Australian miners steam ahead with lithium exploration – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – August 9, 2018)

KALGOORLIE (Reuters) – Australian miners are ramping up exploration for lithium even as prices dip, betting on renewed strength in the raw material used for rechargeable batteries.

Australian miners’ enthusiasm for lithium projects appears undimmed by sliding prices as they expand their exploration and development efforts on the back of expected strong demand for battery chemicals.

Australia accounts for around half the world’s supply of lithium where it is mined from hard rock deposits, with the rest of the world’s supply found below salt lakes, mostly in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

A flurry of new hard rock projects that are now beginning to ship have been blamed for a 44 percent drop in lithium carbonate prices this year.

Delegates at the Diggers and Dealers mining conference in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, said they were turning their focus to growth via exploration, and were expanding into lithium.

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