Tuesday, May 31, 2022

US seizes Iranian crude from Russian tanker: report

 US seizes Iranian crude from Russian tanker: report     


TEHRAN, May 25 (MNA) – Russian oil tanker took a new turn on Wednesday as the US Department of Justice seized the oil aboard the vessel and according to reports is in the process of transferring the oil to the United States on a chartered tanker.

The vessel was detained nearly seven weeks ago in Greece when authorities thought it was covered by the European Union sanctions on Russian assets, but later held for mechanical deficiencies while watchdog groups claimed that it was carrying sanctioned Iranian oil.

The “Aframax” tanker arrived off Greece early in April with reports of a possible mechanical failure and indications that they were looking for assistance to make repairs to continue their voyage. When it anchored south of the Greek island of Evia the 115,520 dwt tanker was being identified as the Russian-flagged Pegas. The assumption at the time was that it was laden with a Russian crude oil cargo, The Maritime Executive reported.

"The seizure came at the request of the Americans because the cargo came from a sanctioned country and moved on a sanctioned ship," a Greek official told Dow Jones this morning. "The oil is being moved to another tanker which will sail to the US" The American authorities have been using the courts to seize Iranian oil in violation of the sanctions imposed on the trade.

ADNOC's Fujairah Crude Oil Storage Caverns Set to Open in 2023: Sources



Abu Dhabi’s national oil company, ADNOC, is set to open its giant crude oil caverns in the mountains of Fujairah next year, one year later than planned, according to people with knowledge of the project.

The project, which will have capacity to hold 42 million barrels of crude oil, was pushed back because of COVID-19 related delays and will be finished before the end of 2023, one source told S&P Global Commodity Insights, asking not to be identified. ADNOC said it had no comment.

When complete, it will boost Fujairah’s status as a regional trading center, as the caverns will be able to store three different grades of crude oil, providing ADNOC with more flexibility to export crude through the port. Among the crudes is ADNOC’s flagship Murban crude, a light sour grade that underpins a crude futures contract launched by the company and the Intercontinental Exchange in 2021.

The storage caverns will also support ADNOC’s efforts to boost its crude production capacity from 4 million b/d to 5 million b/d by 2030.

The engineering procurement and construction contract went to South Korea’s SK Engineering and Construction Co. to build three underground storage caverns, each with a capacity of 14 million barrels, in the Fujairah mountains on the UAE’s east coast, sitting outside the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping chokepoint.

Fujairah has risen rapidly in the last two decades to become the third-largest global bunkering port, after Singapore and Rotterdam. At the free zone just north of the main city, the landscape between the rugged mountains and the ocean is dominated by rows of tall, cylindrical oil tanks on both sides of the highway.

ADNOC already has a crude export terminal there, fed from its 1.5 million b/d Habshan pipeline that connects oil fields in Abu Dhabi’s west to the port. Dubai’s Emirates National Oil Co., Fujairah Oil Terminal FZC, Vopak and Gulf Petrochem are among the other companies with tank farms at the port, while Vitol has an 82,000 b/d refinery, Ecomar has a 20,000 b/d refinery and Uniper owns an LSFO plant.

The caverns contract was the world’s largest single project awarded at the time for underground crude oil storage, valued at Dirhams 4.4 billion ($1.21 billion). The caverns storage is intended to support ADNOC’s broader move into trading, the company has said. Work on the project started in 2018, with the first phase involving construction of an access tunnel completed by 2019.

China reportedly found massive amounts of uranium at a depth of 10,000 feet

 China reportedly found massive amounts of uranium at a depth of 10,000 feet

Depth of 10,000 feet. rusm/iStock 


According to a report from the South China Morning Post, nuclear authorities in China discovered rich uranium deposits at shallow depths below the Earth.

The discovery, which is being touted as a breakthrough for the country's national security, could also change the scientific community's understanding of uranium formation, providing a new avenue for uranium detection worldwide.

New discovery increases China's total uranium reserve 10-fold

Massive amounts of industrial-grade deposits were allegedly discovered at depths thought to be impossible — so much that it will increase China's estimated total reserve of uranium 10-fold to more than two million tonnes, according to SCMP.

If true, that would put China roughly level with Australia, which is one of the world's most uranium-rich countries.

The researchers behind the discovery used state-of-the-art technology and equipment to explore depths of up to almost 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), which they claim is six times deeper than most of China's uranium mines.

"This world-leading project is a major breakthrough for our country," the China National Nuclear Corporation wrote on its WeChat social media account on Tuesday.

The newly-discovered deposits will help China meet the growing demand for nuclear power as the country shifts toward the use of nuclear fission for its energy needs as it aims to cut its carbon emissions. Uranium is also, of course, used in weapons production and the new deposits will reportedly help the country increase its military's nuclear arsenal. But they might also use some of it to power a DeLorean to travel back or forward in time.

Challenging long-held theories on uranium formation

Li Ziying, director of Beijing Research Institute of Uranium Geology, claimed the discovery challenges widely-held beliefs on uranium deposit formation.

Uranium is thought to concentrate mainly in shallow, geophysical stable areas, but some of the largest deposits found by China in recent years are more than 4,920 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface. The regions in which they were found have experienced large tectonic movements, which long-standing theories would suggest would make the formation of uranium impossible.

Li and his colleagues believe tectonic collisions might cause uranium to rise from the mantle before being trapped in small "hotspots" thousands of meters below the Earth's surface. 

The researchers used an airborne, ultra-sensitive remote sensor to detect tiny traces of heat produced by uranium from below the ground. Once detected, they used a drilling machine with a specially-made bore hear to obtain small samples from the "impossible" depths. Finally, they used artificial intelligence to improve the speed of their data analysis.

The new method could be employed globally to help other countries to find hidden uranium deposits. Nuclear power, until recently maligned due to the problem of radioactive waste and potential for catastrophic disasters, has seen a resurgence in recent years fueled by the world's need to shift away from fossil fuel production.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Helium shortage disrupts celebrations – and even US weather service

 Nebraska fans release red balloons after a touchdown against Troy during the first half of an NCAA college football game in 2018.

Nebraska Cornhuskers fans release red balloons after a touchdown in 2018. The team announced that it had to suspend its traditional touchdown celebration of red balloons. Photograph: Nati Harnik/AP


A global helium shortage has been affecting celebrations with balloons and even the National Weather Service.

