Archive | Lithium

Coronavirus pandemic a further blow to WA’s multi-million-dollar lithium industry – by Jacqueline Lynch (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – May 20, 2020)

https://www.abc.net.au/

A few years ago there were high hopes that demand for West Australian lithium would skyrocket, but the industry has been plagued with a slow uptake of electric vehicles, falling lithium prices and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

The valuable metal, found in abundance across regional WA, is largely used in the production of electric vehicles and energy storage systems. In an effort to cut costs during the coronavirus pandemic, United States lithium giant, Albemarle, has slowed down progress on what was set to be the state’s largest lithium refinery, near Bunbury.

The vice president of the company’s lithium division, David Klanecky, said while no jobs would be lost the move would delay the plant’s completion by several months. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-In the coming renewable energy boom, Australia is once again the “lucky country”: – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 21, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, May 21 (Reuters) – Which commodities and countries are best placed to emerge as winners in the post-coronavirus world, especially if the anticipated boost to investment in renewables energies actually happens?

One of the themes emerging for a post-coronavirus world is that investment should flow into renewable energies, both as economic stimulus and as a way of limiting the impact of climate change.

To this end, the World Bank released a report on May 11 stating that global production of minerals such as lithium, cobalt and graphite would have to increase by as much as 500% by 2050. Continue Reading →

Nevada’s “Lithium Valley” – by Charles Morris (Clean Technica – May 13, 2020)

https://cleantechnica.com/

No, lithium isn’t going to become “the new oil,” regardless of what the pandering pundits of the popular press say (it’s a raw material, not a fuel, and it’s one of the most abundant elements on Earth). However, there’s no question that demand for the light white stuff is growing quickly, and that much of the current supply comes from outside the US.

Tesla is believed to import much of the lithium it uses from Australia and South America. There are strong economic and environmental reasons to develop more domestic sources.

Fortunately, just a couple hundred miles north of Gigafactory 1, near the Oregon/Nevada border, there’s an area that some are calling Lithium Valley, which could contain a huge and easily exploitable trove of lithium. (This isn’t mere serendipity — one of the reasons Tesla chose Nevada as the site of the Gigafactory was the proximity to potential sources of lithium and other minerals.) Continue Reading →

Quebec lithium mine’s bankruptcy flags Canadian market obstacles, analysts say – by Kip Keen (S & P Global – May 8, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

In Nemaska Lithium Inc.’s failure to launch a lithium mine in Quebec, analysts see some of Canada’s disadvantages in the global lithium market coming to bear. The company headed into creditor protection in late 2019 after spending about C$411.4 million on the C$1.27 billion Whabouchi lithium project as of Dec. 31, 2019.

Remote project locations lacking infrastructure and proximity to end markets, in particular China, along with weak lithium prices remain obstacles for the budding sector in Quebec and other parts of North America, according to analysts.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence lithium analyst Andrew Miller said many factors have played a role in holding back some of Quebec’s potential lithium supply to the global market. Continue Reading →

BUSINESS“The Battery of Choice” – Does the Future of Energy lie in Lithium Tech? – by Meghanne Uptigrove (Red Deer Todayville.com – May 6, 2020)

News

At the crossroads of technological development and clean energy innovation, interest in the lithium battery continues to gain traction across the global market.

Using the lightest metal on the periodic table, lithium batteries have massive potential in the fields of green technology and power generation and storage. With a large charging capacity and extended lifetime, lithium batteries have been increasingly regarded as a game-changing technology for a number of industries.

The University of Washington Clean Energy Institute identified Li-ion batteries as the “market leader in portable electronic devices”. The CEI also highlighted the importance of Li-ion tech in the clean energy conversation, as “much of the promise of Li-ion technology comes from their potential applications in battery-powered cars.” Continue Reading →

Is a Proposed Lithium Mine in Nevada the Future of Renewable Energy? – by Chase Cain (NECN.com – April 22, 2020)

https://www.necn.com/

Do you think driving a Tesla or plugging-in to solar power are environmentally-conscious choices? Then you should know it’s almost certain the batteries in those systems traveled around the world two or three times before they were ever installed. That’s not very “green,” is it?

Lithium-ion batteries, found in laptops, mobile phones and many other things we use every day, often have a rather costly carbon footprint. But a tiny town in the American West called Orovada could play a big role in making green energy more green.

Northern Nevada could soon explode into America’s “Lithium Valley,” playing an even more critical role in our country’s future than Silicon Valley did with technology. Continue Reading →

Award-winning find for Sudbury lithium explorer – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 21, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

A Sudbury lithium exploration company has been recognized by its peers as having an exceptional discovery in northwestern Ontario. Frontier Lithium received the Bernie Schnieders Award for Discovery of the Year for its Spark Pegmatite deposit, north of Red Lake. The Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association made the announcement on April 20.

The deposit is within the company’s Pakeagama Lake Pegamatite (PAK) project, 175 kilometres north of Red Lake, and covers a claims belt over 26,774 hectares near the Manitoba border.

After making the initial discovery in January 2019, two drill programs were completed last year before the company released the first resource estimate in early February of this year. Continue Reading →

Argentina’s fledgling lithium sector clipped by coronavirus – by Marina Lammertyn (Reuters U.S. – April 16, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s fledgling lithium sector has been torpedoed by the global spread of coronavirus, with operations stalled by a nationwide crackdown and some projects being abandoned as the pandemic has sharpened economic concerns in the country.

