KPMG to hold 7th annual LATAM Energy and Natural Resources event in Rio de Janeiro

27 August 2018

Rio de Janeiro is set to hold an event showcasing the future of energy and natural resources in Latin America this Thursday.The day-long conference will feature talks from 31 speakers at the forefront of digital change across the sector and innovation including keynote speakers, panelists and KPMG’s own thought leaders.

Latin America’s history is intertwined with its natural resources. From the first settlements of Europeans in the New World, the exploitation of American natural resources has been important to every economy located on the continent. Whilst today, the resources may have changed – from gold to rubber and grains to oil and iron ore – value from commodities still account for a large part of Latin economies.

Latin America is home to two of the world’s ten wealthiest countries when looking at unexploited natural resources. Venezuela has a wealth of natural gas, iron ore and one of the world’s largest proven oil reserves whilst Brazil has large deposits of oil, gold and uranium and currently exports over 12 percent of the world’s timber. The two are not alone in their natural wealth however, with Mexico and almost all of the larger South American nations being net commodity exporters according to the World Bank Group.

Yet, the sector has been hit by dramatic shifts in public policy, market volatility and technological disruption in recent years. As the demand rises for renewable energy and the technology becomes more price competitive, a market has opened up throughout the region. However, it’s not the only one. Industry 4.0 technologies have created a new ecosystem wherein the playing field no longer resembles what it did 50 years ago.

To keep up with these industry game-changes, KPMG have organized an event that will allow industry leaders from across the continent to come together and discuss the biggest challenges they face as well as the significant opportunities looking towards the future.

KPMG to hold 7th annual LATAM Energy and Natural Resources event in Rio de Janeiro

The Conference on Energy and Natural Resources of Latin America or ERN 2018 is the 7th annual conference to be held by KPMG and has become a starting point for dialogue and energy policy throughout the region. Last year, the invite-only event drew 1,700 executives and influencers from across the Americas. The Big Four consulting firm labelsthe event as a strategic meeting for decision-makers.  

Key topics throughout the event will include the drive for renewable energy and how executives must innovate to achieve lasting sustainability, technological disruption causing new marketplaces in the energy domain, and regional geopolitical challenges causing business disruption. 

The program, which will take place at the Belmond Copacabana Palace on the 30th of August, will be opened by Manuel Fernandes, KPMG partner in Energy and Natural Resources in Brazil. He will be joined by executives from Siemens and Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, as well as keynote speakers Christopher Garman, Director for the Americas of Eurasia Group, and influential Brazilian consultant, academic and digital transformation specialist Martha Gabriel.

The schedule will begin with a lecture on global perspectives for the energy sector, followed by a second lecture on the geopolitical scenario in Latin America, intertwined by panel discussions. Before lunch, there will be a panel on digital transformation: agility, the only controllable variable. 

After the midday break, there will be a grand total of three Breakout Sessions which encompass a range of industry-wide topics including power and utilities, oil and gas, and disruption: technologies and new business models. Finishing up will be a lecture on innovation and digital transformation by Martha Gabriel. Martiniano Lopes, Partner with KPMG Energy and Natural Resources in Latin America, will close the conference. 


NRG taps consultants for lithium mine economic analysis in Argentina

31 January 2019

Canadian Exploration company NRG Metals has hired consultancy firm Knight Piésold Consulting alongside JDS Energy & Mining to conduct a preliminary economic assessment on the company’s exploration plans in Hombre Muerto Salar, an area of active lithium production in north-western Argentina. 

Lithium has in recent years become one of the globe’s most in-demand energy metals. For decades, the metal serves as the backbone of everyday lives – lithium is a raw material for a wide range of products, from electronics and batteries to the glass in windows. However, the boom in electronics and more importantly electric vehicles and solar panels has meant that the need for lithium is exploding. According to one estimate, lithium production now stands at over 44 thousand metric tons, up from just 28 thousand metric tons in 2010. 

Going forward, the role of lithium – the lightest metal known – to society and economy will only increase. Every smartphone and fully electric car in the world is powered by lithium-ion technology, and the exponential growth of these two segments will in their slipstream lead the future demand and production boom for lithium.

Following Australia (18,700 tons of lithium ore production) and Chile (14,100 tons), Argentina (5,500 tons) is a heavyweight in the global lithium exploration chain. The country’s ‘Salar del Hombre Muerto’ region, located in the Salta and Catamarca provinces, is one of Argentina’s most active and promising areas for lithium production, comprising of several concessions (an area allocated by the government for minerals extraction).

Argentina’s Hombre Muerto Salar region is a large deposit of lithium

The Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project

After acquiring the ‘Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project’ in June 2017, a property package of 3,287 hectares comprised of six concessions*, NRG Metals has now commenced more detailed economic analysis on potential exploration. Adrian Hobkirk, President and CEO of NRG’s chief executive explained: “the grades we are seeing at the Hombre Muerto Project are some of the highest reported grades for any of the lithium-bearing brine deposits in Argentina. The combination of high grades, excellent chemistry and good pumping rates are very positive indicators that we hope will allow us to advance the project through feasibility studies to production should the economic viability and technical feasibility of the project be established.”

Vancouver, Canada-based NRG Metals aims at mining 5,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate per year, with the potential for expansion. According to an audit commissioned by Hobkirk last year, the Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project houses 571,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate of good to high-quality (a lithium carbonate equivalent grade of 756 parts per million lithium). 

To underpin the firm’s strategy for the project, NRG Metals has tapped two external expert firms to conduct a preliminary economic assessment. Canadian company JDS Energy & Mining is an expert in delivering mining and construction projects. The Vancouver-based firm recently completed work at the Minto Mine in the Yukon, the Gahcho Kue Mine in the Northwest Territories, and the Silvertip Mine in northern British Columbia – all three mines are located in Canada. 

Knight Piésold Consulting is a consulting firm that provides specialized services to the mining, power, water resources, infrastructure, and oil and gas industries. Established in South Africa in 1921, Knight Piésold Consulting has over 800 professionals across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. The engagement with NRG Metals will be delivered from the firm’s Latin American offices in Argentina, based in Mendoza, San Juan and Neuquen.

The report by JDS Energy & Mining and Knight Piésold Consulting is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of this year.

NRG Metals’s endeavors come shortly after Galaxy Resources, an Australian based producer, announced it is moving its operation in the Hombre Muerto Salar, the Sal de Vida Project, to lithium production.

* The Hombre Muerto North Lithium Project consists of the Alba Sabrina, Tramo, Natalia Maria, Gaston Enrique, Viamonte and Norma Edit concessions.