Casualty of Australia’s iron ore war seeks second chance in lithium – by James Regan and Matt Siegel (Reuters U.S. – July 21, 2016)

SYDNEY – Ken Brinsden rode Australia’s iron ore boom up and then down as head of Atlas Iron. Now he is chasing a new treasure, one fueled by a metal powerful enough to propel electric cars to speeds of 250 km (150 miles) per hour: lithium

His company, Pilbara Minerals, plans to be mining the silvery-white metal by 2018, putting it ahead of dozens of other Australian prospectors.

“Once we get up, we will be able to account for the equivalent of about 20 percent of the market as it stands now,” Brinsden said. “As long as we can keep our costs low, we’ve got a good shot.”

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Why Lithium Will See Another Price Spike This Fall – by James Stafford (Oil – July 18, 2016)

So far, lithium has been the hottest metal of 2016, beating out gold, with exponential demand expected over the coming years. Although the price trajectory of the metal has been subdued in recent months, the fundamentals behind the long-term trajectory suggest strong potential for long-term growth.

Price doubling from 2014/2015 was first seen in China and is now being felt worldwide, with lithium hydroxide prices from $16-20 and carbonate prices from $12-14 thousand USD per ton.

There is no doubt as to the push that Tesla has given the current automotive transition to electric vehicles (EVs). As the company’s mission statement outlines, it hopes “to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible.”

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Canadian lithium-ion battery maker Electrovaya racks up orders, cranks up German subsidiary: ‘We’ve taken off’ – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (Financial Post – July 9, 2016)

The sprawling Electrovaya Inc. factory in Mississauga, Ont., looks more like a graveyard for prototype electric cars than the clean, green future of our battery-powered planet. The plant is about 90 per cent empty. A locker room for hundreds of workers lies abandoned. Nearby sit four green “Maya 2000” electric cars.

Further along languish more cars, including an SUV that Sankar Das Gupta, the rumpled, effusive electrochemist who is Electrovaya’s chief executive, proudly calls, “the first electric car in North America.” Asked why these cars are parked, Das Gupta blames Canadian investors’ historic aversion to risk and Transport Canada rules that forbid vehicle road tests.

In a corner of the quiet shop floor labelled New Product Introduction, two older engineers hunch over laptops connected to a network board plugged into black boxes containing hundreds of interconnected lithium-ion battery cells.

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Green Cars Cause Damage of Their Own as Flamingo Flocks Shrink – by Laura Millan Lombrana (Bloomberg News – July 5, 2016)

Tesla Motors Inc. and General Motors Corp.’s Chevrolet are preparing to bring out mass-market electric cars next year. If you plan to buy one and help save the planet, people who live near the Atacama salt-flat ask that you spare a thought for the flamingos.

The vehicles will be powered by rechargeable batteries containing lithium, a silver-white metal found in brine deposits under the world’s driest desert in northern Chile. The 1,200-square-foot Salar de Atacama is also known for wild flamingos, who feed and breed in its lagoons. Some locals say that miners sucking water out of the earth to get to the lithium are starving the long-legged birds in the process.

“They are pumping up an absurd amount of water,” says Rolando Humire Coca, a biochemist who heads the Naturalist Society of San Pedro de Atacama and is a member of Chile’s National Institute for Human Rights. “If they keep using the same methods to extract water, the consequences will be disastrous. All forms of life will be destroyed.”

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Move Over Oil – Lithium Is The Future Of Transportation – by James Stafford (Oil – June 21, 2016)

Just a few years ago, we would have scoffed at the idea that electric vehicles could be mainstream anytime soon, or that the global appetite for lithium-ion batteries and mass power storage would be so voracious, and so sudden. Today, no one is scoffing, and lithium is being viewed as our new super-mineral that will catapult us firmly into the next century.

Now Tesla has started buying up Nevada and building its battery gigafactory, with competing gigafactories following suit and competing electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers all throwing billions at this fast-moving market that no one has been able to keep up with.

