Why Lithium Isn’t the Big Worry for Lithium-Ion Batteries – by Jason Deign (Green Teck Media.com – June 23, 2015)


Why Lithium Isn’t the Big Worry for Lithium-Ion Batteries – Cobalt and nickel bottlenecks are a much bigger threat.

Lithium-ion battery production is more likely to be constrained by cobalt or nickel supplies than by lithium availability, experts believe.

Li-ion battery makers use both metals in greater quantities than lithium, which has been the subject of significant supply concerns as battery production ramps up. In fact, none of these minerals are worryingly scarce in nature.

What troubles some observers, however, is that cobalt and nickel are susceptible to greater supply-chain risks because of the countries that control the resources.

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Can Elon Musk and Tesla save the mining industry? – by Andrew Critchlow (The Telegraph – May 25, 2015)


New generation of batteries will make cobalt, lithium and nickel essential investments in commodities

When it comes to investing in the future of commodities forget about resources such as iron ore and coal, which dominated the industrial economies of the old world order. The new currency for smart commodity investors will be cobalt, which is poised to play a growing role in everyone’s life if the vision of American billionaire Elon Musk to have a Tesla Motors battery powering homes comes to fruition.

Mr Musk, the force behind Tesla electric cars and Space X, wants to make his revolutionary next generation battery packs on walls a standard fixture for every household along with a rechargeable car parked in the garage and a solar panel on the roof. Tesla is in the process of building a giant new battery production facility in Nevada known as the Gigafactory to meet expected demand from this revolution in domestic energy supply and storage.

Tesla plans to produce two types of battery at the facility that is taking shape in the desert and so far the exact specification of the lithium-ion power units is being kept a close secret.

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OPINION: Jadarite feeds Rio Tinto’s lithium battery-powered future – by Matthew Stevens (Australian Financial Review – May 18, 2016)


In 2004, a Rio Tinto exploration team went looking for borates in a place called Jadar on the north-western fringe of Serbia. But the drillers found kryptonite instead. Well, but for the lack of fluorine and a green glow, they did.

What Rio recovered is a unique mineral that has since been named jadarite. And it might yet become pretty important to the company because jadarite is rich in boron and, more critically, lithium.

Lithium is, of course, a music anthem of legend by the desperately divine Nirvana. It is also the Earth’s lightest metal and a source of resilience in heat-resistant glass and ceramics. And, increasingly, it is one of the raw materials fuelling the revolution in battery technologies that is already changing the future of automobiles and will probably change the way we use the traditional electricity grid.

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COLUMN-Lithium – the commodity winner you can’t buy – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – May 12, 2016)


May 12 Lithium is the hottest commodity around these days, enjoying spectacular price gains and a blue-sky outlook that’s the envy of the natural resource sector.

There’s just one problem though. It’s extremely difficult, and somewhat risky, to gain exposure to the sector. Lithium isn’t traded on any major exchange, and doesn’t have futures contracts or swaps, thereby cutting out one of the main ways investors gain exposure to a commodity.

This means the best way to access lithium’s story is through equities, but this isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. But before looking at how to get into lithium, it’s worth asking what the hype is about, and whether it’s justifiable and sustainable.

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NEWS RELEASE: Nemaska Lithium and Johnson Matthey Battery Materials Sign Definitive Agreement for the $12M Up-Front Payment for the Phase 1 Plant and Signs Commercial Offtake Agreement for Lithium Salts


QUEBEC, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – May 11, 2016) – Nemaska Lithium Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries (“Nemaska Lithium” or the “Corporation”) (TSX VENTURE:NMX)(OTCX:NMKEF) and Johnson Matthey Battery Materials Ltd (JMBM) of Candiac, Quebec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Matthey Plc (LSE:JMAT) (www.matthey.com) announced today the signing of the final agreements contemplated in the collaboration, financial support and lithium salt supply MOU previously announced in the press release dated November 19, 2015.

A first agreement (the deposit agreement) contemplates an up-front payment of CDN$12M by JMBM in exchange for services and products of the same value from the Nemaska Lithium Phase 1 Plant. At completion, the total amount of $12M will be deposited in an escrow account and will be disbursed to Nemaska Lithium according to certain milestones.

A second agreement provides for a long term supply relationship for lithium salts between Nemaska Lithium and JMBM. This is Nemaska Lithium’s first commercial offtake agreement.

