The Great Lithium Rush ?  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

In the wake of ongoing concern about availability of and access to the metals required in various clean technologies, the most notable being lithium for use in batteries (particularly in electric vehicles) The Australian has had a few articles promoting the prospects of junior mining companies looking to develop lithium deposits (as have smaller, more hysterical, share tip sheets). First off, Robin Bromby in his "Pure Speculation" column - Watch Lithium !.

NISSAN has revealed details of the new 24 kilowatt-hour battery to be installed in its Leaf electric car. Hold your hats. Each battery will contain 4kg of lithium, according to New York-based scientific consultants Gerson Lehrman Group. The planned production numbers of the Leaf means that just under 10 per cent of the world’s production of lithium will be snapped up by Nissan. ...

That explains the significance this week of the announcement that Galaxy Resources is getting into bed with Great Group, described as a private sector investment company based in Beijing - although, in China, there is no such thing as a purely private sector company, especially when strategic metals are involved. Galaxy is, of course, the most advanced lithium player in Australia and about to develop a project near Ravensthorpe, Western Australia.

There are still some independent lithium plays, although they are well back in the queue in terms of advancement. Reed Resources recently joined the pack and received a massive boost to its share price as a result, and then there’s Orocobre with its project in Argentina and poised for development in 2012.

The latest entrant is Reward Minerals which, rebounding from being thwarted at its main potash project by Native Title problems, has applied for an exploration near the West Australian town of Dumbleyung. The company was surveying lake systems for potash and was surprised to find in Lake Dumbleyung relatively high lithium values.

So watch lithium. With electric cars coming, the world will all of this mineral it can gets its hands on.

Next, Tim Boreham on Galaxy Resources (which has a large stake already owned by the Chinese).
FORGET about iron ore, rare earths or even gold: the real flyer at the moment is any stock with an exposure to lithium. Lithium is in hot demand as China turns to electric cars and scooters in a serious way.

Lithium has applications in ceramics, glass manufacturing, lubricants and treating depression, but it's demand for lithium-ion batteries which has got investors excited in the last couple of weeks. According to Galaxy chief Iggy Tan, lithium demand is expected to soar from 100,000 tonnes currently to 300,000t by 2020. And there isn't a lot of new supply coming on.

Galaxy is in pole position with its Mt Cattlin resource at Ravensthorpe in Western Australia, which the company claims to be the world's second-biggest hard rock lithium deposit. ...

The bad news for investors is that Galaxy's share price has already had a decent run (up 150 per cent over the last two months). Still, Galaxy's $150 million market cap is defensible and it's one to hold on to for the demise of the carbon economy.

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