Tuesday 23rd October 2018

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘lithium’

Visual Capitalist and Benchmark Mineral Intelligence: Battery megafactory forecast for 400% increase in capacity by 2028

October 22nd, 2018

by Jeff Desjardins | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist

Battery megafactory forecast 400% increase in capacity to 1 TWh by 2028

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

 

When ground broke on the massive Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada in 2014, the world marveled at the project’s audacity, size and scope.

At the time, it was touted that the cutting-edge facility would be the largest building in the world by footprint, and that the Gigafactory would single-handedly be capable of doubling the world’s lithium-ion battery production capacity.

What many did not realize, however, is that although as ambitious and as forward-looking as the project sounded, the Gigafactory was just the start of a trend towards scale in the battery-making space. While Tesla’s facility was the most publicized, it would ultimately be one of many massive factories in the global pipeline.

Mastering scale

Today’s data comes to us from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence and it forecasts that we will see a 399% increase in lithium-ion battery production capacity over the next decade—enough to pass the impressive 1 TWh milestone.

Here is a more detailed projection of how things will shape up in the coming decade:

Region Capacity (GWh, 2018) Capacity (GWh, 2023) Capacity (GWh, 2028)
Grand total 220.5 658 1,102.5
China 134.5 405 631
Europe 19.6 93.5 207
North America 20.9 81 148
Other 0 0 5
Asia (excl China) 45.5 78.5 111.5

In just a decade, lithium-ion battery megafactories around the world will have a combined production capacity equivalent to 22 Tesla Gigafactories!

The majority of this capacity will be located in China, which is projected to have 57% of the global total.

The top plants globally

According to Benchmark, the top 10 megafactories will be combining for 299 GWh of capacity in 2023, which will be equal to almost half of the global production total.

Here are the top 10 plants, sorted by projected capacity:

Rank Megafactory Owner Country Forecasted capacity by 2023 (GWh)
#1 CATL Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd China 50
#2 Tesla Gigafactory 1 Tesla Inc/Panasonic Corp (25%) US 50
#3 Nanjing LG Chem New Energy Battery Co. Ltd. LG Chem China 35
#4 Nanjing LG Chem New Energy Battery Co. Ltd. Plant 2 LG Chem China 28
#5 Samsung SDI Xian Samsung SDI China 25
#6 Funeng Technology Funeng Technology (Ganzhou) China 25
#7 BYD , Qinghai BYD Co Ltd China 24
#8 LG Chem Wroclaw Energy Sp. z o.o. LG Chem Poland 22
#9 Samsung SDI Korea Samsung SDI Korea 20
#10 Lishen TianJin Lishen Battery Joint-Stock Co. Ltd. China 20

Of the top 10 megafactory plants in 2023, the majority will be located in China—meanwhile the U.S. (Tesla Gigafactory), South Korea (Samsung) and Poland (LG Chem) will be home to the rest.

Reaching economies of scale in lithium-ion battery production will be a significant step in decreasing the overall cost of electric vehicles, which are expected to surpass traditional vehicles in market share by 2038.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals expand Nevada lithium drilling

October 16th, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 16, 2018

Similarities to the Clayton Valley and successful exploration so far have prompted two potential JV partners to plan a busy autumn at their Kibby Basin lithium project. Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG now plan up to 1,465 metres over four holes in an area where geophysics found a strong magnetotelluric conductor. Added to the agenda are downhole geophysics to search for possible aquifers.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals expand Nevada lithium drilling

Drilling begins soon on a program that follows last season’s
encouraging lithium results at Kibby Basin in Nevada.

Earlier this month the companies delivered another 59 core samples from hole KB-3 for assays. In September Belmont and MGX announced results from the same hole that twice reached a high of 580 ppm lithium.

This season’s downhole geophysics will take over where previous water samples met unexpected technical complications. Lithium concentrations in water samples failed to show anomalous results despite the core sample assays. A new approach including downhole geophysics will “improve the chances to accurately locate layers of high conductivity and porosity and allow high-quality, representative samples to be taken where lithium concentrations are potentially higher,” the companies stated.