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New ‘lithium-ion age’ excites Deutsche Bank – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – May 11, 2016)


Deutsche Bank has become the latest big investment house to jump on board the lithium bandwagon, although its in-depth analysis of the red-hot market includes some insights that could worry those backing the lithium sector’s less advanced players.

A note from Deutsche Bank, Welcome to the Lithium-ion Age, projects “unprecedented demand growth” for lithium in the years ahead due to the rapid growth in electric vehicles and energy storage using lithium-ion batteries.

The outlook prompted the bank to upgrade ASX-listed pair Orocobre and Mineral Resources to buy recommendations. Both are likely to benefit from a deficit in the lithium market.

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Unlikely heroes: how lithium mining could change the Pilbara for the better – by Max Opray (The Guardian – May 10, 2016)


Currently the world’s biggest producer of lithium, Australia is well-placed to take advantage of the lithium-ion battery solar storage boom

Out Western Australia way unlikely new environmental heroes can be found toiling in the red ochre dust of the Pilbara. Until recently companies such as Altura Mining, which has a long rap sheet of coal projects to its name, weren’t exactly contributing to the effort to curb global carbon emissions, but that is about to change.

The coal price has slumped, so too that of iron ore – the Pilbara’s primary source of income – and mining companies are eyeing off the building blocks of green economies of the future, such as neodymium and yttrium rare earths for the magnets used in wind turbines, and gallium and indium for solar panels and energy-efficient lighting.

While these all have varying levels of supply capacity relative to demand, where the supply chain falls seriously short in comparison to the projected need is the materials needed for battery systems crucial for storing the intermittent energy output of solar and wind as well as powering the fleets of electric cars that companies such as Tesla are planning to roll out in huge numbers over the coming decade.

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Tesla Shakes Up Market for Lithium, Other Metals – by Stepanie Yang and Biman Mukherji (Wall Street Journal – May 5, 2016)


‘In order to produce half a million cars a year…we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production,’ Elon Musk said in March

Tesla Motors Inc., shaking up the auto industry with its battery-operated cars, is now reshaping metals markets, too. Tesla and other electric-vehicle makers are swallowing up lithium, a lightweight material that some call “white petroleum” for its use in lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Lithium carbonate prices rose 47% in the first quarter compared with the average price in 2015, according to the most recent available data from data provider Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. In 2015, when most other metals and commodities still were in the doldrums, lithium prices rose 28%, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence said.

Orders for the soft metal show no sign of abating. A report from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. says lithium demand could triple by 2025 to 570,000 tons, driven principally by smartphone and electric-car applications. Telsa isn’t the only consumer, but its voracious appetite for lithium is getting significant attention.

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How Lithium Defied the Global Commodities Rout – by Biman Mukherji (Wall Street Journal – May 5, 2016)


It has earned the nickname “white petroleum,” and thanks to its use in electric vehicles and smartphones, it is one of the few raw materials climbing in price in an otherwise broad commodities slump. In the Chinese market, lithium prices have more than tripled since the beginning of 2015, as hard-to-mine supplies fall short of demand.

The price of the feedstock—lithium carbonate equivalent—has shot up to as high as $20,000 a ton from $6,000 a ton at the beginning of 2015, said Anthony Tse, managing director of Galaxy Resources Ltd., a lithium-focused resources company, with assets spanning Australia, China, Canada and Argentina.

Lithium is the key material used in lithium-ion batteries needed to run everything from electric vehicles to iPads. Unlike other commodities, it doesn’t have a spot market and isn’t traded on any exchange. Prices are negotiated individually through contracts between buyers and sellers.

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Lithium: the lucky commodity? – by Robin Bromby (InvestorIntel.com – May 3, 2016)


Lithium seems to be lucky: it has roared into prominence just when most other things are doing badly, which has given it more pronounced (or at least more noticeable) thrust than probably may have been the case if all boats were rising. Call it the after-burner effect. It is the space capsule that keeps on going when the booster rockets fall away after take-off.

In the past, whatever was the latest fashion in commodity investing had surged in unison with the market in general. So when uranium went crazy in 2007, and hit $136/lb, or when phosphate and potash had their moments in the sun, or nickel went to $50,000/tonne, or gold threatened to get to $2,000/oz, they were not the only shows on the road. Today lithium pretty much is the only story in the minerals sector that is stirring the blood.

