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Metals Industry:
Invaluable in the Making of next-generation Batteries
As a matter of fact, metal industries are the indispensable part of an economy; they form the backbone of industrial development of any country. The world is transforming. Metals and mining are essential to global economic and social development and are connected to almost all industry value chains. As an inherently long-term investment, a long term perspective in the metal industry is crucial. By 2050, the world will be different, as will the way resources will be used. Rules are changing, social pressure to act more sustainably is growing, and technological advances are disrupting all sectors. This is an opportunity for the mining and metals community to define the role it can play to shape the agenda of the future and to embrace the transformations to come, as well as the business models and strategic priorities that will enable success. There are two opposing forces at play in the mining and metal sector: resource scarcity and product innovation. As resource deposits dwindle, costs increase, and capital needs across the industry rise accordingly, and prices rise. Eventually, there will come along a new product, technique, technology or shift in consumer tastes that will alter the metal and mining landscape. Battery demand will continue to drive the lithium, a soft silver-white metal, and cobalt markets, and forecasts are unified in their projections as overall demand for battery metals is expected to soar.
Cobalt Market: Sharp Rise in Price & Demand
A hard silvery-white magnetic metal, cobalt is the hottest commodity on the market right now. It is mainly deployed as a component of magnetic alloys and those designed for use at high temperatures. It is a metal that early investors are eyeing as a massive opportunity. After several years of an oversupplied market and weak cobalt prices, many market commentators are expecting year 2017 and on to be big years for cobalt. The hype is understandable. Prices have risen sharply this year with market price increasing, surging 150% as tech giants battle for supply. Cobalt is a metal that few investors know much about – it is critical to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution because it makes up some 35% of the lithium-ion battery mix. That is 30% of batteries that are the backbone of EVs, EVs that are now mainstream. To meet demand for EVs, billion-dollar battery gigafactories have been built and continue to be built. Tesla launched a $5-billion battery gigafactory in Nevada. By the end of 2017, it will have doubled the entire global battery production capacity. By next year, it will be producing more batteries than the rest of the world combined. Tesla’s run on cobalt alone will be phenomenal, and that ignores all those competing for the super metal. Consumer electronics are contributing to the demand and resulting shortage of supply, where supply is key. Supply is already in deficit, and that is before the anticipated 500% increase in demand between now and 2020. The battery industry already uses 42% of global cobalt production, while the rest is used in industrial and military apps; all competing for supply. However, strong demand for cobalt in Lithium-ion batteries is set to continue. In addition, cobalt demand is forecast to grow strongly in other key end-use apps such as high performance alloys, tool materials and catalysts. Cobalt is a metal that is critical to the future stock price of everything from Google, Apple,

Tesla, Amazon, UPS and many more. And, unlike lithium, which is a fairly common commodity... And, not enough of cobalt can be sourced as things stand today, and demand is increasing quickly.
Lithium Market: A Booming Popularity
Lithium, one of the hottest commodities on the planet, is getting hotter right now and investors trying to profit from it do not understand how to invest in it. Lithium is the most important component of electric vehicles, high-energy batteries, power storage, a vast menu of consumer electronics, and even Nirvana-reaching drugs. Even today’s hyper-growth EV industry is just the tip of the iceberg compared with where it is headed to. Predictions say that 35% of all new vehicle sales by 2040 will be EVs, equivalent to 100 million units every year. All that growth will present some serious supply chain challenges. But in this massive opportunity, the key to everything is GRADE. Not all lithium is equal. The majors can increase production, but only to a certain degree, and not nearly fast enough to meet growing demand. If you are looking for outsized gains on your lithium investment, you need to expand your horizon to new entrants with high-quality reserves. China, which has turned its attention to Chile, one of the world’s richest sources of high-grade, low-cost lithium. And, one little-known miner is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this space while China, Tesla and everyone else battle it out.This pure-play junior miner has just acquired a world-class resource and the second-largest lithium project in the world, in Chile. China has traditionally sourced its lithium from Australia, but increasing competition in the EV space and falling prices of EVs has forced it to look elsewhere for cheaper sources. Again, heading back to Chile, a true lithium powerhouse and the largest producer in the world. And, unlike in Australia where the metal is extracted from hard-rock mines, Chilean lithium is mined from brines located just below easily accessible salt flats. The Atacama salt flat in Chile is the source of 37 percent of the world’s entire lithium production. So, it is not surprising that stocks of publicly-listed lithium mining companies in Chile have been outperforming their counterparts from other countries.
North Korea: Sitting on Trillions in Untapped Wealth
Embedded deep beneath the country’s mountainous zones are some 200 varieties of minerals, including gold, iron, copper, zinc, magnesite, limestone, tungsten and graphite. Some of these stockpiles are among the largest in the world, and North Korea, a tiny and cash-strapped nation, frequently uses them to bring in additional revenue. The total value of these minerals lies somewhere between $6 trillion and $10 trillion. But the country is too poor to create the infrastructure needed to export the minerals, at least in large enough quantities to make a dent in its overall wealth. The country is too poor to use the deposits itself, but too volatile in its leadership to gain the trust of international bodies that may permit the minerals’ export. The deposits will continue to sit underground, unused and untapped, until surrounding countries figure out a way to make workable partnerships.
Miscellaneous News
⇒ A team led by Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology says it has found rocks containing cobalt and other rare metals on the Pacific seafloor off eastern Japan, in an area covering around 950 sq.km, about half the size of Tokyo. Rare metals are widely used in high-tech products. As Japan relies largely on imports, extracting mineral resources from its waters would help to stabilize supply of rare metals. Using its Kaiko remotely operated research vehicle, the Agency surveyed a seamount 350 km off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture with Ibaraki University and two other universities, confirming cobalt-rich crusts covering a mountain ridge at depths ranging from 1,500 to 5,500 meters. Based on the survey, the seamount is believed to be fully covered in such crusts. The team also collected samples from crusts as thick as 13 cm at a depth of 3,200 meters. The team also found cobalt-rich deposits last year off Minamitori Island, Japan’s easternmost territory. ⇒ Revived electric car startup Fisker has released more details on its EMotion electric sedan, saying that the EMotion will launch with existing lithium-ion battery technology and not with the newer graphene technology the company has previously announced. Fisker maintains the EMotion will deliver over 400 miles on a single charge. It is also touting an UltraCharger technology, which is capable of adding 100 miles of range in just 9 minutes. The company also says it will initially use a nickel-manganese-cobalt-type lithium-ion battery, which is popular for high-performance apps. Graphene batteries promise to extend range and battery life while also reducing charge times. Automotive-grade graphene batteries are yet to be realized.
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