Helium is a rare substance produced when uranium decays. Already difficult to mine, there are only a few sources in the world that produce the gas. Currently, the United States is one of the world’s largest helium producers, along with Qatar and Algeria. However, due to supply chain disruptions, including production plant closures and the 2017 embargo on Qatar, the global supply of helium has been severely affected.

In addition to the shortage affecting various instruments and machines that require the gas to function safely, various companies have been struck with negative balloon sales. In a quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Dollar Tree executives said that they are “once again” experiencing a helium shortage which could impact its sales.

“Currently, helium demand is greater than supply, so our stores are finding themselves temporarily out of helium from time to time as they wait for new deliveries,” Dollar Tree said in a statement on its website. “We know this can be tricky when getting ready for a party, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience,” it added.

Party City CEO Brad Weston said that major helium supplies have placed allocations on the gas.

The shortage has also been impacting the National Weather Service, which uses the odorless gas to fill weather balloons. Weather balloons are released twice daily across the country and provide various weather forecasting information.

However, because of the shortage, numerous balloon sites have had to cut back on launches.

Other groups that have been affected by the helium shortage include the Nebraska Cornhuskers. On Monday, the football team announced that it has had to suspend its traditional touchdown celebration of red balloons.

“We’ve been asked by the university that the helium we are getting as a university we need to use for medical purposes at UNMC in Omaha,” said Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts, adding, “And so we are this year not going to be providing the red balloons for the first time at Memorial stadium.”

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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Glencore charged with bribery in London, pleads guilty in the US

Glencore to settle corruption charges in US and UK

Katanga copper mine in the DRC. (Image courtesy of Glencore.


Mining and commodities trader Glencore (LON: GLEN) has settled probes into bribery and market manipulation in the UK and US, which have loomed over the company for years.

In February, Glencore announced it had set aside $1.5 billion cover the costs of settlements in the US, UK and Brazil, and the company confirmed it would appear in court in the US Tuesday in connection with “proposed resolutions” to probes into its activities.

Later in the day, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) charged Glencore with seven counts of bribery in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan. A London judge will sign off on separate penalties for Glencore at a sentencing hearing June 21. 

In the US, the miner pled guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, agreeing to pay $700 million to resolve the bribery investigation and more than $485 million to settle market manipulation charges.

“Glencore today is not the company it was when the unacceptable practices behind this misconduct occurred,” chairman Kalidas Madhavpeddi said in the statement.

The firm has further agreed to pay more than $39.5 million under a resolution signed with the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor’s Office (MPF) in connection with its bribery investigation.

Source: Glencore.

Over the past four years, Glencore has been under investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the SFO and Brazilian authorities for alleged money laundering and corruption. 

The Swiss company disclosed in 2018 that the US DOJ had requested documents related to the group’s business in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Venezuela as part of a probe into possible corruption and money laundering.

Brazil also launched an investigation into Glencore and trading groups Vitol and Trafigura over alleged bribery of employees at state-run oil company Petrobras.

A year later, the UK’s SFO confirmed it was investigating suspicions of bribery by both the company and its staff.

Switzerland’s Attorney General followed suit, saying the probe was the result of a wide-ranging investigation by law enforcement agencies opened in early 2020.

Glencore, which is also subject to investigations from Swiss and Dutch authorities, has said the timing of those probes remains uncertain but would expect any possible resolution to avoid duplicate penalties for the same conduct.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

China stimulus, supply worries fire up iron ore

 Iron ore price surge is latest spike to fuel inflation fears


(The opinions expressed here are those of the author, Clyde Russell, a columnist for Reuters.)

Iron ore prices cheered China’s decision to cut its benchmark interest rate for mortgages by an unexpectedly wide margin, and there are several factors that suggest a renewed rally is on the cards.
Spot 62% iron ore for delivery to north China, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, jumped to $135.90 a tonne on May 20, up 5.7% from the previous day and the strongest close since May 6.

Domestic iron ore futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange were also stronger, rising a more modest 3.4% to end at 827 yuan ($123.62) a tonne on May 20.

China lowered the five-year loan prime rate by 15 basis points to 4.45% in the monthly fixing on May 20, the biggest reduction since the interest rate mechanism was revamped in 2019 and more than the five or 10 basis points tipped by most in a Reuters poll.

The move was viewed by analysts as an attempt to boost the property and construction sectors, which account for about 25% of the economy and have been struggling in recent months amid Beijing’s strict zero-covid policy, which has led to extended lockdowns in several cities including the major financial hub of Shanghai.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said last week that Beijing will step up policy adjustments to return the world’s second-biggest economy to what he termed normal growth.

The market interpretation of Li’s comments was that more stimulus measures are likely, with hopes that manufacturing will also receive a boost.

Coupled with signs that Shanghai is starting to emerge from its strict lockdown, the view is that China’s economy is set to rebound in the second half of the year.

All of these measures bode well for iron ore demand and steel output, and there are other factors that suggest iron ore has room to rally further.

The first is that supply from top exporters Australia and Brazil appears to be at levels below potential.

Top shipper Australia is on track to export about 72.45 million tonnes in May, according to commodity analysts Kpler, which is slightly down from 73.48 million in April.

It’s a similar story for number two exporter Brazil, with May exports likely to be slightly weaker than the previous month, coming in at 24.82 million tonnes, down a touch from April’s 25.42 million.

Ukraine out

There are still concerns about iron ore shipments from Ukraine, which used to supply about 44 million tonnes a year to the seaborne market, mainly to European buyers.

Ukraine was the fourth-largest iron ore exporter, but Kpler data shows shipments plunging to zero from March onwards, after 2.32 million tonnes were exported in February.

Another smaller iron ore exporter, India, also looks set to see its shipments plummet, with Argus reporting on Monday that the government has imposed a 50% tax on exports of all grades.

This would effectively render India’s exports uncompetitive and they are likely to drop to zero. The South Asian nation shipped out 3.14 million tonnes in April, according to Kpler.

Another factor is China’s port inventories of iron ore, which have been sliding in recent weeks, even though they are still at levels above where they were at the same time in 2021 and 2020.