Having already earned 25% of the project, MGX has until year-end to increase its stake to 50%. The companies hope to form a 50/50 JV that would use rapid lithium extraction technology developed by MGX. The method won MGX the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London last May.

Located about 50 kilometres north of Clayton Valley, the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project shares a number of similarities with the region hosting North America’s only lithium-producing operation, including a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones,” the companies stated.

In northern Saskatchewan Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT share a 50/50 stake in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals continue to find lithium at depth in Nevada

September 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 28, 2018

More assays from hole KB-3 at Nevada’s Kibby Basin project show additional lithium at depths between 387.3 metres and 548.4 metres. Earlier this month Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced KB-3 results for a section between 338.5 and 369 metres in depth which averaged 415 parts per million lithium and reached a high of 580 ppm. The latest batch comes from 25 core samples representing different lithologies. Twenty of the samples surpassed 100 ppm lithium, with seven of them exceeding 375 ppm. One sample matched the high reported on September 12 of 580 ppm.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals continue to find lithium at depth in Nevada

Kibby Basin’s first hole of the season
continues to deliver.

Ash layers accounted for four samples below 100 ppm, “suggesting that initial lithium content may have been leached from the porous ash layers and transported to brines elsewhere in the basin,” the companies stated.

KB-3 tested the southern part of a strong magnetotelluric conductor that “still has potential for saturated sediments containing lithium-rich brines.” Geophysical data suggests a second hole might similarly find an aquifer between 274.5 and 305 metres and reduced clays potentially with high lithium content below 305 metres’ depth.

Comparing Kibby Basin with the lithium-producing Clayton Valley 50 kilometres south, Belmont and MGX note similarities in a “closed structural basin, a large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones.”

MGX is working on its initial 25% of a possible 50% earn-in for the 2,056-hectare project. Last May the company’s rapid lithium extraction technology won the Base and Specialty Metals Industry Leadership Award at the 2018 S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 samples suggest potential for zinc, copper and cobalt. In northern Saskatchewan Belmont and International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT each hold a 50/50 share of two uranium properties.

In July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Emerita Resources expands portfolio with Brazilian lithium acquisition

September 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 12, 2018

A company focused on base metals in two continents has broadened its approach by moving into a lithium-producing neighbourhood. By exercising its 100% option, Emerita Resources TSXV:EMO picks up the Falcon Litio MG project, half a kilometre from the Companhia Brasileira de Litio lithium deposit currently being mined. Initial field work on Falcon has found pegmatite dykes similar to mineralized dykes on CBL’s property.

Emerita Resources expands portfolio with Brazilian lithium acquisition

Located in eastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, the region is hardly new to Emerita. The state also hosts the company’s 75%-held Salobro zinc project, where drilling wrapped up in July with an initial release of high-grade assays. Vale NYSE:VALE had previously attributed the property with an historic, non-43-101 estimate of 8.3 million tonnes averaging 7.12% zinc-equivalent for 1.3 million zinc-equivalent pounds, using a 3.5% zinc-lead cutoff. Emerita has a 43-101 resource due imminently.

But location was just part of the reason Emerita considered Falcon to be “an exceptional opportunity to add value at a low cost,” said CEO David Gower. “There has been interest expressed by third parties in potentially getting involved in the Litio project.”

Emerita gets Falcon on issuing a third tranche of 500,000 shares. The vendor retains a 2% NSR. Should the project achieve a resource showing at least 20 million tonnes averaging 1.3% Li2O, with at least half in the indicated or measured categories, Emerita pays the vendor $5 million cash or issues an equal amount in shares.

Besides the two Brazilian projects, the company holds three properties in Spain: Plaza Norte, a 50/50 joint venture on a zinc-lead past-producer; Aznalcollar, with an historic, non-43-101 zinc-lead-copper estimate; and Paymogo, with two historic, non-43-101 zinc-lead estimates.

