Lithium could easily run into a massive supply crunch – again. All thanks to electric vehicle (EV) sales that are growing much faster than anyone expected. In fact, according to a new study from the Boston Consulting Group, by 2025, EVs could account for a third of all auto sales. By 2030, EVs could surpass internal combustion engine vehicles with a market share of 51%. That could lead to a sizable spike in demand with lithium used in EV batteries.
Plus, experts now predict that by 2040, electric cars will make up 58% of the light vehicle market. And, according Resource World, “A recent report by Global Market Insights, Inc. concluded that the global lithium ion battery market is set to surpass US $60 billion by 2024 with a global market of 534,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate by 2025.” That, plus Tesla’s big appetite could see lithium prices explode again soon. With that, some of the top lithium companies to watch include E3 Metals Corp. (TSXV: ETMC)(OTC:EEMMF), Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE:LAC)(TSX:LAC), Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), American Lithium Corp. (TSXV:LI)(OTC:LIACF), and Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB).
E3 Metals Corp. (TSXV: ETMC)(OTC: EEMMF) BREAKING NEWS: E3 Metals Corp., an emerging lithium developer and leading lithium extraction technology innovator, today announces the discovery of lithium enrichment in the Nisku Aquifer (the “Nisku”), located within the Company’s permit area in south-central Alberta, with sampled lithium grades ranging up to 75.0 mg/L.
The Nisku is located above the Leduc Aquifer (the “Leduc”), in which E3 Metals holds 6.7 million tonnes of LCE1 inferred mineral resource (Figure 1). The Nisku stretches across E3 Metals’ entire permit area where the Company owns the metallic and industrial mineral rights, which include the rights to the lithium within the Nisku. The Nisku has similar geological properties to the Leduc, and as such, it has a comparable propensity for high brine flow rates that may support the production of commercial quantities of lithium.
The Company sampled Nisku brine as well as the Leduc brine from available oil and gas production wells as part of E3 Metals’ ongoing exploration and development. A total of 17 samples were collected across the Nisku and all have demonstrated the presence of higher-grade dissolved lithium within the formation brine. Lithium grades range between 37.4 mg/L and 75.0 mg/L. Using E3 Metals’ proprietary direct lithium extraction (DLE) process, Leduc brines with grades on the top end of Nisku’s sampled range have demonstrated the ability to quickly and efficiently concentrate to over 5000 mg/L.
“The discovery of lithium in the Nisku expands the known lithium brine volumes and may offer operational benefits,” commented Chris Doornbos, President and Chief Executive Officer of E3 Metals. “The Nisku is laterally extensive across our permit area and has similar aquifer properties to the Leduc, so it will produce brine in much the same way. Wells drilled to access the Leduc intersect the Nisku first, which may allow us to produce lithium enriched brines from both aquifers from the same well, potentially increasing operational efficiencies in the future.”
E3 Metals will continue to sample the aquifer as part of its regular sampling program going forward, with the intention of developing a resource from the Nisku Aquifer in the future.
Other related developments from around the markets include:
Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE:LAC)(TSX:LAC) announced that it has completed the previously announced transaction with Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd. in respect of their joint venture company, Minera Exar S.A. Minera Exar owns 100% of the Caucharí-Olaroz lithium project currently under development in Jujuy, Argentina. On closing, Ganfeng Lithium subscribed for new shares of Minera Exar for cash consideration of US$16 million increasing its interest from 50% to 51%, with Lithium Americas owning the remaining 49%. In addition, Lithium Americas received US$40 million in cash from the proceeds of a non-interest-bearing loan from Ganfeng Lithium. For more details on the Transaction, please refer to the Company’s press release dated February 7, 2020. “The Transaction with Ganfeng Lithium further strengthens our long-term partnership in Argentina as we work together to bring Caucharí-Olaroz into production,” commented Jon Evans, President and CEO. “With an additional US$40 million in cash on our balance sheet and over US$200 million in available capital to fund our share of Caucharí-Olaroz, Lithium Americas remains in a strong financial position as we advance both of our projects.”
Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) announced updates to the time, format and location of its 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Tesla also announced information regarding its separate Battery Day event. Although Tesla believes that the best stockholder experience is a fully in-person annual meeting open to all stockholders, continuing public health and travel-related requirements and advisories have necessitated a unique format for the 2020 Annual Meeting. The following updates supersede anything to the contrary described in Tesla’s updated definitive proxy statement filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on August 13, 2020. The 2020 Annual Meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Tesla’s separate Battery Day event will follow immediately after the conclusion of the 2020 Annual Meeting.
American Lithium Corp. (TSXV:LI)(OTC:LIACF), a leading lithium exploration and development operator is pleased to report it has produced lithium carbonate from its flagship Tonopah Lithium Claims (TLC) claystone deposit. Leachate produced by McClelland Laboratories in Reno, Nevada from TLC was systematically put through a base-case process to remove impurities before precipitating lithium carbonate successfully. This milestone prompted the beginning of a testing program to optimize each step of the process to improve economics and reduce waste. To facilitate this program, Dr. Jarrett Quinn, lithium mining veteran, was retained as a metallurgical consultant. Dr. Quinn has worked as an independent consultant in the lithium mining industry, and has worked on plant design, start-up and in operations for the mining and metallurgical industry. His academic and research background includes a Ph.D. in Mining and Materials Engineering from McGill University.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB), a leader in the global specialty chemicals industry, announced the company has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as a critical partner for two lithium research projects over three years through a Battery Manufacturing Lab Call. Albemarle will work in conjunction with two DOE labs on the company’s approved projects. The first project, in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory, is “Advanced Brine Processing to Enable U.S. Lithium Independence.” This research enables the development of a novel technology which provides a new production route eliminating steps in the current state-of-the-art process by going directly from lithium chloride to lithium hydroxide. The second project, which will be done in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is “Scaling Up of High-Performance Single Crystalline Ni-rich Cathode Materials with Advanced Lithium Salts.” This project will accelerate the commercialization of high-energy cathodes for extended battery life in the electric vehicle (EV) application. “We are honored to have the DOE select these two important research efforts in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,” said Dr. Glen Merfeld, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Lithium. “Successful execution of the first project will allow for more efficient utilization of the lithium brine resource in the Clayton Valleyarea of Nevada and a new pathway to a critical lithium material. The technology could also help make U.S. geothermal and oilfield brines more economical, including our brine reserves in Magnolia, Arkansas. Through the second project, we will learn how tailored lithium salts can further improve cathode performance, leading to more energy dense and longer life lithium ion batteries.”
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