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The East African : May 31st 2015
The EastAfrican BUSINESS MAY 30 - JUNE 5, 2015 MININ G Minerals in your mobile phone It takes seve≥al mine≥als and mines to p≥oduce the mobile phone By ALLAN OLINGO The EastAfrican T he raw materials used in the manufacture of mobile phones come from a variety of minerals. These and the parts of a mobile phone they are used to make are listed below. Screen The mobile phone screen is made up of indium and tin, which are mainly found in China. The liquid crystal display (LCD) screen is made of aluminosilicate glass, a mixture of aluminum and silicon. China is the world’s biggest producer of tin and is also a major importer of the metal used primarily in solder for electronics. In 2014, China exported 3,000 tonnes with the average tin prize being $23,150 a tonne. Industry experts note that at the end of 2015, the prizes will climb to $27,000, which will see China rake in $81 million. Battery Lithium, colt and mangane- ses are used to make phone batteries. The majority of today’s phones use lithium ion batteries. In 2013, global lithium consumption doubled driven largely by its use in lithium-ion batteries for cell phones and power tools. The world’s supply of lithium comes from Australia, Chile, China, Tibet and Argentina. According to the US Geological Survey, Australia in 2014 produced 13,000 tonnes of lithium followed by Chile at 12,900. In Africa, it’s only Zimbabwe which managed to produce 1,000 tonnes at the privately owned Bikita Minerals raking in $7 million. secto≥ ≥ound-up No oil or gas at Badada-1, now Tower Resources writes off $8.2m Tower Resources Plc has written off $8.2 million, after drilling Badada-1 well in onshore block 2B in northeastern Kenya and not finding commercial oil or gas. “We have written off the cost of the well, but in practice we are now reviewing the further prospectivity on the block with the benefit of the data we have now obtained,” Tower’s chief executive Graeme Thomson said. On February 23, Lion Petroleum Corporation announced that Badada-1 would be plugged and abandoned as a dry hole. The well reached a total depth of 3,500 metres and the exercise costof $25.8 million. Phosphate from Thundulu to be used in getting Malawi fertiliser Different minerals are used in the manufacture of different parts of mobile phones. Picture: File Electrical units A wide range of elements and compounds are used in the electronics of a phone. The processor of the phone is made from pure silicon, which is bombarded with elements such as phosphorus, antimony, arsenic, boron, indium or gallium. The micro-electrical compo- nents and wiring in the phone are composed mainly of copper, gold, and silver. Congo and Zambia are some of the main exporting countries. In 2013, Congo’s copper output rose to 900,000 tonnes. The electrical unit also con- sists of micro-capacitors which use tantalum, platinum and palladium. tantalum and niobium are extracted from Coltan ores. DRC is the world’s largest pro- In 2013, global lithium consumption doubled driven largely by its use in lithium-ion batteries for cell phones and power tool ducer of Coltan. Rwanda and Uganda also contribute significantly to Coltan exports in the world. In 2013, Rwanda was the world’s single largest exporter of coltan, exporting 2.4 million tonnes. This earned it $134.5 million. Palladium and platinum are other minerals used in the electrical circuits of phones. South Africa and Zimbabwe are some of the countries that export these minerals. The platinum price in 2014 averaged $1840 per ounce last year with Europe and China being the main markets for this mineral. Amplifier, vibrators, receiver The microphone and speaker of the phone both contain magnets, which are usually made from arsenic and gallium. South Africa is one of the world’s largest exporters of arsenic minerals. Gallium is a by-product of mining and processing of aluminum, zinc and copper. China produces 80 per cent of the world’s used gallium with Japan being the biggest consumer mainly because of its produc- tion of electronics. Gallium has mainly been used in amplifiers for mobile phones integrated circuits and also in LEDs for backlighting of computers, phones and televisions. Tungsten also finds use as weights for the vibrating motors within the phone. China, Russia, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda are some of the countries that produce these rare mineral. East Africa produced a combined 710 tonnes of this mineral in 2014. Minerals such as neodym- ium