Canada is playing catch-up in global frenzy for lithium, as China’s grip on critical clean energy mineral tightens – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 13, 2022)

A global move to zero-emissions electric vehicles is fuelling a once-in-a-generation boom in lithium, a critical component in EV batteries. But Canada is struggling to establish a foothold in one of the world’s most vital minerals as China’s vise grip on global supplies tightens.

Canada has already had one kick at the lithium can, and it wasn’t pretty. About five years ago, lithium prices exploded based on unrealistic anticipated EV demand. Then prices crashed to earth in 2019 and 2020.

Lithium 1.0 ended badly for one high-profile and hugely ambitious Canadian company in particular: Nemaska Lithium Inc., which was financially backed by the Quebec government, but then had to seek creditor protection in late 2019. It was almost a textbook case of what can go wrong when governments race to invest in a hot new sector, only to get slammed when the bubble bursts.

But now the price of the silvery white, super light metal is again on a tear, and trading at record levels. M&A activity is booming, with Canadian development companies in the crosshairs.

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