There’s growing concern that lithium supply will not be able to meet demand. In fact, as noted by Reuters, “Lithium producers are growing anxious that delays in mine permitting, staffing shortages and inflation may hinder their ability to supply enough of the battery metal to meet the world’s aggressive electrification timelines.” In addition, according to Mining-Technology.com, “There were 45 lithium mines operating globally in 2022, with a further 11 planned to open this year, and an additional seven in 2024, but this will not be enough. Even if more raw lithium is sourced from additional mines, there may be a potential shortage of facilities used to refine the metal to battery-grade materials.” That being said, investors may want to keep an eye on companies involved with the lithium market boom, including
LithiumBank Resources Corp. (TSXV: LBNK) (OTCQX: LBNKF), E3 Lithium Ltd. (OTCQX: EEMMF) (TSXV: ETL), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC) (TSX: LAC), and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).
Look at LithiumBank Resources Corp. (TSXV: LBNK) (OTCQX: LBNKF), For Example
LithiumBank Resources just announced it entered into an intellectual property license agreement with G2L Greenview Resources Inc. (G2L), a subsidiary of Go2Lithium Inc., whereby G2L shall grant to the Company a license in Alberta and Saskatchewan for a full suite of continuous ion exchange technologies. The Direct Lithium Extraction technology will be used to extract lithium salts from enriched brines present at the Company’s lithium development projects.
– Preliminary testing indicates that the Licensed Technology can reduce operating costs of the Boardwalk DLE circuit by increasing lithium recovery and selectivity, reducing reagent costs, and improving the lithium concentrate.
– G2L will ship their pilot plant with nameplate throughput capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 litres/day to Alberta in October 2023 to assess the scalability of the Licensed Technology under operating conditions.
– The License will be exclusive to LithiumBank in Alberta and Saskatchewan, provided that G2L may license the Licensed Technology to a third party (a) for any purpose other than the extraction of lithium salts from aqueous sources, or (b) if such third party’s primary business generates more than 50% of its revenue from hydrocarbon sales.
– Subject to certain conditions, the License may be further sub-licensed by the Company to an acquirer of any of the Company’s currently held properties in Alberta or Saskatchewan.
– An updated Boardwalk Preliminary Economic Assessment that will include test work using the technology is expected to be released in late Q4 2023.
– In consideration for the License, LithiumBank will issue up to 14,000,000 common shares to G2L upon satisfaction of certain milestones with 7,000,000 of such common shares to be issued by the time of the successful completion of the pilot.
Since release of the Boardwalk Preliminary Economic Assessment (May 2023), LithiumBank and its engineering consultants have worked with G2L to optimise the project flow sheet. Initial testing has identified multiple process parameters that can be improved with the inclusion of Licensed Technology. These include:
– Resin loading capacity
– Impurity rejection
– Eluate concentration
– Reagent consumption
– Substitution of lower cost reagents, such as quicklime and sulfuric acid
– Water and energy consumption
The Company has been conducting bench-scale test work with G2L for several months. The results of this test work indicates a significant potential to improve the operational expenditures (OPEX) that are reported in the Boardwalk (News Release, May 25, 2023). The Company continues to work with engineering consultants on the downstream processing and is currently working on an updated Boardwalk PEA. This update will include the G2L test work results and the effects of the Canadian federal government incentive tax credits for lithium brine processing.
Canada’s Largest Reported Lithium Brine Pilot Plant
G2L will also provide the Company with access to a deployment-ready pilot plant that has been previously operating in Australia. Modifications to the pilot plant are almost complete and it is expected to be shipped in October to Alberta. The pilot plant will have a nameplate throughput capacity of 8,000 to 10,000 L per day, making it one of the largest DLE pilot plants in North America. Access to a dedicated DLE pilot plant will significantly accelerate the Company’s test work program and provide the necessary design parameters for inclusion in feasibility studies for its Boardwalk, Park Place, and Saskatchewan lithium development properties.
