Thursday 20th October 2016

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Voltaic Minerals completes data analysis for Utah lithium project

October 14th, 2016

by Greg Klein | October 14, 2016

Voltaic Minerals completes data analysis for Utah lithium project

With the first phase of work wrapped up, Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT now readies for a brine sampling program on its Green Energy lithium project in Utah. The company analyzed publicly accessible historic oil well drilling and geophysical data to create a 3D model.

Data from eight wells indicates Clastic Bed #31 ranges from 5.5 metres to 11.3 metres thick, sitting at depths of 1,830 metres to 1,982 metres. The bed consists of 9.2 metres of shale, anhydrite and dolomite and is not considered part of any oil reservoir, the company stated. “The findings are concurrent with engineering reports from the 1960s which concluded that the brine reservoir is extensive” at over 16 square kilometres.

The 1,683-hectare property on the Colorado Plateau has rail and power 30 kilometres away.

Infographic: 41 interesting facts about Tesla Motors

September 30th, 2016

by Jeff Desjardins | infographic by Jennings Motor Group | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | September 30, 2016

For investors, Elon Musk is a polarizing figure.

He clearly sees the big picture and has started multiple companies that could be considered extremely successful by almost any criteria: Paypal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and Solar City are all valued at over $1 billion—an impressive feat, to be sure.

Musk also continually aims to bring us game-changing technologies that will improve society. The Hyperloop, Gigafactory 1 and a colony on Mars are just some of his recent ideas or contributions. Like them or hate them, they are bold and audacious plans. That’s just something we don’t see enough of these days.

By the same token, Elon Musk often gets ahead of himself. He sees things so well in advance that his projections and goals often don’t end up being grounded in reality. For example, the Wall Street Journal has reported here that Tesla failed to meet more than 20 of his projections, missing 10 of them by nearly a year on average.

These types of misses don’t sit well with investors, some of who already think the stock could be overvalued. After all, despite the optimism around future prospects for Tesla Motors, the company has technically lost $2.5 billion since its inception.

Regardless of where a person stands on Tesla and Elon, the story remains downright fascinating for many reasons.

The following infographic comes to us from Jennings Motor Group and it covers 41 facts on Tesla as well as Elon Musk—the driving force behind the company.

Infographic: 41 interesting facts about Tesla Motors

Infographic by Jennings Motor Group | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

A cautious approach

September 16th, 2016

Jon Hykawy discusses lithium, cobalt and a battery-fuelled frenzy

by Greg Klein

Making its Western Hemisphere debut in Toronto from September 26 to 28, Mines and Money kicks off with a full day dedicated to battery metals. That would seem to cast a resoundingly positive vote in lithium’s boom-or-bubble debate. But while conference speaker Jon Hykawy sees an enduring case for the celebrated commodity, he counsels investors to tread carefully.

A physicist with an MBA in marketing who’s covered energy metals and industrial minerals for Byron Capital Markets, he’s been focusing much of his attention on rechargeable batteries, fuel cells and renewable energy since founding Stormcrow Capital.

He sees renewed optimism in resources generally, especially in battery materials. But he sounds wary about lithium’s most recent price increases.

Jon Hykawy discusses lithium, cobalt and a battery-fuelled frenzy

“They look to me like what I would have expected if we had major producers that weren’t yet under pressure to increase output, speculators buying and warehousing material for future sale, and some panic buying and resulting over-stocking by end-users,” Hykawy tells “It’s the situation we had in uranium back in 2007 and 2008 and with rare earths in 2010 and 2011. That’s not to say there’s going to be a catastrophic collapse in prices because fundamental demand for lithium is growing at a pretty respectable pace. But it doesn’t mean that every junior is going to see production.”

Of course assessing juniors involves assessing their projects. That brings up the distinction between two types of deposits, brine and pegmatite.

Brines generally offer lower operating costs, he points out. But “there are only so many natural brines out there. Some natural brines are problematic, some are in bad jurisdictions. No one’s going to go into Bolivia under the current government. That eliminates one of the largest resources in the world.

“But recently we’ve had new technologies come to the fore that could enable alternative brines that hadn’t been considered viable at any reasonable economic level,” Hykawy adds. Extraction processes developed by companies like POSCO, Eramet and Tenova Bateman Technologies “can pull lithium directly out of brine,” eliminating the lengthy solar evaporation phase.