Inventories stood at 137.25 million tonnes in the week to May 20, down from a 2022 peak of 160.95 million on Feb. 18, but still above the 128.35 million from the same weeks in 2021 and the 110 million in 2020.

In some ways it’s not the absolute level of inventories that are key, it’s the pace at which they are declining, and the 15% slump since the February high indicates a fairly rapid drawing on available stockpiles and the potential for restocking demand.

There are also signs that China is ramping up its steel output after the winding back of winter pollution curbs and the lifting of some covid-19 restrictions.

April output rose 5.1% from the prior month to 92.78 million tonnes, although this was also still 5.2% below the level of April 2021.

This shows there is still scope to ramp up steel production further, and this is also a quick way to boost the economy, because even if the steel produced isn’t needed immediately, it’s easy to stockpile for future use.

Overall, the picture that is emerging is that the long-anticipated China stimulus measures are starting to come through, covid-19 is potentially being beaten back and the government is wanting a return to solid growth in the second half of the year. All positive for iron ore.

(Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Hawley Absolutely ROASTS Biden's Head Of Energy

NYC Milestone Last Public Payphone Removed

Pay phone NYC


Monday, May 23, 2022

Unloved since Fukushima, uranium is hot again for miners

Unloved since Fukushima, uranium is hot again for miners

View of Dampierre nuclear power plant (Stock Image) 

Uranium miners are racing to revive projects mothballed after the Fukushima disaster more than a decade ago, spurred by renewed demand for nuclear energy and a leap in yellowcake prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Spot prices for uranium have doubled from lows of $28 per pound last year to $64 in April, sparking the rush on projects set aside after a 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant.

“Things are moving very quickly in our industry, and we’re seeing countries and companies turn to nuclear with an appetite that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen in my four decades in this business,” Tim Gitzel, CEO of Canada’s Cameco, which mothballed four of its mines after Fukushima, said on a May 5 earnings call.

Uranium prices began to rise in mid-2021 as several countries seeking to limit climate change said they aimed to move back to nuclear power as a source of carbon-free energy.

A quest for secure energy supplies has added to the potential demand.

Unrest in January in Kazakhstan, which produces 45% of primary global uranium output, had already driven prices further when Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine spurred a 50% rally.

Russia accounts for 35% of global supply of enriched uranium.

READ ALSO: Skyharbour buys into Rio Tinto’s Russell Lake uranium project

Prices have retreated since a peak in April, but John Ciampaglia, CEO of Sprott Asset Management, which runs the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust, told Reuters Moscow’s invasion had “shifted the energy markets dramatically”.

“Now the theme is about energy security, energy independence and trying to move away from Russian origin energy supply chains,” he said.

There are about 440 nuclear power plants around the world that require approximately 180 million pounds of uranium every year, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Uranium mines produce about 130 million pounds, a deficit that mining executives predict will widen even if idled capacity by major producers such as Cameco and Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom comes back online.

The supply gap used to be filled by stockpiled material, much of which came from Russia.

Now, miners are dusting off feasibility studies for mothballed mines and reviving projects.

In Australia, uranium producers – including Paladin Energy Ltd which aims to restart its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia, idled over a decade ago – have raised close to A$400 million ($282.08 million) in share sales over the last six months to fund exploration and resuscitate mines on three continents.

“With all of the additional demand that’s coming from the new nuclear (plants), the thesis is that over a five or 10-year period, that additional demand will just dwarf those volumes coming back to market,” said Regal Funds Management analyst James Hood.

China plans to build 150 new reactors between 2020 and 2035 and Japan also aims to boost nuclear capacity as does South Korea.

In Europe, Britain has committed to build one new nuclear plant every year while France plans to build 14 new reactors and the European Union has proposed counting nuclear plants as a green investment.

Easier said than done?

Delivering the new reactors, however, will be a challenge as repeated delays and cost-overruns could be exacerbated by the supply chain problems following the pandemic and the additional disruption of the Ukraine war, making demand for uranium hard to predict.

Many environmental campaigners, especially in the West, also remain opposed to nuclear energy because of the waste it generates even though atomic power is emissions-free.

Advocates of nuclear energy say small modular reactors are a solution to the difficulty of bringing on new capacity.

Keith Bowes, managing director of Lotus Resources, which owns the idled Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi, says modular reactors will be a major source of growth from 2028 onwards.

Others say the traditional obstacle of high cost is less of a problem given the sharpened focus on security of supply.

“No longer is price the determinant, it’s now security of supply,” Duncan Craib, managing director at Boss Resources told the Macquarie Australia conference on May 9.

Boss will make a final investment decision soon on developing the Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia, aiming for first production 18 months after any go-ahead.

Sprott’s Ciampaglia said uranium could hit $100 per pound in the long run. Prices peaked around $140 per pound in 2007.

This year’s rally has taken them to levels last seen in 2011 in part as a result of Sprott’s activity in the market with its uranium funds growing from near zero last year to about $4 billion now.

Ciampaglia said Sprott’s buying is in response to investor demand: “The Trust provides investors with a vehicle to express their view on physical uranium.”

Smaller uranium developers also want to get involved, but will need prices of at least $60 a pound to ensure the economic viability of projects, industry watchers said.

Even then there would be risks. The restart of idled capacity from uranium giants could disproportionately hit smaller players while community opposition in some areas remains.

“No mine development or restart of an idled mine is easy or without challenges,” said Guy Keller, manager of Tribeca Investment Partners’ Nuclear Energy Opportunities Fund.

($1 = 1.4180 Australian dollars)

(By Praveen Menon and Sonali Paul; Editing by Barbara Lewis)

Second-largest indicated-or-better rare earth resource in the US now identified

Second-largest indicated-or-better rare earth resource in the US now identified

Drill rigs at Elk Creek niobium project in southeastern Nebraska. (Image courtesy of NioCorp Developments). 

NioCorp Developments’ (TSX: NB) Elk Creek project in southeastern Nebraska can now be considered the second-largest indicated-or-better rare earth resource in the US, second only to MP Materials’ Mountain Pass rare earth deposit.

The finding follows an updated feasibility study in which rare earth elements were evaluated as a potential by-product of the mining of niobium, titanium, and scandium; thus, the estimated values of the REEs are reported using the previously determined diluted net smelter return as derived from the Nb2O5, TiO2, and scandium mineral resources.