In July Emerita offered a private placement of up to $3 million.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals reach 580 ppm lithium in season’s first hole

September 12th, 2018

by Greg Klein | September 12, 2018

Sixty-five kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley, encouraging assays from the first hole of the year averaged 415 parts per million lithium at Kibby Basin, with a high of 580 ppm. Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) earn-in partner MGX Minerals CSE:XMG collected 125 samples from mud rotary drilling to 387 metres in downhole depth, then continued with small-diameter core drilling to 548 metres.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals average 415 ppm lithium in Nevada

With promising results from the program’s first hole, Belmont
Resources and MGX Minerals have more drilling planned.

The assays came from a section between 338.5 and 369 metres in depth. Results are pending for 25 core samples from the lower section, as well as for water samples. This hole targeted the southern area of a large magnetotelluric conductor, finding four zones of sand and gravel that might represent brine-bearing aquifers, with one zone showing a potential major aquifer.

A second hole is in the planning stages. Last year’s two-hole campaign, prior to the MT geophysics program, brought assays between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

MGX is working towards an initial 25% of the project, with the option of increasing its stake to 50%. Similarities between Kibby Basin and Clayton Valley include a “closed structural basin, large conductor at depth, lithium anomalies at surface and depth, evidence of a geothermal system and potential aquifers in porous ash and gravel zones,” the companies stated.

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

In New Brunswick the company holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property, where historic, non-43-101 sampling suggests zinc, copper and cobalt potential. Belmont also shares a 50/50 stake in two Saskatchewan uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Saville Resources discovers new zinc-silver-nickel zone at surface in Quebec

August 8th, 2018

by Greg Klein | August 8, 2018

A property with limited exploration but encouraging geophysics shows further promise following a recent field program. Of eight surface samples collected by Saville Resources TSXV:SRE on its 3,370-hectare Covette project in Quebec’s James Bay region, one returned 1.2% zinc and 68.7 g/t silver, while three others assayed between 0.13% and 0.19% nickel.

Saville Resources discovers new zinc-silver-nickel zone at surface in Quebec

Saville Resources now plans trenching and channel
sampling to follow Covette’s grab sample assays.

Sampling took place along a visible strike of about 200 metres directly above an area of high conductivity found by a 2016 VTEM program that spotted several EM conductors coinciding with strong magnetic anomalies.

Underlying the region is a greenstone belt “comprised of various mafic to ultramafic rock units considered prospective for base and precious metals (nickel-copper-cobalt-platinum group elements-gold-silver), as well as pegmatite-hosted rare metals (lithium-tantalum),” Saville reported. “Komatiites have also been described in the region with such rock types known to host significant nickel-copper massive sulphide deposits at other localities globally, adding further to the prospective nature of the region.”

A sampling program in 2017 brought 0.18% nickel, 0.09% copper and 87 ppm cobalt. One historic, non-43-101 grab sample returned 4.7% molybdenum, 0.73% bismuth, 0.09% lead and 6 g/t silver. Another historic sample showed 1.2 g/t silver and 0.18% copper.

Further plans include follow-up trenching and channel sampling. Saville filed a 43-101 technical report on the property and closed its 100% acquisition in June.

Covette sits about 190 kilometres east of the town of Radisson and 10 kilometres north of the all-weather Trans-Taiga road and the adjacent hydro-electricity transmission line.

In another northern Quebec project, Saville has a 43-101 technical report underway for the Miranna claims situated on the Eldor property that hosts Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) advanced-stage Ashram rare earths deposit. Saville would acquire a 75% earn-in subject to exchange approval. In April the companies released niobium-tantalum boulder sample grades as high as 4.3% Nb2O5 and 700 ppm Ta2O5.

Last month Saville offered two private placements totalling up to $2 million.

Read more about Saville Resources.

Simon Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence points out increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries from large-scale stationary storage

July 16th, 2018

…Read more

Belmont Resources teams up with MGX Minerals to resume Nevada lithium drilling

July 13th, 2018

by Greg Klein | July 13, 2018

With an option agreement now in place, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA gains a new partner and new money for the Kibby Basin lithium property, 65 kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley. The deal allows MGX Minerals CSE:XMG to earn an initial 25% interest in the 2,760-hectare property by spending up to $300,000. Work would include a deep test hole on a geophysical anomaly found earlier this year. Should that program meet success, MGX may increase its stake to 50% with up to $300,000 in further expenditures and drilling a second deep test hole. The company would then become operator of a 50/50 joint venture.

