Tesla secures 180 000 orders for new EV in 24 hrs, drives auto sector demand for lithium – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – April 1, 2016)


TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Twenty-four hours after launching, US electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla Motors has secured more than 180 000 orders for its new Model 3 vehicle, making it the biggest driver of potential lithium demand from the auto sector to date.

By Friday afternoon, that figure had risen to above 198 000 orders, according to South Africa-born entrepreneur Elon Musk.

“Thought it would slow way down today, but Model 3 order count is now at 198k. Recommend ordering soon, as the wait time is growing rapidly,” he posted to Twitter. “The numbers are really incredible. That’s over $7-billion of potential revenue in one day,” UK-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence market analyst Simon Moores told Mining Weekly Online.

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Cobalt – A Coffin Nail for Cheap Lithium-ion Batteries – by John Peterson (InvestorIntel.com – April 1, 2016)


In early March, I was shocked to learn that only 6% of the world’s cobalt is produced as a primary mine product while 94% is produced as a by-product of nickel and copper mining. I found those ratios alarming because:

-Cobalt is an essential raw material in all high-energy lithium-ion batteries;

-While conservative analysts forecast that the battery industry’s cobalt requirements will double over the next 10 years, rapid and sustained growth in electric vehicles (EVs), stationary energy storage and other lithium-ion battery applications could drive that demand multiple much higher;

-By-product availability is always dependent on sales of the primary metal and miners cannot respond to increased demand for by-product metals that aren’t matched by increased demand for their primary products;

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A Lithium Gamble That Could Win Big for Tesla – by Katie Fehrenbacher (Fortune Magazine – March 29, 2016)


Will lithium sucked out of the middle of Nevada be a breakthrough source for batteries?

About half way between Reno and Las Vegas, in a barren, sun-scorched valley, sits a region that’s straddling the past and the future of humanity’s centuries-old hunt for valuable metals.

It’s a quest that recently caught the attention of a handful of high flying speculators, mining entrepreneurs, risk-embracing investors—and electric car maker Tesla Motors.

These upstarts are drawn to this desolate landscape called Clayton Valley looking for a new American source of lithium, a white metal that’s a key ingredient in batteries that power cell phones, laptops, and increasingly cars. The demand for lithium is increasing dramatically worldwide, as are lithium prices, and much of the global lithium supply comes from huge conglomerates in Chile, Argentina, and Australia.

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Lithium Boom Takes Chile’s SQM Across Andes in Argentine Venture – by Eduardo Thomson (Bloomberg News – March 28, 2016)


The race to supply lithium to the rechargeable batteries used in cell phones and electric cars is taking Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA over the Andes as Argentina’s new government seeks to open up its reserves.

SQM, the second-biggest lithium carbonate producer, agreed to pay $25 million to Lithium Americas Corp. for 50 percent of Minera Exar, which owns a project in northern Argentina’s Cauchari, the Santiago-based company said in a statement Monday. Exar will update a feasibility study for a project that may produce 40,000 metric tons a year for more than 30 years.

Controlled by Julio Ponce, the former son-in-law of dictator Augusto Pinochet, SQM is looking to join South Korea’s Posco and FMC Corp. in Argentina where President Mauricio Macri has removed capital and currency controls and an export tax in a bid to jumpstart its mining industry.

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Burst bubbles offer salutary lessons for mining industry – by Simon Rees (MiningWeekly.com – March 21, 2016)


TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Speculative bubbles offered useful templates for those seeking to identify new ones through which value can be realised before their inevitable burst, newsletter writer Mickey Fulp told an audience at the recent Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference.

But bubbles also acted as warnings for inexperienced or over-confident investors who believed the hype and failed to recognise the latent risks.

Fulp identified six bubbles since 2009: lithium 2009 to 2011; rare earths 2009 to 2011; the Colombia 2010 to 2011; the Yukon 2010 to 2012; graphite in 2012; and medical marijuana in 2014. The lithium bubble witnessed more than 60 juniors enter the space, although Fulp argued only a couple of success stories had resulted.

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While lithium opportunities grow, investors urged to maintain caution – by Simon Rees (MiningWeekly.com – March 18, 2016)


TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The increase in lithium prices has tempted more companies to enter the space and take advantage of the growing market interest, said Disruptive Discoveries Journal newsletter writer Chris Berry at the recent Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference.

“A lot of companies have changed their names and focus to get into the lithium game,” he said. “And they’ve started saying some things that, quite frankly, stretch the truth a little bit.”

But Berry warned that the current climb in lithium prices should not be the main investment focus, adding that the 2009 bubble offered an important cautionary tale. “Parabolic moves either always crash or revert,” he said. “Whether that’s back to the original long-term trend or not remains to be seen.”

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Lithium-ion batteries can power African growth – by Prinesha Naidoo (Mineweb.com – March 17, 2016)


JOHANNESBURG – African mining companies stand to win big from the growing lithium-ion battery market, says Kenneth Ozoemena, chief scientist and research group leader at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

A key component of lithium-ion batteries are metal oxides which range from aluminium to cobalt, manganese, nickel and titanium.

Ozoemena told delegates at the 2016 Power & Electricity World Africa conference that Africa’s abundance of such natural resources could prove a boon not only for lithium miners but for associated raw material oxides as well.

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Surging Demand For Rechargeable Batteries Is Driving Business To South America – by Rosalba O’Brien and Rod Nickel (Huffington Post – March 15, 2016)


Lithium is an essential component of many consumer tech products.

SANTIAGO/TORONTO, March 15 (Reuters) – Far from the soy and cattle that dominate its vast fertile pampas, Argentina harbors another valuable commodity that is rocketing in price and demand and luring newly welcomed foreign investors.