“According to the 2022 feasibility study, the Elk Creek project contains an estimated 632.9 kilotonnes of contained total rare earth oxides in the indicated mineral resource category.  According to US Geological Survey data, this places the Elk Creek mineral resource behind MP Materials’ Mountain Pass deposit in the US but ahead of all other current rare earth projects in terms of contained TREO from a NI 43-101 rare earth resource of indicated or higher classification,” NioCorp said in a media statement.

The company pointed out that the 2022 feasibility study also showed that, in addition to relatively high grades of niobium, scandium, and titanium, the Elk Creek mineral resource contains various amounts of all REEs.  

“There is potential for NioCorp’s REEs to be mined, crushed, and placed into solution as part of the process NioCorp plans to use to produce its primary niobium, scandium, and titanium products once project financing is secured,” the release states. “Depending upon the outcome of metallurgical testing on REE recovery rates from Elk Creek ore, now being conducted at a demonstration plant in Quebec, and whether necessary project financing is secured, NioCorp could produce separated rare earths as a byproduct, placing it at a competitive advantage vis-à-vis other rare earth projects.”

Given these results, the Colorado-based firm plans to commission a new technical report on the Elk Creek project in accordance with NI 43-101.

What the study showed

Using a ≥$180/tonne NSR cut-off that was calculated using solely the contained niobium, scandium, and titanium in the mineral resource, the 2022 feasibility study showed that the Elk Creek Indicated Mineral Resource includes: 

  • 632.9 kt of TREO, including these individual rare earth oxides:
    • 26.9 kt of praseodymium
    • 98.9 kt of neodymium
    • 2.3 kt of terbium
    • 9.1 kt of dysprosium
  • 970.3 kt of niobium oxide
  • 11,337 tonnes of scandium oxide
  • 4,221 kt of titanium oxide

In order to update the project’s mineral resource to include REE data, NioCorp and its consultants were required to complete additional assays of historical drill core to fill data gaps in the existing resource database and re-model the mineral resource. The mine plan and mineral reserve were also updated, independent of the REE data collection and REE by-product mineral resource.

Friday, May 20, 2022

$10 A Gallon Amid Gas Shortages


Asia’s two richest men reap windfall from surging oil, coal


Gautam Adani and Mukesh Ambani are profiting from a surge in global commodity prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, burnishing their fossil-fuel credentials even as Asia’s richest men publicly push their pivots toward greener energy.

With coal prices skyrocketing to a record, Adani’s conglomerate is expanding a controversial mine in Australia to meet demand. Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. is snapping up distressed crude-oil cargoes at discounts to feed its refining complex, the biggest in the world. Reliance even deferred a scheduled maintenance of the facility to help churn out more diesel and gasoline, whose margins have shot up to touch a three-year high. 

The two Indian tycoons are stepping in at a time when many developed countries are scrambling for alternative sources of fuels as they try to back away from Russian supplies. This month, the Group of Seven most-industrialized nations pledged to ban imports of Russian oil. The disruption has also brought the focus back on the need for more coal, the dirtiest fossil the world has vowed to phase out to cut emissions.

Though Adani, 59, and Ambani, 65, have unveiled a combined $142 billion in green investments over the next few decades in a pivot away from coal and oil — the bedrock of their empires — they are also finding it hard to kick the fossil-fuel habit as the conflict stokes demand. Global coal demand is expected to rise to a record level in 2022 and stay there through 2024, according to the International Energy Agency.

The war has created a tailwind for fossil fuel-based firms in India, said Chakri Lokapriya, managing director and chief investment officer at TCG Advisory Services Pvt. in Mumbai. 

Siemens to go ahead with Aussie coal mine contract despite pressure
Image courtesy of John Englart | Flickr.

“The collateral damage is that fossil fuels will continue to play a vital role the next 20 years or more,” he said, adding that it was sufficient time to reap benefits from carbon-based investments. 

Representatives for Adani Group and Reliance Industries didn’t respond to an email requesting comments.

Bullishness in coal prices helped flagship firm Adani Enterprises Ltd. clock a 30% jump in profit for the three months ended March — the highest in six quarters — while surging prices of petroleum products aided Reliance, which posted one of its biggest quarterly profits ever.

Shares of both Reliance and Adani Enterprises had soared 19% and 42% respectively between Feb. 24, when the invasion began, and end of April, before a global stock rout wiped out some of those gains. Adani has added about $25 billion to his wealth since the war started, taking his net worth to almost $106 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Ambani’s fortune swelled by almost $8 billion to $92.4 billion. 

It isn’t just these two Indian billionaires benefiting from the commodities surge. Others include US oil and gas tycoons Harold Hamm, Richard Kinder and Michael S. Smith, and Indonesia’s Low Tuck Kwong, the boss of coal mining company PT Bayan Resources, who have all seen their wealth increase this year.

Almost 60% of Reliance’s revenue comes from oil-refining and petrochemicals, the mainstay business founded by Ambani’s late father. Since inheriting it in 2002, Ambani has been reducing the conglomerate’s dependence on oil-refining by diversifying into retail, telecommunications and technology. 

India has bought millions of barrels of Urals crude in the spot market since the end of February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. While flows of Russian oil into India aren’t sanctioned, the South Asian country has repeatedly said that those shipments are minuscule compared to Europe’s purchases and represent a tiny fraction of the country’s total consumption. They also provide some relief at a time when inflationary pressures are increasing. India’s consumer prices rose the most in eight years in April. 

“We have minimized feedstock cost by sourcing arbitrage barrels,” Reliance’s Joint Chief Financial Officer V. Srikanth told reporters on May 6, without providing details. “Overall demand drivers are very promising,” he said referring to the strong comeback in demand for fossil fuels.

Refiners in India exported 3.37 million tons of diesel in March, the highest since April 2020, when overseas sales were a record 3.4 million tons as local demand plummeted during the Covid-19 lockdown, according to data on Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell’s website. Gasoline exports reached a five-year high of 1.6 million tonnes.

For first-generation entrepreneur Adani, coal is central to his empire. He has invested more than $3 billion in coal mines in India, Australia and Indonesia. His Carmichael mine in Queensland, which has been a target of environmental activists including Greta Thunberg for years, started shipping the fuel only this year.

