Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Albemarle CEO says long-term lithium demand remains ‘robust’ (Reuters U.S. – December 12, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Albemarle Corp, the world’s largest lithium producer, expects robust long-term demand for the electric vehicle battery mineral despite troubles in the existing market resulting from oversupply, Chief Executive Luke Kissam said on Thursday.

The outlook comes as shareholder anxiety about Albemarle and its peers has escalated in recent months, with the industry having produced far more of the white metal than EV makers currently need.

Wall Street analysts have downgraded Albemarle and dinged Kissam’s management as a result, with JPMorgan analysts going so far as to say the company is “overvalued.” Albemarle’s shares are down 16 percent since January. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Early-Stage Research Hints at Big Advancements Ahead in Lead Battery Energy Storage Innovation (Essential Energy Everyday.com – December 11, 2019)

https://essentialenergyeveryday.com/

CEOs Visit DOE National Laboratory to Review Collaborative Research Project

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2019 – A three-year scientific research project currently underway at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is showing promising results to unlock the untapped potential of lead batteries. Lead batteries currently supply over 70% of the world’s rechargeable battery energy needs. Yet, possibilities exist to expand their performance to meet growing energy storage and transportation demands.

The project is funded by a joint industry CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) comprised of more than 90% of the U.S. lead battery industry. They are working with Argonne scientists to study lead and its unrealized potential for batteries, which can be employed for both transportation and the nation’s energy infrastructure.

The CRADA is part of the ongoing research and development by the lead battery and recycling industry, which spent more than $100 million in battery R&D in 2018, supports nearly 25,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs, and generates $26.3 billion in economic output. Continue Reading →

OPINION: The German car industry’s costly bet on electric cars could backfire as cities fight cars of any description – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – December 7, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Germany’s automakers are spending hundreds of billions of euros for the transition to electric propulsion. It is the country’s biggest industrial gamble since the Second World War – and it may not work.

The auto industry is going against the wishes of consumers, who do not want electric cars, according to polls, and cannot afford them. It’s fighting unions, who suspect the phase-out of regular cars is a ruse to fire them or pay them less.

And it will soon be at odds with cities, which of course prefer electric cars to emission-spewing ones but would rather have no cars at all, because their streets are clogged to the point of paralysis. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Nickel bubble deflates but a bear trap may be opening – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – December 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) – The nickel price bubble is slowly deflating but bears would be advised to tread carefully with a sharp fall in LME inventory threatening a repeat of the time-spread turbulence that rocked the London market in late September.

London Metal Exchange (LME) nickel surged to a five-year high of $18,850 on Sept. 2, from $12,000 per tonne at the start of July, as Indonesia brought forward to a ban on exports of nickel ore to January.

But the exuberance has dissipated with short-term fund money pulling out to leave LME three-month metal around $13,100 per tonne currently. While nickel may be on the electric vehicle (EV) investment grid because of its use in lithium-ion batteries, an old driver is reasserting itself – namely the state of the stainless steel market. Continue Reading →

Vale to exit New Caledonia, eyes Indonesia to boost nickel output – by Eric Onstad and Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – December 4, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Brazil’s Vale SA plans to exit its troubled New Caledonia assets but still aims to ramp up nickel output ahead of rising demand for electric batteries, executives said on Wednesday.

The planned divestment of nickel operations in New Caledonia comes after Vale said last month it would write down the mine and incur a non-cash impairment charge of about $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter.

A year ago, the world’s top nickel producer unveiled plans to invest $500 million in the mine after failing to find a partner for the operation. Continue Reading →

Chile eyes state-backed lithium push in far-flung salt flats – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters Canada – December 3, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

SALAR DE AGUILAR, Chile (Reuters) – Chile’s Atacama salt flat may get all the attention when it comes to lithium, but the South American nation is looking to develop two lesser-known deposits of the mineral needed to power a global push into electric cars.

Chile’s mining minister, Baldo Prokurica, told Reuters on a trip to the Atacama region the government had asked state-owned copper giant Codelco and smaller state miner National Mining Company, Enami, to forge ahead with lithium projects in the region.

“It seems to me, to say the least, a sin that companies with lithium holdings like this are not even working them,” Prokurica said on a tour of the Aguilar and Infieles salt flats. “What has been missing here is the will to move forward.” Continue Reading →

US must counter China’s stranglehold on key minerals – by Matthew Kandrach (Casper Star Tribune – November 29, 2019)

https://trib.com/

Matthew Kandrach is the president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a free-market oriented consumer advocacy organization.

The element cobalt isn’t something most people think of every day. And yet cobalt is critically important for the production of cell phones, wind turbines, and satellites. It’s also a key part of the lithium-ion battery — making it an essential resource for the emerging green revolution.

Right now, much of the world’s cobalt comes from one source — the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC produces roughly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. Unfortunately, much of that mining is done by child labor, with revenues that often end up in the hands of autocratic rulers and warlords.

As global competition for resources like cobalt continues to grow, one country has moved quickly to dominate the field. Thanks to heavy investment in the DRC, China now owns much of the world’s cobalt production. In fact, China’s heavy investment in both copper and cobalt has given it a strong stake in global metal and mineral supplies. Continue Reading →

Portugal’s Lusorecursos in talks to fund 400 mln euro lithium project – by Sergio Goncalves (Reuters U.S. – November 27, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LISBON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Portuguese mining company Lusorecursos said on Wednesday it was negotiating a 400 million euro funding deal with several international players as it gears up to explore for lithium in the country’s northern region.

Portugal is Europe’s biggest lithium producer, but its miners sell almost exclusively to the ceramics industry and are only now preparing to produce the higher-grade lithium that is used in electric cars and to power electronic appliances.

