22 marzo, 2023

Electrification of Vehicles a Boon to Lithium Miners


 The lithium market has witnessed high demand in recent years thanks to the increasing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs). Lithium proved to be an essential mineral for the electrification of vehicles as LiOH, a white hygroscopic crystalline material and an inorganic compound, is commonly used by lithium-ion battery manufacturers. However, due to the difficulty associated with mining lithium, large investments have been made into R&D. For example, in February 2020, funding of around USD 20 Million by Bill Gates was provided to Lilac Solutions, a lithium mining technology firm located in the U.S. According to Platts Analytics, global plug-in light-duty EV sales are expected to rise to 6.5 million units in 2022 and 10.5 million units in 2025, up from an estimated 6 million units in 2021 and 3.1 million units in 2020. Infinity Stone Ventures Corp. (OTC: GEMSF) (CSE: GEMS), Lithium Americas Corp. (NASDAQ: LAC), Snow Lake Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: LITM), Standard Lithium Ltd. (NYSE: SLI), Livent Corporation (NYSE: LTHM).

The lithium market has been experiencing some tribulations this year as prices are on the rise due to a tight supply and strong, growing demand in China. In the meantime, the U.S. is racing to reduce its rare earth dependence on China. “With the global lithium-ion battery market expected to grow rapidly over the next decade, DOE is making it possible for the United States to be prepared for market demand,” the Department of Energy said last month. “Responsible and sustainable domestic sourcing of the critical materials used to make lithium-ion batteries — such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite — will help close the gap in supply chain disruptions and accelerate battery production in America.”

Infinity Stone Ventures Corp. (OTCQB: GEMSF) (CSE: GEMS) provided yesterday, “an exploration update on its Camaro and Hellcat Lithium Project (the “Camaro – Hellcat Project”) adjacent to Patriot Battery Metals’ (“PMET” or “Patriot”) Corvette Lithium Discovery in the James Bay Lithium District of Quebec.

The fall exploration program, conducted by Axiom Exploration Group, Infinity Stone’s contracted technical team, (the “Fall Program”) was extremely successful in confirming historically mapped pegmatites and identified new showings. 87 samples were collected over 3,850 hectares of claims adjacent to the Patriot discovery. The samples have been shipped to the Saskatchewan Research Council (“SRC”) lab in Saskatoon, Sask., with assay results expected to be returned in the coming weeks.

One of the significant highlights of the Fall Program was the identification of a cluster of highly prospective pegmatitic dykes and cross cutting structures near the northern margin of the Hellcat claims extending to the north, which resulted in the Company expanding its claim area.

The white, coarse grained, pegmatite dykes in this area were mineralogically characterized by tourmaline, garnet, and muscovite which are common LCT (Lithium-Cesium-Tantalum) pegmatite indicator minerals in the district.

The Hellcat claims are underlain by 9 km of strike length of underexplored greenstone and metasediments of the Mesoarchean Rouget formation and Neoarchean Marbot formation, respectively. The under-explored Rouget formation greenstone belt represents an attractive exploration target which is geologically similar and proximal to the Guyer Group greenstone, which hosts the PMET Corvette Pegmatites.

Infinity Stone is in the process of defining the next steps of its exploration program, including conducting a geophysical survey of the Project ahead of a planned drill program in early Q1 2023. With the increased infrastructure in the area, winter access and operability to the Corvette lithium trend has improved considerably, ultimately enabling winter drilling on the Camaro – Hellcat Project.

‘We are excited to further our exploration efforts on the Hellcat – Camaro Project with the identification of pegmatites underlain by the Rouget greenstone, presenting parallels to the geology underlying Patriot’s Corvette discovery and warranting further exploration,’ said Zayn Kalyan, CEO of Infinity Stone. ‘The progress made on our James Bay Property, alongside the ongoing exploration on our other assets, is timely given the rapid growth of the lithium and battery metal market over the past months. Nearly every day there is another announcement regarding expansion in the North American battery metals supply chain. Every major car manufacturer and battery manufacturer is in the process of building out infrastructure in Canada and the US, all in the context of considerable government support, including the recent announcement by the Biden administration of $2.8 billion in support for manufacturing and processing companies in the battery metals space’ furthered Mr. Kalyan.”

Lithium Americas Corp. (NASDAQ: LACannounced last month that it has entered a Strategic Collaboration Agreement (“Collaboration Agreement”) with Green Technology Metals Ltd. (ASX:GT1) (“GT1”) to advance a common goal of developing an integrated lithium chemical supply chain in North America. “As we prepare to commence construction at Thacker Pass, we see an opportunity to further strengthen our role in developing a North American lithium supply chain,” said Jonathan Evans, Lithium Americas’ President & CEO. “On the back of the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) by U.S. Congress, we are having increased engagement with potential partners and customers focused on North America.”

Snow Lake Resources Ltd. (NASDAQ: LITMannounced earlier this month that it has hosted LG Energy Solution (LGES: KRX 373220) in Manitoba, Canada on September 13th to explore the potential next step towards building a domestic supply chain for the North American electric vehicle market. The visit by LG Energy Solution advances the collaboration with Snow Lake Lithium which will see the delivery of one of Canada’s first lithium hydroxide processing plants in CentrePort, Southern Manitoba. Manitoba Hydro – a hydroelectric power provider in Manitoba – was also included in the discussions regarding the provision of sustainable, clean power to the plant in addition to a site visit to the proposed facility in CentrePort. Meetings held at the Manitoba Legislative Building included participation from Snow Lake Lithium and LGES representatives, as well as Jordan Gaw and Jenny Kang from Invest in Canada and Cliff Cullen, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Economic Development, Industry and Trade. Representatives from the Economic Secretariat of Manitoba, the Department of Economic Development, Industry and Trade, and Manitoba’s Chamber of Commerce were also present.

Standard Lithium Ltd. (NYSE: SLIprovided an update yesterday on its commercial development activities in El Dorado, Arkansas. The Hydroxide Pilot plant was designed and constructed by a third-party global water and process technology vendor earlier in 2022, and was successfully installed and commissioned in early October at the Project site. The technology is housed in a self-contained unit and takes the lithium chloride feed produced by the Company’s existing Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) Demonstration Plant; it then converts this feed directly into a lithium hydroxide solution using a novel ion-exchange process. The lithium hydroxide solution generated by the Hydroxide Pilot will be sent offsite to another location operated by the third-party vendor to complete evaporation and crystallization work to produce battery quality lithium hydroxide.

Livent Corporation (NYSE: LTHMreported earlier this summer that a significant multi-year sourcing agreement in which Livent will supply GM with battery-grade lithium hydroxide made primarily from lithium extracted at Livent’s brine-based operations in South America. Lithium hydroxide is crucial to GM’s plans to make higher performance, higher mileage EVs. The lithium hydroxide from Livent will be used in GM’s Ultium battery cathodes, which will power electric vehicles such as the recently revealed Chevrolet Blazer EV, Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ. Livent will provide battery-grade lithium hydroxide to GM over a six-year period beginning in 2025. Over the course of the agreement, Livent will increasingly supply battery-grade lithium hydroxide to GM from its manufacturing facilities in the U.S., with the goal of transitioning 100% of Livent’s downstream lithium hydroxide processing for GM to North America.  The agreement is expected to help secure supply for GM while assisting Livent in expanding its North American capabilities.

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