Belmont Resources teams up with MGX Minerals to resume Nevada lithium drilling

Ready to get boots on the ground soon, the Kibby Basin
crew will test a geophysical anomaly found earlier this year.

An initial drill program last year consisted of two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples exceeding 100 ppm. This year’s program of deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics identified a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth.

Should the JV come into fruition, other potential duties for MGX could include additional exploration, operating a test well, and installing and operating a pilot plant. MGX’s wide range of assets includes a proprietary process to recover lithium, magnesium and other minerals from a variety of brines. The JV would gain access to the process and would also market any lithium or other commodities potentially produced.

“This agreement puts Belmont on secure footing with regard to funding the next stage of evaluation of the Kibby property and, at the same time, enables us to get a significant leg-up on lithium production by partnering with one of the leaders in extraction technology,” commented Belmont CEO James Place.

MGX will also invest $200,000 in a Belmont private placement. In April the latter company closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling suggests zinc, copper and cobalt potential. Additionally the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in two Saskatchewan uranium properties.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Update: Belmont Resources permitted for July drilling on Nevada lithium property

June 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | Updated June 20, 2018

With permits now in hand, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA expects to activate a rig on its Kibby Basin lithium project next month. Once completed, the boreholes may be converted to exploration wells to test for lithium brine aquifers.

Located 65 kilometres north of Nevada’s Clayton Valley, the 2,760-hectare property underwent deep-sensing magnetotelluric geophysics earlier this year, finding a conductive zone that starts at about 500 metres in depth. The program followed last year’s initial drill campaign that sunk two holes totalling 624 metres. Core samples graded between 70 ppm and 200 ppm Li2O, with 13 of 25 samples surpassing 100 ppm.

Preparations move Belmont Resources toward Nevada lithium drilling

This year’s magnetotelluric geophysical program helped identify
drill targets for Belmont Resources’ Kibby Basin lithium project.

The company has described the upcoming program as “work of a significant scope” that includes water well installation and monitoring.

In May Belmont announced the appointment of Ian Graham to the company’s advisory board. A former principal geologist with De Beers’ South African division, he also spent 15 years with Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO where he took part in evaluation and pre-development projects including the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories and the Resolution copper deposit in Arizona. He also oversaw permitting for the Eagle nickel mine in Michigan and played a key role in the initial economic assessment for the Bunder diamond project in India. More recently Graham served as CEO of United Energy Corp, which held a Nevada lithium project.

Belmont also holds the Mid-Corner/Johnson Croft property in New Brunswick, where historic, non-43-101 sampling has shown zinc, copper and cobalt potential. In Saskatchewan the company shares a 50/50 interest with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT in the Crackingstone and Orbit Lake uranium properties.

Belmont closed the final tranche of a private placement totalling $198,000 in April.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with Belmont CFO/director Gary Musil.

Electrifying the future

June 5th, 2018

Solid state’s a contender, but lithium-ion has years of growth: Simon Moores

by Greg Klein

Lithium bulls faced a bearish backlash last February, when Morgan Stanley circulated a note predicting “2018 to be the last year of the global lithium market deficit, followed by significant surpluses emerging from 2019 onwards.” More pessimism rained on lithium from a report by Wood Mackenzie. Meanwhile some prognosticators talk up the solid state battery’s inevitability. Does all that indicate an end to the Li-ion battery’s quarter-century run?

Solid state batteries will come, but Li-ion still has years of growth: Simon Moores

Not according to Simon Moores. After a dozen years of following energy minerals, the managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence maintains that enhancements in Li-ion prices, availability, capacity and use will sustain the battery and its raw materials for years to come.

He presented the case at his annual world tour appearance in Vancouver, this year held in conjunction with the Cambridge House International Mining Investment Conference.

