Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

Australian Mines shares surge on cobalt deal with SK Innovation – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – February 20, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Shares of battery and technology metals developer Australian Mines Ltd surged on Tuesday after the company signed an off-take agreement with South Korean battery maker SK Innovation for nickel and cobalt from its flagship Sconi project.

The commodity off-take agreement, which is for an initial period of seven years, will be for SK Innovation’s newly developed battery manufacturing plants in Hungary and Korea, Australian Mines said on Monday in a statement announcing the deal.

The agreement is contingent on Australian Mines obtaining financing for the project in Australia’s far north east by the end of 2018 and for mining to start before the end of 2020. Continue Reading →

Mines Linked to Child Labor Are Thriving in Rush for Car Batteries – by Thomas Wilson and Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – February 19, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

The appetite for electric cars is driving a boom in small-scale cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some mines have been found to be dangerous and employ child labor.

Production from so-called artisanal mines probably rose by at least half last year, according to the estimates of officials at three of the biggest international suppliers of the metal, who asked not to be named because they’re not authorized to speak on the matter.

State-owned miner Gecamines estimates artisanal output accounted for as much as a quarter of the country’s total production in 2017. That’s a concern for carmakers from Volkswagen AG to Tesla Inc., who are seeking to secure long-term supplies of the battery ingredient but don’t want to be enmeshed in a scandal about unethical mining practices. Continue Reading →

[Deep Sea Mining: Papua New Guinea] The secret on the ocean floor: (BBC News – February 19, 2018)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/

A wave of pioneers is poised to scoop up treasure from the deep sea. But was this ocean mining boom sparked by a 1970s CIA plot?

In the summer of 1974, a large and highly unusual ship set sail from Long Beach in California. It was heading for the middle of the Pacific where its owners boasted it would herald a revolutionary new industry beneath the waves.

Equipped with a towering rig and the latest in drilling gear, the vessel was designed to reach down through the deep, dark waters to a source of incredible wealth lying on the ocean floor.

It was billed as the boldest step so far in a long-held dream of opening a new frontier in mining, one that would see valuable metals extracted from the rocks of the seabed. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Nickel flies on supply hits; Indonesia could ground it – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 16, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Nickel has enjoyed a blistering start to 2018. On the London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel has this week punched up through the $14,000 level for the first time since May 2015 to hit a Thursday high of $14,420 per tonne.

It has gained 10 percent since the start of the year and has bounced 34 percent from its December low of $10,740 per tonne. Speculative money has poured into this hot market, fund managers tripling their net long exposure LME-NI-MNET to the London contract over the course of December and January.

Shanghai investors have been equally enthusiastic, albeit with a Chinese twist of treating nickel as a bullish steel rebar derivative. Nickel is basking in the electric vehicle glow but the full demand impact is still in the future. Continue Reading →

Charging ahead: how Australia is innovating in battery technology – by Jonathan Knott (The Conversation – February 15, 2018)

http://theconversation.com/

Lithium-ion remains the most widespread battery technology in use today, thanks to the fact that products that use it are both portable and rechargeable. It powers everything from your smartphone to the “world’s biggest battery” in South Australia.

Demand for batteries is expected to accelerate in coming decades with the increase in deployment of electric vehicles and the need to store energy generated from renewable sources, such as solar photovoltaic panels. But rising concerns about mining practices and shortages in raw materials for lithium-ion batteries – as well as safety issues – have led to a search for alternative technologies.

Many of these technologies aren’t being developed to replace lithium-ion batteries in portable devices, rather they’re looking to take the pressure off by providing alternatives for large-scale, stationary energy storage. Continue Reading →

Crucial to find cobalt sources outside of Africa – by Rahul Verma and Brent A. Elliott (My San Antonio.com – February 14, 2018)

https://www.mysanantonio.com/

Rahul Verma is a research scientist associate in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin. Brent A. Elliott is an economic geologist in the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin.

As we move toward integration of renewable energy sources and electric vehicles, we need to pay greater attention to the cobalt supply chain and diversification of supply for cobalt sources.

Cobalt plays an integral part in the common lithium-ion battery, and as battery-powered applications such as electric vehicles become ubiquitous, cobalt mining will need to grow proportionally to avoid supply bottlenecks.

Industry projections show that if we reach 24.7 million cars by 2025, we will need the cobalt supply for a compound annual growth rate of about 8 percent from 2020 to 2025. If demand is higher, such as upward of 63.2 million cars by 2025, it will require a growth of about 14 percent from 2020 to 2025. Such growth rates hinge on a precarious supply chain. Continue Reading →

Samsung SDI Can’t Skirt Cobalt’s Crunch – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Demand is rising much faster than supply, used mobile phones or none.

Can recycling save the world from a looming shortage of cobalt? The idea has sound precedent. Lead — an essential ingredient in traditional car batteries, just as cobalt will be for the coming generation of lithium-ion cells — is probably the most extensively recycled industrial raw material on earth.

With cobalt demand from cars, electric buses and utility-scale batteries set to soar over the next decade, mining cobalt from spent batteries rather than the ground could go some way toward keeping the market balanced.

That’s the hope of Samsung SDI Co. The South Korean components company will sign a deal with a cobalt-recycling business to secure supplies from used mobile phones, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday, listing American Manganese Inc. and Umicore SA without saying whether either was under consideration for the tie-up. Continue Reading →

The long road ahead for the electric-vehicle revolution – by Greg Keenan and Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – February 10, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

While politicians and industry leaders worldwide have created the impression that EVs are on the verge of replacing the internal combustion engine, it is not going to happen overnight

The electric vehicle capital of Canada is a small town in Quebec cottage country, some 95 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The family-owned dealership of Bourgeois Chevrolet Buick GMC, located in Rawdon, Que., consistently ranks as the top seller of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country – both new and used versions of battery-only models such as the new Chevrolet Bolt and plug-in hybrids such as the Volt, which has a backup gasoline motor.

