The High Cost of Neglecting ESG in Critical Minerals Projects and Cobalt Companies ESG Survey

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The High Cost of Neglecting ESG in Critical Minerals Projects

The article below provides some insight into the questions raised in the Sustainability Program at PDAC 2023 and the price of “losing control” of a company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) agenda as well as continues my series (now on part 4) on contacting Australian Stock Exchange-listed Critical Minerals companies to get their views on ESG.

ESG and Critical Minerals Development – The Price of Lost Control

I was wondering how to answer a key question proffered in the Sustainability Program from PDAC 2023:

  • How do you “Differentiate your company and attract investment through ESG performance and reporting?”

This is all around my previous concerns about losing control of the agenda by not being proactive with ESG; not being bold with ESG; others have taken control. This is pointedly identified in an article by Geoff Chambers, Chief Political Correspondent and Simon Benson, Political Editor in The Australian newspaper, Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. “Investor Groups seek certainty on Labor safeguard mechanism”. This is about an aggregation of some of the largest superannuation funds in Australia banding together to dictate woke ESG policy direction. Talk about lost control. This is the price of lost control. What that will eventually cost, I’ll try to discuss later, but to the point.

Australian investor groups representing members with $US43 trillion in assets under management want the government to bolster the safeguard mechanism and avoid “greenwashing” by forcing heavy emitters to disclose time-bound climate transition plans.

I want you to think about “disclosure of time-bound climate transition plans”. Made me cringe!

  1. You have to have a climate transition plan,
  2. That plan is time-bound, and
  3. The plan has to be disclosed.

And heaven forbid if this Investor Group (and its lobby groups) isn’t satisfied with the details in the plan. It gets worse.

Where technology is not yet available, carbon credits will play a vital role in helping facilities meet their obligations and remain competitive,…”

The cost of this lost control of the ESG agenda? I find it impossible to predict the timing of when the whole Net Zero process falls apart and we wake up to some sort of new, post-climate apocalypse awakening, new-normal. But it will. But in the meantime, you have to be ready to “disclose time-bound climate transition plans” that are acceptable to the Investor Group. Sounds impossible? Does to me. That means your finance has dried up. That’s the cost of losing control. How long? Well, that depends.

Achieving Operational Net Zero

So, you and I know that you cannot achieve net zero in your operations. You and I also know that you thought you only have two options going forward. One is to plug the gap by buying carbon credits. The other is to hope this whole movement will come to a true sense of realization and fall apart. Any thoughts on how you are going to include “not yet available technology” in your plan? There are also politicians who don’t want carbon credits allowed since “real” emissions reduction isn’t occurring.

You have to ask yourselves the question: “Am I prepared to regain control of the agenda?” If your answer is yes, then go back through my articles where I have told you what to do to demonstrate your ESG credentials. And if you need a good operating example, look at Ioneer Ltd posted in Article 3 of this series. You need to get going. How much time (and hence money) do you have? Well, until the key part of the Net Zero program fails and its failure is seen as a death knell to the 2050 target. What is the key part?

The HR Dilemma

Human Resources. The western world will come to a point where it will realize that it has taken 2 generations to completely overwhelm our education system with anti-STEM, pro-end of the world cataclysmic theories where fossil fuels are bad, development is bad, the future of the planet is at risk. OK, we have a self-induced climate change awareness revolution. But see the irony here? Who is going to fix it? Where is STEM? By creating the environment for the outrage around climate change we have decimated the education system that is needed to provide the resources required to fix it.

The following article by Simon Packham, Foreign Affairs and Defence Correspondent, again from The Australian newspaper, Tuesday, March 6th, 2023. “Submarines ‘need 108 Ph.D. level nuclear scientists per year’”. Not sure if this situation rings true in the US, but it should certainly be ringing alarm bells for those people who think that developing approximately 10 times our current world outputs for rare earths, lithium, vanadium, cobalt, copper, etc is a simple walk in the park. Where are the Human Resources coming from? So, the answer to when is the announcement that the Net Zero program failed is the timeline of acceptance of the Human Resources issue.

Oh, the Price of the Lost Control? Your unrealized profits during this period. And more, much more.

