Eye on Lithium: Fastmarkets says rein in EV production to allow time for new lithium supplies to come online
All your ASX lithium news for Thursday, April 21.
Yesterday Rivian’s CEO RJ Scaringe warned that the auto industry may soon face a shortage of battery supplies for electric vehicles (EVs).
And today Fastmarkets head of battery metals and base research William Adams weighed in, saying we need a Plan B to, well, deal with the shortage of battery supplies.
“If producers cannot keep up with demand, there simply will not be enough battery raw materials for the downstream manufacturers to work with,” he said.
“Lithium, cobalt and nickel are small markets that need to grow fast, but it is extremely difficult for producers to keep up with year after year of high compound average growth rates.
“The EV and Energy Storage ambitions and production schedules will either have to be reined in (which is likely to be the only option in the short to medium term), or if the shortage is to persist for a long time then we may have to change their thinking.”
Adams flagged one possible solution could be to put smaller battery packs in EVs and invest more in the charging infrastructure and in battery technology so batteries can be charged faster.
“Producers already face many hurdles as they try to bring additional supply on line and it looks as though that struggle will get worse as resource nationalism around lithium (but not only lithium) is on the up,” he said.
“This will make investors nervous above investing in some of the countries that have some of the best deposits, which will further delay projects.”
“You can build a new battery or EV factory in 1-2 years, but new mines can take 5-15 years.”
“The numbers are stacked against producers being able to bring on enough supply in a timely manner.”
However, he did say that that should change in time when new technology – like direct lithium extraction – is introduced.
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A total of 46 stocks were in the green today, with 19 flatlining and 51 in the red.
Marquee has completed 5,496m of aircore drilling at its West Spargoville project.
A Phase 2 drill program is now planned to target a pegmatite dyke swarm identified from Deep Ground Penetrating Radar (DGPR), auger geochemistry and surface mapping.
“In addition to the Phase 2 drilling program, we have also continued the auger sampling program which has been instrumental in defining and prioritising targets for follow-up drill testing,” executive chairman Charles Thomas said.
“After the encouraging results generated from the first round of auger sampling, we believe many more exciting targets will be identified as we continue to search for the next economic lithium discovery.”
The company is gearing up for drilling at its Mt Palmer project next week, where an ultrafine soil survey has defined lithium targets – some of which are coincident with historically drilled pegmatites, interpreted to be flat lying, and that were only sampled for gold.
This first program will drill through the pegmatite package and help define the geology, using the XRF results and historical logs as an initial guide.
MinRex has received firm commitments for a $13.5m placement to fast-track exploration of its Pilbara lithium projects – where the company is targeting 25,000m of drilling in the next 12 months.
A $6.8 cornerstone investment received from a strategic group of investors who are executives of Chinese and Australian mining groups involved in exploration, development, refining and processing of precious and battery metals.
MinRex says the group includes some persons who were early-stage seed investors in Global Lithium Resources (ASX:GL1).
The company has kicked off exploration at its Yarrie lithium project in WA, with the aim to test high priority targets and delineate zones of anomalism for future testing.
VP geology and exploration Johan Lambrechts said the company considers the project to be “extremely prospective”.
“The project is a district scale opportunity, in a good geological setting and has never seen targeted lithium exploration,” he said.
Yarrie borders Kalamazoo’s (ASX:KZR) Marble Bar project, and is 30kms from Global Lithium’s Archer project which contains 10.5Mt at 1.0% lithium.
A 49-hole drilling campaign has taken off at the company’s Mavis Lake lithium project in Ontario where previous programs have yielded intersections up to 2.97%.
CRR says says the first three holes of the program – MF22-60, MF22-61, and MF22-62 – aim to confirm drilling from the 1950s which intersected mineralisation within Pegmatite 6.
These holes aim to confirm mineralisation, quality of survey data, structures and lithologies intersected, all of which are essential to integrate into any potential future JORC resource estimate.
MD Alex Biggs said the company anticipates further high-grade intersections from this drilling campaign.
AAJ came out of a trading halt this morning with an update on the first-phase drilling program at its Mt Deans lithium project.
The company said results showed high-grade intersections “of up to 1.14% Li2O (lithium oxide) within a wide zone of lithium, all within a near-surface 25 metre thick, vertical body of solid pegmatite, from a depth of just 17 metres”.
“This represents just the start of exploration at Mt Deans, and based on these results, we will move quickly to undertake the remaining approximately 1,800 metres of the maiden drilling campaign,” MD Peter Schwann said.