Wednesday 22nd November 2017

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Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Visual Capitalist: The rise of Tesla, part 1 of 3

November 16th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | November 16, 2017

Priced at $17 per share just seven years ago, the Tesla IPO ended up being a total bargain for anyone lucky enough to get in.

However, this view comes with the benefit of plenty of hindsight—and even Elon Musk would tell you that it wasn’t always obvious that the company would be around in 2017. There were periods of time when layoffs were rampant, the company’s payroll was covered by credit cards and Tesla was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Tesla’s rise: The history (part 1 of 3)

Today’s massive infographic comes to us from Global Energy Metals TSXV:GEMC and it is the first part of our three-part Rise of Tesla series, which will soon be a definitive source for everything you ever wanted to know about the company.

Part 1 deals with the origin of the company, challenges faced by the first EVs, the company’s strategy and initial execution, and the Tesla Roadster’s development.


Infographic The rise of Tesla, part 1 of 3


Tesla was initially conceived in 2003 out of the vision of two Silicon Valley engineers, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. The partners had just sold their eReader company for $187 million and were looking for their next big idea.

The infamous “death” of GM’s EV1 electric car that year ended up being a source of inspiration, and the two engineers started looking into ways to reduce the world’s reliance on Middle Eastern oil and to combat climate change.

The electric car pathway was not just better than the other choices that were out there—it was dramatically better.
—Martin Eberhard,
Tesla co-founder

The company was bootstrapped until Elon Musk led the $7.5-million Series A round in February 2004 and became the controlling investor. He joined the board of directors as its chairperson and took on operational roles as well.

At this time, JB Straubel—who famously rebuilt an electric golf cart when he was only 14 years old—also joined the company as CTO.

Initial strategy

Tesla’s initial strategy was to build a high-performance sports car first, for a few reasons:

  • It would shed the existing stigma around EVs

  • Sports cars have higher margins

  • Fewer cars would need to be produced

  • High-end buyers are less price-sensitive

Instead of building the Tesla Roadster from scratch, the company aimed to combine an existing chassis with an AC induction motor and battery. And so the company signed a contract with British sports car maker Lotus to use its Elise chassis as a base.

The Roadster debut

The Roadster made its debut at a star-studded launch party in Santa Monica. The 350-strong guest list of Hollywood celebrities and the press were wowed by the two-seater sports car with a $100,000 price tag.

This is not your father’s electric car.—The Washington Post

What the audience didn’t notice?

The Roadsters had many issues that needed to be fixed—these and others would delay Tesla well beyond the planned summer 2007 delivery date.

The dark years

Tesla’s original business plan was built on the idea that the auto industry had changed drastically. Automakers now focused on core competencies like financing, engine design, sales and marketing, and final assembly—getting the hundreds of individual car parts, like windshield wiper blades or door handles, was actually outsourced.

This was supposed to make it easy for Tesla to get its foot in the door—to focus on the EV aspect and let Lotus do the rest. Instead, the company experienced an “elegance creep” phenomenon that meant customizing individual parts.

Costs spiralled out of control, things got delayed and the car began to take a very different shape than the Elise. By the time it was said and done, the Tesla Roadster was nothing like its Lotus cousin, sharing only 7% parts by count.

The revolving door

During this process, there was a revolving door of CEOs.

  • 2007: Eberhard was forced to resign as CEO in August

  • 2007: Early Tesla investor Michael Marks took the reins temporarily

  • 2007: In November, Ze’ev Drori took over as CEO and president

  • 2008: After less than a year of Drori’s run, Musk stepped in to take over the role in October

At this point, Musk had already invested $55 million in the company and it was teetering towards bankruptcy.

I’ve got so many chips on the table with Tesla. It just made sense for me to have both hands on the wheel.—Elon Musk

Some of Musk’s first moves:

  • He ended up cutting 25% of the workforce

  • He leaned on friends to help cover payroll, week to week

  • He raised a $40-million debt financing round to escape bankruptcy

  • He formed a strategic partnership with Daimler AG, which acquired a 10% stake of Tesla for $50 million

  • He took a $465-million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. (He repaid it ahead of the deadline)

  • He recalled 75% of the Roadsters produced between March 2008 and April 2009

Despite revamping the entire production process—and the company itself—Tesla made it through its most trying time.