ESG and ASX-listed Cobalt Companies

The process of contacting key Australian Stock Exchange-listed Critical Minerals companies to get their views on ESG has continued this week. The table below for Cobalt will complete the first round of contacting key players. Future articles will hopefully cover the responses coming in, and possibly then contacting some of the lesser players. We will see how that goes. Previous articles 1-3 provide context for anyone who has missed that.

I have updated the Rare Earths reference table and am still to receive any responses. (See Appendix A: ESG in Rare Earths development)

I have updated the Lithium reference table to include the response of Ian Bucknell of Ioneer Ltd. (Thanks Ian.) (See Appendix B: ESG in Lithium development.)

I totally recommend people interested in ESG to read the Ioneer 2022 Sustainability and ESG Report. Their approach using the Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) framework is first class and looks to have today’s ESG needs well covered.

I have updated the Vanadium reference table and have received no responses to date. See Appendix C: ESG in Vanadium development)

Below is the Cobalt reference table. In the next issue, we will allow access to the tables via links and similarly with the ESG responses from the queried companies.

Cobalt Companies

Cobalt Company
(Ticker link to Share Price History)
Web SiteMkt Cap AUS$
(Mar. 12, 2023)
A-Cap Energy Ltd (ASX: ACB)  $73.24MQueried Mar 12
Aeon Metals Ltd (ASX: AML)  $25.33M 
Aus Tin Mining Ltd (ASX: ANW)  $14.22M 
Auroch Minerals Ltd (ASX: AOU)  $22.46M 
Ardea Resources Ltd (ASX: ARL)  $84.04MQueried Mar 12
Artemis Resources Ltd (ASX: ARV)  $19.48M 
Anson Resources Ltd (ASX: ASN)  $253.56MQueried Mar 12
Australian Mines Ltd (ASX: AUZ)  $21.04M 
Archer Materials Ltd (ASX: AXE)  $116.95MQueried Mar 12
Blackstone Minerals Ltd (ASX: BSX)  $75.81MQueried Mar 12
Castillo Copper Ltd (ASX: CCZ)  $18.19M 
Celsius Resources Ltd (ASX: CLA)  $22.29M 
Cobalt Blue Holdings Ltd (ASX: COB)  $122.25MQueried Mar 12
Corazon Mining Ltd (ASX: CZN)  $8.79M 
Fe Ltd (ASX: FEL)$25.83M 
Golden Deeps Ltd (ASX: GED)$10.97M 
Greenstone Resources Ltd (ASX: GSR)$25.36MQueried Mar 12
GME Resources Ltd (ASX: GME)$64.25MQueried Mar 12
Havilah Resources Ltd (ASX: HAV)$106.07MQueried Mar 12
Hammer Metals Ltd (ASX: HMX)$49.28MQueried Mar 12
Jervois Global Ltd (ASX: JRV)$332.68MQueried Mar 12
Metalicity Ltd (ASX: MCT)$5.19M 
Meteoric Resources NL (ASX: MEI)$168.34MQueried Mar 12
Marquee Resources Ltd (ASX: MQR)$7.66M 
Platina Resources Ltd (ASX: PGM)$11.22M 
Riedel Resources Ltd (ASX: RIE)$9.60M 
St George Mining Ltd (ASX: SGQ)$54.48MQueried Mar 12
Trek Metals Ltd (ASX: TKM)$26.20M 

