Canadian economy won’t feel impact of battery metal mining – by Frik Els ( – September 12, 2019)

Hardly three years ago expectations of a demand boom for battery materials used in electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage reignited interest in the mining sector as the China-induced supercycle in commodities demand started levelling off.

Prices for lithium and cobalt soared (only to fall back again). Same for vanadium. Graphite and rare earth prices made a comeback. Nickel, where EV-related demand is still tiny, was caught up in the euphoria, and the primarily steelmaking metal is holding onto those gains and more.

Longer term mining’s bellwether metal – copper – may benefit the most and aluminum (on a dollar-basis a bigger industry than copper) will feel a sizeable impact.

A new study by Moody’s Investor Services expects “metals consumption for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will rise sixfold from current levels, as EV penetration reaches 8% of total car sales (our base scenario) by the mid-2020s, and continues to rise rapidly in the second half of the next decade.

But on a country-wide basis the increased output of battery materials – specifically lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper – probably won’t be felt, at least not in the developed world.

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