Lithium prices tipped to rise 20 per cent by 2017 on demand for electric cars – by Peter Ker (Sydney Morning Herald – October 27, 2015)

Prices for lithium are forecast to rise strongly in the next two years, with widespread adoption of electric cars tipped to be a game changer for the third element on the periodic table.

While most demand for lithium carbonate comes from industrial companies producing ceramics and glass, Citi analyst Matthew Schembri believes demand will rise significantly when electric vehicles become mainstream and need the commodity for lithium-ion batteries.

Citi is very bullish about electric cars, and forecasts production of pure electric models (not hybrids) like the Nissan Leaf or the Tesla Model S to rise from about 150,000 in 2015 to about 290,000 in 2016. By 2020, Citi expects 1.04 million electric cars to be in production, implying sevenfold growth over five years.

In an extensive study of what the boom in electric cars will mean for lithium carbonate markets, Mr Schembri said demand for the commodity would rise almost 65 per cent over the next five years.

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NEWS RELEASE: Nemaska Lithium Receives Notice of Allowance for its Lithium Hydroxide and Lithium Carbonate Process Patent

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – Oct. 19, 2015) – October 19, 2015. Nemaska Lithium Inc. (“Nemaska Lithium” or the “Corporation”) (TSX VENTURE:NMX)(OTCQX:NMKEF) is pleased to announce that it has obtained a Notice of Allowance in Canada concerning Canadian Patent Application 2,874,917 that describes its proprietary process of preparing lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate from spodumene sources using membrane electrolysis. Nemaska is also pursuing patent protection on this process in multiple global jurisdictions.

In addition, the Corporation has received very positive feedback from the international examiners in charge of examining Nemaska Lithium’s international applications WO 2015/058288 and WO 2015/123762. These patent applications cover different technologies and processes for preparing lithium hydroxide. Finally the Corporation recently filed a new patent application in the United States (US 62/210,977) which is related to a new electrochemical process for making lithium hydroxide. In total, Nemaska Lithium now owns rights to 13 pending patent applications that are represented by 7 different patent families.

The electrolysis technology developed by Nemaska Lithium to convert lithium sulphate into lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate, has been successfully lab scale tested, pilot plant tested as well as tested at supplier facilities over the past three years. In the past, electrolysis based technologies have been commercially used in multiple industries and have demonstrated that they can be very efficient and very reliable. For example, over the past 50 years, chlor alkaline industry has been using industrial processes for the electrolysis of sodium chloride.

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Lithium, the love story – by Antoine Dion Ortega and Pierrick Blin (Corporate – June 16, 2014)

Purmamarca, ARGENTINA – When Tesla Motors revealed in February it would build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery plant, shares in major lithium producers such as SQM, FMC and Rockwood – all active in South America’s so-called lithium triangle – got a noticeable boost.

Tesla pledged to invest more than $5 billion in its factory, construction of which would begin in 2017 with an eye to producing 500,000 batteries a year. Analysts now expect the Palo Alto, California-based electric carmaker to strike a strategic lithium supply agreement in the near future.

When that deal comes through, it could be huge. Tesla alone might represent an 8 per cent increase in global demand for lithium, and that’s good news for countries in the lithium mining game. Yet it’s unclear to what extent South America’s resource-rich nations will truly benefit from it, and whether the foreseen “white gold rush” will be a sustainable one.

Just a few days before Tesla’s announcement, Bolivian President Evo Morales was dressed in white overalls, carefully examining a battery cell during the inauguration of a pilot manufacturing plant, located within the 10,000 square kilometre salt flats of Uyuni.

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Could lithium become the new oil? – by Vikram Mansharamani (PBS Newshour – October 15, 2015)

Vikram Mansharamani is a lecturer in the Program on Ethics, Politics & Economics at Yale University and a senior fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

I recently spoke with a group of Nigerian leaders who were visiting Yale. I expressed to them my confidence in the long-term outlook for oil demand. A booming middle class in the emerging markets, I argued, would consistently demand more fuels. They were engaged throughout my talk and cared about many different topics, but kept returning one.

“OK, but Vikram, what will oil prices be next year?” I answered honestly, “I don’t know.”

Several other questions came up, but then another person asked, “OK, very compelling presentation, thank you. But do you think oil prices will be higher or lower next year than they are today?” Again, I pleaded ignorance.

The process continued, and eventually, everyone was laughing about the persistent focus on oil prices.

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Lithium Market Set To Explode – All Eyes Are On Nevada – by James Stafford (Oil Price – October 6, 2015)

While other commodities are floundering or completely collapsing in this market, lithium—the critical mineral in the emerging battery gigafactory war—is poised to explode, and going forward Nevada is emerging as the front line in this pending American lithium boom.

Most of the world’s lithium comes from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Australia and China, but American resources being developed by new entrants into this market have set up the state of Nevada to become the key venue and proving ground for game-changing trade in this everyday mineral. Nevada is about to get a boost first from Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) upcoming battery gigafactory, and then from all of its rivals.

For several years, experts have been predicting a lithium revolution, and while investors were being coy at first, the reality of the battery gigafactories is now clear, and nothing has hit this home more poignantly than Tesla’s recent supply agreements with lithium providers who will be the first beneficiaries of this boom, followed by a second round of lithium brine developers that are climbing quickly to the forefront.

As Jeb Handwerger—founder of Gold Stock Trades—recently told the Resource Investor: “This is just the beginning. We’re in the early stages of a revolution in powering transportation and homes.

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Tesla plans to buy lithium for Gigafactory from nearby Nevada mine – by Katie Fehrenbacher (Fortune Magazine – September 16, 2015)

The electric carmaker may get some of the lithium it needs for its Nevada battery factory from a local mining project.