Appendix A: ESG in Rare Earths Development

Rare Earths Company 
(Ticker link to Share Price History)
Web SiteMkt Cap AUS$
(Mar. 12, 2023)
Alpha Hpa Ltd (ASX: A4N)  $574.95MQueried Feb 15
ABX Group Ltd (ASX: ABX)  $25.71M 
Alkane Resources Ltd (ASX: ALK)  $392.21MQueried Feb 15
Alchemy Resources Ltd (ASX: ALY)  $13.25M 
American Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: ARR)  $91.51MQueried Feb 15
Arafura Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: ARU)  $1.23BQueried Feb 15
Austin Metals Limited (ASX: AYT)$4.54M
Australian Mines Ltd (ASX: AUZ)  $21.04M 
Australian United Mining Ltd (ASX: AYM)  $5.53M 
Australian Strategic Materials Ltd (ASX: ASM)  $230.89MQueried Feb 15
Encounter Resources Ltd (ASX: ENR)  $46.22M 
Enova Mining Ltd (ASX: ENV)  $4.69M 
Hastings Technology Metals Ltd (ASX: HAS)  $360.41MQueried Feb 15
Iluka Resources Ltd (ASX: ILU)  $4.43BQueried Feb 15
Ionic Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: IXR)  $126.41MQueried Feb 15
Krakatoa Resources Ltd (ASX: KTA)  $12.13M 
Legacy Iron Ore Ltd (ASX: LCY)  $115.32MQueried Feb 15
Lindian Resources Ltd (ASX: LIN)  $268.88MQueried 15 Feb
Lanthanein Resources Ltd (ASX: LNR)  $17.16M 
Lynas Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: LYC)  $6.43BQueried Feb 15
Minbos Resources Ltd (ASX: MNB)  $115.53MQueried Feb 15
Mount Ridley Mines Ltd (ASX: MRD)  $11.68M 
Northern Minerals Ltd (ASX: NTU)  $223.92MQueried Feb 15
Nova Minerals Ltd (ASX: NVA)  $93.91MQueried Feb 15
Orion Metals Ltd (ASX: ORM)  $16.35M 
Peak Rare Earths Ltd (ASX: PEK)  $116.65MQueried Feb 15
Platina Resources Ltd (ASX: PGM)  $11.22M 
Prospect Resources Ltd (ASX: PSC)  $99.39M 
Petratherm Ltd (ASX: PTR)  $13.04M 
RareX Ltd (ASX: REE)  $28.39M 
Sunshine Gold Ltd (ASX: SHN)  $10.47M 
Stavely Minerals Ltd (ASX: SVY)  $60.49M 
Tempus Resources Ltd (ASX: TMR)  $12.47M 
Todd River Resources Ltd (ASX: TRT)  $9.46M 
Venus Metals Corporation Ltd (ASX: VMC)  $26.71M 
Vital Metals Ltd (ASX: VML)  $122.57MQueried Feb 15

