Lithium-ion batteries can power African growth – by Prinesha Naidoo ( – March 17, 2016)

JOHANNESBURG – African mining companies stand to win big from the growing lithium-ion battery market, says Kenneth Ozoemena, chief scientist and research group leader at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

A key component of lithium-ion batteries are metal oxides which range from aluminium to cobalt, manganese, nickel and titanium.

Ozoemena told delegates at the 2016 Power & Electricity World Africa conference that Africa’s abundance of such natural resources could prove a boon not only for lithium miners but for associated raw material oxides as well.

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Surging Demand For Rechargeable Batteries Is Driving Business To South America – by Rosalba O’Brien and Rod Nickel (Huffington Post – March 15, 2016)

Lithium is an essential component of many consumer tech products.

SANTIAGO/TORONTO, March 15 (Reuters) – Far from the soy and cattle that dominate its vast fertile pampas, Argentina harbors another valuable commodity that is rocketing in price and demand and luring newly welcomed foreign investors.

Lithium, the so-called “white petroleum,” drives much of the modern world. It forms a small but essentially irreplaceable component of rechargeable batteries, used in consumer devices like mobile phones and electric cars. It also has pharmaceutical and other applications.

Over half of the earth’s identified resources of the mineral are found in South America’s “lithium triangle,” an otherworldly landscape of high-altitude lakes and bright white salt flats that straddles Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

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PDAC 2016: How lithium has become a rare winner amid the commodity slaughter – by Peter Koven (Financial Post – March 8, 2016)

The commodity slaughter of the last five years has left almost no metal unscathed. Almost.

There is a notable exception. Little-known lithium has been a solid performer for the last several years, and has simply skyrocketed in recent months due to expectations of soaring demand from electric vehicles and market distortions in China.

“You could argue it’s done better than anything,” said Jon Hykawy, president of Stormcrow Capital Ltd., which tracks the lithium market. That said, he noted the sky-high prices coming out of China don’t tell the whole story.

The lithium market is tiny in the grand scheme of things, with total demand of roughly 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes a year.

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Six yard battery-powered scoops head for Russia Batteries and lithium are King – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – November 17, 2015)

RDH Mining Equipment builds on track record for innovation

RDH Mining Equipment, a manufacturer of underground mining equipment in Alban, Ontario, 50 kilometres south of Sudbury, has sold three battery-powered, six-yard load-haul-dump machines to a mine in Russia.

A global leader in the development of battery-powered underground mining equipment, RDH began manufacturing electric scoops in 2011 for Kirkland Lake Gold. Since then, it has sold the Ontario gold miner 12 battery-powered three-yard loaders and three haul trucks.

The three drivers for the mining industry’s interest in battery power are rising ventilation costs, heat issues and exposure to diesel particulate, which is now classified as a carcinogen, said RDH president Kevin Fitzsimmons.

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Battery power exec predicts diesel’s demise – by Walter Franczyk (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – November 17, 2015)

Mike Kasaba foresees the day when diesel no longer fuels underground mining. The chief executive officer of Artisan Vehicle Systems, a company that supplies battery-powered, electric powertrains for mining equipment, Kasaba predicts that within five years all new equipment purchases for underground mines will be zero emission and diesel equipment will be progressively phased out.

He delivered his forecast during a recent Toronto conference of the Mining Diesel Emissions Council. To prepare for diesel’s demise, his company recently opened a 60,000-square-foot battery development centre and production facility designed to boost production levels by 10 times, in Camarillo, California.

“The driving force behind the expansion is this opportunity and urgency in underground mining,” said Mark Dunseith, general manager of Artisan’s Canadian operations.

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Battery Boom Heats Lithium Gains as Outback Mining Stocks Soar – by David Stringer and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg News – February 18, 2016)

The only things hotter than Western Australia’s scorched Outback are the mining companies preparing to supply the lithiumneeded by the likes of Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Inc. to meet booming demand for electric cars.

Lithium is providing a rare bright spot for miners, amid cratering prices of raw materials tied to heavy industry such as iron ore to coal. The material, also used in tablet computers and power storage, promises gains from China’s shift to consumer-driven growth and global attempts to curb reliance on fossil fuels.

Prices of lithium carbonate — an industrial chemical used in lithium ion batteries — have surged 47 percent in 2016 from last year’s average, according to London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Ltd.

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South Africa plans fuel cell plant to boost platinum demand – by Wendell Roelf (Reuters U.S. – February 9, 2016)

CAPE TOWN, Feb 9 South Africa plans to set up a fuel cell component plant by 2018, the latest initiative from the world’s top platinum producer to increase demand for the metal and support firms hit by plunging prices and labour strife.

The price of platinum has fallen about 30 percent year-on-year, forcing miners to sell assets and cut production and jobs. Around two-thirds of the industry, whose mines were damaged by a five-month strike in 2014, are making losses.

Vinay Somera, chief executive of Isondo Precious Metals, said his firm was preparing a feasibility study and had secured a licence from U.S-based Chemours Technology, to assemble components for the fuel cells using platinum.

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Electric cars, battery revolution power scramble for lithium – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – February 10, 2016)

The growing excitement around electric vehicles and home power storage is spilling over into the junior resources sector, with numerous players joining the hunt for lithium — the key ingredient in the new-generation batteries that are changing the way the world looks at energy.

While momentum has been building in the lithium space for some time amid the hype around Tesla, electric vehicles and other emerging lithium-ion battery applications, the value of the commodity has only recently started to surge.

