Eye on Lithium: Carmakers spur gigafactory construction to feed demand
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All your lithium news, Wednesday August 16.
It’s all about the factories.
Gigafactories coming online in China are set to feed demand for battery-grade materials such as lithium for insatiable EV markets, according to Benchmark Metals Intelligence (BMI) analysis.
“In H222 and H123, the Asia region maintained its position as the regional leader in terms of EV battery plant investments, attracting 38 projects into either gigafactory or EV battery component plant investments,” BMI says.
“Although the investments in Asia are dispersed among eight different markets we note that mainland China maintains its dominance in the region, attracting 13 investments for a combined value of US$38.1bn (59.5% of Asia’s total investment value).
“We expect a slowdown in investments in Mainland China over the coming quarters as the ‘on-shoring’ trend, as well as the potential trade restrictions, somewhat hampers its ability to attract new investments, particularly as the number of gigafactory projects under construction in China remains elevated and reduces the need for new investments.”
Meanwhile, Core Lithium (ASX:CXO) looks to be hitting the market to again raise another $100m of capital for its Finniss lithium mine near Darwin in the NT less than a year after receiving $100m to develop the project.
The project shipped its first spodumene concentrate in the June quarter, producing 3589t and 14,685t in March and June respectively at recoveries of 47.4% and 48.6%, which pales in comparison to a 2021 DFS that projected a 71.7% average recovery rate.
C1 costs fell from $2188/t to $902/t in the June quarter, but Core disappointed the market with FY24 and FY25 guidance well below the nameplate 175,000tpa capacity outlined in its initial study work.
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Here’s more news out of lithium plays today.
BM8 has run into nine new outcropping pegmatites at its Falcon Lake lithium project in Ontario – including five with visible spodumene ranging from 5-20% in content at previously unexplored territory in the eastern section of the project area.
It’s promising news for the lithium explorer as it looks to prove up that side of the project as it’s already completed maiden drilling on the western flank, which has shown grades of up to 1.65% Li2O.
Battery Age has a 90% stake in Falcon Lake, which covers 42.8km2 of ground and is close to several other lithium explorers and developers such as fellow Australian Green Technology Metals (ASX:GT1), which has already defined a resource of 9.9Mt grading 1.04% Li2O at its Seymour Lake project.
Kula has penned in a September start for drilling at its Kirup lithium project just 20km west of the giant Greenbushes mine in WA and is targeting its highly prospective Mustang prospect.
Mustang is located in the northern part of E70/5452 and hosts a number of north-northwest striking pegmatitic bodies within an area with a strike length of 1km and width of about 200m.
KGD is also progressing with its Cobra prospect, which has a strike of 2km and width of more than 300m, towards being drill ready whilst ongoing mapping and sampling have identified the new Falcon and Thunderbird prospects.
“The Mustang prospect is our first target for RC drilling at the Kirup Project next month, which Kula is fully funded to complete,” KGD CEO Ric Dawson noted.
“The Cobra prospect is advancing to the drill stage with additional mapping with potential LCT suite mineralisation, a testament to the lithium prospectivity being uncovered in this world-class lithium region.
“The new Falcon and Thunderbird prospects are adding to the new and exciting potential for world class LCT mineralisation.”
LLI has announced the discovery of five spodumene-bearing pegmatite dykes at the Trieste Lithium project in the battery metal’s new hotspot – James Bay, Canada.
The Quebec explorer is describing the find as “a significant breakthrough” in its ongoing campaign in the region.
The five dykes, with aligned implied continuous outcrops, have been identified within a 6km2 area to the south of the Trieste Greenstone Belt, “situated in a metasediment host – leaving several high value greenstone targets yet to be explored”.
Preparation for drilling activities at these locations is set to commence imminently, and the exisiting in-field team from Dahrouge Geological Consulting (DGC) will be engaged in the campaign, increasing its team to 19 operatives.
The team will also be taking on channel sampling, LiDAR surveys, and high-resolution geophysics tasks.
Assay results from rock sampling at KTA’s King Tamba project in WA have returned high-grade lithium and up to 186ppm gallium – a valuable metal used in semiconductors.
A third-phase rock chip sampling campaign has confirmed high-grade lithium at the Loader prospect, with seven rock samples over 1% Li2O collected along a 130m strike length.
The company also discovered a previously unknown zone containing highly elevated levels of gallium, niobium and tantalum, with six rock samples over 100ppm gallium and a peak assay of 186ppm.
KTA has now identified three subparallel lithium-enriched pegmatites over a 300m span – Wilsons, Loader and MGM — with potential for more discoveries.
It recently picked up a bunch of high-grade rock chips – peak assay 4.3% Li2O – at Wilsons.
A program of works has been submitted and approved by the WA Department of Mines, with heritage approvals being sought and discussions underway with drilling contractors.
Simultaneously, the company is also conducting outcrop geological mapping and geochemical (rock and soil) sampling to generate new lithium targets across the under-explored region of its Mt Clere lithium project, also in WA.
At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Kula Gold, Battery Age Minerals and Krakatoa Resources are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.