The Roadster’s run

The Roadster wasn’t perfect, but it helped Tesla learn what it meant to be a car company.

It is not just a car, but one of the strongest automotive statements on the road.—Car and Driver

A total of 2,450 units were produced and the specs were impressive for an EV. With a top speed of 125 mph and a zero-to-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds, the Roadster helped dispel many of the myths surrounding electric cars.

Meanwhile, the Roadster’s lithium-ion battery also was the first step forward in a battery revolution. The 992-pound (450-kilogram) battery for the Roadster contained 6,831 lithium-ion cells arranged into 11 “sheets” connected in series, and gave the car a range of 244 miles.

With the Roadster, Tesla would set up not only the future success of the company, but also the transformation of an entire industry.

This was part 1 of the Tesla series. Parts 2 and 3, on Tesla as well as the future vision, will be released in the near future.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Emerita Resources JVs on Spanish zinc project next to high-grade former mine

October 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | October 26, 2017

A successful public tender brings Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO an acquisition hosting extensions of an adjacent past-producer characterized as “among the richest zinc mines in the world.” Through a newly formed JV, the company gets a 50% stake in the Plaza Norte project in northern Spain’s Reocin Basin. The neighbouring Reocin mine produced about 62 million tonnes averaging 11% zinc and 1.4% lead up to 2003.

Emerita Resources JVs on Spanish zinc project next to high-grade former mine

The regional government of Cantabria tendered 13,800 hectares of claims that lapsed when Reocin shut down. “Based on a rigorous review of [historic] drilling data, we are confident that we have selected the claims with the highest potential,” said Emerita president/CEO Joaquin Merino. “We are also extremely pleased with the strong support received from the community and government to date.”

Emerita will act as project operator on behalf of JV partner the Aldesa Group, a specialized construction and infrastructure firm with international operations. The tender granted rights to Plaza Norte for three years with an option to renew.

Emerita has been studying historic data from the property since mid-2016, building a database of over 300 holes totalling approximately 73,000 metres. The Plaza Norte claims cover most of the drilling area, including those with high-grade intervals, the company stated. Some examples include 9.72% zinc over 18.96 metres and 7.05% over 8.2 metres. The core was placed under government storage.

The JV will submit exploration plans to the government within four months.

Cantabria infrastructure includes an industrial port and an excellent rail and road network, Emerita added. Glencore operates a zinc smelter about 180 kilometres by road from Plaza Norte.

Regarding its bid on another Spanish project, last month Emerita reported encouraging news about the Paymogo property in Andalusia. After a competing bid was selected, a court ruled the process invalid, ordering bids to be re-assessed. The company expressed confidence that its bid would prevail if the process “eliminates the illegal criteria and leaves the legal criteria as originally scored.”

Paymogo hosts an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 34 million tonnes averaging 0.42% copper, 1.1% lead, 2.3% zinc, 44 g/t silver and 0.8 g/t gold.

In March the company announced progress on another disputed Andalusian tender, this one for the Aznalcollar zinc project.

Earlier this month the company announced conditional TSXV approval for its acquisition of the Salobro zinc project in Brazil. Salobro comes with an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 8.3 million tonnes averaging 7.12% zinc.

In June Emerita announced an option to acquire the Falcon Litio MG project, adjacent to Brazil’s only lithium mine.

Emerita also holds the Sierra Alta gold property in northwestern Spain.

Far Resources drills wide intercepts of spodumene on Manitoba lithium project

October 11th, 2017

by Greg Klein | October 11, 2017

Having finished field work that included the Zoro lithium project’s first modern drill program, Far Resources CSE:FAT reports wide intervals showing visual evidence of spodumene. Still to come are lab results from the 710-metre program, as well as from rock and soil samples taken from the property in Manitoba’s Snow Lake camp.

Far Resources drills wide intercepts of spodumene on Manitoba lithium project

The first modern drill program follows extensive sampling
and other field work on Far Resources’ Zoro lithium project.

