South America, after signing a raft of agreements at a Global gateway Forum in late October with countries in Africa and Asia. Among those was a multi-party MoU with the USA, the DRC, Zambia, Angola, the African Development Bank Group and the Africa Finance Corporation to support the development of the “Lobito Corridor” transport link to connect southern DRC with north-western Zambia and via the Port of Lobito in Angola to global markets.
UAE investor frontrunner for Zambia project
Meanwhile Zambia turned east for investment in its copper-cobalt industry. UAE investment vehicle International Resources Holdings (IRH) reportedly pipped South Africa’s Sibanye-Stillwater to become a strategic partner in the Mopani Copper Mines, the Zambian copper and cobalt producer.
GAM up for sale
Mining investor Resource Capital Funds (RCF) has put the tantalum producer Global Advanced Metals (GAM) up for sale, for an expected $1bn. While no longer the owner of the Australian lithium-tantalum mines Wodgina, Greenbushes and Pilgangoora, GAM is strategically important as it retains the rights to their tantalum production that feeds its operations in the US and Japan. Australia is regaining the tantalum supply market share lost to central Africa. Read CPM’s analysis on what GAM’s sale means for the tantalum industry.
After Ga, Ge, comes graphite
From 1 December, graphite exports from China joined gallium and germanium in requiring government licences. With China supplying most of the world’s graphite, read in the next Crucible issue what this means for the battery industry.