Appendix B: ESG in Lithium Development

Lithium Company 
(Ticker link to Share Price History)
Web SiteMkt Cap AUS$
(Mar. 12, 2023)
Aurora Energy Metals Ltd (ASX: 1AE)  $12.28M 
Australasian Metals Ltd (ASX: A8G)  $8.07M 
Ardiden Ltd (ASX: ADV)  $18.82M 
Argosy Minerals Ltd (ASX: AGY)  $920.38MQueried Feb 26
Allkem (ASX: AKE)  $7.26BQueried Feb 26
Arrow Minerals Ltd (ASX: AMD)  $10.47M 
Anson Resources Ltd (ASX: ASN)  $253.56M 
Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX: AVL)  $153.60M 
BMG Resources Ltd (ASX: BMG)  $4.63M 
Benz Mining Corp (ASX: BNZ)  $49.49M 
Boadicea Resources Ltd (ASX: BOA)  $7.11M 
Cullen Resources Ltd (ASX: CUL)  $6.56M 
Core Lithium Ltd (ASX: CXO)  $1.75BQueried Feb 26
De Grey Mining Ltd (ASX: DEG)  $2.19BQueried Feb 26
Devex Resources Ltd (ASX: DEV)  $101.96M 
Dart Mining NL (ASX: DTM)  $6.86M 
European Metals Holdings Ltd (ASX: EMH)  GBP72.64M 
Essential Metals Ltd (ASX: ESS)  $127.12M 
European Lithium Ltd (ASX: EUR)  $111.84M 
EV Resources Ltd (ASX: EVR)  $14.04M 
Global Lithium Resources Ltd (ASX: GL1)  $320.83M 
Galan Lithium Ltd (ASX: GLN)  $349.95M 
Hannans Ltd (ASX: HNR)  $31.33M 
Hawkstone Mining Ltd (ASX: HWK)  $134.34M 
Infinity Lithium Corporation Ltd (ASX: INF)  $48.57M 
Ioneer Ltd (ASX: INR)  $672.22MReply Feb 28
Jindalee Resources Ltd (ASX: JRL)  $154.92M 
Korab Resources Ltd (ASX: KOR)  $8.08M 
Krakatoa Resources Ltd (ASX: KTA)  $12.13M 
Li-S Energy Ltd (ASX: LIS)  $39.02M 
Lithium Australia Ltd (ASX: LIT)  $46.41M 
Lake Resources NL (ASX: LKE)  $838.27MQueried Feb 26
Lanthanein Resources Ltd (ASX: LNR)  $17.16M 
Lepidico Ltd (ASX: LPD)  $74.47M 
Lithium Power International Ltd (ASX: LPI)  $201.54M 
Latin Resources Ltd (ASX: LRS)  $242.64M 
Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR)  $3.42BQueried Feb 26
Mineral Resources Ltd (ASX: MIN)  $16.04BQueried Feb 26
Metals Australia Ltd (ASX: MLS)  $26.13M 
Marquee Resources Ltd (ASX: MQR)  $7.66M 
Morella Corporation Ltd (ASX: 1MC)  $54.88M 
Neometals Ltd (ASX: NMT)  $370.34MQueried Feb 26
Nova Minerals Ltd (ASX: NVA)  $93.91M 
Piedmont Lithium Inc (ASX: PLL)  $1.62BQueried Feb 26
Pilbara Minerals Ltd (ASX: PLS)  $11.93BQueried Feb 26
Power Minerals Ltd (ASX: PNN)  $29.98M 
Poseidon Nickel Ltd (ASX: POS)  $110.29M 
Prospect Resources Ltd (ASX: PSC)  $99.39M 
Red Dirt Metals Ltd (ASX: RDT)  $171.29M 
Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO)  $173.05BQueried Feb 26
Reedy Lagoon Corporation Ltd (ASX: RLC)  $3.70M 
Strike Resources Ltd (ASX: SRK)  $20.43M 
Sayona Mining Ltd (ASX: SYA)  $2.00BQueried Feb 26
Taruga Minerals Ltd (ASX: TAR)  $11.30M 
Tempest Minerals Ltd (ASX: TEM)  $12.81M 
Traka Resources Ltd (ASX: TKL)  $5.20M 
Todd River Resources Ltd (ASX: TRT)  $9.46M 
Venus Metals Corporation Ltd (ASX: VMC)  $26.71M 
Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd (ASX: VUL)  $902.21MQueried Feb 26
Woomera Mining Ltd (ASX: WML)  $12.43M 
Zenith Minerals Ltd (ASX: ZNC)  $75.62M 

Appendix C: ESG in Vanadium Development

Vanadium Company 
(Ticker link to Share Price History)
Web SiteMkt Cap AUS$
(Mar 12, 2023)
Aura Energy Ltd (ASX: AEE)  $170.43MQueried Mar 4
Australian Vanadium Ltd (ASX: AVL)$153.60MQueried Mar 4
Golden Deeps Ltd (ASX: GED)  $10.97M 
Liontown Resources Ltd (ASX: LTR)  $3.42BQueried Mar 4
Neometals Ltd (ASX: NMT)$370.34MQueried Mar 4
Protean Energy Ltd (ASX: POW)$5.2M   
Pursuit Minerals Ltd (ASX: PUR)$26.12MQueried Mar 4
QEM Ltd (ASX: QEM)  $28.38MQueried Mar 4
Red Dirt Metals Ltd (ASX: RDT)  $171.29MQueried Mar 4
Sabre Resources Ltd (ASX: SBR)  $8.45M 
Santa Fe Minerals Ltd (ASX: SFM)  $4.95M 
SI6 Metals Ltd (ASX: SI6)  $8.22M 
Surefire Resources.NL (ASX: SRN)  $28.46MQueried Mar 4
Syrah Resources Ltd (ASX: SYR)  $1.17BQueried Mar 4
Technology Metals Australia Ltd (ASX: TMT)$58.75MQueried Mar 4
Tivan Limited (ASX: TVN)  $113.85MQueried Mar 4
Triton Minerals Ltd (ASX: TON)  $45.63MQueried Mar 4
Venus Metals Corporation Ltd (ASX: VMC)$26.71MQueried Mar 4
Vanadium Resources Ltd (ASX: VR8)  $33.91MQueried Mar 4

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