Targeting Zoro’s pegmatite dyke 1, drilling revealed light green spodumene in widths of 40.5 metres, 39.8 metres, 23 metres, 19.8 metres and 7.5 metres. Additionally, the company’s waiting on assays for 60 rock samples taken from dykes 2, 3 and 4. Also pending are lab results for 410 soil samples collected from areas north and south along trend of all known dykes on the property.

Previous samples taken from historic trenches and pits on dykes 5 to 7 brought results as high as 3.87% Li2O. Earlier composite rock chip samples graded up to 6.35% for dyke 5.

Late last month the company added another 2,200 hectares to Zoro, extending the property towards Ashburton Ventures’ (TSXV:ABR) Thompson Brothers lithium project.

In December Far Resources shareholders will vote on a proposal to spin out the Winston gold project in New Mexico to a newly created company.

First visit yields surface grades up to 7.32% on 92 Resources’ new Quebec lithium property

October 5th, 2017

by Greg Klein | October 5, 2017

First visit yields surface grades up to 7.32% on 92 Resources’ new Quebec lithium property

A single day of due diligence on a new acquisition brought high lithium values for 92 Resources TSXV:NTY. Selected grab samples from the Corvette property in northern Quebec assayed 0.8%, 3.48% and 7.32% Li2O at surface from one pegmatite outcrop and 1.22% from another, which also showed an anomalous tantalum result of 90 ppm Ta2O5.

The 3,891-hectare property comprises one of three prospective lithium acquisitions in Quebec’s James Bay region announced last month.

The two spodumene-bearing pegmatites, about 75 metres apart and trending sub-parallel, “highlight the prospective nature of the property,” 92 Resources stated. With only a small part of the property explored so far, the company has more prospecting as well as channel sampling planned before winter sets in.

In September the company announced a two-week program of prospecting and channel sampling at its flagship Hidden Lake lithium project in the Northwest Territories. Follow-up metallurgical results released the same month on a concentrate produced from Hidden Lake material showed an overall extraction rate of 97%.

92 Resources also has a 43-101 technical report planned for its Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Far Resources expands Manitoba lithium property as drilling continues

September 28th, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 28, 2017

Far Resources expands Manitoba lithium property as drilling continues

New ground brings Far Resources a new neighbour.

An additional 2,200 hectares extends Far Resources’ (CSE:FAT) Zoro project towards Thompson Brothers, a lithium project held by Ashburton Ventures TSXV:ABR. Both of the properties in northern Manitoba’s Snow Lake camp have historic, non-43-101 resources and current drill programs. Far Resources has field work planned for its new turf.

The 100% option calls for $25,000 and the same amount in shares on signing. Further commitments would add $225,000 and the same in shares, along with $500,000 in spending over 84 months. A 2% NSR applies, half of which Far Resources may buy for $1 million.

Last week the company began Zoro’s first modern drill campaign with a planned 700 metres focusing on the property’s dyke 1. The program follows soil sampling as well as sampling from historic trenches and pits elsewhere on the property that brought high-grade results.

Far Resources also holds the Winston gold project in New Mexico.

Voltaic Minerals looks to waste water for lithium, continues selective extraction collaboration

September 21st, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2017

As the world searches for new supplies of energy minerals, waste water could provide another source for lithium. With that in mind, Voltaic Minerals TSXV:VLT has engaged Whittier Filtration, a division of Veolia Water Technologies, to conduct bench scale tests on samples that Voltaic has collected from industrial sites.

Voltaic Minerals looks to waste water for lithium, continues selective extraction collaboration

Calling it “a natural step in the progression of the company,” Voltaic president/CEO Darryl Jones said the program’s goal is to provide “additional solutions in the lithium brine production space for use at multiple locations worldwide. Veolia has the resources to develop the solutions for Voltaic, as well as to implement, operate and manage world class water treatment facilities.”

Veolia credits itself with over 350 types of technology used internationally, including online diagnostics, evaporation and crystallization, energy-producing sludge treatment, state-of-the-art desalination, laboratory-grade water and mobile water services.

