Archive | Lithium

Chile’s Codelco seeks approvals to explore for lithium at Maricunga (Reuters U.S. – January 24, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile state miner Codelco filed with regulators on Friday a plan to begin exploration for lithium in its Maricunga salt flat holdings, a key step in advancing development of the country’s second richest deposit of the metal needed for batteries.

The proposal, if approved, would allow Codelco, the world’s top producer of copper, to pinpoint concentrations of lithium on the flat, estimate the size of the resource and identify necessary next steps. The state-owned miner hopes to explore for as many as 10 months, the company said in a statement.

Codelco has for years talked of getting into the lithium business. But the cash-strapped miner has repeatedly delayed plans to develop its reserves to concentrate on copper, its primary business. Continue Reading →

India’s Electric Car Ambitions Could Stumble on Lack of Lithium – by Swansy Afonso (Bloomberg News – January 20, 2020)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

India’s ambition of becoming a global hub for making electric vehicles faces one major hurdle: its lack of access to lithium.

Home to some of the most polluted cities on the planet, the South Asian nation is pivoting toward new-energy vehicles to clean up its toxic air. But with meager resources of lithium, the mineral essential to make batteries for electric vehicles, it is having to scour for resources overseas.

India’s EV production will rely on imports from China of lithium chemicals used to make cathodes and battery cells, according to Jasmeet Singh Kalsi, director at Manikaran Power Ltd., which is exploring setting up India’s first lithium refinery. “China has a thriving lithium chemical, battery cathode, battery cell and EV supply chain. India has none.” Continue Reading →

Lithium Americas moves closer to Nevada mine approval – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – January 20, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators have moved a step closer toward approving Lithium Americas Corp’s Nevada mine for the white metal, launching a review process that could result in final permits to build by 2021.

The step comes as U.S. politicians have been pushing for increased domestic mining of specialized minerals. Lithium is used to make lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Albemarle Corp is the only current U.S. producer of lithium.

The U.S. Department of the Interior filed paperwork to ask for public comment over the next year on the Thacker Pass project’s environmental impact statement, according to a post on a government website dated Jan. 21. The post appeared to be filed automatically as the department was closed on Monday for a holiday. Continue Reading →

The EV revolution will take batteries, but are they ethical? – by Adria Vasil (Corporate Knights Magazine – January 20, 2020)

https://www.corporateknights.com/

How automakers can clean up the dirty minerals that power them in the global race to electrify cars

Two thousand nineteen may go down as the year the auto industry started putting some muscle into electric vehicle sales. Amidst a steady stream of pledges to deliver more EVs than ever over the next five years, Ford filmed an electric prototype of its F-150 pickup truck (a favourite gas guzzler among Canadians) towing an entire freight train in a CN railyard in Montreal. Not to be outdone, the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck then hauled the F-150 uphill in a tongue-in-cheek tug-of-war.

The brawny marketing stunts carried a simple message: electric cars aren’t just for tree-hugging Leaf, Prius and Bolt lovers anymore. The message is timely, with global leaders (including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) committing to carbon pollution targets of “net zero” by 2050, tough new emissions standards coming out of Europe, and a smattering of governments following Norway’s early lead on banning gas-powered-car sales as soon as 2025.

For the vast majority of automakers that have cautiously dipped their toes in the EV market, the race to net zero is officially on. But environmental and human rights advocates, along with international heavyweights at the World Bank and World Economic Forum, say there’s an elephant in the showroom. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Bolivia’s new lithium tsar says country should go it alone – by Adam Jourdan (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LA PAZ (Reuters) – The new chief of Bolivia’s state-owned lithium company YLB plans strict limits on foreign investment in extraction and processing of the white metal key to electric vehicle batteries, he told Reuters in his first interview with international media since taking the reins this month.

Juan Carlos Zuleta, a lithium expert who has worked in Chile and Bolivia, said a deal with a German firm that was aborted last year would remained shelved, while another with a Chinese partner was being reassessed.

