Archive | Battery Technology Innovation/Electric Vehicles

RPT-Wesfarmers’ soft bid for Kidman spotlights lithium’s financing issues – by Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – May 5, 2019)

MELBOURNE, May 3 (Reuters) – Wesfarmers Ltd’s bid for Australia’s Kidman Resources undervalues the lithium miner, analysts said on Friday, reflecting the financing difficulties the sector faces even as electric car makers warn of raw material shortages.

Wesfarmers offered a 47 percent premium for Kidman, which is developing the Mount Holland project in Western Australia through a joint venture with battery chemicals maker Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM).

But even that offer, which valued the company at A$776 million ($543 million) or A$1.90 per share, undervalued the company, said analysts at J.P. Morgan and Canaccord Genuity. Continue Reading →

Tesla Manager Sees Risk of Battery-Minerals Shortage in Future – by Laura Millan Lombrana and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – May 2, 2019)

Booming demand for electric vehicles and insufficient investment in mines could result in a global shortage of minerals needed to manufacture rechargeable batteries in a few years’ time, a Tesla Inc. representative told U.S. officials and mining executives in a meeting in Washington.

Prices for some of the minerals, which include graphite, cobalt, lithium and nickel, could increase as a result of the high demand and the limited supply, Tesla global supply manager of battery metals Sarah Maryssael said in a closed-door presentation Thursday confirmed by the company.

Investment is important to ensure there is sufficient supply for the industry to grow, she said. Funding for projects to mine these minerals in certain countries has been challenging in the past, Maryssael said at the presentation. Continue Reading →

Wesfarmers bets on electric cars with $544 million bid for Australian lithium miner Kidman – by Tom Westbrook and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – May 1, 2019)

SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian retail conglomerate Wesfarmers Ltd offered A$776 million ($544 million) to buy lithium miner Kidman Resources Ltd on Thursday, its second bid in two months to deepen its exposure to high-tech minerals.

The offer, which has the backing of Kidman’s board and major shareholders, was pitched at a 47 percent premium to Kidman’s last closing price and the stock soared to just below the A$1.90 offer price at the start of trade.

For Wesfarmers, which last year sold out of coal mining and in March bid A$1.5 billion for rare-earth producer Lynas Corp Ltd, it is its firmest bet yet on future demand for raw materials behind products from electric cars to wind turbines. Continue Reading →

The U.S. Has a Battery Problem in the Race for Electric Car Supremacy – by Laura Millan Lombrana and Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – April 30, 2019)

The U.S. push to challenge China’s dominance in the production and sale of electric vehicles has at least one weak link: Most of the raw materials needed to make the batteries are dug elsewhere.

Both Chinese and U.S.-based companies have invested heavily in lithium mining projects in Chile, Australia and Argentina, some of the world’s top producing nations. But unlike the U.S., Chinese companies have also invested at home, with the Asian nation producing almost eight times more lithium domestically than the U.S.

The raw materials gap will be discussed at a May 2 meeting in Washington expected to draw government officials, carmakers, mining companies and consultants on the need for streamlining the U.S. permit process for new lithium projects and stockpiling purchases. Continue Reading →

California company backed by Gates, Bezos staking claims in Sask. – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – April 26, 2019)

KoBold Metals, which is based in California, is looking for ethical sources of cobalt, which is used in electric car batteries.

An American startup whose search for cobalt for batteries is backed by some of the world’s wealthiest people, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is staking claims in the northeast corner of Saskatchewan.

Public records show Faith in Gravity Holdings Inc., which is registered in British Columbia, staked its mineral claims this month. The holding company’s directors are the top three executives of California-based KoBold Metals.

Kobold Metals has raised money from the California venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz as well as Breakthrough Energy, a two-year-old fund backed by, among others, Gates, Bezos, Richard Branson and Michael Bloomberg. Continue Reading →

BMW to Source Cobalt Directly From Australia, Morocco Mines – by William Clowes (Bloomberg News – April 24, 2019)

BMW AG will buy cobalt directly from mines in Australia and Morocco to ensure the metal purchased for its electric vehicles is sourced responsibly, according to the head of procurement at the German automaker.

The measure comes as the London Metal Exchange carries out a supply-chain review to address concerns that cobalt stored in its warehouses may be linked to child labor. The supply of the commodity, mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, faced scrutiny in recent years as humanitarian groups said it’s being produced in unethical conditions.

The newly sourced metal will be used in BMW’s next generation of electric vehicles that will be built from 2020, Andreas Wendt said at a briefing in Paris on Tuesday. The company won’t buy directly from small-scale Congolese mines in the short-term, he said. Continue Reading →

Sudbury lithium miner aims to take its place on battery production stage – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 24, 2019)

Frontier Lithium teams with Queen’s University, Glencore on developing refining process

A Sudbury lithium exploration company has struck a partnership with Queen’s University and Glencore to devise a way to produce lithium hydroxide for the North American battery industry.

Frontier Lithium has inked a strategic partnership agreement to work with XPS Expert Process Solutions, a Glencore spinoff company, and Queen’s University professor Ahmad Ghahreman to develop a process to refine spodumene concentrate into lithium hydroxide.

The collaborative testing project is built around Frontier Lithium’s PAK project, 175 kilometres north of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario. The company claims its 6,976-hectare property is the highest grade lithium deposit in North America. Continue Reading →

Report: Going 100% renewable power means a lot of dirty mining – by Naveena Sadasivam ( – April 17, 2019)

Click here for full report:

For more than a decade, indigenous communities in Alaska have been fighting to prevent the mining of copper and gold at Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery and a crucial source of sustenance.