Meanwhile Voltaic continues its collaboration with Lithium Selective Technologies, whose California lab works towards a selective extraction process that could be used for non-conventional lithium brines from Voltaic’s Green Energy project in Utah, as well as projects held by other companies.

In July the company closed the sale of its Stonewall lithium project in Nevada through an all-share deal with Macarthur Minerals TSXV:MMS.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Voltaic Minerals president/CEO Darryl Jones.

92 Resources adds three Quebec properties to its lithium portfolio

September 21st, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 21, 2017

While work continues on the flagship Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories, 92 Resources TSXV:NTY expanded its holdings with three more lithium prospects. All located in Quebec’s James Bay region, the newcomers total 5,953 hectares, with each property showing pegmatite outcrop.

92 Resources adds three Quebec properties to its lithium portfolio

An outcrop on the Corvette acquisition shows coarse-
grained spodumene crystals with lengths up to a metre.

The 3,891-hectare Corvette property hosts an outcrop measuring about 150 metres by 30 metres showing abundant coarse-grained spodumene crystals up to one metre in length, the company stated. Other potential pegmatite outcrops along trend are priorities for follow-up work.

Sitting less than 12 kilometres from an all-weather highway, Corvette covers the eastern continuation of the Guyer greenstone belt, offering precious metals potential as well.

On the 1,109-hectare Eastmain property, 92 Resources interprets a large pegmatite outcrop to be along strike from ASX-listed Galaxy Resources’ James Bay deposit. An all-weather highway passes less than seven kilometres away.

The 953-hectare Lac du Beryl property features several pegmatite outcrops, “many of which display characteristic pathfinder minerals commonly associated with spodumene pegmatites,” the company added. Lac du Beryl sits 16 kilometres from a transmission line.

Three days earlier 92 Resources reported a 97% overall extraction rate on a spodumene-montebrasite concentrate produced from Hidden Lake material. The tests used industry-standard techniques, the company stated. Phase II tests are planned while a two-week channel sampling program wraps up.

In eastern British Columbia, the company also holds the Golden frac sand project, which underwent a 10-day field program this summer.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Update: Far Resources drills Manitoba lithium project following high-grade sampling

September 21st, 2017

Update: On September 21 Far Resources announced a drill crew had collared the first hole of a 700-metre program focusing on the Zoro property’s dyke 1, which hasn’t undergone modern drilling.

by Greg Klein | September 8, 2017

Encouraging assays have Far Resources CSE:FAT preparing to drill its Zoro lithium property in northern Manitoba’s Snow Lake mining camp. Of 17 samples recently collected from historic trenches and pits on pegmatite dykes 5 to 7, results graded between 1.02% and 3.87% Li2O for dyke 5, with a maximum of 2.59% for dyke 7. Previous samples ranged from 1.46% to 6.35% for dyke 5 and 1.35% to 2.91% for dyke 7.

Far Resources samples more high-grade lithium, prepares to drill Manitoba project

With a soil sampling program just completed,
Far Resources now has drilling underway.

The company confirmed the presence of a dyke swarm on the property in July. Now Far Resources announces an additional pegmatite dyke in the vicinity of dykes 2 to 4. Sixty samples have been collected for assays. In May the company reported chip sample grades of 2.71% and 3.53% Li2O for dyke 2 and 2.41% for dyke 4.

Additionally, a soil sampling program has just wrapped up.

Having closed its acquisition of the Winston gold project in New Mexico last June, Far Resources is considering spinning the property out to a new company.

92 Resources advances NWT hardrock lithium metallurgy

September 18th, 2017

by Greg Klein | September 18, 2017

92 Resources advances NWT hardrock lithium metallurgy

Follow-up tests using standard methods brought high-grade lithium results for 92 Resources’ (TSXV:NTY) Hidden Lake project in the Northwest Territories. After further work on a spodumene-montebrasite concentrate of 6.16% Li2O produced in July, the company now reports an overall extraction rate of 97%. The tests consisted of roasting followed by acid baking and water leaching, industry-standard extraction techniques for lithium, 92 Resources stated.

