Eye on Lithium: Global EV sales were 7.8 million in 2022, and we haven’t even reached tipping point yet
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All your lithium news on Thursday, January 19.
Global electric vehicles sales hit a 10% market share for the first time in 2022, according to fresh research from LMC Automotive and EV-Volumes.com.
Total global sales of full EVs totalled around 7.8 million units, an increase of 68% from the previous year, the analysis says, driven mainly by strong growth in China and Europe.
Ralf Brandstätter, the head of Volkswagen AG’s China business, told reporters at the Wall Street Journal on Friday that electric vehicles would continue expanding fast and that China could soon reach a point where sales of conventional vehicles begin to permanently decline as plug-in vehicles take bigger market share.
“Last year, every fourth vehicle we sold in China was a plug-in, and this year it will be every third auto,” Mr. Brandstätter said.
“We haven’t reached the tipping point yet, but we’re expecting to get there between 2025 and 2030.”
Meanwhile, prices for lithium chemicals in the Chinese domestic market continued to fall between January 11 – 18 as cathode manufacturers started to wind down operations ahead of the Spring Festival.
According to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence (BMI), downstream manufacturers who were still operating “looked to work through inventory” rather than purchase new material, pressuring prices under stagnant demand.
Going forward, BMI notes the supply chain is positive about the demand picture from the stationary energy storage market, which may buoy lithium demand in 2023, even if the EV industry is weaker than anticipated.
A total of only 38 lithium stocks finished the day in the green, 54 fell flat and 45 ended in the red.
PMT has hit a stunning 156.9m interval of 2.12% Li2O, including 25m at 5.04% Li2O at the CV5 pegmatite within its Corvette project in the James Bay region of Quebec.
Vice president Darren Smith says it is hard to find words to adequately describe the impressive nature of the lithium mineralisation.
For most hard rock mines, typical grades are within the 0.9 to 1.9% Li2O range – the deposits are then processed to a concentrate before they undergo conversion to either lithium carbonate or hydroxide.
Smith says the winter drill program will continue to probe and delineate this area ahead of an initial mineral resource estimate planned for the first half of 2023.
“Drill hole CV22-083 has raised the bar ever higher with respect to the considerable potential at CV5 as we continue to delineate it, and by extension, the rest of the CV lithium district held by the company that has yet to be drill tested.”
PR1 has been granted the remaining titles of its belt-scale Laforge Lithium Project in Quebec – around 65km northeast of PMT’s Corvette project.
Canadian based geological consultants Apex Geoscience recently conducted an aerial reconnaissance, mapping, and sampling program over the project and according to PR1, the prospectivity of Laforge has been enhanced.
Around 240 outcropping rock samples were collected and submitted to ALS laboratories in Vald’Or, Quebec for multi-element analysis with results expected to be returned in six weeks.
Lithium drilling has begun across C29’s Pocitos 7 exploration licence in the Salta province of Argentina to establish the presence of brines as well as the acquifier profile.
It is expected the two hole program might be able to provide data which will form the basis of an initial mineral resource estimate at Pocitos 7.
Zenith has secured an option to acquire the Hayes Hill Lithium-Nickel Project in the Norseman – Widgiemooltha area of Western Australia.
The project consists of 2 granted exploration licences and 3 exploration licence applications around 10 to 14km southeast of the Dome North lithium pegmatite deposit and east of the Sinclair caesium pegmatite mine both owned by Essential Metals Limited (ASX:ESS).
A further 43km to the southeast is Liontown’s (ASX:LTR) Buldania lithium deposits.
While modest lithium soil anomalies have been identified, much of the ground is yet to be adequately screened using systematic soil or auger techniques, providing a greenfields opportunity for lithium in a well-located tenure package.
Metallurgical flotation test work results based on diamond drill core samples have been finalised showing lithium mica concentrate grades up to 3.0% Li2O with lithium recoveries up to 78%.
Both fresh and weathered mineralisation are amenable to conventional crushing, grinding and flotation using almost identical flowsheets, PAM says.
“With further optimisation test-work underway… we are confident that grade and recovery improvements will be seen,” PAM managing director Paul Lock explains.
Charger has resumed drilling at the Medcalf spodumene discovery after completing 17 holes prior to the festive season break.
Around 20 holes will test for extensions to the mineralised pegmatites both along strike and at depth.