Eye on Lithium: ‘Securing raw material is more important than the price’ — Battery giant LG Chem is desperate for EV metals
All your lithium news, Tuesday February 14.
South Korea’s LG Chem, one of the largest chemical companies in the world, has told Bloomberg it is looking into securing its own raw materials through potential partnerships and investments in mining companies in a bid to establish a self-sufficient supply chain.
It’s a big move and one which could reduce China’s battery dominance.
WATCH: “Securing raw material is more important than the price.”
Battery giant LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol says the company is ramping up efforts to win the electric vehicle battery market. Watch the full interview on @BloombergTV https://t.co/rI0a4ZwY9U pic.twitter.com/oKaeZbYaZH
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) February 13, 2023
As it stands, China dominates battery production from the mining and refining of raw materials with estimates out of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence suggesting China has 75% of the world’s cobalt refining capacity and 59% of its lithium processing capacity.
For a company like LG Chem, the parent company of the world’s second largest battery cell maker (LG Energy Solution), to come out and attempt to lock in raw materials supply highlights just how important securing supply chains has become.
The battery raw material land grab is just getting started as urgency filters through to battery and EV makers.
Priorities: Supply first, price second, everything else thereafter. https://t.co/PNivtJIhmS
— Simon Moores (@sdmoores) February 13, 2023
A total of 28 lithium stocks finished in the green while another 52 tumbled into the red zone.
Patriot has hit significant intervals of spodumene pegmatite near-surface in ten of 14 holes at the CV13 pegmatite cluster at the Corvette property in Canada, with results returning up to 22.6m at 1.56% Li2O and 6m at 3.19% Li2O.
These are the first holes testing the newly discovered CV13 cluster, a grassroots discovery from 2022.
The company is now evaluating infill and step out drilling during the current winter program to support an initial mineral resource estimate at CV13 scheduled for 2023.
New assays at Winsome’s Adina project have returned lithium mineralisation up to 1.28% Li2O over 93.5m from 3m, 1.52% Li2O over 23.9m from 4.6m, and 1.56% Li2O over 17m from 88.6m.
Importantly, these intersections include exceptionally high-grade zones such as 2.16% Li2O over 16m from 23m, 2.37% Li2O over 5.7m from 60.4m, and 4.19% Li2O over 4.1m from 73.1m.
Results have now been received from six of 32 holes in addition to the recent identification of a potential extension to the strike length of the Adina pegmatite body to 1,600m.
Global Lithium believes the financial metrics from its Manna Scoping Study are ‘compelling’ with the board pushing the project directly to a definitive feasibility study.
GL1 says the project demonstrates it is resilient to capital escalation with a 20% increase in the total project capital cost to $522M, only reducing the NPV8% from A$2.8B to A$2.7B and the payback period increasing slightly to 18 months after first production.
A further mineral resource update incorporating an additional ~30,000m of drilling at Manna is expected to be announced sometime this year, which will form the basis of the DFS.
An independent evaluation of surface geochemical data from the Tambourah lithium project in WA confirms that the Eastern prospect is the spodumene-dominant zone and hosts a greenfields lithium discovery.
“As anticipated, the majority of rock chips taken in the Eastern Prospect, where spodumene bearing high-grade lithium (up to 3.07% Li2O) was discovered late in 2022 have been classified as LCT pegmatite and therefore this area remains a high-priority drill target area for the upcoming maiden drill program,” the company says.
Further uranium and lithium assays from last year’s 3,414m drill program have been received with wide zones of lithium bearing clays identified over 1km from previous intersections, extending the known area of lithium mineralisation.
Results include 20.6m at 1,212ppm Li (0.26% Li2O) from 20.7m, 16.8m at 1,356 ppm Li (0.29% Li2O) from 62.5m and 15.0m at 1,221 ppm Li (0.26% Li2O) from 56.1m.
A recently completed reverse circulation drill program has outlined the potential for direct shipping ore at Widgie’s Faraday lithium deposit.
Drilling over 90m of strike around previously announced high grade shallow intercepts returned assays such as 10m at 1.04% Li2O from 15m (23MERC006), 15m at 0.84% Li2O from 19m including 10m at 1% Li2O from 23m (23MERC019), and 16m at 0.74% Li2O including 7m at 1.02% Li2O from 13m (23MERC013).
As such, the company has started engaging with potential offtake partners and will continue metallurgical testwork to investigate the potential for rudimentary upgrading of medium grade ore to a premium DSO grade.
Initial step-out drilling has also intersected lithium, increasing the strike of the drill tested pegmatite up to about 300m.
Infinity is preparing to carry out further exploration at its Tamborah South Exploration Licence E45/4848 in WA’s Pilbara region after a five-year extension was granted.
The tenement has been the focus of exploration since the discovery of pegmatites in 2021 with rock chips returning up to 2.635% Li2O and 0.724% rubidium while lag samples have defined two geochemical anomaly zones of over 0.1% Li2O in the northwest part of the licence.
Additionally, 21 drill holes totalling 1,812m have been drilled to date with visible spodumene observed in both rock and drill chips.
Ground geophysics is planned to assist below surface exploration and drill planning.
Drilling at Power Minerals’ Incahuasi salar within its Salta lithium brine project in Argentina has been expanded by up to three holes to maximise mineral resource potential and test for the presence of water.
This follows the second hole at the salar intersecting an interval of about 300m that has the potential to host lithium in brines in lithologies similar to those encountered in the first hole, which had assayed brines averaging 210 parts per million lithium.
It also delivered a static brine flow of about 2,500 litres per hour using a 5 1/2 inch diameter hole, which indicates that the aquifer has suitable drainable porosity for brine extraction from a larger diameter production well.
Brine and drill core samples from the second hole have been sent for analysis to confirm detailed brine chemistry and density, drainable porosity, and lithium grades.