The commodities boom ignited by China’s post-Covid recovery, and stoked by the global move to green energy, broke price records last week even as fears about inflation stalked the markets. But it also risks triggering a rush on metals and minerals that could derail climate action. Iron ore reached the apex of a super-rally that drove prices to $237.57 a tonne in New York on Wednesday. The record followed a surge in demand from China’s steel-making regions, now recovering after the pandemic, which has pushed prices up from less than $94 this time last year. Copper, which is used in products from smartphones to electric cars, has doubled in price over the past year. The metal hit a fresh record of more than $10,700 a tonne last week as Chinese demand continued to rise. Market experts believe prices have further to run, as the rebound continues. But if China has sparked the bullish run on commodities, it is the global drive for green innovation that has fanned the flames.
Guardian 15th May 2021 read more »
Hypromag is looking at recycling rare earth magnets from old computer hard disks that would otherwise be thrown on the scrapheap. They are a component in new electric and hybrid cars — whose batteries are powered by lithium, but which use rare earth magnets in motors, power steering and electric windows. The project — which uses hydrogen to recycle the magnets, a process pioneered by one of Hypromag’s founding directors, and Birmingham University emeritus professor, Rex Harris — is not just a green experiment. It forms part of Britain’s drive to create its own supply of rare earths and lessen its reliance on China, the main provider of 17 minerals used for magnets in electric cars, medical devices, power tools, smartphones and wind turbines.
Times 16th May 2021 read more »