There’s just not enough lithium to meet demand. In fact, if the world can’t fix the supply-demand gaps for lithium, it’s tough to imagine any net zero transitions. In fact, according to the CEO of the International Council of Metals and Mineral Mining, Rohitesh Dhawan, as noted by Sky News, "We can see quite a large mismatch between demand and supply. We currently produce around 400,000 tonnes of lithium annually. By 2030, that's likely to (need to) jump to around two million tonnes,” adding, “At the moment about half of global lithium demand comes from the electric vehicle market… by 2030, 80% of global lithium demand will come from the electric vehicle market because we need to electrify our transport fleet that quickly.” Until we have enough lithium supply to meet explosive demand, prices are likely to accelerate higher, and send related lithium stocks to higher highs, including E3 Lithium (TSXV: ETMC) (OTC: EEMMF), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC) (TSX: LAC), American Lithium Corp. (TSXV: LI) (OTC: LIACF), and Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ: PLL).
Look at E3 Lithium (TSXV: ETMC) (OTC: EEMMF), for example
E3 Lithium, Alberta’s leading lithium developer and Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology innovator has created its first successful battery through a collaboration with Pure Lithium. Pure Lithium used lithium produced from E3’s DLE technology to create the lithium metal that was used to produce a pouch cell battery. The goal of this initial testing was to demonstrate the proof of concept. The two companies have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to complete further testing and validation work.
E3 has been working with Pure Lithium, who is advancing lithium metal processes and battery manufacturing. E3’s goal is to ensure it has a diverse offering of products to meet the growing and changing landscape of the lithium battery and Electric Vehicle (EV) market. While the strong market for high nickel cathode chemistry batteries will likely mean E3’s first phase of its production will be lithium hydroxide, E3 believes lithium metal will be a critical component in the next generation of lithium batteries.
“Creating the first battery using our lithium is a major accomplishment for E3,” said Chris Doornbos, CEO of E3 Lithium. “This small application proves the functionality of our product and assists in validating our business plans into the future. While E3 is focused on manufacturing lithium hydroxide to supply the burgeoning lithium-ion battery market for EVs, we believe lithium metal and solid-state batteries are likely to become a large part of the market.”
E3 Lithium provided its lithium concentrate to Pure Lithium who produced a pure lithium metal electrode (lithium on a copper substrate), using its proprietary process. Pure Lithium then verified the purity via ICP-OES and subsequently built a small pouch cell battery.
Given the success of producing lithium metal in the initial test program, the two companies have signed a MOU. The goal of this MOU is to complete a series of testing over the next six to nine months to define how E3 and Pure Lithium’s technologies can be combined to produce a commercially viable production process for both lithium metal electrodes and batteries.
“We are excited by these proof-of-concept results,” said Emilie Bodoin, Founder and CEO of Pure Lithium. “Our collaboration with E3 is very important to us as we work to secure sources of lithium for our future batteries.”
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Albemarle Corporation announced the release of its annual global Sustainability Report. "Albemarle plays an important role in combating climate change, enabling the energy transition and supporting safe and sustainable advancement of electrification and digitalization," said CEO Kent Masters. "Sustainability is core to our long-term strategy. Our Sustainability Report highlights progress, commitments, and successes we realized in 2021 on a global scale as we continue to add value for all our stakeholders through our sustainability efforts."
Lithium Americas has entered a Pastos Grandes Technical Collaboration Agreement with Arena Minerals Inc. The intention of the Collaboration Agreement is to share technical information and explore opportunities for collaborating on potential development alternatives with the overall objective of optimizing the production profile of the Pastos Grandes basin. “Building our relationship with Arena Minerals is an indication of our commitment to expand and further develop our production profile in Salta, Argentina,” commented Ignacio Celorrio, President, Latin America of Lithium Americas. “Arena’s Sal de la Puna project is adjacent to our recently acquired 100%-owned Pastos Grandes project, and together, we will collaborate to develop the basin in the most sustainable and efficient way for all stakeholders.”
American Lithium Corp. confirmed that it has signed an agreement to acquire additional concessions in Southern Peru. In addition, it has entered into agreements relating to public relations and marketing activities. The Company, through its Peruvian subsidiary, Macusani Yellowcake S.A.C., has entered into a mining rights transfer agreement with an arms-length third-party, pursuant to which it will acquire the rights to a series of mining concessions covering approximately 14,243 hectares in Southern Peru. The Concessions are highly prospective and will further broaden the Company’s existing asset base and operations in Peru.
Piedmont Lithium, a leading, diversified developer of lithium resources required to enable the U.S. electric vehicle supply chain, announced that Piedmont’s partner, Sayona Mining, recently published a prefeasibility study or the restart of spodumene concentrate operations at the North American Lithium Project in Quebec. The NAL PFS contemplates average annual production of approximately 168,000 tonnes per year of 6% spodumene concentrate over a mine life of 27 years. The NAL Study highlights estimated competitive cash operating costs and an estimated capital cost for the mine and concentrator restart of approximately US$80 million. Piedmont and Sayona acquired the previously-producing NAL operations in August 2021. Following the positive results of the NAL Study, the partners expect to proceed with full capital expenditure authorization. According to Sayona’s study results, operations could recommence in the first half of 2023.
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