Lusorecursos was awarded a concession to explore a mine in Montalegre, near the Portugal-Spain border, in March this year but final approval depends on the outcome of an environmental impact study. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Thompson mining’s future looking brighter, but when? (Thompson Citizen – November 27, 2019)

https://www.thompsoncitizen.net/

Although it wasn’t really that long ago that the mining industry was booming in Thompson – if you’ve lived here longer than 10 years, you experienced at least part of it – it might feel like it’s mostly been gloom and doom for a long time because, for the most part, it has.

The 2008 global recession, which was a bit delayed in arriving in Thompson, although eventually it did, was only first starting to be felt when Vale announced nine years ago this month that it had plans to shut down the smelter and refinery in Thompson for good.

At the time that it was first announced, the proposed shutdown date was 2015, though that was later pushed back three years, with operations ceasing about midway through 2018. A bit more than a year before that, Birchtree Mine was placed on care and maintenance status, resulting in the loss of more than 100 jobs. Continue Reading →

The World’s Biggest Battery Recycler Is Helping Fuel The Future of Cars (Bloomberg News – November 26, 2019)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — The former university professor leading one of the firms most crucial to the future of transport has a warning for anyone eyeing his patch.

“I want to tell everyone who wants to enter this market: don’t do it, you are wasting your money,” said Xu Kaihua, chairman of Chinese battery metals maker GEM Co. “Only the top five will survive.”

The firm Xu founded in Shenzhen in 2001 has adopted an expansive business model that’s made it central to supply chains stretching from the cobalt and nickel mines of Africa and Southeast Asia to the motors of Volkswagen and BMW cars. GEM’s diverse footprint includes a plant in Indonesia that will allow it to avoid that nation’s export ban on nickel, a key raw material. And, the company is already the world’s biggest recycler of metals from used batteries. Continue Reading →

RPT-As lithium prices drop, private equity investors hunt for deals – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – November 25, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

Nov 22 (Reuters) – Private equity groups and other investors have grown emboldened by the lithium industry’s malaise, forging plans to invest billions of dollars in mining projects to develop the electric vehicle battery metal.

A more than 50 percent drop in lithium prices since 2018 has unnerved industry executives, fueling cuts to capital spending and halting expansions. Shares in major lithium producers have dropped as a result, exacerbating retail investor anxiety.

But Carlyle Group-backed Traxys and other nontraditional investors and lenders say they sense a buying opportunity, as electric vehicles grow in popularity and fossil fuels are phased out in a rising number of countries. Continue Reading →

Nornickel to boost Taimyr mining by 75% to support the world’s shift to electric mobility – by Thomas Nilsen (Barents Observer – November 20, 2019)

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/

10-years strategic ambition for mining on the Arctic tundra is set to 30 million tonnes per year, the Russian metal-giant said at its annual capital markets day.

Nornickel, describing itself as «the world’s best Tier-1 mining resource», says its unique commodity basket gives the company the best position to support the world’s shift to clean energy mobility.

The announcement to boost production of core metals for battery production comes as the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates sales of electric vehicles (EV) to reach 44 million annually by 2030, up from about 2 million in 2018. Continue Reading →

Mining turned Indonesian seas red. The drive for greener cars could herald a new toxic tide. – by Ian Morse (Washington Post – November 20, 2019)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

POMALAA, Indonesia — Where forested hills dip into the sea, Sahman Ukas scoops up rusty-red topsoil. His hands hold nickel that is more concentrated than many of the world’s richest deposits.

It’s no wonder, then, that on Sahman’s island of Sulawesi, companies have opened several mines in the past 15 years to feed the global market for stainless steel — made ductile and tough with nickel.

Now, a growing appetite for electric vehicles is creating new demand for nickel, whose chemical derivatives are increasingly used in cathodes of lithium-ion batteries. But the push for clean energy is coming at an environmental cost to forests and fisheries in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: International Conference in Ottawa: Is Responsible Sourcing of Metals for Green Transition Possible?

(Ottawa, November 15, 2019 – recirculated) The environmental, social, and climate impacts of mining metals to meet the demands of the booming renewable energy economy are the focus of an international conference opening today in Ottawa. The non-profit group MiningWatch Canada aims to highlight the high environmental and social costs of mining and identify ways to reduce demand for newly mined metals as the world moves urgently away from fossil fuel energy.

The group says the impacts of mining are inadequately addressed as it is, and already acute impacts on communities and ecosystems will be dramatically worsened by projected manyfold increases in demand for metals and minerals to produce wind turbines, photovoltaic cells, electric vehicles and batteries, etc. that can only be partially offset by increased recycling and materials efficiency.

“We are already seeing serious damage to forests, watersheds, farmland, and people’s livelihoods and security from mining for these ‘energy metals’,” says MiningWatch communications coordinator Jamie Kneen. “We have to recognise that there are real limits to extraction. Communities and ecosystems alike are already struggling to deal with mining’s short and long term effects, and they are both signalling that they can’t sacrifice more.” Continue Reading →

Lithium producers hit by first big downturn of electric vehicle era – by Ernest Scheyder (CNBC/Reuters – November 13, 2019)

https://www.cnbc.com/

LOS ANGELES, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The burgeoning lithium industry, which produces the powerhouse metal used to make electric vehicle (EV) batteries, has entered its first major downturn, an unwelcome bruising for investors eager to help combat climate change.

Albemarle Corp, Tianqi Lithium Corp and others have been producing more lithium than automakers need. Global supply exceeds demand by about 5 percent, according to Canaccord data.

That comes as electric vehicle sales in China – the world’s largest EV market – fell nearly a third in September amid sliding government subsidies, the third consecutive monthly decline, according to Jefferies. Continue Reading →