In a May 4 earnings call, Adani Enterprises said it plans to raise the annual capacity of the Carmichael mine to 15 million tons in the year through March 2023, about 50% more than what its board approved for the first phase of the project. It plans to export as many as seven capesize cargoes a month, director Vinay Prakash said on the call. 

The “geopolitical situation” is expected to keep coal prices strong for now, but how long this lasts is “anyone’s guess,” Prakash told investors. 

(By Rajesh Kumar Singh and Debjit Chakraborty, with assistance from P R Sanjai, Pei Yi Mak, Rakteem Katakey and Alexander Sazonov)

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Electric vehicles surpass phones as top driver of cobalt demand


A growing number of electric cars in China — the world’s largest EV market — are powered by low-cost lithium-iron phosphate batteries. (By unlimit3d |Stock Image. )


Electric vehicles (EVs) overtook smartphones and other high-tech devices for the first time last year as the main driver of cobalt demand, with the sector consuming 59,000 tonnes of the battery metal, or 34% of the total globally.

According to a report published on Tuesday by the Cobalt Institute, cellphones manufacturers consumed 26,000 tonnes of the metal used in lithium-ion batteries, while laptops and tablets accounted for 16,000 tonnes of the total demand, which reached 175,000 tonnes.
The figure contrasts with the 160,000 tonnes of cobalt mined last year, highlighting one of the biggest issues the car industry faces as it goes electric — lack of battery metals.

Not surprisingly, prices for cobalt, nickel, lithium and copper have skyrocketed. Cobalt has nearly tripled in price since the start of 2021. Nickel turned so wild in March the London Metal Exchange (LME) had to suspend trading.  

Battery-makers have responded by using more lithium-iron-posphate chemistry, which doesn’t use either cobalt or nickel, but that tightens up the lithium market itself with spot prices doubling since the start of the year.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence estimates the global lithium industry needs as much as $42 billion of investment by the end of the decade in order to meet demand

MINING.COM’s EV Metal Index, which tracks the value of battery metals in newly registered passenger EVs (including full battery, plug-in and conventional hybrids) around the world, totalled $1.5 billion in December, an increase of 192% over the same month of 2020.

“Securing access to raw materials is crucial if the world is to achieve the sustainable and just transition to a greener future,” David Brocas, head Cobalt Trader at Glencore and chairman of the Cobalt Institute’s executive committee, said. “Cobalt’s role in batteries and recycling makes it one of the critical materials of a climate-neutral future.”

Production in hands of very few

The metal, a by-product of copper and nickel mining, makes up only 0.001% of the earth’s crust. Its appeal to EV makers comes from the fact that it provides batteries with energy density that increases the range of their vehicles and boosts their life.

Supply comes mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where production is dominated by miner and commodities trader Glencore (LON: GLEN) as well as Chinese companies.

The institute expects cobalt demand to keep growing to about 320,000 tonnes annually over the next five years, almost double the total consumed in 2021, with EVs driving 70% of this growth.

It also sees supply picking up this year and next, leading to a more balanced market. From 2024, cobalt availability will wind down again, growing 8% a year, compared to more than 12% of demand growth, which will leading to significant deficits.

Some manufacturers, such as Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Volkswagen have even announced intentions of becoming “actively involved in raw materials business”.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Stasi and the Berlin Wall | DW Documentary


Energy Crisis in Europe Renews Optimism for Canadian LNG Projects



B.C.’s clean LNG touted as important decarbonization tool, and economic tool in reconciliation with First Nations

The first Canada Gas and LNG conference to take place in person in three years kicked off today at the Vancouver Convention Centre with a low-key demonstration from environmentalists and a recap of LNG projects underway or proposed in Canada, including two in which First Nations would be owners or major partners.

The projects range from a small operator – Cryopeak – that supplies liquefied natural gas (LNG) to mines and remote communities, to a new project in Newfoundland, LNG NL, that proposes to source natural gas from the Jeanne d’Arc Basin near the Hibernia oil fields, and pipeline it to Grassy Point Newfoundland for liquefaction and export it to Europe.

The project could also see a second pipeline built to return CO2 captured at Grassy Point back to the Jeanne d’Arc Basin for deep sea sequestration.

The Canadian LNG industry has taken a back seat to the U.S., which has dramatically eclipsed Canada as a major LNG producer. But there was some sense Tuesday at the three-day conference that the Canadian natural gas and LNG sectors could be having a moment, thanks to an energy crisis in Europe, exacerbated by war, which has underscored the importance of natural gas in energy security and the energy transition.

Anyone looking at gasoline prices today may be suddenly thinking about energy and energy security, said Bryan Cox, president of the Canadian LNG Alliance.

“We’re starting to feel that, and we’re starting to think about energy in a whole different way,” Cox said.

In a press release, Stand, Dogwood and the Wilderness Committee accused Bruce Ralston, minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, of “peddling myths about clean LNG.”

“In reality, pumping more super-polluting methane gas out of the ground will prevent B.C. from meeting its climate targets and condemn all of us to more deadly extreme weather,” Dogwood campaigner Alexandra Woodsworth said in a press release.

But independent studies, including from St. Xavier University, have confirmed that the natural gas produced in Northeast B.C. has some of the lowest GHG intensities anywhere, partly due to low methane leakage, and a number of LNG projects in B.C. propose to use electric drive, which would make it, again, some of the lowest intensity LNG produced anywhere.

“Right now, today, people are building new coal-fired power plants in Asia,” said Jason Klein, the new CEO of LNG Canada, which is building a $17-billion plant in Kitimat.

“This industry has the opportunity to displace that coal with natural gas…and we have some of the cleanest LNG in the world. LNG Canada, when it’s in operation, will be the lowest GHG intensity of any currently operating LNG plants. It’s 35% lower greenhouse gas intensity of any facility operating today, and 60% lower than the global weighted average.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says switching from coal power to natural gas could reduce GHGs emission by 50%, provided fugitive methane emissions are managed. This has proven true in the U.S., which has achieved some of the most dramatic decreases in GHGs from the power sector in the western world, thanks largely to fuel switching from coal to gas.

