Elon Musk talks about "hundreds of Gigafactories to come" and other lithium batteries players are building their own Megafactories today. Tam Hunt brings the hot industry subject to the headlines. The short answer is: Yes, we have enough Lithium potentially in the world for electrification of all our transportation. But in order to get it as the raw material ready to be used we have to invest hundreds of millions of dollars and years to build this supply chain. The security of supply of lithium is taking the central stage for the main battery grade lithium producers.
The drama is that the demand is coming when junior miners are cut off the capital they need to develop the new projects. That is why International Lithium is very well positioned to participate in this trend with the financing of our lithium J/V projects by Chinese giant Ganfeng Lithium. Lithium supply issues are hitting headlines now and our results are coming from our exploration programs these days. You can find more information from lithium industry insiders on the supply issues on this blog.
We have great news today from our both J/V projects with Ganfeng Lithium! You already know about my personal vision for the lithium industry and our strategic partnership between International Lithium and Ganfeng Lithium from China. Now we have results coming in from our exploration and development programs.
What makes International Lithium different from other junior miners - access to the capital. Our very deep technical team headed by Gary Schellenberg has identified our projects at the very beginning of the lithium interest in 2008. It took us few long years to bring Ganfeng Lithium to the table. Now this giant from China is financing our J/V projects after studying for years other lithium projects all over the world. Based on the previous results we are drilling now both J/V projects with more information to come in the coming weeks. China controls now 75% of battery grade lithium hydroxide and Ganfeng Lithium is one of the major players in this market. International Lithium is building the supply chain for this vertically integrated lithium business in China. Stay turned and I welcome all our new shareholders to the very exciting new industrial rEVolution we are building our business to be the part of.
Lithium-ion batteries are the default choice for most personal electronics and most electric cars today because they have a higher energy density than other technologies. The lithium-ion battery revolution began in earnest in the early 1990s after Sony and several other companies released the first commercial version of the new battery technology. Now that lithium-ion batteries are the predominant choice for many applications, particularly electric vehicles, questions about the global supply of lithium are timely. In short, can lithium-ion batteries scale up with increased demand?
With over a million electric vehicles (EVs) expected to be on the road globally by the end of 2015 and an increasing number of jurisdictions around the world focusing seriously on the growth of EV sales, we can expect strong growth in lithium-ion battery demand. Costs have come down steadily since the early 1990s. A recent peer-reviewed analysis found that lithium-ion battery prices have come down about 14 percent per year since 2007 and the long-term trend is also quite clear, in a standard learning curve effect, of 6 percent to 9 percent reduction in price for every doubling of production volume.
With Tesla continuing to grab headlines, let’s take a look at the lithium-ion battery growth trends through the lens of Tesla’s expected growth and see whether we can extrapolate from that to the global picture.
Tesla is expecting to produce 500,000 cars per year by 2020. With an assumed average capacity of 65 kilowatt-hours per vehicle (taking into account both the smaller battery of the expected Model S and the larger batteries like those in the P85 and P85D), 500,000 65-kilowatt-hour batteries per year would require, at about 10 kilograms of lithium per battery, 5 million kilograms (5,000 metric tons) of refined lithium per year.
Tesla is also planning to produce batteries like the Powerwall, recently announced, and much larger grid support batteries, as well as sales to third parties. Tesla’s expected lithium demand per year by 2020, at full production, is about 8,000 metric tons.
In an act of wild speculation, let’s suggest that the world will see 100 Tesla-size battery production factories by 2040 (or hopefully much sooner). This is enough to produce about 100 million EVs per year, plus a ton of stationary storage (global sales of cars are about 80 million per year, so 100 million a year seems about right when we’re including many years of sales in the future, with a larger global population). If this is the case, and the basic battery requirements don’t change too much, the world would need about 800,000 metric tons of lithium by 2040. And that’s just for battery production and doesn’t include the many other uses of lithium… GreenTechMedia"