Archive | Lithium

Australia, US should form battery mineral alliance, says lithium chief – by Jacob Greber (Australian Financial Review – May 22, 2019)

https://www.afr.com/

Washington | Australia and the US may need to jettison free-market orthodoxy and develop a strategic alliance to guarantee supply of the raw materials essential to the new era of battery-based electrification.

James Calaway, chairman of Australian-listed lithium developer Ioneer, said there was an “unusual amount” of interest within the US and Australian governments over the vulnerabilities of critical supply chains for battery technology.

“I don’t think we need to get into protectionism, but we can talk about what do we need to do to encourage domestic investment in value-added materials and development,” Mr Calaway, who is based in Houston, Texas, said in an interview. “That shouldn’t be off the table.” Continue Reading →

The lithium industry needs a $17b injection to meet 2025 demand – here come the deals – by Angela East (Stockhead.com.au – May 15, 2019)

https://stockhead.com.au/

Corporate deals in the lithium industry are heating up at a time when there is a predicted multi-billion-dollar cash injection needed to ramp up supply to meet rapidly growing demand.

One expert says at least US$12 billion ($17.3 billion) needs to be invested in new lithium projects by 2025 if the industry is to have any realistic hope of matching supply with demand.

US lithium expert Joe Lowry told delegates at the Latin America Downunder mining conference in Perth that the ‘Big Four’ global lithium producers – SQM, Albemarle, Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium and Tianqi – could not alone meet 2025 lithium demand. Continue Reading →

China surges ahead in lithium production – by Staff (Asia Times – May 15, 2019)

https://www.asiatimes.com/

China has reportedly cracked the technical hurdle in mining and extracting lithium from its vast deposits of the soft, silvery-white metal, slashing the unit cost of mining and production to as low as 15,000 yuan (US$2,180) per tonne.

Lithium, the source of power for almost all portable equipment, has thus become significantly cheaper, according to the Beijing-based Economic Daily and other Chinese papers.

The metal that also fuels the world’s drive to green transportation is extracted from brine but experts say separating it from other elements present in the salts is costly. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 2-BHP to keep Nickel West, Rio looks to Jadar lithium for battery boom (Reuters Africa – May 14, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – Global miner BHP will hold on to the Australian nickel operations it previously put up for sale, while Rio Tinto is working on copper and lithium projects as the mining industry bets on demand for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The biggest mining companies say they are well positioned to provide the metals needed for the shift to EV technology, although they acknowledge the political risks and environmental issues in some of the countries where the best supplies are found.

Nickel is in demand to allow cars to travel further on a single charge. Using more nickel also cuts costs by reducing the use of expensive cobalt, a mainstay of current EV batteries. Continue Reading →

U.S. faces hurdles in push to build electric vehicle supply chain – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters Canada – May 14, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – The United States faces stiff challenges as it moves to create its own electric vehicle supply chain, industry analysts say, with the extent of the country’s metal reserves largely unknown and only a few facilities to process minerals and produce batteries.

Legislation making its way through the U.S. Congress aims to help offset those gaps, but China remains the global EV sector leader, a dominance seen by some as difficult to supplant. Even some U.S. mines are caught in China’s orbit, with domestic production of so-called rare earth minerals reliant on Chinese processing and now caught up in the U.S.-China trade conflict.

“China has a huge head start,” said Gavin Montgomery, a battery and mining analyst at the Wood Mackenzie consultancy. “They’ve just been at this a lot longer than the rest of the world.” Continue Reading →

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley – by Louis Sahagun (Los Angeles Times – May 7, 2019)

https://www.latimes.com/

A small Cessna soared high above the Mojave Desert recently, its engine growling in the choppy morning air. As the aircraft skirted the mountains on the edge of Death Valley National Park, a clutch of passengers and environmentalists peered intently at a broiling salt flat thousands of feet below.

The desolate beauty of the Panamint Valley has long drawn all manner of naturalists, adventurers and social outcasts — including Charles Manson — off-road vehicle riders and top gun fighter pilots who blast overhead in simulated dogfights.

Now this prehistoric lake bed is shaping up to be an unlikely battleground between environmentalists and battery technologists who believe the area might hold the key to a carbon-free future. Continue Reading →

[Frontier Lithium] ‘This is a Sudbury story’ – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – May 8, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

With electrical vehicles poised to explode in coming years, a Sudbury company is hoping to establish what it calls a “battery ecosystem” in Northern Ontario.

“You need to have a lithium mine first, and mines will build chemical plants,” said Bora Ugurgel, manager of investor relations with Frontier Lithium, based in Val Caron.

The junior mining company is developing a lithium mine in northwestern Ontario that hosts the “highest quality deposit in North America,” he said, and expects a processing facility can also take shape in our region. Continue Reading →

Chilean Lithium Prices Decline Even as Demand Soars – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – May 7, 2019)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Lithium export prices from the world’s second-largest producing nation fell in the first quarter, marking the first decline for the mineral that is key to electric vehicle batteries since at least 2014.

Chile exported lithium carbonate at an average price of $12,183 per ton, 0.9 percent down from the same period a year earlier, according to data from Chilean customs compiled by Bloomberg. Prices have soared 167 percent in the past five years.

The South American nation holds the world’s largest lithium reserves, the lightest metal on the periodic table and a key component in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries that power electric cars. Continue Reading →

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

https://www.reuters.com/

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 →

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)

https://www.reuters.com/

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)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

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 →

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

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

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 →

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

https://www.bloomberg.com/

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 →

Exclusive: United States sets sights on China in new electric vehicle push – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – April 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – U.S. government officials plan to meet with executives from automakers and lithium miners in early May as part of a first-of-its-kind effort to launch a national electric vehicle supply chain strategy, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

While Volkswagen AG, Tesla Inc and other electric-focused automakers and battery manufacturers are expanding in the United States and investing billions in the new technology, they are reliant on mineral imports without a major push to develop more domestic mines and processing facilities.

China already dominates the electric vehicle supply chain. It produces nearly two-thirds of the world’s lithium-ion batteries – compared to 5 percent for the United States – and controls most of the world’s lithium processing facilities, according to data from Benchmark Minerals Intelligence, which tracks prices for lithium and other commodities and is organizing the Washington, D.C., event. Continue Reading →

Europe aims to take its place on the global EV battery production stage – by Amanda Stutt (Mining.com – March 28, 2019)

http://www.mining.com/

The European Commission is eyeing opportunities within the EU’s minerals and mining sector, and has put forward, in its Strategic Action Plan (SAP) on batteries, a comprehensive set of targeted measures to make Europe a global leader in sustainable battery production and use.

The SAP focuses on including raw materials research and innovation, financing and investment, standardization, regulation, and trade and skills development to secure a sustainable supply of battery raw materials.

In his opinion piece in the EU Observer, Raw Materials: ‘holy grail’ of 21st century industrial policy, Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, said that Europe has world-leading technologies as well as high environmental and social standards, and that the EU aims to ensure that mining is no longer the polluting industry of the past. Continue Reading →