Not only has the EV taken its first major leap into the mainstream—most notably indicated by Tesla’s phenomenal advance sales of its affordable Model 3—but it’s gone beyond the mainstream.

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Yarmouth County lithium deposit draws Chinese company – by Paul Withers (CBC News Nova Scotia – June 20, 2016)

There is an increased demand for the rare mineral used in electric car batteries and smart phones

A Yarmouth County lithium deposit first staked nearly two decades ago is attracting new interest as demand increases for the rare mineral used in electric car batteries and smart phones.

The deposit — the only one in the Maritimes — triggered a huge bulk sample order from an unidentified Chinese mining company, and hundreds of mineral exploration claims filed in just two days in April.

“It’s the hot commodity now,” veteran prospector John Wightman said. Wightman, who is with Champlain Mineral Ventures, said he and his partners staked the original 1,500 hectare claim near the hamlet of Carleton in 1997. Now they’re watching others jump into the area.

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What price lithium, the metal of the future? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – June 6, 2016)

LONDON – Lithium is shaping up to be The Next Big Thing. Prices are going stratospheric, junior miners are rushing to stake claims on future supply and investment websites are glowing red hot with speculation about the metal’s prospects.

The Global X lithium fund, one of the very few ways to get in on the action, has gained 25 percent over the past three months with assets under management leaping from $41 million to $68 million since the start of the year. It’s a far cry from the 1990s, when the U.S. Department of Energy was selling surplus stocks and mines were closing as the nuclear arms race wound down, reducing demand for one of the materials used in hydrogen bombs.

But the fortunes of this most versatile of metals were transformed in 1991 when Sony commercialized the lithium-ion battery, now an integral part of just about every electronic device.Now, however, it looks set to scale even greater heights as carmakers, led by Tesla, step up efforts to mass produce electric vehicles using an enhanced version of that same technology.

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Lithium isn’t a bubble, it’s a fundamental change in energy usage – by James West (MidasLetter/Financial Post – June 3, 2016)

James West is an investor and the author of the Midas Letter, an investing research report focused on Canadian markets.

Lately the tone of coverage in regard to the new bull market in lithium has turned cautionary, with a growing chorus of experts warning that lithium is going to be a “bubble just like other bubbles.”

But the price jump in lithium — catalyzed by statements made by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors in reference to an accelerated demand for lithium by his company, and certain unnamed Goldman Sachs analysts (“it’s white gasoline”) — is actually the result of a maturity in our collective acknowledged requirement to leave the hydrocarbon era in the dust.

The evidence demonstrating an anthropological influence on everything from weather patterns to ocean temperatures to aquatic biomassol impels our yearning for a better solution to the combustion engine and coal-fired power plants at the base of our energy consumption.

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Opinion: Lithium boom has echoes of Poseidon craze – by Trevor Sykes (Australian Financial Review – June 2, 2016)

The lithium boom has revived happy memories for Pierpont, because it has strong similarities to the great Poseidon boom of 1969. For the benefit of those infants who weren’t trading back then, Poseidon shares ran from $1 in September 1969 to a screaming peak of $280 in February 1970.

Better still, Poseidon dragged a mass of ragtag and bobtail penny stocks along with it in the wildest share boom Australia ever saw. Poseidon’s major shareholder, Norm Shierlaw, became a household name.

They were magic times, which Pierpont thoroughly enjoyed. He didn’t make much money out of it overall but the experience was terrific. A typical episode involved Pursuit Oil, whose shares trebled from 4¢ to 12¢ in a single day’s trading (October 16, 1969, if you want to check).

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The lithium boom will end, like all the others – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – June 1, 2016)

Lithium’s moment in the sun is evoking more than a few memories of the iron ore boom — and we all remember how that ended.

Lithium stocks have been on a tear over the past year, culminating on Monday with the $800 million merger of lithium mining duo Galaxy Minerals and General Mining.