Although lithium-ion batteries typically sold for about $280 per kilowatt hour back in 2014, he pointed out, Benchmark foresees prices dropping below $130 this year. “Selling prices are still coming down, even though raw material prices have been high.”

Li-ion’s availability keeps increasing as more megafactories begin operation. Back in 2015 three such facilities were in operation or in the planning stage. Currently Moores counts 41 scheduled for operation by 2023 and expects more to be announced. “Not all of those are going to happen,” he cautioned. But “even if you take that down by half—and that won’t be enough to supply all these EV plans—you’ve got a major raw materials problem. The raw materials industries are not fit and not suitable to supply this amount of batteries.”

As of last year, the capacity of existing plants totalled about 112 gigawatt hours. “By 2023, you’re looking at around 450 gigawatt hours of capacity.” More than half will be in China, where some non-Chinese companies are building their plants, likely to be joined by Tesla and Panasonic. The Gigafactory duo will become the world’s largest Li-ion battery producers, with a capacity of just over 250 GWh in 10 years, Moores said.

Solid state batteries will come, but Li-ion still has years of growth: Simon Moores

Simon Moores: Total Li-ion capacity could reach
“anywhere from 800 gigawatt hours to a terawatt,
but it’s huge…. We believe the battery capacity will
be there, but the raw materials will be the problem.”

By that time, total capacity could experience a “massive, 10-fold” increase: “It could be anywhere from 800 gigawatt hours to a terawatt, but it’s huge…. We believe the battery capacity will be there, but the raw materials will be the problem.”

Meanwhile Li-ion continues to beat expectations as the batteries become increasingly energy-dense. Measured in watt-hours per litre, the energy density of an 18-650 cell in 1992 stood at 200. “Then scientists said commercially we could get to about 350 watt-hours per litre—not theoretically, but in the real world. In 2002, that reached 420. Then the scientists said we could probably get to 550 watt-hours per litre in the real world. Then in 2012 we got to 600. Right now we’re at 770. But there is a limit… the limit’s 800. So the question is, where does lithium-ion go from here?”

The answer is battery packs, he noted. Using the example of Romeo Power Technology, Moores said, “It depends on the applications and types of batteries, but they can improve lithium-ion batteries by anything from 25% to 200% with pack engineering.”

Meanwhile Li-ion uses expand, especially with stationary storage: “underestimated, not talked about, it’s got to be on your radar.” Large-scale storage arrived last year at Aliso Canyon, California, after a leak shut down a natural gas-generated electricity plant. With Tesla, Samsung and others involved, “essentially they did 329 megawatt-hours in eight months.”

In December current began flowing from the 129-MWh plant that Tesla installed in South Australia, winning Elon Musk’s bet that he could complete the project in less than 100 days. Since then Musk has talked about building a one-GWh facility—“and he might do that just for the headlines,” Moores suggested.

Utility batteries are getting bigger and being installed quicker…. This is about to impact the market and no one’s even talked about it.

Those projects demonstrate that “utility batteries are getting bigger and being installed quicker…. This is about to impact the market and no one’s even talked about it.”

As for solid state batteries, they’re “about five years away from seeing something real and in place,” Moores said. “The other question is whether they’ll actually be real, truly solid state batteries. But they’re coming.”

A key difference between the two technologies involves replacing Li-ion’s graphite anode with a lithium metal anode, which of course calls for even more lithium. “That gives a 70% better energy density on paper than lithium-ion. But there is a cost to that.”

The lithium metal comes from lithium chloride, produced through electrolysis, which is “really bloody expensive.” Another important difference involves replacing Li-ion’s liquid electrolyte with a solid electrolyte. Scarce so far is publicly available info on the materials used to make it.

Discussions of solid state tend to neglect “the niche supply chain that’s needed to feed it,” Moores said. “That’s probably the most critical factor to commercialization.”

Still, he emphasized, solid state has attracted “a lot of disciplines, a lot of money, a lot of brainpower going into this industry. It’s one to watch.”

Read Simon Moores discussing Bolivia’s lithium potential.