(However, this needs some qualifications: one, many of the late-starting lithium hopefuls are going to be a disappointment, just as they were in previous bubbles.

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Lithium’s great story: 80 years in the making – by Robin Bromby (InvestorIntel.com – April 29, 2016)


This is not the first time people have been excited by lithium.

The great mass of the investing public has only been on top of the lithium story for little more than a year yet the story has been there for some time, in one form or another. In 2009, for example, Foreign Policy journal, in an article by David J Rothkoff, had a headline reading “The Great Lithium Game”.

He began: “In Asia, Europe, and the United States, people are getting excited by the electric car – for good reason”. He went on to argue that the ”major fly in the ointment for the electric car is the battery”. Seven years ago there was just starting to be interest in the concept of the lithium-ion battery, then being used in cameras, cellphones and computers, as the solution to electric car storage.

Rothkoff got is right in predicting that lithium was likely to be the commodity in the years immediately ahead. He also raised another interesting point, and one that is becoming a very live issue right now.

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Is A Green World A Safer World? – by David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy – August 22, 2009)


A guide to the coming green geopolitical crises.

Greening the world will certainly eliminate some of the most serious risks we face, but it will also create new ones. A move to electric cars, for example, could set off a competition for lithium — another limited, geographically concentrated resource.

The sheer amount of water needed to create some kinds of alternative energy could suck certain regions dry, upping the odds of resource-based conflict. And as the world builds scores more emissions-free nuclear power plants, the risk that terrorists get their hands on dangerous atomic materials — or that states launch nuclear-weapons programs — goes up.

The decades-long oil wars might be coming to an end as black gold says its long, long goodbye, but there will be new types of conflicts, controversies, and unwelcome surprises in our future (including perhaps a last wave of oil wars as some of the more fragile petrocracies decline).

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Is This The Hottest Acreage In The Lithium Rush? – by James Burgess (Oil Price.com – April 27, 2016)


As our lithium-dependent energy revolution unfolds, prices soar and supply remains euphorically tight, a savvy newcomer is the first to cast a much wider exploration net over America’s ground-zero lithium state of Nevada, hedging smart geological bets that there’s lithium beyond Clayton Valley.

The lithium space is becoming a frantic game of who can get their hands on the choicest new mining acreage and who can launch new production fastest. And in North America, it’s all going down in the state of Nevada, which is the staging ground for a U.S. lithium boom that will feed the manufacturing beasts for everything from EVs, battery gigafactories, powerwalls and energy storage solutions to the long and growing list of consumer electronics that we use every day.

Lithium demand just for electric vehicles is set to rise by 70,000 tons every time EV market share jumps only 1 percent. And this fails to account for the brilliant launch of Tesla’s Model 3 EV on 31 March, which saw 325,000 advance sales worth $14 million in only one week, definitively bringing the electric car into our mainstream.

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Downtrodden mining explorers turn to super-charged lithium – by Tess Ingram (Sydney Morning Herald – April 26, 2016)


A host of downtrodden mineral exploration companies have switched their focus to lithium from out-of-favour metals, such as nickel, which have been battered by a downturn in commodity prices.

A flood of junior explorers have joined the hunt for lithium, picking up prospective ground and knocking on the doors of other miners in an attempt to join the exuberant market. As many as 35 ASX-listed companies have lithium exploration or development plans, with at least a third moving into lithium in the past five months.

“Lithium companies have been keenly sought after by investors in recent times, driven by the rise in demand for rechargeable batteries… and leading to a number of ASX-listed companies turning into lithium-focused companies,” Petra Capital analyst David Cotterell said.

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Lithium juniors outperform on expected future demand – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – April 19, 2016)


TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – In the wake of Tesla Motors’ introduction of the ‘Model 3’ mass-market electric vehicle (EV), lithium development and exploration company share prices have exploded.

This was despite Tesla not having sold (or even built) a single Model 3 yet. Tesla would also not have it on the road for years, and the company continued to haemorrhage money, according to Chris Berry, writer of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal.

“The $1 000 refundable reservation fee is simply a free option for a potential car buyer and gives Tesla an opportunity to defray dilution,” he stated in a recent market commentary. Berry noted that in the wake of this news, lithium developers were “making hay while the sun shines” through some truly impressive capital-raising efforts.

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