Lithium carbonate prices have more than doubled in the past few months, climbing from $US7700 a tonne to more than $US16,000 a tonne. The surge comes despite the continued weakness in oil prices, which led some to question whether suddenly cheaper fuel could slow the rollout of electric vehicles.

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Hydro-Québec on a research quest for the ‘God Battery’ – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – February 6, 2016)

VARENNES, QUE. — Karim Zaghib powers up a Chevy Volt electric hybrid for a tour of his domain: the energy storage and conversion facilities at Hydro-Québec’s sprawling two-square-kilometre research campus in Varennes, a Montreal exoburb on the South Shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Mr. Zaghib is Hydro-Québec’s point man on a high-stakes strategic mission to develop the superbattery of the future that will propel the much-vaunted all-electric car into the realm of commercial viability and consumer receptivity.

The veteran electro-chemist is a self-described idealist who dreams of spearheading the big technological breakthrough in electric-vehicle battery technology, committed to making a major contribution to a cleaner, more liveable planet.

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The Gates-backed Canadian building a better battery – by Alec Scott (Globe and Mail – June 23, 2015)

Donald Sadoway is the Mr. Chips, the Mr. Holland, the Miss Jean Brodie of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The elfin 65-year-old from Oshawa, Ontario, is the sort of teacher who alums discuss fondly at reunions. Remember the class on the chemistry of Champagne, when he wore a tuxedo and served flutes of bubbly?

Or how he blasted Handel’s Water Music at the start of the class on how hydrogen bonds with oxygen?

Sadoway has won almost every teaching award they have at MIT, some of them multiple times. But he also explodes that nasty old distinction between teachers and doers. He is an inventor with 19 patents, and he’s about to launch a battery that could change the world.

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Is the long-awaited ‘Bolivian lithium boom’ about to happen? – by John Bartlett (Latin Correspondent – February 1, 2016)

Bolivia’s lithium dream is nothing new. Generations of politicians have long made hollow declarations about the country’s lithium potential; but is demand finally catching up with the nation’s bountiful supply?

Practically, the compound lithium carbonate is used in small quantities in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries – common in smart phones and electric cars. As the automotive industry turns increasingly towards electric-powered and hybrid cars, the price of lithium has again been predicted to rise 20 percent by 2017.

It is thought that Bolivia harbors about half of the world’s lithium. However, it is far from certain exactly how much lies below the vast, bleached expanse of the Salar de Uyuni salt flats in the southwest of Bolivia – the largest of their kind in the world.

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To put it bluntly, batteries suck! – by John Petersen ( – January 8, 2016)

We have a love-hate relationship with them. We can’t imagine life without batteries but we’re rarely happy with them because they invariably need to be recharged or replaced at the worst possible moment.

There’s a reason that “damned” is the attributive adjective most commonly associated with the noun. The best summation I’ve ever heard came from a PhD electrochemist who said, “Batteries are a grudge purchase.”

My love-hate relationship with batteries runs deeper than most. From 2004 through 2007, I worked as legal counsel for and served as chairman of a public R&D stage battery company. Since 2013, I’ve been an officer and director of a private company that’s developing a unique hybrid drivetrain for heavy trucks and struggling to find a battery that can handle the drivetrain’s power profile.

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Understanding Advanced Batteries and Energy Storage – Part I – by John Petersen (InvestorIntel – January 3, 2016)

Since I’m the new kid on the InvestorIntel block and most investors don’t have more than a passing familiarity with the advanced battery and energy storage space, my initial articles will focus on core issues and discuss them in manageable chunks. Once I’ve laid a solid foundation, I’ll begin to explore specific technologies and applications in greater detail.

My initial articles will be thought pieces that build a contextual framework for the more detailed analyses that follow.

Since my perspective on the technical, economic and supply chain issues of energy storage, vehicle electrification and alternative energy is often unsettling, I encourage you to give yourself some time to read, think and participate in the discussion. The process won’t always be comforting, but I hope we’ll have a lot of fun together.

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There’s lithium in them thar … lakebeds – by Sandra Chereb (Las Vegas Review-Journal – December 13, 2015)

CARSON CITY — A new mining boom is taking shape in Nevada, one focused not on gold and silver but brines and clay containing an element critical to a 21st century world.

Interest in Nevada’s lithium supplies spiked after Tesla Motors Inc. chose the Northern Nevada desert as the site for its $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory, a joint venture with Japanese company Panasonic Corp.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s billionaire CEO, said mass production of the batteries is key to his goal of making the company’s fast and sexy electric cars affordable to the general public.

Since factory construction began last year, Musk has launched another endeavor — making energy storage units for homes and businesses capable of storing solar-produced electricity for use when the sun doesn’t shine.

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Battery power gains traction [Underground Mining] – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – November 2015)

Diesel still rules, but the beginning of a transition to battery-powered vehicles in underground mining appears to be underway.

Industrial Fabrication, a Sudbury-based manufacturer of underground utility vehicles, has three Minecat UT150-EMVs in operation – one at Vale’s Creighton Mine, one at Glencore’s Fraser Mine, both in Sudbury, and one at Goldcorp’s Musselwhite Mine 480 kilometres north of Thunder Bay in northwestern Ontario.

The Sudbury manufacturer first looked at battery power in 2004, but backed away because “at that time we felt the technology wasn’t ready for underground,” said Industrial Fabrication vice-president Daryl Rautiainen.

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