The proposed mine, blocked under the Obama administration but inching forward under the Trump administration, has been billed by proponents as necessary to meet the growing demand for copper, which is used in wind turbines, batteries, and solar panels.

Similar stories are playing out in Norway, where the Sámi community is fighting a copper mine, and in Papua New Guinea, where a company has been mining the seabed for gold and copper. Continue Reading →

Electric cars can clean up the mining industry – here’s how – by Elsa Dominish and Nick Florin (The Conversation – April 16, 2019)

Growing demand for electric vehicles is important to help cut transport emissions, but it will also lead to new mining. Without a careful approach, we could create new environmental damage while trying to solve an environmental problem.

Like solar panels, wind turbines and battery storage technologies, electric vehicles require a complex mix of metals, many of which have only been previously mined in small amounts.

These include cobalt, nickel and lithium for batteries used for electric vehicles and storage; rare earth metals for permanent magnets in electric vehicles and some wind turbines; and silver for solar panels. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Governments’ diesel drive backfired. Will their battery push blow up too? – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – April 13, 2019)

The late Sergio Marchionne, who was CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, hated electric cars – to the point that he urged customers to not buy the electric version of the little Fiat 500. That’s because the company lost US$14,000 on the sale of each one.

Let Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, blow his brains out on electric cars; FCA would resist them, though ever-tighter emission regulations in some regions, such as California, meant the company was forced to launch a few battery models.

Mr. Marchionne’s point was that it was impossible to tell whether electric motors, which use expensive batteries and are hobbled by short driving ranges, or some other technology – maybe fuel cells – would emerge as the winning propulsion system. He was right about that. Today, the market share of electric cars, while rising from insignificant levels, is about 2 per cent. It remains a niche technology largely reserved for the rich. Continue Reading →

Worried about nickel supply, China battery maker BYD welcomes JV discussions – by Tom Daly (Reuters Canada – April 11, 2019)

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Securing enough nickel is a major worry for electric vehicle firms, an executive from Chinese electric car and battery maker BYD Co Ltd said on Thursday, adding that the company would welcome joint ventures that help guarantee supply.

Nickel is one of several metals that are key components of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. A shift in battery chemistry toward higher nickel content, which would allow cars to go further on a single charge, is expected to boost demand further.

“The supply of nickel going forward is a big concern in everybody’s mind,” said Coco Liu, procurement director at BYD, at the Fastmarkets Battery Materials conference. Continue Reading →

From turbines to thermostats: Copper miners eyes high-tech demand – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – April 10, 2019)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Growing demand for smart thermostats, wind turbines and other high-tech devices is expected to keep copper the dominant material used in electrical components, industry players said, offsetting rising use of aluminum, a cheaper alternative to conduct electricity.

That bodes well for the likes of Chilean producer Codelco, Rio Tinto Plc and other major copper miners, who are investing billions of dollars to bring new supplies of the metal online during the next 20 years.

Copper is used to make motors, batteries, wiring and other goods as it is the best electrical-conducting metal, after silver. Aluminum, which is lighter and cheaper than copper, shares some of these traits, but is more corrosive and brittle than its red rival and only about 60 percent as conductive. Continue Reading →

Revitalizing its copper mines may not be sufficient to keep Chile at the fore – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters U.S. – April 10, 2019)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Codelco and other copper mining giants are set to plow billions of dollars into the revitalization of Chile’s mines, but that may not be enough to keep the country from losing ground to competitors elsewhere in the world.

Demand for copper is widely expected to take off by the mid-2020s amid a boom in electric vehicle production, but Chile is saddled with mines facing crippling declines in ore grades and a system that allows the bulk of its exploration concessions to sit idle.

“Chile is a fantastic country to work in. The question then comes, if it has all this potential, why are we not seeing growth in exploration?” said Anthony Amberg, of Los Andes Copper, a Canada-based junior with prospects in Chile. Continue Reading →

Battery Reality: There’s Nothing Better Than Lithium-Ion Coming Soon – by David R. Baker (Bloomberg News – April 3, 2019)

Clean-energy visionaries have long argued that the world needs a better battery capable of selling skeptical consumers on electric cars and running the grid on renewable power. And yet the battery of the future—at least for the coming decade—will almost certainly be the battery of the past.

The humble lithium-ion battery has built up such a commanding lead in the market that competing technologies may struggle to catch up. That lead will only widen as a wave of planned new lithium-ion factories comes online in the next five years.

The batteries pouring from new factories in China, the U.S., Thailand and elsewhere will further drive down prices, which have already plunged 85 percent since 2010. And the billions spent on factories will create a powerful incentive for the industry to keep tweaking lithium-ion technology, improving it bit by bit, rather than adopting something else. Continue Reading →

Copper producers gather; electric cars seen driving demand growth – by Zandi Shabalala and Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.K. – April 7, 2019)

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Global copper producers are converging in Chile this week as tightening supply buoys prices, even as the industry grapples with declining ore quality, project delays and worries the U.S-China trade war may hit long-term demand.

Despite these challenges, the industry is planning for substantial growth in the next decade thanks to an expected boom in production of electric vehicles, which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines. Automakers are vowing to produce all-electric fleets.

With all that in mind, hundreds of investors, executives, analysts and regulators are gathering in Santiago, the Chilean capital, for the annual World Copper Conference. Continue Reading →