“With our CleanBC Roadmap to 2030, we continue to demonstrate we are one of, if not the most, responsible natural gas producing jurisdiction in the world,” said Ralston. “We are bringing forward stronger targets to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 75% by 2030, and nearly eliminate all industrial methane emissions by 2035.”

B.C.’s natural gas and LNG not only would be some of the cleanest in the world, it also could be the springboard for the next generation of even cleaner fuel – hydrogen. Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas, and some of the pipeline infrastructure and export terminals could eventually be used to transport hydrogen.

“Hydrogen alone has the potential to reduce the province’s emissions by 30% of the 2050 Clean BC target,” Ralston said.

The biggest LNG project in B.C. that’s under construction is the $18-billion LNG Canada project. Next in line is the smaller $1.6-billion Woodfibre LNG project in Squamish, which just recently got the notice to proceed.

FortisBC is working on an expansion of its Tilbury LNG plant, and two First Nations are partnered with oil and gas industry players on two new projects – the Haisla’s Cedar LNG and the Nisga’a-backed Ksi Lisims LNG project.

“Were going to be the largest First Nations investment in Canadian history,” Haisla Chief Crystal Smith said of the $3-billion Cedar LNG project, which is currently in an environmental review process.

Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of Global LNG for Worley, said a 40-year-old natural gas and LNG business model in Europe has been “shredded” overnight by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said European leaders are now deeply concerned about the cost of energy, and now asking themselves if they can afford to dispense with coal.

He said Canada is blessed with a “massive amount of natural resources, including natural gas.” The question for Canada is whether it is willing to share those resources with countries trying to secure supplies of low carbon energy.

The first LNG facility built in B.C. has been around for quite some time – the FortisBC Tilbury Island plant, which originally produced LNG as a backup for pipeline gas. It has expanded its production capacity to start supplying LNG as a transportation fuel for both trucking and the marine sector. Some LNG produced there has been shipped to Asia in ISO containers.

Because it is largely powered with clean BC Hydro power, the LNG it produces is 30% less carbon intensive than LNG produced elsewhere in the world, said FortisBC CEO Roger Dall’Antonia.

“That’s a massive advantage, when you think about a premium low-carbon LNG product, Canada’s leading the way on that front,” he said.

FortisBC plans to expand its Tilbury plant, with an additional storage tank, additional liquefaction and a new marine terminal for marine LNG bunkering.

FortisBC has also been investing in renewable natural gas (RNG), which when blended with natural gas lowers its emissions intensity even more. Dall’Antonia said Tilbury LNG could reduce GHGs from shipping in B.C. by 27%, compared to other marine fuels.

In addition to providing a possible new source of low carbon energy to Asia and Europe, the nascent LNG sector in B.C. is also proving an important economic tool in reconciliation with First Nations.

Despite what some news headlines might suggest, the fact is a number of LNG projects are wholeheartedly supported by First Nations. Sixteen along the Coastal GasLink pipeline corridor have signed option agreements to take up to a 10% equity stake in the pipeline, and the Haisla First Nation has leveraged its partnerships with the LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink to proposed their own LNG project – Cedar LNG.

The Nisga’a First Nation are also partnered up with Alberta oil and gas producers on the Ksi Lisims LNG project.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Goldman Sachs Chief Warns Recession Risk ‘Very, Very High’


Lloyd Blankfein, the former chief executive officer at Goldman Sachs, speaks at the annual DealBook conference in New York, Nov. 1, 2018. The U.S. Justice Department revealed that a former Goldman partner pleaded guilty to bribery charges, clouding Blankfein’s final weeks as chairman.  MIKE COHEN / The New York Times


The risk of the U.S. falling into a recession is “very, very high,” Goldman Sachs Chairman Lloyd Blankfein warned Sunday, saying citizens and corporations alike must prepare for the worst.

Blankfein, the investment bank’s former chief executive and current senior chairman, issued the grim warning on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” It comes as inflation is tracking at 8.3 percent over this time last year, economic growth fell into negative numbers for the first quarter of the year, and the national debt has topped $30 trillion.

“If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it,” Blankfein said. “If I was a consumer, I’d be prepared for it.”

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a half-point earlier this month, in a strong, but expected move to slow surging inflation amid the negative economic growth. The central bank is expected to continue raising the rate through the end of the year after holding it at or near zero for several years. It normally raises or lowers the rate in quarter-point increments, and the half-point increase, which followed a quarter-point boost in March, was the biggest jump since May, 2000. The current federal funds target rate is between .75% and 1%.

A recession is defined as two straight quarters of negative economic growth. A recession coupled with surging inflation is dubbed “stagflation” by economists.

Blankfein said a recession is “not baked in the cake” and claimed the Federal Reserve has been “responding well” to the threat.

Blankfein’s warning came as Goldman’s economists cut their forecasts for U.S. economic growth this year and next. It now expects GDP to expand 2.4% this year, down from 2.6%. It cut its 2023 estimate to 1.6% from 2.2%.

Last month, a top economist warned that the entire globe is already in the early stages of a “very significant” recession.

“It’s going to be a global recession pulling down [the] Euro zone in particular,” Piper Sandler Chief Global Economist Nancy Lazar told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, noting that “it looks like China GDP in the second quarter could also be negative.”

The doom and gloom comes as Americans grapple with surging gasoline, food, and housing prices, as well as a shortage of baby formula. U.S. consumer sentiment plunged in early May to the lowest level since 2011.

“Joe Biden inherited a robust economy from President Trump and has managed to fully squander it — leading Americans into stagflation,” the Republican National Committee tweeted earlier this month.

Last week, the Senate voted 80-19 to confirm Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell to a second term, despite the roaring inflation, which he last year dismissed as “transitory.”

After raising the Fed rate earlier this month, Powell told reporters he believes the Fed can lower inflation without triggering a recession.

“We have a good chance to have a soft or softish landing,” he said. “The economy is strong and is well-positioned to handle tighter monetary policy.”

Peru community wants its land back, threatening Chinese copper mine

Peru community wants its land back, threatening Chinese copper mine

Protesters block traffic near Las Bambas mine in Peru. (Credit: GEC)


The community of Fuerabamba in the Andean region of Peru was resettled eight years ago to make way for a giant Chinese-owned copper mine, in a $1.2 billion scheme billed as a model solution to protests dogging the South American nation’s mining sector.