“It is important for the international community to know that Bolivian law says lithium should be extracted and processed by Bolivians,” he said in an hour-long interview at YLB’s headquarter in La Paz. “Now we are here to comply with the law.” Continue Reading →

Are mining companies jumping the gun on lithium? – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 13, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Lithium has skyrocketed on the back of huge demand created by the battery industry. While lithium demand shows few signs of slowing down, battery technology is changing at an enormous pace. Projects around the world are exploring alternatives to lithium, promising that a breakthrough is just around the corner. We ask the question: should miners be going all in for lithium?

The lithium rush

Global efforts to reduce emissions have driven demand for technology such as electric vehicles, which has increased demand for the lithium needed for batteries.

According to analysis from Benchmark Minerals, demand for lithium ion batteries has tripled since 2015 to 180 gigawatt hours (GWh), reaching the levels initially predicted for 2020. Continue Reading →

Nemaska Lithium gets lifeline, just as Tesla wins new interest in China – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – January 9, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Nemaska CEO hoping Tesla’s prospects there could spark strong enough investor excitement to help lift it out of creditor protection

On Tuesday, the same day that Elon Musk awkwardly danced on a stage outside Shanghai and delivered the first “made in China” Tesla Model 3, the Canadian company that hopes to build a foundation for an electric vehicle revolution in North America received a lifeline in Quebec.

The province’s Superior Court Judge Louis J. Gouin gave Nemaska Lithium an additional month to figure out a way forward, under court-granted creditor protection, as it seeks to build the country’s first mine and electrochemical conversion plant to produce battery-grade lithium to power electric vehicles.

Early last year, Nemaska was forced to pause construction on its project in Northern Quebec after a dispute with its bondholders and cost overruns created a roughly $600-million funding shortfall. Continue Reading →

‘A huge opportunity’: Alberta oilfields could give rise to lithium industry fuelled by electric cars – by Amanda Stephenson (Calgary Herald/Financial Post – January 6, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

It’s long been known that Alberta’s historic oil and gas-producing Leduc Reservoir is rich in lithium deposits

Calgary-based E3 Metals wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the work of Elon Musk. The natural resources company, which was founded in 2016, has developed a patented ion-exchange extraction technology that produces purified lithium concentrate from the light metal that occurs naturally within the province’s oilfield brines.

The company’s goal is to produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide that can be used in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries — the same type of batteries that power the electric cars made by Musk’s company, Tesla Inc.

“It wasn’t because of Tesla, but it was because of what Tesla did,” E3’s president and CEO Chris Doornbos said, on the inspiration for his company’s technology. “They took a concept, which was an electric vehicle, and turned it into something that could be a mainstream vehicle . . . and therein lies an opportunity.” Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Unexpected bump on the EV road hits battery metals – by Andy Home (Reuters – December 18, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – It’s been a tough year for electric vehicle (EV) metal bulls. The previous speculative heat surrounding any and every material that goes into an EV battery has dissipated over the course of 2019. Two years ago the spot lithium price in China was $26 per kilogram. Today it is assessed by Fastmarkets at below $8.

Cobalt, a key input for lithium-ion battery chemistry, has experienced a similar boom and bust cycle, the price of standard grade metal sliding from over $44 per lb in the second quarter of 2018 to a current $15.75.

Nickel has fared better but only thanks to strength in its traditional end-use sector, stainless steel, rather than any pull from the battery sector. Both lithium and cobalt are living with the consequences of previous price exuberance in the form of a supply surge that has swamped processing capacity and left an overhang of stock. Continue Reading →

Lithium could help us ditch fossil fuels. But mining is messy – by Stephen Leahy (MACLEAN’S Magazine – December 17, 2019)

https://www.macleans.ca/

The essential element could help us eliminate fossil fuels. But we need to find better ways to mine it.

The world’s electrical power and transportation systems need to become fossil-fuel-free to keep climate change to less than two degrees. Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, says that transitioning to 100 per cent clean, renewable energy is entirely doable by 2050, with much in place by 2030.

“Sixty-one countries have already committed to 100 per cent renewable energy,” Jacobson told participants at an international conference that addressed the question “Can we mine our way out of the climate crisis?” this past November in Ottawa.