are used in magnets, which make speakers vibrate. China produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of rareearth minerals and neodymium is one of them. Casing Most phone casings are either made of metals or plastic with the latter mainly relying on carbon-based units to make the plastic covers. Magnesium compounds are one of the minerals in the phone case. Magnesium is mined in China, Brazil, India and the United States, with China dominating its consumption. Tanzania leads ≥egion in ea≥nings f≥om mine≥als EAST AFRICAN Community member states have had a fair showing in mineral exports with Tanzania leading the way, earning over $3.3 billion last year. Minerals make up over 52 per cent of Tanzania’s exports. According to Tanzania Chamber of Mines, the country’s gold production currently stands at about 40 tonnes a year, copper at 2,980 tonnes, silver at 10 tonnes and diamond at 112,670 carats annually. Tanzania is Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. In 2014, the country earned more than $1.6 billion from gold alone. Tanzania also has niobium, coal, platinum, graphite, diamonds, tanzanites, silver, limestome, soda ash, nickel and rare earths. Uganda has been exporting minerals such as gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten to the European Union, China and the US. It is estimated that the country earns more than $140 million every year from minerals. Rwanda earned $191.7 million from its minerals in 2014 compared with $226.2 million in 2013. Rwanda is one of the world’s biggest producers of tantalum. It also produces cassiterite, a tin ore, which is exported to China, Malaysia, Switzerland, Singapore and Austria. In 2012, Kenya’s profile as a potential top rare earth minerals producer rose after mineral explorer Cortec announced it had found deposits worth $62.4 billion. According to the results by Cortec, the area had niobium deposits estimated to be worth $35 billion making the find, one of the top five rare earth deposits in the world. Rare earth deposits consist of neodym- ium, dysprosium, europium, terbium, and yttrium. However, Cortecs’ mining licence for Mrima Hill was cancelled. Cortec had confirmed a deposit of 680 million kilogrammes of niobium. Niobium is used to strengthen steel and its global demand has been rapidly rising. Last year the prices rose to $45 a kilogramme. The value of mineral production in Kenya rose from $197.2 million earned in 2013 to $209.2 million in 2014. Kenya has discovered coal deposits, rare earths but most of its earnings are from the Base Titanium mine in Kwale. There are also earnings from gemstones, soda ash among other minerals. -Allan Olingo Optichem Malawi Ltd is expected to start using phosphate from Thundulu mine in Phalombe to manufacture fertiliser. The company’s manufacturing plant in Blantayre makes fertiliser using imported raw materials such as phosphate, which is an inorganic chemical mined to obtain phosphorus for use by the agricultural industry. Optichem managing director Paul Attwood said Malawi will become a basic producer of competitive fertiliser with a high level of local content by utilising phosphate deposits available in Phalombe and the economy will benefit from reduced import costs. 47 Malawi will produce fertiliser with a high level of local content. Picture: File Fear of rise in staff costs with Mozambique’s new labour code Mozambique’s new labour code risks raising contract alteration and regulatory burden on the extractives industry. The new regulations, giving preference to citizens over foreigners, are applicable to employees in mining, liquefied natural gas and oil production sectors. The regulations are part of a new labour law designed to safeguard workers and establishes the minimum working age and maximum working hours. Workers will be issued with written employment contracts and be eligible for regular medical examinations. Employers will be required to provide daily meals to employees free of charge. Woodside Petroleum withdraws from Tanganyika South Block Australia Stock Exchange-listed Woodside Petroleum Ltd has withdrawn from exploring crude oil and natural gas in Lake Tanganyika South block in western Tanzania. Woodside advised Beach Energy Ltd that it would not proceed to the next period of the exploration programme. Beach managing director Rob Cole said the company has preserved its right to proceed into the next exploration period under the LTS PSA and has notified the Tanzanian regulator of the company’s position.
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