The price of lithium has been surging amid forecasts for a continued rise in demand for the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and home energy storage systems. Structurally, there are some notable similarities in the lithium market to what we saw in iron ore over the past decade.

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Investors get in on the lithium rush – by Tess Ingram (Australian Financial Review – May 31, 2016)

Unless you have been living under a heavy, lithium-bearing rock you would be aware that investor interest in the lively sector has been super-charged over the past 12 months.

As the name suggests, lithium is a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and energy-storage systems which are expected to become more prevalent over the next decade.

On the back of bullish analyst demand projections and keen investor interest, tens of local players have joined the hunt for lithium, including Andrew Forrest-backed nickel miner Poseidon Nickel and resurrected iron ore miner Atlas Iron.

Before digging around for the best stock picks, here are five positives and negatives about the burgeoning sector to keep in mind.

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Dubbed the ‘new gasoline’, lithium fuels gains for miners – by Ian McGugan (Globe and Mail – May 30, 2016)

Over the past few months, it has been touted as the “new gasoline,” hailed as the vital ingredient in the electric-car revolution and billed as a great investment opportunity. Lithium is enjoying its moment in the spotlight – and at least some of the enthusiasm for the once-obscure silvery-white metal is solidly grounded in reality.

If sales of electric vehicles from Tesla Motors Inc. and other manufacturers take off in years to come, so too will sales of a new generation of lithium-ion batteries. Increased use of lithium-ion batteries will propel “staggering growth in lithium demand” over the next five years, writes Julia Ralph, a Hong Kong-based principal consultant for CRU Group, a metals and mining research company.

Lithium lust is already fuelling big gains in some Canadian-listed junior miners, such as Nemaska Lithium Inc. and Lithium X Energy Corp., both of which have quadrupled in share price this year.

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China plays long game on cobalt and electric batteries – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – May 25, 2016)

Chinese company’s acquisition of Congo cobalt mine has repercussions for car industry

As China Molybdenum announced it was buying one of Africa’s largest copper mines earlier this month one thing was soon clear: the acquisition was about far more than the red metal.

The $2.65bn deal, the biggest private investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s history, is instead designed to secure China’s supplies of cobalt, a once niche raw material that is crucial to developing batteries for electric cars.

The purchase of the Tenke mine, which contains one of the world’s largest known deposits of copper and cobalt, shows how Chinese companies are now moving to take a dominant position in battery materials as the country prepares to shift its economy from heavily polluting industries.

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Richest Lithium Nation Risks Being Left Behind in Tesla-led Boom – by Eduardo Thomson (Bloomberg News – May 20, 2016)

The electric-car revolution is here and Chile is looking to ramp up production of the lithium the industry needs for batteries. Or it would be, but for a bitter dispute between the government and the former son-in-law of a military dictator.

After Chile’s government moved to withdraw its license to exploit one of the world’s largest deposits, Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA opted to invest in a lithium project across the Andes in Argentina and is trying to block a project by Albemarle Corp. in Chile. SQM is controlled by Julio Ponce, the former husband of the late dictator Augusto Pinochet’s daughter.

Demand for lithium is soaring as Tesla Motors Inc. prepares to start production of its mass-market Model 3 battery-powered car and Chevrolet prepares an all-electric “Volt”. The soft, silver-white metal is also used in cell phones.

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What the rise of electric vehicles means for lithium and PGMs – by Prinesha Naidoo ( – May 20, 2016)

Growing interest in electric vehicles is set to shake up the automotive industry and cause ripple effects across commodity markets. Lithium is set to skyrocket, oil is to crash and platinum group metals (PGMs) are said to be safe… for now.

Although the electric vehicle market is still in its infancy, tighter emissions regulations coupled with a research and development-driven decrease in production and sales costs are expected to support demand.

Data from EV-Volumes shows electric vehicle sales made up just 0.6% of global vehicle sales in 2015 – despite rising 70% year-on-year to nearly 540 000 vehicles. The total electric vehicle population grew to one million in September 2015. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects 20 million electric vehicle to be on the road by 2020.

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