TORONTO – Small miners hoping to take advantage of demand for battery metals are struggling to convert electric vehicle aficionados into investors, compounding the sector’s funding constraints even as analysts predict a long-term shortage of the raw materials used to make EVs.
The predicament has made it harder for already-strapped miners to raise money and could stall construction of new mines in the event the burgeoning EV industry faces a supply crunch for battery-grade lithium, graphite and other minerals.
“You need a mine for almost everything that we touch, and people still don’t get that,” said Eric Desaulniers, chief executive of Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc (NOU.V), which is developing a graphite mine in Quebec. “They want the electric car to save the planet but no mining.”
Traditional mining investors are reluctant to put money in unproven markets while the most ardent EV backers seem loathe to invest in mining at all, even if the products support green technology, industry executives and analysts said.
Whether loss-wary investors will finally focus on EV minerals will be a key question at this week’s annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto.