Pentagon eyes rare-earth supplies in Africa in push away from China (US)

The US Department of Defense has held talks with Malawi’s Mkango Resources Ltd and other rare-earth miners across the globe about their supplies of strategic minerals, part of a plan to find diversified reserves outside of China, a department official said on Wednesday. The push comes as China threatens to curb exports to the United States of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in a plethora of military equipment and high-tech consumer electronics.  

Although China contains only a third of the world’s rare-earth reserves, it accounts for 80% of US imports of minerals because it controls nearly all of the facilities to process the material, according to US Geological Survey data. “We are looking for any source of supply outside China. We want diversity. We don’t want a single-source producer,” Jason Nie, a materials engineer with the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency, said on the sidelines of the Argus US Specialty Metals conference in Chicago. The DLA, whichContinue reading

Il y a dix ans, 50 % des aciers n’existaient pas (FR)

Une mission sénatoriale sur les enjeux de la filière sidérurgique dans la France du XXIe  siècle est en cours. Pour quoi faire ? Les sénateurs François Grosdidier (LR) et Jean-Marc Todeschini (photo ci-dessus) chacun vice- présidents de cette mission, donnent leur sentiment. Le rapport sera rendu fin juin.

Pourquoi une mission parlementaire sur la sidérurgie du XXIe  siècle ?

Jean-Marc TODESCHINI : la sidérurgie, et donc l’acier, ou plutôt les aciers – on en dénombre plus de 3 500 –, sont indispensables à toute notre industrie ; du BTP aux instruments chirurgicaux en passant par l’automobile, etc. La filière n’est peut-être pas rentable mais elle est primordiale à l’économie de notre nation.

Que découvrez-vous au fil de vos visites et auditions ?

François GROSDIDIER : Trop de gens restent dans l’image de la sidérurgie de papa ou de Zola. Or, il s’agit d’un

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U.S-Hired Firm Audits Russia’s Rusal For Compliance With Sanctions Deal (US)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A firm hired by the U.S. Treasury Department is auditing Russian aluminum giant Rusal to check whether it is complying with the terms of a deal under which Washington agreed to lift sanctions on the company, Rusal said. The audit is the first glimpse of how Treasury is policing whether Rusal and its parent company En+ are adhering to the deal – in particular the stipulation that Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s control over the business be severed. A source familiar with the situation said the audit included checks on the telephone and email records of a small circle of Rusal senior executives and board members to establish whether they remained in contact Continue reading

HY-100 the oustanding steel of the U.S. Navy’s Seawolf-Class Submarine (US)

To combat the threat of the Soviet’s Akula class, the U.S. Navy responded with the Seawolf class of nuclear attack submarines. The Seawolf submarines were designed with HY-100 steel alloy hulls  two inches thick , the better to withstand the pressures of deep diving. HY-100 steel is roughly  20 percent stronger  than the HY-80 used in the Los Angeles class. As a result, the submarines are capable of diving to depths of up to two thousand feet, and crush depth estimates run from 2,400 to 3,000 feet.

he extreme quietness of the Seawolf class gave the Navy the idea of modifying the last submarine, USS Jimmy Carter, to support clandestine operations. An extra one hundred feet was added to the hull, a section known as the  Multi-Mission Platform  (MMP). The MMP gives Carter the ability to send and recover Remotely Operated Vehicles/Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and SEALs and diving teams while submerged. It includes berthing for up to fifty SEALs or other attached personnel. Carter also features auxiliary maneuvering devices fore and aft for precise maneuvering in situations such as undersea cable tapping and other acts of espionage.Continue reading

ATI-Tsingshan JV under Regulatory Microscope for National Security (US)

US. Specialty Metals Amendment prohibits using non-U.S. melted specialty metals for U.S. Defense applications. “No items for the defense industry are produced by the joint venture due to the commodity-product capability of the Midland plant.”according to Natalie Gillespie, a spokeswoman for ATI.

A group of grass-roots conservative leaders led by Morton Blackwell of the Weyrich Group and Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots has just sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin demanding an immediate security review of a joint venture between a Pittsburgh specialty steel maker and a Chinese firm that is the world’s largest stainless steel producer. Allegheny Technologies hopes to use the joint venture to import 336,000 metric tons of stainless steel slabs every year from an Indonesian mill owned by China’s Tsingshan Group. The slabs – which would be free of any tariffs – would then be turned into 60-inch-wide steel sheets. About 100 new jobs would be created at an Allegheny plant in Midland, Pennsylvania. The conservative leaders say the joint venture between Allegheny and Tsingshan hasn’t yet been reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). “China’s history of stealthy intellectual property theft triggers immediate concerns,” they write. “ATI possesses sensitive intellectual property that China could seek to extract and transfer in order to undercut U.S.economic and military advantages.” The conservative leaders point out that in 2014, hackers from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army were charged with cyber intrusions and economic espionage aimed at three U.S. steel producers, including Allegheny. The concern over such espionage is heightened because Allegheny hasContinue reading