Argentina is part of South America’s so-called “lithium triangle,” a major sources of the light metal that is key to the development of electrified vehicles. It has been pushing new projects to catch up with neighboring lithium powerhouse Chile.

Those now are hanging in limbo, threatening what the country had hoped would one day be a $2.1 billion lithium export market, according to a government presentation, up from $190 million last year when it shipped 50,000 tonnes of the white metal. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Eramet halts Argentina lithium project on coronavirus crisis (Reuters U.S. – April 8, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

PARIS, April 8 (Reuters) – French mining and metals group Eramet has decided to stop work on a lithium production project in Argentina, aimed at shifting the group’s focus towards electric vehicle minerals, due to economic uncertainty created by a coronavirus epidemic.

Eramet had already put the project on hold in February, citing economic and regulatory instability in the debt-stricken South American country, and it said on Wednesday the COVID-19 crisis had now led it to take a longer term decision to halt the planned construction of a lithium production plant.

The move will result in a cost of some 150 million euros ($163 million), including an asset impairment charge, and cash outflows of approximately 90 million euros in 2020, it said in a statement. Continue Reading →

Coronavirus highlights new logistics risk in battery supply chains – by Jacob Holzman (SPG Global Market Intelligence – April 2, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

The coronavirus pandemic is uncovering new risk in the global supply chain for lithium-ion batteries as countries that are pivotal in producing lithium and other metals needed for battery manufacturing roll out restrictions in a bid to control the spread of the virus.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, an information provider specializing in the lithium-ion battery sector, wrote in a recent report that the coronavirus outbreak has led to a logistical slowdown throughout the supply chain, stretching around the world.

In Australia, a major producer of lithium, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies warned members of stringent interstate travel restrictions. In South America, Chile has implemented a national curfew, and parts of Santiago are in quarantine, while Argentina has a countrywide quarantine. Continue Reading →

US ‘far too reliant’ on Chinese lithium: American Battery CEO – by Nick Lazzaro (S&P Global Platts – March 30, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

Pittsburgh — The coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent impact on the global lithium supply chain emphasizes the US’ damaging overreliance on lithium from China, American Battery Metals CEO Doug Cole said Monday.

“If coronavirus has shown us anything, it’s that we are far too reliant on China and other countries for key minerals like lithium, cobalt and nickel,” Cole said in a statement. “The United States is rich in these key metals, and we must quickly increase domestic investment to bring these resources into the supply chain.”

The US is only mining and producing about 1% of the world’s lithium despite having access to large domestic lithium resources, Cole added. Continue Reading →

Chile lithium miners take coronavirus precautions, say impact on output minimal so far – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters/Financial Post – March 17, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

SANTIAGO — Top lithium miners in Chile, the world´s No.2 producer of the ultralight battery metal, ramped up sanitary precautions at their Atacama salt flat mining operations to protect workers from the coronavirus outbreak, but said impact on output was minimal thus far.

Cases of coronavirus in Chile had jumped to 181 on Tuesday, prompting authorities to shut down the country´s borders, close schools and prohibit gatherings of large groups. The South American nation is also the world´s top copper producer.

SQM, in a letter to Chilean financial regulators late on Monday, said the border closures, decreases in commercial activity and disruptions in supply chains had led to “a reduction of approximately 2,000 metric tonnes of lithium sales volumes in China.” Continue Reading →

Lithium startup backed by Bill Gates seeks a breakthrough at the Salton Sea – by Sammy Roth (Los Angeles Times – March 16, 2020)

https://www.latimes.com/

David Snydacker knew going in that California’s Imperial Valley was a “graveyard for lithium-extraction technologies.”

For years, companies had tried and failed to find a cost-effective way to pull the valuable mineral — a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric cars — from the naturally heated fluid deep beneath the Salton Sea. One of the most recent busts was Simbol Materials, a much-hyped startup that collapsed in 2015 shortly after Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. offered to buy the firm for $325 million.

But several deep-pocketed investors think Snydacker’s technology may finally launch a new domestic clean-energy industry. His Oakland startup, Lilac Solutions, recently announced a $20-million funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which funds startups working to reduce planet-warming emissions. Continue Reading →

Breakthrough Technique Could Produce Lithium in Hours Not Months – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – March 9, 2020)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — A new filtration technique could cut the time needed to produce lithium raw materials at South America’s vast evaporation ponds to hours from months, according to a study by a group of international scientists.

The method, developed by researchers at Australia’s national science institute CSIRO, Monash University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Texas at Austin, mimics the filtering capabilities of living cells to extract lithium from concentrated salt water, where the metal is typically mixed with other materials, including potassium and salt.

“We could one day have the capability to produce simple filters that will take hours to extract lithium from brine, rather than several months to years,” said Huanting Wang, a professor of chemical engineering at Monash University, and among the authors of newly published research on the technique. Continue Reading →

Small miners hungry for fresh capital despite rampant EV enthusiasm – by Jeff Lewis (Reuters U.S. – March 1, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

TORONTO – Small miners hoping to take advantage of demand for battery metals are struggling to convert electric vehicle aficionados into investors, compounding the sector’s funding constraints even as analysts predict a long-term shortage of the raw materials used to make EVs.

The predicament has made it harder for already-strapped miners to raise money and could stall construction of new mines in the event the burgeoning EV industry faces a supply crunch for battery-grade lithium, graphite and other minerals.

“You need a mine for almost everything that we touch, and people still don’t get that,” said Eric Desaulniers, chief executive of Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc (NOU.V), which is developing a graphite mine in Quebec. “They want the electric car to save the planet but no mining.” Continue Reading →