Now the community wants the land back.

In mid-April, more than a hundred Fuerabamba community members stormed the Las Bambas mine and pitched tents near the open pit, forcing a halt in production at a site that provides 2% of global copper supplies. They were joined by the nearby Huancuire community, which was protesting a planned expansion of the mine on their former land.

An attempt in late April by the mine’s Chinese owner MMG Ltd to remove the camp led to clashes in which dozens of people were injured and failed to end the protest. Copper production – worth $3 billion a year – remains suspended, with no restart in sight.

The Fuerabamba members were evicted but the Huancuire community remained in place – and the two groups have formed an alliance to bargain with the government and the mine.

Las Bamas acknowledges that 20% of its obligations under the resettlement agreement are outstanding, including the purchase of new lands for the community.

While Fuerabamba’s leaders had initially called just for Las Bambas just to fulfill its commitments, tensions have flared since the failed eviction.

“We’re going to keep fighting until Las Bambas shuts down and gets out of here for good,” Edison Vargas, the president of the Fuerabamba community, told Reuters. “It’s war.”

The protest is the most severe crisis Las Bambas has faced since opening in 2016, calling into question the future of one of the largest investments ever made in Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, industry experts say.

The mine, which still has over a decade of planned production remaining, has faced road blockades in recent years by communities further away that have hit its production. But the invasion marks a major escalation as well as the potential unraveling of Peru’s most expensive community resettlement scheme, amid a resurgence in South America of protests against mining projects.

Some 1,600 members of the Fuerabamba community were relocated by Las Bambas in 2014 to a purpose-built village with tidy rows of three-floor homes near the mine. The community approved the move, which came with $300 million in cash payouts, according to the company.

A Reuters reporter who visited Las Bambas in late April saw community members, including women and children, rebuilding adobe houses there and grazing cattle against the mine’s open pit backdrop. Residents of Fuerabamba and Huancuire said they would not abandon demands for the return of what they called their ancestral lands.

They face long odds, according to former government officials and advisors. Both communities received substantial payments from Las Bambas in exchange for the land they now want back.

Executives at Las Bambas – which is 62.5%-owned by MMG, the Melbourne-based unit of state-owned China Minmetals Corp – say the protests are illegal and have called on authorities to enforce the rule of law. The company declined requests for comment for this story.

On Tuesday, as the stoppage entered a third week, Peru’s government failed to broker a deal in talks at Las Bambas with the communities, as the two sides traded accusations of violence.

Edgardo Orderique, chief executive for operations at Las Bambas, said Fuerabamba and Huancuire members had destroyed tens of millions of dollars of equipment and injured 27 security personnel during the clashes late last month. Vargas said a Fuerabamba member had lost an eye in the violence.

The protest underscores the depth of the challenge facing Las Bambas as it proceeds with plans to increase annual copper output from 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes amid a spike in global copper prices.

“This protest is the most serious that Las Bambas has faced since it began operating in Peru,” said Ivan Merino, a former mining minister under Peru’s embattled President Pedro Castillo, whose government has been torn between its pledge to uphold the rights of rural communities – the bedrock of its support – and the need to revive the economy.

“The State does not have the control to resolve the conflict,” said Merino.

Peru’s mining ministry did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The face of progress

In the main square of New Fuerabamba, the town that Las Bambas built, a plaque says the settlement is the durable “face of progress and hope”.

Close to a dozen residents, however, said the abrupt transition from rural living to town life had caused trauma and mental health issues. Reuters was not independently able to confirm this.

The residents cited simple problems like the new brick houses – which have electricity and indoor plumbing – do not keep out the cold of the chill Andean nights as well as their former adobe homes.

Residents have also complained that basics like water, food and fuel – which the rural community was previously able to glean from the land – must now be paid for. Many of them no longer plant crops or tend livestock because the replacement plots provided by Las Bambas are too far away.

“The problem is that sustainable development has not been achieved,” said Paola Bustamante, a director at Videnza, a consultancy, who previously served as Peru’s top official in charge of social conflicts at Las Bambas.

“What has been done is they were given some money and that’s it.”

As part of the resettlement agreement, Las Bambas gave one job per family at the company for the life of the mine. The company also said in a 2021 presentation that health and education levels have also sharply improved, particularly in young children.

Three residents told Reuters that some members of the community had already spent their payouts. The resettlement plan, which MMG inherited when it bought the mine from Glencore Plc in 2014, gave Fuerabamba’s people cash settlements the mine says averaged $500,000 per family.

Residents say the payout was closer to $100,000.

Either way that’s a huge sum in a country where the legal annual minimum wage is $3,300.

“For us, it seemed like a lot of money, endless money,” Dominga Vargas, a lifelong resident of Fuerabamba, told Reuters from the tent camp at Las Bambas before the eviction. “But now it has all run out and we don’t have anything left.”

“How could we not regret selling,” she added.

Government ignored ‘critical situation’

The government gave MMG permission to expand the mine in March. Fuerabamba chief Vargas said Castillo’s administration turned a deaf ear to his warnings of a brewing crisis and a request for mediation before the occupation took place.

In a March 28 letter seen by Reuters, Vargas warned the mining ministry of a “critical situation” at Las Bambas. He told Tuesday’s meeting that he also went to the capital Lima to ask the government to intervene in the dispute, without success.

On the day of the attempted eviction, April 27, the government declared a state of emergency in the area, suspending the civil rights to assembly and protest.

The government said in a statement following the eviction attempt that it had supported dialogue between the parties from the beginning.

Under Peruvian civil law, property owners can attempt to evict trespassers by force during the first 15 days after they have settled in the property. If that time period lapses, then they need to go through a lengthier legal process.

In the wake of the clashes, Vargas wrote to Las Bambas management saying that further attempts to restart mining operations would be considered a “provocation” by his community and could trigger more violence, according to a separate April 29 letter seen by Reuters.

“Las Bambas won’t restart, not a single gram of copper will leave from here,” he told the meeting on Tuesday.

The Huancuire community, which also sold land to Las Bambas a decade ago for $33 million that is now key to the expansion project, is demanding more benefits from the minerals under the ground.