U.S. launches national security probe into titanium sponge imports (US)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department on Monday launched a national security probe into titanium sponge imports, a key input in military aircraft and other equipment like space vehicles, satellites, naval vessels, missiles and munitions. The probe under Section “232” follows an investigation by the Commerce Department in 2017 to review if titanium sponge imports from Japan and Kazakhstan were injuring U.S. producers and was prompted by a petition from U.S.-based Titanium Metals Corp, part of Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s Precision Castparts Corp. In 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to end its probe into the imports, saying it found no harm. The Commerce Department said the Pentagon supported the national security probe. “Titanium Continue reading

US DOE powers Aluminum and Steelmaking Research through HPC4Manufacturing Program (US)

Under a newly awarded HPC4Manufacturing project, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will work with the U.S. Steel Corporation on a hot strip mill simulation model that will provide predictions of through-thickness temperature, deformation behavior and associated microstructure. Credit: Photo courtesy of U.S. Steel Corporation.

The HPC4Manufacturing Program announced four federal funding awards for solving key manufacturing challenges in steelmaking and aluminum production through supercomputing. This most recent Call for Proposalshad a special focus — applying the unparalleled HPC capabilities of DOE national labs to steelmaking and aluminum production processes. Under the program, each selected industry partner will have access to the national labs’ HPC machines and expertise to help these industries become more competitive, boost productivity and support American manufacturing jobs.

“Primary metals industries are significant energy users, so opportunities to reduce energy consumption in this area is of great interest to our sponsors,” said HPC4Manufacturing Director Robin Miles of LLNL. “Additionally, this program is helping U.S. steel makers produce the higher strength steels vital to light weighting the next generation of automobiles.

Funded by DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, the HPC4Mfg Program is administered by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) along withContinue reading

Le Québec veut développer une expertise de pointe en hydrométallurgie (FR)

QUÉBEC, le 8 févr. 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – Le gouvernement est fier d’accorder un financement de 4 millions de dollars à l’entreprise COREM pour soutenir la réalisation de la Phase 2 de sa nouvelle plateforme d’hydrométallurgie. Il s’agit d’un projet unique au pays qui favorisera le développement de projets miniers performants, rentables et respectueux de l’environnement dans des filières minérales émergentes. COREM investira pour sa part 1,7 million de dollars. Le ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles et ministre responsable de la Côte-Nord, M. Jonatan Julien, a annoncé aujourd’hui cette contribution financière au nom du ministre de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, M. Pierre Fitzgibbon, dans le nouveau bâtiment de COREM. Ces investissements permettront à COREM de réaliser la première offre complète en recherche et développement dans le domaine de l’hydrométallurgie au Québec. Les entreprises du secteur Continue reading

Ce que promet le contrat de filière mines et métallurgie (FR)

Des standards de référence pour la mine responsable, la digitalisation des mines et carrières et une filière de recyclage des batteries au lithium, ce sont les trois promesses principales du contrat de filière signé le 18 janvier à Bercy par la secrétaire d’Etat Agnès Pannier-Runacher et la présidente du Comité stratégique de la filière mines et métallurgie Christel Bories.

Après un an et demi de travail, le contrat de la filière Mines et métallurgie, élaboré au sein du Comité stratégique de filière, a été signé le vendredi 18 janvier dans une salle de réunion du ministère de l’Economie et des finances. Premières signataires, deux femmes : la PDG d’Eramet Christel Bories, qui préside le CSF, et la secrétaire d’Etat auprès du ministre de l’Economie et des Finances Agnès Pannier-Runacher. Souhaitons que ce soit un signal faible d’un monde qui change, dans une filière qui reste beaucoup plus masculine que ses instances de représentation.

“L’objectif de ce contrat de filière est de réunir les forces des entreprises, des organisations syndicales et les services de l’Etat pour construire des projets très concrets autour des compétences qui manquent à la filière, de la transformation et de l’innovation notamment en matière numérique, et de la réduction de l’empreinte écologique pour que l’ensemble de ces entreprises, qui se situent très en amont de beaucoup d’autres sites industriels, se situent aux meilleurs standards du marché, qui est très concurrentiel”, a déclaré Agnès Pannier-Runacher après la signature.Continue reading

Germany secures access to vast lithium deposit in Bolivia (US)

Germany and Bolivia y sealed a partnership for the industrial use of lithium, a key raw material for battery cell production, in an important step to become less dependent on Asian market leaders in the dawning age of electric cars.

Interest in battery metals such as cobalt, nickel and lithium is soaring as the auto industry scrambles to build more electric cars and cut noxious fumes from vehicles powered by fossil fuels in light of stricter emission rules. “Germany should become a leading location for battery cell production. A large part of production costs is linked to raw materials,” German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said. “German industry is therefore well advised to secure its needs for lithium early in order to avoid falling behind and slipping into dependency,” Altmaier said, adding the deal was “an important building block” to secure this supply. With the joint venture, Bolivian state company YLB is teaming up with Germany’s privately-owned ACI Systems to develop its massive Uyuni salt flat and build a lithiumContinue reading