Can Canada’s mining and mineral sector step in for Apple?

Adam Dras   

News Almonty Apple gold ippt mining Russia tantalum tungsten

As war continues to rage in Ukraine, Apple has joined other companies in stopping sales and in sourcing raw materials for its products in Russia. IPP/T’s editor Don Horne asked Lewis Black, the CEO of Almonty Industries, how will this affect the mining and minerals market in Canada.

Lewis Black

“There will be more demand from non-Russian sources of course, but currently there is not sufficient capacity to absorb that,” says Black.
Black’s company, Almonty Industries, is an international raw materials development company that mines tungsten – an integral material in electronics and semiconductors.
iPhone production relies on such metals as gold, tungsten, and tantalum, metals that have traditionally been sourced by Apple from Russia.
While sanctions are strangling the Russian economy and businesses, the question remains: can we ramp up production and smelting to fill the gap left by Russian mining and smelting?
“In the case of tungsten there is a lack of producing western assets to cover this gap,” says Black. “More likely China will pick up more market share which already currently stands at 83 per cent of the world’s tungsten output.”
Supply chains faced serious challenges from COVID, and now are being disrupted with international sanctions against Russia.
Black sees very limited options in the short term to remedy this, with any kind of coordinated effort between government and industry.
“This is a global problem and therefore requires global coordination which is almost impossible to achieve when you factor in national interests,” he says. “Individual countries could soften the impact of these disruptions by adopting the old Cold War strategy of stockpiling strategically important raw materials (China already has been doing this for the past 15 years) and this program could be effective while a global solution of supply chain diversification is examined and implemented.”

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