NEW YORK, September 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
According to a report by S&P Global Platts and panelists speaking
at this year's Indaba mining conference, battery demand will continue to drive the lithium and cobalt markets for years to come. "Long-term strong battery demand is very real," said Edward Lauer, the head of portfolio optimization at Eurasian Resources Group according to S&P. "Even if demand from commercial and residential battery storage doesn't materialize to the same extent, consumer electronics and electric vehicle industries will only continue to grow." As for the global lithium-ion battery market, Zion Market Research indicates that this market was valued at around USD 31.17 billion in 2016 and is expected to generate revenue of USD 67.70 billion by end of 2022, growing at a CAGR of slightly above 13.70% between 2017 and 2022. First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM), FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC)
The S&P report also pointed out the problems the cobalt market is facing. Cobalt mining has under pressure recently from accusations of child labor in mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country which accounts for over half of world supply of the mineral. Andrew Grant of Bloomberg New Energy Finance explained, "There is more upside risk on battery demand than downside. With big changes expected in the way we use our cars, from self-drive to automation, to the impact of regulation and societal views on the environmental, we forecasts up three million additional electrical vehicle cars by 2025," S&P Global Platts reported.
First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: FTSSF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol 'FCC'. Yesterday the company reported breaking news that, "high grade cobalt assays from a sampling program of the historic muck piles from the past producing Bellellen Mine on its Greater Cobalt Project in Ontario, Canada. The program commenced in July 2017 as part of field mapping programs and reconnaissance of new areas with the objective of identifying and prioritizing areas for future exploration and drilling.
Dr. Frank Santaguida, Vice President, Exploration commented: "Bellellen contains a different style of mineralization compared to Keeley-Frontier that at first looked uninteresting but in fact contains high cobalt grades. This suggests that a more complex structural-hydrothermal setting may exist here than was previously considered." Trent Mell, President & Chief Executive Officer, commented: "This is now a high priority target that will require a more detailed drill plan and more initial holes compared to the ongoing drill program at the Keeley and Frontier mines. There are real benefits to sampling mined material previously viewed as waste rock and it has given us quick insight into how to prioritize our drilling."
According to First Cobalt, "The diversity of mineralizing textures, the range of high cobalt values also containing silver has made Bellellen a high priority drill target. The weak understanding of the structural controls in this area of the Cobalt Camp requires a detailed drill plan and likely more drill holes than the targets around the Keeley and Frontier mines. A drill permit application has already been submitted."
Tesla Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) and Panasonic Corporation have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the United States, known as the Gigafactory. According to the agreement, Tesla will prepare, provide and manage the land, buildings and utilities. Panasonic will manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells and invest in the associated equipment, machinery, and other manufacturing tools based on their mutual approval. According to a blog from The Tesla Team earlier this year, Tesla and Panasonic begin mass production of lithium-ion battery cells, which will be used in Tesla's energy storage products and Model 3. The high performance cylindrical "2170 cell" was jointly designed and engineered by Tesla and Panasonic to offer the best performance at the lowest production cost in an optimal form factor for both electric vehicles and energy products.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. Recently, the company announced that it has developed an innovative technology that could enable Albemarle to sustainably increase total lithium production in Chile to as much as 125,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) annually, without the need for additional brine pumping at the Salar de Atacama. As a result of this development, Albemarle has requested that Chile's Economic Development Agency (Corfo) increase Albemarle's lithium quota. Assuming the technology proves commercially viable, Albemarle plans to build and start-up additional lithium carbonate capacity in Chile in the early 2020s, once current expansion projects are completed and producing at capacity. Projects already underway should increase Albemarle's total annual production capacity in Chile to greater than 80,000 metric tons of LCE by 2020.
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an integrated producer and distributor of lithium, iodine, specialty plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. On September 11, 2017, the company announced that the Company and its subsidiary SQM Australia Pty Ltd, have signed a purchase agreement with MH Gold Pty Ltd, Montague Resources Australia Pty Ltd and Kidman Resources Limited to acquire 50% of the assets in the lithium mining project called Mount Holland, located in the State of Western Australia, Australia. Patricio de Solminihac, CEO of SQM, commented: "We are very pleased to have finalized the documentation required to begin this partnership with Kidman. We are convinced that the capabilities we have developed in over 20 years producing and commercializing lithium products, will be fundamental to successfully develop this project together with our partners."
FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) has served the global agricultural, industrial and consumer markets with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. The company operates its businesses in three segments: FMC Agricultural Solutions, FMC Health and Nutrition and FMC Lithium. FMC Lithium is a leading producer of high-quality organic and inorganic lithium compounds used for energy storage, extended battery life, fine chemicals and polymers, as well as industrial, chemical and construction applications.
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