Archive | Lithium

Tesla’s move into mining aimed at energising battery supply chain – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – October 20, 2020)

When Tesla held its socially distanced “battery day” last month at an outdoor parking lot in California, it invited executives from the two big US lithium companies, Livent and Albemarle.

As they sat in their allotted Model 3s watching Elon Musk on their in-car screens, he dropped a bombshell: the electric car maker was becoming a competitor.

Tesla, Mr Musk said, had acquired the rights to a 10,000-acre plot in Nevada where it planned to extract the metal using simple table salt, and would build a lithium refinery to supply a new factory in Texas. The next day Albemarle and Livent lost a combined $1.7bn in market value as their share prices plunged. Continue Reading →

The Socialist Win in Bolivia and the New Era of Lithium Extraction – by Kate Aronoff (The New Republic – October 2020)

An apparent victory for Evo Morales’s Movement Toward Socialism shows that tomorrow’s green energy won’t look much like the old oil empires

Just under a year after Evo Morales’s government was ousted by U.S.-backed far-right forces, his Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, party looks almost certain to take back power after Sunday’s election.

Morales, the country’s first Indigenous president, remains in exile in Argentina. His election in 2019 remains hotly debated: While the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States challenged the result due to a gap between preliminary and final results, subsequent analyses have argued that the gap was explainable and legitimate and that the OAS assessment was “flawed” and highly political.

Now, with an estimated 52.4 percent of the vote, Morales’s former finance minister, Luis Arce, is on track to become the country’s new leader after a deadly year of racist state repression under interim President Jeanine Añez Chávez. Continue Reading →

Lithium sparks disputes in Chile’s Atacama Desert – by Lorena Guzman ( – October 16, 2020)

Lithium is considered a strategic resource in Chile, and its exploitation is steeped in difficulties.

For almost four years the activity has been the source of a legal dispute between the communities of the Atacama Desert and SQM, one of the country’s biggest companies, which is partially owned by the Chinese firm Tianqi since 2019.

Some 1,500km north of the capital Santiago de Chile lies the driest desert in the world. The Atacama once contained enormous masses of water, but what is left now hides underneath the surface, mixed with valuable minerals. Continue Reading →

Clean Energy Can’t Have Dirty Roots – by Ketan Joshi and Antony Loewenstein (Foriegn Policy – October 15, 2020)

Securing human rights in the supply chain of critical minerals is vital for a green future.

On the face of it, the recent news that California will ban the sale of petrol cars in 2035 and favor electric vehicles is a positive development toward a greener, safer, and more sustainable world. And yet this announcement brings as many questions as answers, not least whether electric vehicles really are the best and easiest solution to the climate crisis.

The reality is far more complicated. The electrification of transport and the construction of new clean energy like solar are vital components of curing the carbon problem. But they come with their own novel and potentially show-stopping environmental and ethical costs, and these must urgently be grappled with by those of us who call for climate action at a rapid rate.

Everyone who expected climate policy to cool in the year of COVID-19 has been sorely disappointed. A flurry of announcements is increasing as the end of the year approaches, mostly relating to either general climate ambition, the accelerated deployment of mature technologies, or innovation to create new ones. Continue Reading →

Australia’s Key EV Potential Beyond Elon Musk and Tesla – by Priscila Barrera (Australia Investing News – October 14, 2020)


Battery metals investors around the world continue to talk about the news, plans and ideas discussed at Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Battery Day in September.

The California-based automaker led by Elon Musk unveiled plans to reduce battery cell and pack costs with one main goal in mind: building a US$25,000 electric vehicle (EV).

Musk announced on stage that Tesla will be building a cathode facility in Texas, and will be sourcing its raw materials from North America. He also said the company has rights to lithium-rich clay operations in Nevada, which it could potentially use to secure supply of that raw material. Continue Reading →

A plan for ‘Lithium Valley’ begins to take shape – by Katie Fehrenbacher ( – October 14, 2020)

While California is accelerating toward an electric vehicle future — in part thanks to the new gas car sales ban — it’s also got a potentially massive, and still totally untapped, EV resource in its backyard. Is that opportunity finally starting to get some attention?

That would be the valuable lithium that lies beneath the ground in the geothermal brines of the Salton Sea.

If you haven’t heard of it, the Salton Sea is a 350-square-mile, shrinking lake that’s a looming ecological disaster located a couple dozen miles south of Joshua Tree National Park. Continue Reading →

Energy Renaissance lithium-ion gigafactory breaks ground in Tomago, NSW – by Natalie Filatoff (PV Magazine Australia- October 13, 2020)

Senec launches in Australia, aims to build an energy community

In less than a year from today, Australia will be producing its own renewable-energy-storing lithium-ion batteries in the Hunter Region.

Tomago, on the outskirts of burgeoning Newcastle and its world-class port, with its access to the skilled labour of the coal fields, the doctorates of Newcastle University, CSIRO’s Energy Centre research hub and supply chains of mineral wealth throughout Australia, has won the distinction and job opportunities inherent in becoming home to Energy Renaissance, Australia’s first advanced-manufacturing, lithium-ion battery facility.

Dubbed Renaissance One, the facility will be the flagship of ER, which intends to ramp up production to 5.3 GWh per annum of safe, affordable, hot-climate-optimised batteries for Australia and South East Asian markets in coming years. Continue Reading →

Ford goes electric, Ontario poised to win – by Brian Lilley (Toronto Sun – October 7, 2020)

It’s being billed as the best news for Ontario’s automotive sector in 15 years and while it’s not a new plant, it is a new lease on life for one of the anchors of the industry.