Tesla plans to buy lithium, a critical ingredient in its batteries, from a mining project that’s under development 200 miles from its battery factory near Reno, Nev.

Pure Energy Minerals, which is leasing the Nevada land for mining, announced the supply agreement with the electric car maker on Wednesday.

The deal is highly unusual in the world of battery manufacturing. Much of the world’s lithium comes from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Australia and eastern China, and is shipped long distances to battery makers in Asia.

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Tesla and the mining business – by Don Brunell (The Star – September 16, 2015) Grand Coulee Dam Community

Tesla is the premium entry in the electric car market, with a starting price of $75,000. According to the Wall Street Journal, the high-end “Signature” model costs $132,000, slightly more than the base price for Porsche’s AG’s 911 GT3.

Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, an assortment of state tax credits, and $10,000 in fuel saving over five years, the driver’s investment is over $110,000 – far beyond the reach of the average family.

However, Tesla’s luxury styling and impressive performance give high-end buyers the best of both worlds – luxury transportation and the satisfaction of environmental stewardship. In that light, it might surprise some that Tesla’s success depends, in large part, on lithium mining.

Tesla cars are made of carbon fiber and powered by racks of lithium-ion batteries. Strong, light, and cost-efficient, carbon fiber is being used increasingly by commercial airplane manufacturers. On board Boeing’s 787, the batteries are lithium-ion as well.

Like Boeing and Airbus, auto manufacturers are under economic and regulatory pressure to produce more fuel-efficient products.

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Tesla interest could spark new Nevada gold rush for lithium – by Andy Colthorpe (Storage-PV – September 07, 2015)

A gold exploration and mining company has agreed to purchase a potential site for excavating lithium in Nevada, citing the “great deal of attention” brought onto the state by Tesla’s decision to locate its mammoth manufacturing facility there.

The EV-maker’s decision to go into stationary storage, officially confirmed at the end of April, followed a period in which Tesla was supplying its partner SolarCity with battery-based energy storage in a number of pilot projects for houses and for the installer’s DemandLogic commercial solution.

The confirmation brought high-profile attention onto the energy storage industry, sparking mainstream media interest. By that point, it was already well known that Tesla was building a “Gigafactory” in Nevada and the announcement of the launch of Powerwall, for houses, and PowerPack for the commercial and utility-scale markets merely confirmed the company’s ambitions beyond EVs. The Gigafactory’s planned “500,000 battery packs by 2020” of production would be soaked up by stationary storage too.

In the final week of August this year, Tesla signed a conditional long-term lithium hydroxide supply deal with Canadian company Bacanora and British company Rare Earth Minerals.

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Tesla Secures Lithium Hydroxide Supply for Its Battery Factory – by Mike Ramsey (Wall street Journal – August 28, 2015)

Electric-vehical maker in long-term contract with Bacanora Minerals and Rare Earth Minerals

Tesla Motors Inc. has secured a North American supply of lithium hydroxide through a long-term contract with mining company Bacanora Minerals Ltd. and Rare Earth Minerals PLC, giving the electric car maker a key base material used to produce lithium-ion batteries used its electric vehicles.

Tesla is building a $5 billion battery factory in Nevada that aims to reduce battery costs by 30% or more, partly by bringing in in-house materials suppliers.

The agreement with the two companies gives Tesla access to below-market-rate lithium in exchange for minimum purchase amounts over a five-year period, according to a statement.

The first phase of the battery factory, under construction near Reno, is expected to be completed next year. When the battery factory is fully built out, it will be capable of making 35 gigawatt-hours of battery cells, which is more than all of the current lithium-ion battery plants in the world today combined.

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Warren Buffett And Elon Musk To Spark A Lithium Boom – by James Stafford (Oil – July 28, 2015)

The age of electrification across the transportation sector, the solar panel revolution, and Tesla’s battery gigafactory are igniting a battle for the cheapest battery. That will transform lithium into a boom-time mineral and the hottest commodity on the energy investor’s radar.

It has been easy to take lithium for granted. This wonder mineral is the backbone of our everyday lives, popping up in everything from the glass in our windows to our mountains of electronics.

And while investors have long appreciated the steady rise in demand for this preferred mineral, the number of new applications continues to multiply. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other consumer electronics demand more lithium. But the largest driver for future lithium use will be in electric vehicles and home batteries for solar panels. That has lithium on the verge a boom for which supply can no longer be taken for granted.

Not since the shale boom have we seen a market transformation of such significance. Lithium has long been used for a variety of mundane purposes, and while the variety is spectacular—with applications in everything from glass, ceramics and greases to a line-up of industrial process—it has flown under the radar for most investors.

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RB Energy meltdown highlights tough times for lithium, rare earth firms – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 20, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO — As RB Energy Inc. flamed out and fell into creditor protection during the past couple of weeks, investors were shell-shocked.

Despite some start-up problems in recent months, Vancouver-based RB seemed to be in an ideal position. It was emerging as North America’s only serious lithium producer, just as demand for the metal is set to soar because of its use in electric vehicle batteries. Its management team was linked to the legendary Lundin Group, a resource conglomerate with a fantastic track record of success. Lundin companies do not just melt down like that.

But RB did. It filed for protection last Monday after its stock price collapsed and it could not raise capital under reasonable terms.

“I can tell you it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the resource capital market crash as quickly as that,” chief executive Rick Clark said. “I would say the last time was back in the ‘90s.”

There was a time when RB, formerly known as Canada Lithium Corp., had a much easier time raising cash. The company has tapped the capital markets for about $268-million since 2009, according to Financial Post data. RB also received $92-million of debt financing from Bank of Nova Scotia and Caterpillar Financial Services that was partially guaranteed by the Quebec government.

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