December 22nd, 2022 | 16:09 CET
Almonty Industries, Rheinmetall, Apple - Asia and Africa push business
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"[...] China's dominance is one of the reasons why we are so heavily involved in the tungsten market. Here, around 85% of production is in Chinese hands. [...]" Dr. Thomas Gutschlag, CEO, Deutsche Rohstoff AG
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Almonty Industries - First underground LTE security network increases production speed
An underground innovation has been achieved by the Canadian company Almonty Industries. As a global mining company specializing in the mining and production of tungsten, Almonty Industries is currently bringing the large Sangdong Mine site in South Korea back to life.
Thanks to state-of-the-art real-time data sent underground via the private 4G LTE network, Almonty Industries, together with Korea Telecom, are creating a real revolution in underground mining. By building an underground safety system, remote operation and permanent control of the location of the equipment is made possible. This technology contributes to the safety of workers while increasing performance and production at the Sangdong mine.
There is LTE cellular connectivity throughout the mine. There will be charging stations for smartphones throughout the mine system and electronic tags to track workers' locations in real-time.
"We plan to further process the excess concentrate to produce tungsten oxide, the product directly consumed in the Korean domestic market," he said. "At full production and by processing additional concentrate from our European operations and scrap, we can meet up to 50% of Korea's domestic demand," explained CEO Lewis Black.
The rare metal tungsten is enjoying growing popularity in digital times. It finds use in technologies ranging from phones and microchips to electric vehicles and rockets. Demand for rare minerals is expected to increase fourfold by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency last year. Tungsten's use in electric vehicles and battery storage is predicted to increase thirty-fold.
Rheinmetall - Defective Puma tanks depress share price, foreign business booming
Rheinmetall receives a preliminary refusal from the German government for the further procurement of Puma infantry fighting vehicles. According to news magazine Spiegel, 18 Puma tanks are inoperable. They were intended for NATO's rapid reaction force in 2023, prompting German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to issue a provisional purchase refusal to Rheinmetall and co-manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The German government will only buy Puma tanks once the vehicle proves stable. **Shares in the German defense contractor fell 6.7% to EUR 188 on the back of the debacle.
On the international trading floor, things are going much better for Rheinmetall. A long-standing NATO customer awarded the South African subsidiary Rheinmetall Denel Munition a framework contract for the supply of 155mm artillery ammunition from the proven Assegai product line. The order value is in the mid three-digit million euro range. The framework agreement was recently concluded in December 2022 and has a term of five years.
Apple - India expands iPhone production, gently withdrawing from China
For the production of the new iPhones, Apple is restructuring due to the supply chain debacle. Apple plans to shift about 5% of iPhone production and 25% of all Apple production, including Mac, iPad, Apple Watch and Airpods, away from China to India. India is the second-largest smartphone market in the world. Until now, Indian factories produced the same models as China only six to nine months later. JPMorgan projects that one in four iPhones could be made in India by 2025.
The iPhone is Apple's top-selling product, bringing in USD 205 billion in revenue last year. That represents 52% of the group's net sales. Apple's broader positioning can only be beneficial. This week, thanks to the journalist Lee Fang and the Twitterfiles Part 8, it was revealed that the US military was increasingly using the online network for anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda. This action was substantiated by an investigation by the Stanford Internet Observatory.
Apple's Taiwanese partner company Foxconn said in early December that its Singapore operation had invested $500 million in its Indian subsidiary. Foxconn plans to increase the number of workers at its iPhone plant in southern India to 70,000 by hiring 53,000 more workers over the next two years.
Global demand for tungsten is growing rapidly. Whether in electromobility, defense or telecommunications, the rare metal is more valuable than ever. With the reopening and commissioning of the Sangdong mine in South Korea, Almonty Industries has secured an area with a large tungsten deposit and will also supply 50% of the South Korean market in the future. The country is known for its leading position in electronics and is represented on the car market by Hyundai and Kia. Apple is moving further into India. In the future, 5% of iPhone production will roll off the assembly lines from Indian factories. This is a consequence of the pandemic and the associated supply chain interruptions. Rheinmetall, on the other hand, will have to make further adjustments: There are now said to have been problems with the turret as well as a cable fire during intensive testing of the Puma tank. As the tank is not expected to be available until the end of April 2023, it will be replaced by the old Marder infantry fighting vehicle in NATO's rapid reaction force "until further notice".
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