Lithium Market On The Rise As Demand For EVs Grows

12 Mar 2018
According to a report by Global Market Insights, Inc. the global lithium ion battery market is poised surpass USD 60 billion by 2024. Growing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), rechargeable consumer electronics, as well as government initiatives to encourage adoption of sustainable energy will drive the lithium ion battery market size. Currently, rechargeable devices control majority of the lithium-ion market, but it is expected that EVs will become the largest contributor to the lithium market in the coming years. The report indicates that according to EIA, China and the U.S accounted for 336 and 159 thousand electric vehicle sales respectively in 2016. MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF), Orocobre Ltd. (OTC: OROCF), Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA), FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F)

A research report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance explains the rate at which EV sales are projected to grow. According to the report, "The EV revolution is going to hit the car market even harder and faster than BNEF predicted a year ago. EVs are on track to accelerate to 54% of new car sales by 2040. Tumbling battery prices mean that EVs will have lower lifetime costs, and will be cheaper to buy, than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars in most countries by 2025-29."

MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the Ticker 'XMG'. Just earlier today the company announced breaking news that it, "has chosen to proceed with its previously announced partnership with Highbury Energy Inc. ("Highbury") to develop a detailed thermochemical gasification process to extract metals such as nickel, vanadium, cobalt and hydrogen from petroleum coke ("Petcoke").

Petcoke samples were obtained from Alberta oil sands (Sample #1) and refinery (Sample #2) sales stockpiles of available petcoke. Samples were analyzed by Acme Labs of Vancouver, British Columbia using standard ICP analyses. Results were as follows:
  Vanadium (V) Cobalt (Co) Nickel (Ni)
Sample ppm ppm ppm
Sample #1 421 4.8 76.8
Sample #2 458 1.3 53.4
Further analysis of concentrate post-gasification ash samples is now underway with ash amounting to 3% of oil sands petcoke by weight and less than 1% of the refinery petcoke sample. It is expected that the concentrations of metals will directly correspond with the reduction in material, approximately 30x and over 100x, respectively. Analyses of the ash concentrate is expected shortly.

A Phase II study is currently being completed by Highbury and will include analyses of potential site locations, inclusion of pilot scale gasification, advanced metals extraction process design and initial plant design parameters.

Background - Petcoke is a carbon material by-product of the oil and gas industry that forms during the oil refining process. As refineries have become more efficient at processing extra heavy crude oils (bitumen) over the last two decades, output of Petcoke globally has risen significantly. Because Petcoke originates from heavier petroleum fractions, its denser impurities such as metals and sulphur compounds are concentrate in it. The majority of Canadian Petcoke output occurs in close proximity to oil sand producing regions, where bitumen is upgraded into synthetic crude oil. Specifically, the Province of Alberta is known to host vast stockpiles of Petcoke. According to the Alberta Energy Regulator, petcoke inventories are estimated to have reached 106 million tonnes in 2016(1). (1) Source: Alberta Energy Industry, Alberta Mineable Oil Sands Plant Statistics.

Qualified PersonsThe technical portions of this press release were reviewed by Andris Kikauka (P. Geo.), Vice President of Exploration for MGX Minerals. Mr. Kikauka is a non-independent Qualified Person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 Standards.

Orocobre Ltd. (OTC: OROCF) is building a substantial Argentine based industrial chemicals company through its portfolio of lithium, potash and boron assets. On February 7, 2018, the company provided an update on the brine sampling of diamond drill hole CAU11 in the Cauchari JV property located in Jujuy Province, Argentina. The exploration program is being managed by JV partner Advantage Lithium Corp. who hold 50% of Cauchari, earning up to 75%. Orocobre owns 33% of CAU11 is located in the SE Sector of the property; 5.6 km southeast of CAU09 (refer to map). This drill hole intersected sediments comprising halite, clay and some sand to 405 m depth. Advantage Lithium's issued capital. The initial constant rate pumping test conducted on hole CAU11 sustained a flow rate of 19 l/s over a period of 48 hours, which is promising for future brine production. This flow rate was at the upper limit of the pump capacity used for the test. A total of 18 brine samples were taken during the pumping test, with the average concentration of 515 mg/l Lithium and 4,577 mg/l Potassium and a Mg/Li ratio of 2.6:1.

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) mission is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles in addition to renewable energy generation and storage. Tesla and Panasonic Corporation have signed an agreement that lays out their cooperation on the construction of a large-scale battery manufacturing plant in the United States, known as the Gigafactory. The Gigafactory is being created to enable a continuous reduction in the cost of long range battery packs in parallel with manufacturing at the volumes required to enable Tesla to meet its goal of advancing mass market electric vehicles. The Gigafactory will be managed by Tesla with Panasonic joining as the principal partner responsible for lithium-ion battery cells and occupying approximately half of the planned manufacturing space; key suppliers combined with Tesla's module and pack assembly will comprise the other half of this fully integrated industrial complex.

FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) has served the global agricultural, industrial and consumer markets with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. On February 12, 2018, the company reported fourth quarter and full-year 2017 results. For the year, FMC reported revenue of approximately $2.9 billion, an increase of 13 percent compared to 2016. On a GAAP basis, the company reported earnings of $536 million, or $3.99 per diluted share. FMC Lithium reported fourth quarter segment revenue of $113 million, an increase of 60 percent versus the prior-year quarter. Segment earnings more than doubled year-over-year to $44 million in the quarter. Higher volume from FMC's new hydroxide operations in China and higher year-over-year prices were the main contributors to growth. The outlook for Lithium segment revenue for the full year of 2018 is in the range of $420 million to $460 million, an increase of 27 percent at the mid-point compared to 2017, while the outlook for full-year segment EBITDA is in the range of $180 million to $200 million.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. On January 16, 2018, the company detailed plans to improve operational fitness, refocus capital allocation and accelerate the introduction of smart vehicles and services. Ford will expand its electrified vehicle lineup with a total of 40 vehicles globally, which will include 16 full battery electric vehicles by 2022. To support this, the company announced that it now plans to invest more than $11 billion in electrification from 2015 to 2022. The company also reiterated that it is on track to deliver a full battery electric performance SUV that offers at least a 300-mile range, for launch in 2020.


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