Eye on Lithium: Battery makers tempted by alternative battery chemistries as lithium-ion costs rise
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All your ASX lithium news for Wednesday, March 16.
Lithium carbonate prices are on the rise in March – surprise, surprise — up 9.9% for battery grade lithium carbonate at $76,700.
That’s up from $63,900 last month.
Increased costs have Chinese battery makers looking around for alternatives.
Benchmark Minerals Intelligence says it has received reports from contacts of increasing enquiries for Chinese cell manufacturers to focus on alternative battery chemistries, such as sodium ion, in a bid to reduce exposure to high lithium prices.
For lithium investors there’s nothing to worry about, yet.
“Benchmark expects widespread deployment of these new technologies to remain some years away, sustaining strong demand for lithium chemicals in the mid-term,” the forecast said.
Interestingly, Indian conglomerate Reliance has been picking up alternative battery tech manufacturers, recently acquiring UK-based sodium-ion developer Faradion.
Just this week, the Group, led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, acquired Lithium Werks – a cobalt free battery technology and manufacturing company — for $61 million.
“The combination of Lithium Werks with Reliance’s recently announced acquisition of Faradion Limited, a global leader in sodium-ion cell chemistry, further strengthens Reliance’s technology portfolio and provides it access to one of the world’s leading portfolio of LFP patents and a management team with vast experience of innovation in cell chemistry, custom modules, packing, and building large scale battery manufacturing facility,” Group subsidiary Reliance New Energy said in a statement.
Much better today. A total of 48 stocks were in the green today, with 27 flatlining and 24 in the red.
The company keeps hitting thick, shallow dipping spodumene (lithium ore) bearing pegmatites at the Salinas project in Brazil.
All six diamond holes drilled to date have hit a series of stacked spod peggies along a 600m stretch, LRS says.
Logging has confirmed that the individual pegmatites range in true thickness to a maximum of 21.1m, with a cumulative intersection of over 36m in one hole.
“The growing thickness along with the rich spodumene pegmatites is further indication that Latin may have a very compelling lithium project on its books,” LRS MD Chris Gale says.
“We look forward to receiving the assay results from these spodumene pegmatites in the next few weeks.
“The company’s market cap is approximately $60m, and much lower than our lithium peers, which we expect offers strong potential for re-rating as positive assay results confirm the strength of the Salinas project.”
The now-$72m market cap stock is up 60% year-to-date. It had $2.2m in the bank at the end of December.
The former gold explorer has kicked off helicopter assisted mapping and sampling at its 369km2 Pilbara lithium and manganese projects.
The project is around 10kms from Global Lithium Resources’ (ASX:GL1) Archer deposit which hosts 10.5Mtat 1.0% lithium and the Moolyella project held by Lithium 1 Pty Ltd.
Historical data has been collated, and while there has been significant historical exploration for diamonds, there was neglible recorded work focusing on lithium or lithium-related pathfinder geochemistry.
The field program will review previously identified geophysical anomalies from historical diamond exploration and collect samples to verify the lithium pegmatite model.
The company wants to make any future mining operations at the Big Sandy lithium project emissions free, after signing an MoU to purchase electric trucks from Nasdaq-listed battery EV producer Nikola.
Big Sandy is a shallow, flat sedimentary lithium resource with decent infrastructure that already sets it up with a low environmental footprint the company says.
Material movement is one of the largest emissions problems for existing mines, and under the deal AZL could move as much as 2Mt of ore a year with an estimated 50 Nikola Tre BEVs.
That depends on a few things, including the eventual scale of the project and volume of the truck. AZL could take as many as 100 Nikola Tres as per the MoU once it’s in production.
The unique partnership will start small, with one Nikola Tre to be placed at site during the research facility phase of the Big Sandy project.
It is anticipated that arrangement will expand once the project is fully proven and the processing facility phase begins.
Arizona is currently progressing a scoping study for the project, which boasts an indicated and inferred JORC resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million (ppm) lithium for 320,800 tonnes Li2CO3.