That would open up more types of brines, for example fossilized brines from oil fields, which might hold a very good grade of lithium but a huge quantity of calcium or magnesium. And it opens up different locales.—Jon Hykawy, president of Stormcrow Capital

“Some of these technologies don’t worry as much or at all about the contaminants that conventionally impact solar evaporation production,” he continues. “That would open up more types of brines, for example fossilized brines from oil fields, which might hold a very good grade of lithium but a huge quantity of calcium or magnesium. And it opens up different locales. Let’s say you’re pulling lithium out of brine from oil fields near the U.S. gulf coast. The high humidity and heavy rainfall works against solar evaporation. But if you have a direct extraction technology, you can put that lithium through the process. If it ignores contaminants, all the better.”

He credits speed as the biggest advantage of hard rock deposits. “Once you’ve got a hard rock lithium mine up and running, the time it takes to pull ore out of the ground and turn it into saleable product is measured in days. That makes hard rock mines look like far more reliable suppliers.” The advantage comes with a higher opex, however.

Then there’s the distinction between lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate. The latter results from solar evaporation of brine and served as “ a decent feedstock for the initial type of lithium-ion battery that used lithium-cobalt oxide as a cathode material.”

Better suited to more modern battery chemistries, however, is lithium hydroxide, now considered “something of a wonderkid,” Hykawy says.

It’s associated with hard rock deposits, but not limited to them. Solar evaporation of brine can produce lithium chloride in solution or carbonate as a precipitate, he explains. “You can then send the carbonate or chloride to a processing company that will turn it into lithium hydroxide.”

That makes market share comparisons for carbonate and hydroxide problematic when it’s not clear how much hydroxide originated as carbonate.

“Some technologies can produce carbonate or hydroxide directly from brine, but they’re not in commercial use yet. Over time the industry will become more flexible.”

Hydroxide fetches the higher prices. “What you’re really paying for in lithium carbonate or hydroxide are the lithium units, the actual amount of lithium chemical…. Today you’re getting a very substantial premium for lithium units in hydroxide, much more than you’d expect. That suggests to me there’s a secular shortage of hydroxide and people are willing to pay up, especially in the spot market, because they themselves don’t have the ability to buy carbonate and convert it into hydroxide.”

Looking at graphite, he’s satisfied that increasing demand can be met by existing producers and up-and-coming projects. But cobalt presents a more intriguing story.

Normally mined as a byproduct of copper or nickel, most of it comes from the conflict-plagued Democratic Republic of Congo, where production has been reduced or suspended with the decline in base metals prices.

While battery demand raises cobalt prices, steel acts as a restraint. More than half of cobalt production has gone to the troubled industry. “That’s becoming less and less a factor in cobalt prices because a growing component of cobalt, well over 40% today, now goes into batteries.”

Cobalt prices have been climbing but, Hykawy says, “if you have access to them, the cobalt sulphates that are actually used in batteries have done far better in price than the cobalt metal.”

Getting back to lithium’s boom-versus-bubble debate, Hykawy takes the latter position. “Yeah, there’s momentum to be played, but just understand the floor you’re standing on might not be as strong as you thought…. There’s a long-term, strong growth trend in lithium demand and the prospects for lithium companies. But pick your entry points and the horse you’re going to ride carefully.”

Hykawy addresses the Mines and Money Battery Metals conference at St. Andrew’s Club in Toronto on September 26.

92 Resources president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux discusses the Northwest Territories’ Hidden Lake project

September 14th, 2016

…Read more

Equitorial Exploration releases NWT lithium channel sampling results

September 6th, 2016

by Greg Klein | September 6, 2016

Having acquired the Li lithium project in July, Equitorial Exploration TSXV:EXX announced results from the 2016 field program on September 6. Located just east of the Yukon border and 30 kilometres from the Northwest Territories’ former Cantung tungsten mine, the property hosts the Little Nahanni pegmatite group.

“Lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite dyke swarms on the Li property have been traced over a combined length of 13 kilometres in mountainous terrain that is deeply incised by several east- or west-facing cirques,” the company stated. The following highlights came from 81 channel samples up to 52.6 metres wide from dyke swarms called Prison Wall, Berlin Wall and Great Wall of China:

Equitorial Exploration releases NWT lithium channel sampling results

Prison Wall

  • 1.57% Li2O, 250.3 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.95% SnO2 over 1.7 metres

  • 2.33% Li2O, 59 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.05% SnO2 over 1.2 metres

Berlin Wall

  • 2.04% Li2O, 57.8 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.5% SnO2 over 4 metres

  • 3.1% Li2O, 53.6 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.03% SnO2 over 0.95 metres

Great Wall of China

  • 1.67% Li2O, 41.4 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.03% SnO2 over 3.75 metres

  • 1.83% Li2O, 67.3 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.05% SnO2 over 1.25 metres

  • 1.63% Li2O, 52.9 g/t Ta2O5 and 0.01% SnO2 over 5.15 metres

The dykes are “well exposed on cirque walls, but most of these areas are too steep to sample,” Equitorial added. “Fortunately, relatively continuous bedrock exposures are accessible at the base of cliffs on the north and south side of cirques.”

Dating back to 2002, the property’s best interval assayed 1.59% Li2O over 10 metres, but the 2016 program failed to relocate the dyke. Two drill holes from 2007 found 1.2% Li2O over 10.94 metres and 0.92% over 18.27 metres. Rock samples have graded as high as 3.77%, 3.55%, 2.05%, 1.79%, 1.77% and 1.74% Li2O.

The Li property acquisition costs Equitorial 7.5 million shares, 2.5 million warrants, $100,000 towards the 2016 program and a 2% NSR.

In May Equitorial acquired the right to enter a JV with Mag One Products CSE:MDD to fund the construction of Mag One’s extraction facility for lithium and related products. Equitorial also holds the right to JV with Mag One on construction of production facilities for magnesium metal and products.

Assays pending, sampling continues at 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

August 30th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 30, 2016

While waiting for assays from the property’s LU #12 pegmatite dyke, channel sampling continues on 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories, the company announced August 30. LU #12 took priority in the Phase II program, having previously given up seven samples ranging between 1.27% and 3.01% Li2O within a 10- by 300-metre area. A crew from Dahrouge Geological Consulting took another 85 samples from 15 channels on the dyke this summer.

Assays pending, sampling continues at 92 Resources’ NWT lithium project

Attention has now turned to three nearby pegmatites observed to have appreciable amounts of spodumene, 92 Resources stated. Channel sampling now underway will test the pegmatites for lithium.

The 1,657-hectare Hidden Lake project sits 40 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, just off Highway 4.

Last month 92 Resources announced its acquisition of the 5,536-hectare Pontax property in Quebec’s James Bay region. Historic satellite imagery and a 1999 government mapping program have shown pegmatite outcrops on the property.

The company raised $318,836 from a private placement in April, followed by $862,820 from exercised warrants in June.

Read interviews with Chris Berry and Jon Hykawy discussing energy metals.

Battery infographic series Part 3: Explaining the surging demand for lithium-ion batteries

August 24th, 2016

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | August 24, 2016

The Battery Series will present five infographics exploring what investors need to know about modern battery technology, including raw material supply, demand and future applications.

Explaining the surging demand for lithium-ion batteries


Parts 1 and 2 examined the evolution of battery technology as well as what batteries can and cannot do. In this part, Visual Capitalist looks at demand in the rechargeable battery market with a major focus on the rapidly growing lithium-ion segment.

For many decades, lead-acid batteries have been the most important rechargeable batteries in our lives. Even in 2014, about 64.5% of all revenues in the rechargeable battery market were from lead-acid sales, mainly to be used for automotive starters.


Despite not being the most energy-dense batteries, lead-acids are proven and can supply high surge currents. They are also extremely cheap to manufacture, costing around $150 per kWh of energy capacity.

Enter lithium-ion

The first lithium-ions were not cheap. In fact, early batteries produced commercially in the mid-’90s typically cost upwards of $3,000 per kWh of energy.

Luckily, the cost of lithium-ion batteries has come down dramatically, making it the battery of choice for consumer electronics throughout the 2000s. And recently, scientists have made even more progress, opening the lithium-ion to many more applications, especially electric vehicles.

In 2008, analysts estimated that lithium-ion battery packs cost $600 to $1,200 per kWh, but this range would drop to $500 to $800 per kWh over the following four years. Tesla Motors now claims that a Tesla Model S battery costs $240 per kWh and that the expected cost for a Model 3 is $190 per kWh.

At $240 per kWh, lithium-ions become competitive with gas at $3 per gallon. At $150, the batteries can even compete with $2 gas.

Giant megafactories such as Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 will also help bring economies of scale to lithium-ion production, making them even less cost-prohibitive. Soon battery packs will cost closer to $100 per kWh, which will make them essentially cheaper than all gas-powered vehicles.

