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INSATIABLE LITHIUM DEMAND FUELS INVESTMENT BOOM IN AUSTRALIA

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Carmakers and miners inking deals amid $42 billion funding gap.

Liontown shares swelled 76 times in just three years.

Photo: The Pilgangoora lithium project in Port Hedland.Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

In the rocky deserts of Western Australia, a handful of little-known and once-shunned miners are suddenly in vogue as the electric vehicle industry clamors for a metal it can’t do without.

Executives from Australia’s lithium industry were inundated by bankers and brokers at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in the outback town of Kalgoorlie this week, talking up deals to secure some of the estimated $42 billion worth of investment needed for metal producers to meet their goals. Global automakers have snapped up producers’ shares on the open market, scrapped over supply agreements and even handed over cash for mine expansions.

“The appetite is insatiable,” Dale Henderson, chief executive officer of Pilbara Minerals Ltd., said in an interview. “Any producer in lithium is very popular at the moment.”

The Pilgangoora lithium project in Port Hedland, Western Australia.Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

With all net growth in car sales last year coming from EVs, demand for the raw materials in batteries has ramped up suddenly. China dominates the lithium supply chain, so Western nations have sought to develop their own production. Miners in Australia — home to about half the world’s supply, according to the US Geological Survey — are now being courted by automakers waving checkbooks.

Liontown Resources Ltd. CEO Tony Ottaviano is careful not to boast about his foresight.

“I don’t want us to come across as self-indulgent because we have immense respect for our customers, but the simple fact is it takes five to eight years to bring greenfield supply online in tier-one jurisdictions,” he said.

When the company first went to carmakers and other manufacturers for its first offtake, “it’s safe to say that interest was low.” Ottaviano said. Most were unsure whether they should get too involved in the metal sourcing process, he explained.

A lithium rich rock at the Pilgangoora project.Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

“Roll the clock forward and we are seeing a completely different commercial posture,” he said.

In July, Ford Motor Co. announced an agreement with Liontown for nearly a third of the miner’s expected production over the coming years, at an undisclosed value. The deal also saw Ford provide a A$300 million ($210 million) debt facility to Liontown to further expand its Kathleen Valley site.

That transaction followed Liontown’s earlier so-called offtake deals with Tesla Inc. and South Korean battery maker LG Chem Ltd. It also came a week after European automaker Stellantis NV took an equity stake in Australian lithium miner Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd.

Liontown shares rose as much as 5% on Friday in Sydney, touching their highest intraday level since May. Pilbara climbed up to 3.3%, while Vulcan Energy increased as much as 3.9%. Fellow Australian miner Core Lithium Ltd. jumped as much as 6.6%.

Creative Deals

As recently as 2020, few cared for the natural features of Pilgangoora, a remote Pilbara Minerals site where a red flower called Sturt’s Desert Pea and a few cattle sit atop the one of largest hard-rock lithium ore deposits in the world.

Pilbara’s shares traded at 13 Australian cents then, and have since risen to more than A$2.85, giving it a market value of about $5.8 billion. Shares in Liontown have risen about 76 times since early 2019, to a value of around $2.2 billion.

The increase is mirrored in the price of lithium itself, which gained nearly 500% in the past year. The lithium market will be tight and prices will likely remain elevated for the rest of the year, according to BloombergNEF. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has bemoaned the price spike on Twitter, suggesting the automaker may have to get into the mining and refining game.

Globally, the industry will need as much as $42 billion of investment by the end of the decade in order to meet demand, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

“Appetite for critical minerals from quality jurisdictions is currently the strongest we have seen,” said Campbell Cooper of investment bank Greenhill & Co., which advised Liontown on its recent deal with Ford.

ByHarry Brumpton and Annie Lee

Source: Bloomberg

litio internacional

LITHIUM PRICE: LOS PRECIOS DEL LITIO HAN CAÍDO UN 50% EN 4 MESES¿SE ACABÓ EL BOOM?

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#lithium #Litio #LithiumPrice #PreciodelLitio #CarbonatodeLitio #Electromovilidad #Bloomberg #Accenture #BankfAmericaSecurities #American Battery Technology #

Los valores del llamado oro blanco (para las baterías) retroceden a medida que disminuyen las preocupaciones sobre el suministro mundial. (más…)

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LITIO EN BOLIVIA: EL PRESIDENTE EJECUTIVO DE YLB AFIRMA QUE BOLIVIA TIENE DERECHO SOBERANO PARA ELEGIR A SUS SOCIOS

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LA PAZ,  mar (Xinhua) — Bolivia tiene derecho soberano a elegir sus socios del país que considere mientras respete las reglas nacionales para la industrialización del litio, enfatizó este martes Carlos Ramos, presidente ejecutivo de Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos (YLB).

Además, tachó de «infundados» los temores estadounidenses sobre las perspectivas e influencia regional del «triángulo del litio», formado por Bolivia, Chile y Argentina, países que poseen dos terceras partes de las reservas mundiales de este recurso.

«Las declaraciones de la jefa del Comando Sur de Estados Unidos (Laura Richardson) que hace sobre el litio es una alusión muy subjetiva hacia nosotros (Bolivia) porque, de una manera u otra, en Argentina y Chile son empresas estadounidenses las que están realizando la explotación del litio», aseveró a la red ATB.

Ramos recalcó que Bolivia tiene «soberanía plena» sobre sus recursos con políticas definidas en base a la Constitución.

Recordó que el acuerdo firmado el 20 de enero con el consorcio chino CATL BRUNP & CMOC (CBC) para la realización de estudios e industrialización del litio a través de la tecnología de Extracción Directa de Litio (EDL), por parte de la estatal YLB, no establece la entrega de los recursos naturales.
Ramos aseguró que CBC es la primera de varias empresas que operarán en la industria del litio de Bolivia.

Argumentó que hay leyes nacionales que dan plena soberanía a Bolivia para la administración del litio e impiden la entrega de los recursos naturales como sucedía durante los gobiernos de corte neoliberal.

Según el ejecutivo boliviano, el primer acuerdo firmado con uno de los conglomerados de baterías más grande a nivel mundial, CATL BRUNP & CMOC, ha generado temor en Estados Unidos.

«La firma de este convenio no nos compromete. Nosotros no podemos concesionar. No podemos delegar. Solo YLB es responsable de la administración del litio porque es parte del Estado. Es una empresa estatal», reiteró.

Bolivia tiene certificadas 21 millones de toneladas de litio en el salar de Uyuni, Potosí. Según el Ministerio de Hidrocarburos y Energía, se espera que las reservas totales sean el doble con los salares de Pastos Grandes y Coipasa, en Potosí y Oruro, respectivamente.

De acuerdo con Ramos, existe mucho interés de varios países en controlar la explotación en el denominado «triángulo del litio».

FUENTE: XINHUA

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litio internacional

LITIO, SOL Y COCHES ELÉCTRICOS, ASÍ PLANEA SONORA CONVERTIRSE EN EL «SILICON VALLEY» DE LAS ENERGÍAS RENOVABLES

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En el foro ‘Energías Sostenibles: prosperidad y desarrollo’, organizado por EL PAÍS, expertos y autoridades han debatido los retos para luchar contra el cambio climático en México. (más…)

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