On Thursday morning, Premier Doug Ford will stand with Ford Canada CEO Dean Stoneley and Unifor president Jerry Dias to announce a major investment in the plant.

Ford Canada will announce a $1.2 billion investment in their Oakville plant while Ford, the premier, will announce $295 million from the province. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expected to join via video link, will announce the federal government will also put $295 million into the plant. Continue Reading →

Tesla As A Mining Company. Lithium Today, Nickel Tomorrow? – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – September 29, 2020)

Lithium mining today, so why not nickel mining tomorrow? That’s a question which investors in Tesla and other electric car (EV) makers ought to consider as a raw material rush heats up.

Right now, there’s not a shortage of most metals used in EV batteries, with the possible exception of cobalt, which makes Tesla’s decision to stake a claim to its own 10,000 acre patch of lithium-rich clay in Nevada quite interesting.

A second U.S.-focused lithium deal added to the intrigue with Tesla signing a five-year contract with a small company which has plans to produce lithium in North Carolina. Continue Reading →

Electric Vehicle Demand Will Spark Lithium Mining Reinvention – by Grace Kay (Bloomberg News – September 29, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Lithium producers must reinvent mining methods for the key metal used in rechargeable batteries to meet rising demand from the electric-vehicle industry, according to Standard Lithium Ltd.’s top executive.

“The industry’s going to have some challenges as higher purity lithium compounds are required — they’re going to have to reinvent themselves,” Standard Lithium Chief Executive Officer Robert Mintak said in a phone interview. “We’re not going to be saddled with 20-year-old processes and refining capabilities.”

The soft silvery-white metal is a vital ingredient in rechargeable batteries of electric vehicles, including those made by Tesla Inc., and Mintak sees both challenges and supply shortages unless lithium producers turn to more unconventional methods to fulfill demand. Standard Lithium is already embracing new ways to recover lithium. Continue Reading →

Tesla’s raw material shift could set a wider precedent – by Thomas Kavanagh (Argus Media – September 28, 2020)

Tesla’s attempt to move into raw materials production could pave the way for other carmakers as they attempt to transition to mass market electric vehicle (EV) production, ushering in the pursuit of more vertically integrated supply chains for the auto sector.

Raw materials have always been a key obstacle to EVs going mass market. Until now, most carmakers have relied on a more separated, globalised supply chain. Tesla’s move into the space could go some way to meeting a projected 1.79mn t/yr demand by 2030, according to Chile’s state mining agency Cochilco.

Last week, Tesla unveiled plans to produce lithium from clay in the Nevada desert, and today it announced an agreement with Piedmont for the supply of lithium spodumene from the mine developer’s North Carolina deposit. Continue Reading →

Tesla aims to mine its own lithium after dropping M&A plan – by Yvonne Yue Li and David Stringer (Bloomberg News – September 28, 2020)

Tesla Inc. secured its own lithium mining rights in Nevada after dropping a plan to buy a company there, according to people familiar with the matter.

The automaker held discussions in recent months with Cypress Development Corp., which is seeking to extract lithium from clay deposits in southwest Nevada, but the parties didn’t reach a deal, the people said, asking not to be named because the information isn’t public.

The electric carmaker, which has vowed to slash its battery costs by 50 per cent, instead focused on the plan that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk outlined last week to dig for lithium on its own in the state. Continue Reading →

Piedmont Lithium soars after confirming Tesla deal – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – September 28, 2020)

Shares in Australian junior Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) climbed almost 84% on Monday in Sydney after it confirmed it had signed a sales agreement with Tesla to supply the electric cars maker with high-purity lithium ore mineral for up to ten years.

Piedmont accidentally released the announcement last week, following the hyped “Tesla Battery Days”, but the Australian Stock Exchange said it would not publish it then. Continue Reading →

Battery metal miners trying to tap electric car boom want Elon Musk to stop killing their buzz – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – September 26, 2020)

As investor anticipation mounted for Tesla Inc.’s much-hyped, self-proclaimed Battery Day on Wednesday, Trent Mell was upset just thinking about it.

Mell, chief executive of Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp., has spent three years trying to secure a ground floor seat in the burgeoning electric vehicle industry.

In 2017, his company bought a long-forgotten refinery in small-town northern Ontario that could, if everything goes right, produce five per cent of the world’s battery grade cobalt, about 25,000 tons, by 2021. It would be the first, and only, refinery in North America producing battery-grade cobalt. Continue Reading →

The Secret to a Greener, Longer-Lasting Battery Is Blue – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – September 22, 2020)

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — A material that gave a vibrant blue to the foaming breaks of the famous Japanese print The Great Wave off Kanagawa and instilled the same color in works by Picasso and Monet is being used today for an entirely different but equally creative task: keeping energy-hungry U.S. data centers running.

Prussian blue, the pigment developed by a Berlin color maker in the early 18th century, is a key component in batteries made with sodium rather than lithium, which are intended for industries other than electric vehicles.

“It’s been used as a pigment, as a dyestuff, and has been a consumer product for centuries,” says Colin Wessells, chief executive officer of Natron Energy Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif., the battery maker behind the technology. Continue Reading →