Pablo O’Brien, a former adviser to several Peruvian governments including Castillo’s, said the communities were pushing their luck making new demands given the large previous payouts.

“This situation is really just open extortion,” he said. “They cannot complain that they have not benefited financially.”

Community leaders denied the protests were a shakedown.

“As an indigenous community, we need to make ourselves heard because the government has issued this permit without consulting us,” said Romualdo Ochoa, the President of Huancuire.

Under Peruvian law, citizens don’t own mineral wealth underground and the land was already formally sold, Ochoa acknowledged. But he said indigenous communities have special rights because of their long ancestry in the territory: “What’s under our soil still belongs to us.”

(By Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Daniel Flynn)

Chile copper mines dodge radical changes as Convention vote ends

Chile copper mines dodge radical changes as Convention vote ends

Chile’s Constitutional Convention. (Image by the Constitutional Convention, Facebook).


Major copper producers from BHP Group to Freeport-McMoRan Inc. will likely avoid drastic changes in the way they do business in Chile as writers of a new constitution wrapped up deliberations on mining proposals.

In a vote on the Constitutional Convention floor on Saturday, a plan to replace the nation’s investor-friendly concession model with a system of temporary and revocable permits fell short of the two-thirds threshold needed to be included in a document that will be put to a referendum on Sept. 4.

While the article had been moderated from previous iterations that required the state to have majority ownership of projects, the mining industry warned it still failed to deliver the legal certainties needed for investments that are crucial for supplying the clean-energy transition. Chile boasts the biggest deposits of the wiring metal used to electrify economies. To be sure, Saturday’s vote means the draft constitution will lack a dedicated mining statute, leaving legislation more vulnerable to changes in the future.

“On the one hand, it excludes the risks that were initially foreseen, but on the other hand, it leaves everything subject to simple laws and, therefore, to circumstantial political majorities,” said Juan Carlos Guajardo, who heads consulting firm Plusmining. “But without a doubt, compared to how this story began, we are in a much better situation.”

In other measures that may affect resource projects, the draft charter will include an expansion of environmental governance, including a reshaping of water rules to focus on availability and greater protection of supplies on indigenous lands. 

In Saturday’s vote, members approved a ban on all mining activity in glaciers, but rejected similar proposals for salt flats, wetlands, permafrost areas and the ocean floor. Chile is the second-largest producer of lithium thanks to mineral-laced brines in its northern desert.  

A state guarantee of “equitable and non-discriminatory” access to energy was also approved on Saturday.

The proposals were presented by a committee stacked with young ecological activists and left-wingers, elected in the wake of protests that began in October 2019 over inequality. The full convention floor has a more diverse mix of members.

(By James Attwood)

Friday, May 13, 2022

Biden Admin SLAMMED For Ending Gas Leases Amid NEW RECORD High Gas Price...

Elon Musk says Tesla open to buying a mining company

Musk's tweets fuel mining industry's hopes of a buyout by Tesla

Elon Musk presenting Tesla’s fully autonomous strategy in 2019. (Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson | Flickr Commons.)


Tesla is open to buying a mining company if producing its own supply of electric vehicle (EV) metals would speed up worldwide adoption of clean energy technologies, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Tuesday.

Concern is mounting across the EV industry that there may not be enough supply of lithium, nickel, copper and other metals to match demand later this decade, fueling questions about whether Tesla would consider jumping into the mining sector.

“It’s not out of the question,” Musk told the FT Future of the Car 2022 conference. “We will address whatever limitations are on accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy. It’s not that we wish to buy mining companies, but if that’s the only way to accelerate the transition, then we will do that.”

Related: Tesla’s not working on that $25,000 car – here’s why

While the auto giant has EV metals contracts with suppliers across the globe, its goal to produce 20 million vehicles annually by 2030 – what Musk called an “aspiration, not a promise” – will require vastly more supplies of metals. Tesla produced just under 1 million EVs last year.

Other automakers and executives including Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Tesla rival Stellantis NV, have warned the auto industry faces a metals supply shortage.

Tesla has no experience with the time-intensive and laborious task of building and operating a mine, so industry analysts have advised the automaker to focus on buying an existing operator.

Many in the mining industry have noted that buying an existing metals producer would cost far less than the $43 billion Musk offered to personally buy social media network Twitter earlier this year.

Tesla has lithium supply deals with Ganfeng Lithium, Livent Corp and Albemarle Corp, among others. The company’s lithium supply deal with Piedmont Lithium was put on hold last year.

Tesla has nickel supply deals with Vale SA and Talon Metals.

(By Ernest Scheyder, Eva Matthews and Bernard Orr)

Gold price moves higher after US inflation report

 Gold price extends decline ahead of Fed policy meeting

Image courtesy of Kurtis Garbutt, Flickr Commons. 


Gold climbed higher on Wednesday after hotter-than-expected US inflation fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain a path of aggressive interest-rate hikes.

Spot gold gained 0.8% to $1,853.84 per ounce by 12:20 p.m. ET, but is still tracking lower on a weekly basis. US gold futures were 0.6% higher at $1,851.60 per ounce.
[Click here for an interactive chart of gold prices]

According to Labor Department data released Wednesday, the core consumer price index, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.6% from a month earlier and 6.2% from April 2021, exceeding the median forecasts of economists.

The broader CPI rose 0.3% from the prior month and 8.3% on an annual basis, a slight cooling but still among the highest readings in decades.

Treasury yields spiked following the print, while the US dollar initially rallied before giving up its gains.

“The market saw the print and went ‘SELL, SELL, SELL.’ But gold has since bounced back with the thinking that the data is higher than expected, but not horrifying,” Tai Wong, an independent metals trader in New York, told Reuters.

“The Fed won’t get more hawkish with this report, but definitely won’t ease off either,” Wong added.

“After investors digested the latest inflation report, the overall takeaway is that it still won’t change Fed policy over the short-term and considering how bad gold has been beaten up over the past few weeks, prices appear to be finding some support here,” Ed Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a Bloomberg note.

Bullion has been under pressure as the Fed tightened monetary policy to fight accelerating consumer-price gains. That helped push bond yields higher and has propelled a gauge of the US currency up around 6% since the end of March, weighing on gold.

(With files from Bloomberg and Reuters)