Demand for lithium-ion batteries

Major advancements in lithium-ion battery technology have been a game-changer. Cheaper, more-effective lithium-ions are now taking over the battery market.

In 2014, lithium-ions made up 33.4% of the rechargeable battery market worldwide, worth $49 billion. By 2025, it is estimated that the rechargeable battery market will more than double to $112 billion, while lithium-ion’s market share will more than double to 70%.

The key driver? The automotive segment.

In 2010, the automotive sector was a drop in the bucket for lithium-ion battery sales. Five years later, automotive made up more than $5 billion of sales in a sector worth nearly $16 billion.

The EV goes mainstream

In 2015, almost half a million cars were sold in the U.S. with an electric drive component. Fourteen percent of those sales were battery electric vehicles (BEVs):

  • 71,000 battery EVs (14%)

  • 43,000 plug-in hybrids (9%)

  • 384,000 hybrids (77%)

= 498,000 electric drive vehicles

But as a part of total U.S. auto sales, BEVs still made up less than 1% of sales:

  • 71,000 battery EVs (0.4%)

  • 43,000 plug-in hybrids (0.3%)

  • 384,000 hybrids (2.3%)

  • 16,900,000 gas/diesel sales (97%)

However, in the near future this is expected to change fast. By 2040, approximately 35% of all global sales will be BEVs.

This will put electric vehicle sales at close to 40 million per year globally, meaning a lot of energy will need to be stored by batteries. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects that at this point electric vehicles will be pulling more than 1,900 TWh from the grid each year.

How much is 1,900 TWh? It’s enough to power the entire U.S. for 160 days. And to meet this demand for lithium-ion powered vehicles, a massive amount of battery packs will need to be manufactured.

Part 4 of the Battery Series looks at which materials will be needed to make this possible.

See Part 1 and Part 2 of the battery infographic series.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Correction: Voltaic Minerals to vend Nevada property, builds 3D model of Utah lithium project

August 17th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 17, 2016

Under a memorandum of understanding announced August 17, Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT would sell a lithium property acquired by staking. Subject to approvals, Macarthur Minerals TSXV:MMS would buy the 2,300-hectare Stonewall property in Nevada for two million shares and US$50,000.

Voltaic Minerals signs MOU for Nevada lithium property, builds 3D model of Utah project

In neighbouring Utah, Voltaic began Phase I work on its Green Energy lithium project in June. Using historic drill results and estimates, the company stated it would build a 3D model to “better understand the potential lithium-bearing horizon known as Clastic Unit #31 and to identify prospective wellhead locations for re-entry or drilling of new wells.”

Records dating back to the 1950s include results of approximately 100 oil well drill holes as well as seismic data. Only three historic holes were sampled for lithium.

The program’s preliminary budget estimate comes to less than $200,000. Voltaic closed a $765,000 private placement in May.

92 Resources follows high-grade lithium sampling with Phase II NWT exploration

August 16th, 2016

by Greg Klein | August 16, 2016

Despite a nearly two-month delay as the company acquired additional turf, field work has resumed at 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake lithium project. Mapping and channel sampling on known pegmatites in the Northwest Territories property will likely continue into early September.

Targets include the LU #12 pegmatite dyke where last spring the crew found five samples grading 1.64%, 2.45%, 2.69%, 2.89% and 3.06% Li2O, for an average grade of 2.54%. The pegmatite continues northeast and southwest of the sampled area, the company stated.

The Yellowknife pegmatite belt may one day prove to be an important source of lithium, which will help fuel Canada’s transition to a green energy economy.—Adrian Lamoureux,
president/CEO of 92 Resources

Last month 92 Resources staked an additional 57 hectares, covering potential extensions of pegmatites revealed by satellite imagery. Now measuring 1,657 hectares, Hidden Lake sits 40 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, just off a highway.

“The Yellowknife pegmatite belt may one day prove to be an important source of lithium, which will help fuel Canada’s transition to a green energy economy,” said president/CEO Adrian Lamoureux. Hidden Lake is located within the central parts of the belt, which parallels the Prosperous Lake granite suite.

In July the company announced acquisition of the 5,536-hectare Pontax property in Quebec’s James Bay region. Pegmatite outcrops have been revealed by historic satellite imagery and a 1999 government mapping program.

92 Resources raised $862,820 from exercised warrants in June and $318,836 from a private placement in April.

Read interviews with Chris Berry and Jon Hykawy discussing energy metals.

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