But the transition will demand a significant amount of metals and minerals to build the solar panels and wind turbines that will be needed to generate electricity, and make batteries for storing energy and powering vehicles. Continue Reading →

The next mining boom? Rare earths and the rise of Australia’s ‘other’ minerals – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – December 13, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Lithium, cobalt, titanium, rare earths – expect to hear more about them as we transition to green technologies. But what are they, actually? And what are they for?

Coal and iron ore are the heavy hitters of minerals in Australia. They’re our two top mining commodities by far, together accounting for 30 per cent of national exports.

But a handful of other minerals have become rather fashionable in recent times. They account for a small fraction of our export earnings and it’s mostly small operators that dig them out of the ground, with just a couple of big names in the mix. Yet they are rapidly becoming more important and edging their way into common parlance as result.

The sci-fi-sounding rare earths is one. Titanium is another. “He’s a man of titanium,” US President Donald Trump declared of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison this year, adding a zeitgeisty, if incomplete, fast fact: “You know, titanium’s much tougher than steel.” Continue Reading →

Albemarle CEO says long-term lithium demand remains ‘robust’ (Reuters U.S. – December 12, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Albemarle Corp, the world’s largest lithium producer, expects robust long-term demand for the electric vehicle battery mineral despite troubles in the existing market resulting from oversupply, Chief Executive Luke Kissam said on Thursday.

The outlook comes as shareholder anxiety about Albemarle and its peers has escalated in recent months, with the industry having produced far more of the white metal than EV makers currently need.

Wall Street analysts have downgraded Albemarle and dinged Kissam’s management as a result, with JPMorgan analysts going so far as to say the company is “overvalued.” Albemarle’s shares are down 16 percent since January. Continue Reading →

Chile eyes state-backed lithium push in far-flung salt flats – by Fabian Cambero (Reuters Canada – December 3, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

SALAR DE AGUILAR, Chile (Reuters) – Chile’s Atacama salt flat may get all the attention when it comes to lithium, but the South American nation is looking to develop two lesser-known deposits of the mineral needed to power a global push into electric cars.

Chile’s mining minister, Baldo Prokurica, told Reuters on a trip to the Atacama region the government had asked state-owned copper giant Codelco and smaller state miner National Mining Company, Enami, to forge ahead with lithium projects in the region.

“It seems to me, to say the least, a sin that companies with lithium holdings like this are not even working them,” Prokurica said on a tour of the Aguilar and Infieles salt flats. “What has been missing here is the will to move forward.” Continue Reading →

US must counter China’s stranglehold on key minerals – by Matthew Kandrach (Casper Star Tribune – November 29, 2019)

https://trib.com/

Matthew Kandrach is the president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a free-market oriented consumer advocacy organization.

The element cobalt isn’t something most people think of every day. And yet cobalt is critically important for the production of cell phones, wind turbines, and satellites. It’s also a key part of the lithium-ion battery — making it an essential resource for the emerging green revolution.

Right now, much of the world’s cobalt comes from one source — the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC produces roughly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. Unfortunately, much of that mining is done by child labor, with revenues that often end up in the hands of autocratic rulers and warlords.

As global competition for resources like cobalt continues to grow, one country has moved quickly to dominate the field. Thanks to heavy investment in the DRC, China now owns much of the world’s cobalt production. In fact, China’s heavy investment in both copper and cobalt has given it a strong stake in global metal and mineral supplies. Continue Reading →

Portugal’s Lusorecursos in talks to fund 400 mln euro lithium project – by Sergio Goncalves (Reuters U.S. – November 27, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LISBON, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Portuguese mining company Lusorecursos said on Wednesday it was negotiating a 400 million euro funding deal with several international players as it gears up to explore for lithium in the country’s northern region.

Portugal is Europe’s biggest lithium producer, but its miners sell almost exclusively to the ceramics industry and are only now preparing to produce the higher-grade lithium that is used in electric cars and to power electronic appliances.

Lusorecursos was awarded a concession to explore a mine in Montalegre, near the Portugal-Spain border, in March this year but final approval depends on the outcome of an environmental impact study. Continue Reading →