Last year, fully half the 1,000 cars and trucks that Bourgeois sold were EVs, whereas most Chevy dealerships around the country sell a couple each month on average. Continue Reading →

Nope, Cobalt’s Not A Problem For The EV Revolution Or Tesla (#CleanTechnica Exclusive) – by Zachary Shahan (Clean Technica – February 11, 2018)

https://cleantechnica.com/

In the world of life, there are small challenges and there are major, critical, existential challenges. That’s the story for humans, for businesses, and for industries. Limited cobalt supply is being pitched more and more as an existential problem for the electric vehicle revolution (and for Tesla in particular), but it’s really just another cog in the machine that needs to get moving.

The hottest trending hype about what will supposedly stop an electric vehicle revolution — and take down Tesla — has morphed over the years. “It will be X.” Well, no. “It will be Y.” Nope. “It will be Z.” Try again. As these other “death sentences” have been overcome, the naysayers have had to find new concerns to cling to. Because, you know, life is no fun if you aren’t worrying or casting doubt on positive forecasts of the future.

Now, the naysaying world of anti-EV and anti-Tesla commenters is all over cobalt. “There’s not enough of it! Where will people find it! Current suppliers commit human rights abuse!* The price is going to skyrocket! Game over for the EV market — and especially Tesla! (So long and thanks for all the tweets.)” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Why Tesla is turning to Chile for its lithium – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – February 7, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – Tesla, the pioneer of the electric vehicle revolution, is turning to Chile to secure the lithium it needs to power its mass production drive.

Tesla and Chilean lithium producer SQM are “exploring” opportunities after the automotive company expressed interest in buying “important volumes” of the battery ingredient, according to Eduardo Bitran, head of Chilean development agency Corfo.

It’s an obvious place for Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, to look for secure supply. The global lithium mother-lode is in the brine lakes of Chile’s Atacama desert. Continue Reading →

Battery technology will define the future of renewable energy – by John Campion (The Hill – February 7, 2018)

http://thehill.com/

Battery technology will define the future of renewable energy

It is an exciting time to be involved in energy innovation. There have been developments on multiple fronts at the consumer level with the introduction of new models of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, and perhaps more importantly, at the utility level with massive commercial investments in renewable energy generation and storage technologies.

Renewable energy, especially solar and wind power, is quickly becoming the dominant locus of new electricity generation investment. The Bloomberg 2017 New Energy Outlook predicts that $10.2 trillion will be spent on new power generation worldwide through 2040, and a massive 72 percent of this will be invested in new wind and solar plants.

The broader availability of clean power is an encouraging development from both an environmental and an economic perspective. However, as energy markets accelerate along the transition from conventional to sustainable energy generation, there will be a growing problem that the industry must address. Continue Reading →

Voisey’s Bay poised to capitalize on demand for cobalt, but Vale silent – by Terry Roberts (CBC News NL – February 06, 2018)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

Sources say ballistic surge in cobalt prices makes underground mine project more likely

A ballistic surge in the price of cobalt could mean positive things for Labrador’s Voisey’s Bay mine, but if executives at Vale are excited, they certainly aren’t saying.

Reuters is reporting that the Brazilian mining giant, which owns the Voisey’s Bay mine and processing facility at Long Harbour, Placentia Bay, is looking to cash in on cobalt.

The international news agency is reporting that Vale is looking to sell unmined cobalt, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, to investors and that could be a positive sign as the company decides whether to proceed with an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe’s mining minister says lithium biggest draw – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters Africa – February 6, 2018)

https://af.reuters.com/

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Zimbabwe has the potential to be a leading producer of lithium, which has so far attracted more interest than any other of its minerals, Zimbabwe’s new Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando said on Tuesday.

He said he had last week reached a deal with a small listed company, which was expected to generate revenue of $1.4 billion over eight years from a lithium project.

Chitando took office after Emmerson Mnangagwa became president in November 2017 when the military took charge and Robert Mugabe resigned after 37 years in office. Continue Reading →

Electric Cars and Niche Metals Lure Cash to Africa’s Mines – by Thomas Wilson and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – February 2, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Rising commodity prices may have revived enthusiasm for African resources, but it’s unlikely to be the old mainstays of coal and iron ore pulling crowds next week as the mining industry meets in Cape Town.

The electric-vehicle boom and shifting industrial demand have transformed formerly niche metals — from lithium and cobalt to praseodymium and neodymium — into the hot new drawcards of African mining.

Far smaller and cheaper than the gargantuan mine, port and rail developments pursued by the likes of BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group during the last boom, these next-generation mines may stand a better chance of success.

Here are five metals grabbing attention across the continent. Continue Reading →

Glencore flags sharp rise in cobalt production – by Neil Hume (Financial Times -January 31, 2018)

https://www.ft.com/

Cobalt prices have soared amid rising demand for batteries to power electric vehicles

Glencore, the Swiss miner and commodity trader, has flagged a big increase in cobalt production as one of its biggest copper mines restarts production.

The London-listed group said it expected to produce around 39,000 tonnes of the metal this year, up from 27,400 tonnes last year, as its Katanga mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo come back on stream following a big investment programme.

The mine was closed in 2015 so that Glencore could upgrade its processing facilities. The company estimates it could produce as much as 20,000 tonnes of cobalt a year by 2019. Continue Reading →