The next stage calls for magnetic separation, heavy liquid separation and additional flotation on material collected during the current field program. So far work has used analytical reject material, but whole rock material will be preferred for Phase II, the company added.

Earlier this month a crew returned to the property, about 40 kilometres by road from Yellowknife, for a program of channel sampling and prospecting for additional pegmatites.

The summer agenda also included field work at the company’s Golden frac sand project in eastern British Columbia. The property sits adjacent to Heemskirk Canada’s Moberly project, a former source of silica sand for the glass industry that’s now being redeveloped as a frac sand production and processing operation.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with 92 Resources CEO Adrian Lamoureux.

Visual Capitalist: One chart shows EVs’ potential impact on commodities

September 15th, 2017

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist | September 15, 2017


One chart shows EVs’ potential impact on commodities

The Chart of the Week is a Friday feature from Visual Capitalist.


How demand could change in a 100% EV world

What would happen if you flipped a switch and suddenly every new car that came off assembly lines was electric?

It’s obviously a thought experiment, since right now EVs have close to just 1% market share worldwide. We’re still years away from EVs even hitting double-digit demand on a global basis, and the entire supply chain is built around the internal combustion engine, anyways.

At the same time, however, the scenario is interesting to consider. One recent projection, for example, put EVs at a 16% penetration by 2030 and then 51% by 2040. This could be conservative depending on the changing regulatory environment for manufacturers—after all, big markets like China, France and the UK have recently announced that they plan on banning gas-powered vehicles in the near future.

The thought experiment

We discovered this “100% EV world” thought experiment in a UBS report that everyone should read. As a part of their UBS Evidence Lab initiative, they tore down a Chevy Bolt to see exactly what is inside, and then had 39 of the bank’s analysts weigh in on the results.

After breaking down the metals and other materials used in the vehicle, they noticed a considerable amount of variance from what gets used in a standard gas-powered car. It wasn’t just the battery pack that made a difference—it was also the body and the permanent-magnet synchronous motor that had big implications.

As a part of their analysis, they extrapolated the data for a potential scenario where 100% of the world’s auto demand came from Chevy Bolts, instead of the current auto mix.

The implications

If global demand suddenly flipped in this fashion, here’s what would happen:

Material Demand increase Notes
Lithium 2,898% Needed in all lithium-ion batteries
Cobalt 1,928% Used in the Bolt’s NMC cathode
Rare Earths 655% Bolt uses neodymium in permanent magnet motor
Graphite 524% Used in the anode of lithium-ion batteries
Nickel 105% Used in the Bolt’s NMC cathode
Copper 22% Used in permanent magnet motor and wiring
Manganese 14% Used in the Bolt’s NMC cathode
Aluminum 13% Used to reduce weight of vehicle
Silicon 0% Bolt uses six to 10 times more semiconductors
Steel -1% Uses 7% less steel, but fairly minimal impact on market
PGMs -53% Catalytic converters not needed in EVs

Some caveats we think are worth noting:

The Bolt is not a Tesla

The Bolt uses an NMC cathode formulation (nickel, manganese and cobalt in a 1:1:1 ratio), versus Tesla vehicles which use NCA cathodes (nickel, cobalt and aluminum, in an estimated 16:3:1 ratio). Further, the Bolt uses a permanent-magnet synchronous motor, which is different from Tesla’s AC induction motor—the key difference being rare earth usage.

Big markets, small markets

Lithium, cobalt and graphite have tiny markets, and they will explode in size with any notable increase in EV demand. The nickel market, which is more than $20 billion per year, will also more than double in this scenario. It’s also worth noting that the Bolt uses low amounts of nickel in comparison to Tesla cathodes, which are 80% nickel.

Meanwhile, the 100% EV scenario barely impacts the steel market, which is monstrous to begin with. The same can be said for silicon, even though the Bolt uses six to 10 times more semiconductors than a regular car. The market for PGMs like platinum and palladium, however, gets decimated in this hypothetical scenario—that’s because their use as catalysts in combustion engines are a primary source of demand.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.