“This licensing agreement with G2L provides LithiumBank with access to best-in-class direct lithium extraction technology that we expect to have a significant impact on the economics of our Alberta projects,” said Paul Matysek, Executive Chairman of LithiumBank. “We are pleased to be working with the G2Lithium team who are a 50/50 joint venture with Clean TeQ Water (ASX:CNQ) and Computational Geosciences Inc (CGI), a subsidiary of the Robert Friedland-chaired Ivanhoe Electric Inc. (NYSE:IE). They bring over 20 years of experience in designing and constructing ion exchange systems for commercial water treatment and metal recovery applications. Furthermore, access to G2L’s operational pilot plant will expedite the development of all our projects and provide the necessary information for feasibility assessments.”
“G2L is delighted to be partnering with LithiumBank” said Livia Mahler, CEO of G2Lithium Inc. “The Canadian Prairies and Alberta in particular, are home to world class lithium brine assets that have the ideal combination of grade, deliverability and porosity needed for economic development and extraction. Alberta-based LithiumBank holds the largest land package and confined brine volumes in the province and is led by a seasoned team of experts. Our technology solutions have been developed over two decades to maximize recoveries from low concentration feed sources, similar to those hosted in the Boardwalk and Park Place projects. The test work on LithiumBank brines gives us confidence that we can add significant value as we work together with their engineering team to update the Boardwalk PEA and further feasibility assessments.”
Other related developments from around the markets include:
E3 Lithium Ltd. announced that commissioning of its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) field pilot plant is complete and operations have begun. The commissioning process included connecting all major pieces of equipment to the piping and wiring systems on site. The team has also conducted a series of necessary inspections and system tests to ensure safe and successful operations. Each DLE system has demonstrated it is operating as expected based on the performance metrics established during pre-pilot testing. “The start of full operations is a testament to the hard work the team has been putting in to get this equipment running,” said Chris Doornbos, President and CEO of E3 Lithium. “This is a foundational moment for E3 Lithium, as demonstrating DLE at pilot scale will enable us to move forward in developing this lithium asset in Alberta towards commercialization.”
Albemarle announced its results for the second quarter. “We achieved $2.4 billion in net sales, up 60% from prior year, primarily driven by higher prices and volumes in our Energy Storage business,” commented Albemarle CEO Kent Masters. “We remain confident in the long-term outlook for our businesses and are increasing our full-year 2023 net sales and adjusted EBITDA outlook based on the recent increase in lithium market prices. Our investments in future capacity are on track, with the Salar Yield Improvement Project mechanically complete and the Meishan project on schedule for early 2024 mechanical completion.”
Lithium Americas just announced, “Over the last 18 months, our business has gained significant momentum as we advanced late-stage lithium projects in Argentina and the U.S. toward full production in a sustainable and responsible way,” said Jonathan Evans, Lithium Americas’ President and CEO. “We are uniquely positioned to bridge the global gap in demand, while maximizing sustainable value for our diverse set of stakeholders. In early 2023, we commenced construction at Thacker Pass in northern Nevada, through which we will play a key role in building North America’s lithium supply chain, and in June 2023, we achieved first lithium production at Caucharí-Olaroz in northern Argentina, the largest new lithium brine operation to come online in more than two decades.”
Tesla announced, “Q2-2023 was a record quarter on many levels with our best-ever production and deliveries and revenue approaching $25B in a single quarter. We are excited that we were able to achieve such results given the macroeconomic environment we are currently in.
Our operating margin remained healthy at approximately 10%, even with price reductions in Q1 and early Q2. This reflects our ongoing cost reduction efforts, the continued production ramp success in Berlin and Texas and the strong performance of our Energy and Services & Other businesses. Our commitment to being at the forefront of AI development entered a new chapter with the start of production of Dojo training computers. We are hopeful that our immense neural net training needs will be satisfied using our in-house designed Dojo hardware. The better the neural net training capacity, the greater the opportunity for our Autopilot team to iterate on new solutions.”
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