Lithium, the so-called “white petroleum,” drives much of the modern world. It forms a small but essentially irreplaceable component of rechargeable batteries, used in consumer devices like mobile phones and electric cars. It also has pharmaceutical and other applications.

Over half of the earth’s identified resources of the mineral are found in South America’s “lithium triangle,” an otherworldly landscape of high-altitude lakes and bright white salt flats that straddles Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

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PDAC 2016: How lithium has become a rare winner amid the commodity slaughter – by Peter Koven (Financial Post – March 8, 2016)


The commodity slaughter of the last five years has left almost no metal unscathed. Almost.

There is a notable exception. Little-known lithium has been a solid performer for the last several years, and has simply skyrocketed in recent months due to expectations of soaring demand from electric vehicles and market distortions in China.

“You could argue it’s done better than anything,” said Jon Hykawy, president of Stormcrow Capital Ltd., which tracks the lithium market. That said, he noted the sky-high prices coming out of China don’t tell the whole story.

The lithium market is tiny in the grand scheme of things, with total demand of roughly 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes a year.

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Chile will not block foreign sale of lithium producer SQM: minister – by Rod Nickel (Reuters U.S. – March 7, 2016)


TORONTO – Chile would not block a foreign takeover of lithium and potash producer SQM SQMa.SN, Mining Minister Aurora Williams said on Sunday.

A stake in Chile-based SQM is up for grabs after an indirect shareholder, Oro Blanco ORO.SN, invited buyers in December to make an offer for its entire holding in Pampa Calichera CALa.SN.

Oro Blanco holds a little over 88 percent of Pampa Calichera, which in turn owns around 20 percent of SQM, a major producer of battery ingredient lithium and an important supplier of iodine and potash.

“Those are decisions to be made specifically by the company,” Williams said in an interview through an interpreter in Toronto during the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention.

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If You Liked Palladium, You’ll Love Lithium – by Liam Denning (Bloomberg News – February 26, 2016)


Lithium is increasingly hailed as a wonder metal. That alone may prompt commodity investors to run a mile. In the past decade alone, they have witnessed the rise and fall of rare earths and the short-lived nuclear-power renaissance that briefly made uranium an unlikely darling of the market.

They should cast their minds back a bit further, though, to the late 1990s and another metal: palladium.

Lithium is at the heart of the battery powering that portable device you can’t seem to stop looking at. The bigger opportunity concerns batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles and power storage for homes, businesses and utilities, which require many pounds of the metal rather than fractions of an ounce. In a report published in December, Goldman Sachs posed this question:

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NEWS RELEASE: Nemaska Lithium Ranks as No. 2 Mining Company on TSX Venture 50(R)



QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – Feb. 25, 2016) – Nemaska Lithium Inc. (“Nemaska Lithium” or the “Corporation”) (TSX VENTURE:NMX)(OTCQX:NMKEF) is pleased to announce it has been named to the 2016 TSX Venture 50®, a ranking of top performing companies traded on the TSX Venture. Nemaska Lithium ranks number 2 of the top 10 mining companies. During the 2015 year, Nemaska Lithium realised a 167% increase in share price and a 207% increase in market capitalization.

2016 TSX Venture 50 is a ranking of strong performers on TSX Venture Exchange. These companies have shown results in key measures of market performance. The ranking is comprised of 10 companies from each of the five industry sectors, and they were selected based on three equally weighted criteria: market capitalization growth, share price appreciation and trading volume.

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Six yard battery-powered scoops head for Russia Batteries and lithium are King – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – November 17, 2015)


RDH Mining Equipment builds on track record for innovation

RDH Mining Equipment, a manufacturer of underground mining equipment in Alban, Ontario, 50 kilometres south of Sudbury, has sold three battery-powered, six-yard load-haul-dump machines to a mine in Russia.

A global leader in the development of battery-powered underground mining equipment, RDH began manufacturing electric scoops in 2011 for Kirkland Lake Gold. Since then, it has sold the Ontario gold miner 12 battery-powered three-yard loaders and three haul trucks.

The three drivers for the mining industry’s interest in battery power are rising ventilation costs, heat issues and exposure to diesel particulate, which is now classified as a carcinogen, said RDH president Kevin Fitzsimmons.

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Battery power exec predicts diesel’s demise – by Walter Franczyk (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – November 17, 2015)


Mike Kasaba foresees the day when diesel no longer fuels underground mining. The chief executive officer of Artisan Vehicle Systems, a company that supplies battery-powered, electric powertrains for mining equipment, Kasaba predicts that within five years all new equipment purchases for underground mines will be zero emission and diesel equipment will be progressively phased out.

He delivered his forecast during a recent Toronto conference of the Mining Diesel Emissions Council. To prepare for diesel’s demise, his company recently opened a 60,000-square-foot battery development centre and production facility designed to boost production levels by 10 times, in Camarillo, California.

“The driving force behind the expansion is this opportunity and urgency in underground mining,” said Mark Dunseith, general manager of Artisan’s Canadian operations.

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Battery Boom Heats Lithium Gains as Outback Mining Stocks Soar – by David Stringer and Martin Ritchie (Bloomberg News – February 18, 2016)


The only things hotter than Western Australia’s scorched Outback are the mining companies preparing to supply the lithiumneeded by the likes of Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Inc. to meet booming demand for electric cars.

Lithium is providing a rare bright spot for miners, amid cratering prices of raw materials tied to heavy industry such as iron ore to coal. The material, also used in tablet computers and power storage, promises gains from China’s shift to consumer-driven growth and global attempts to curb reliance on fossil fuels.

Prices of lithium carbonate — an industrial chemical used in lithium ion batteries — have surged 47 percent in 2016 from last year’s average, according to London-based Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Ltd.

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