5E Launches Operations At Boron Americas; Gold Fields Initiates Production At Salares Norte; US Steel, CarbonFree Team Up And More: Wednesday's Top Mining Stories

Zinger Key Points
  • 5E commenced operations at Boron Americas, targeting 2,000 tons of boric acid and lithium.
  • Gold Fields began Salares Norte mine production, eyeing 485,000 annual ounces for five years.

Top Stories for April 3, 2024:

1. 5E Advanced Materials FEAM launched full commercial operations of its Boron Americas Complex designated as U.S. Critical Infrastructure for boron and lithium. 

Key achievements include completing the facility’s commissioning, finalizing electrical work, accumulating over 50,000 gallons of PLS and verifying a 5.5% run-of-mine head grade via independent analysis. 

The facility, now operational 24/7, aims to initially produce 2,000 short tons of boric acid and lithium carbonate, with plans to expand production to a run rate of 9,000 short tons in the future.

This step forward enables customer product qualification for offtake contracts and secures funding for phase one operations, with the Lithium Skid Unit expected to be integrated soon.

2. Gold Fields AU initiated gold production at its Salares Norte mine in Chile, marking a significant 13-year journey from discovery to operation. The first gold-silver doré was produced on March 28. 

Despite challenges such as remote construction at 4,500 meters of altitude during the global pandemic, the mine has begun operations with expectations of a quick payback of less than three years and substantial cash flow contributions. 

The project, known for its efficiency and value, anticipates producing 250,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2024, with costs between $1,790 and $1,850 per ounce, and aims to increase output to 580,000 ounces by 2025.

Over the initial five years, it expects to average 485,000 ounces annually at $790 per ounce, while the life-of-mine average is projected at 360,000 ounces per year with costs at $820 per ounce.

Total project costs align with the $1.18 billion to $1.20 billion guidance.

Also Read: Iamgold Marks Major Progress In Northern Ontario, Paving Way For Full-Scale Gold Production

3. United States Steel X and CarbonFree announced an agreement to implement CarbonFree’s SkyCycle technology at U.S. Steel’s Gary Works to capture up to 50,000 metric tons of CO2 annually, aligning with U.S. Steel’s emissions reduction goals. 

The project, which supports the production of low-emission steel products, marks the first step toward the technology’s broader application. 

Construction is set to start in summer 2024, with operations beginning in 2026 under a 20-year agreement.


4. American Battery Technology ABAT was awarded around $20 million by the U.S. Department of Treasury IRS through the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credits program, following a competitive review by the Department of Energy. 

This grant will support the company’s efforts in battery materials manufacturing and lithium-ion battery recycling, aiming to enhance America’s critical material recycling and refining infrastructure.

The lithium-ion battery recycling facility will use an innovative process developed by American Battery and a $2 million battery recycling grant from the Advanced Battery Consortium to demonstrate that recycled battery metal products from domestic U.S. resources can be produced at a lower cost.

Notably, many of the company's team members, including CEO and CTO Ryan Melsert, are former Tesla gigafactory employees, bringing valuable experience in battery manufacturing and recycling.

Now Read: Rising Copper Prices, Portfolio Review Make Underperforming Anglo American Stock A Potential Bargain

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