NEW YORK, April 27, 2018 —
According to data published by Allied Market Research, the global lithium ion (Li-ion) battery market is projected to reach $46.21 billion by 2022 and at a CAGR of 10.8 percent. The increasing demand for durable rechargeable batteries is attributable to increasing usage of rechargeable electronic devices, grid storage systems and electric vehicles. Although, utility storage and portable devices control majority of the lithium-ion market, it is projected that electric vehicles will take over that market in the coming years. Electric vehicles are growing more popular due to its environmentally impact, which led governments to aggressively encourage developments in the industry and companies to invest in R&D. MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM), Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTC: MLNLF), Orocobre Limited (OTC: OROCF).
Lithium batteries are compact, but the energy density allows for the vehicles to drive a further range than previous battery options. Gerard Reid, equity researcher and fund manager at Alexa Capital, explained, “Lithium is quite unique as a material in that it is very light with the lowest reduction potential of any chemical element which allows batteries based on lithium to have unbeatable performance. Lithium-ion batteries costs are likely to fall another 50% by 2020 to $100/kWh while at the same time energy density should increase by 20% which will help bring the range of the average electric vehicle (EV) towards 500km.”
MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF) also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the Ticker (CSE: XMG). Earlier this week the company provided, “an update on the Company's Paradox Basin Petrolithium Project (the “Project”). The Project includes the 80,380-acre Blueberry Unit, a recently unitized Federal Oil and Gas Unit created as part of the Project.
After approximately two months of fieldwork, crews have completed Paleontology Surveying and are nearing completion of the Archeological Survey. To date, all locations have been surveyed out with a total of 163 new sites located along with 12 sites that need redocumenting. Documentation recording for the survey will begin this week and take approximately one week to complete. Pending Bureau of Land Management approval, a Seismic Survey at the Paradox Project is scheduled to commence in early August.
The 110,000 acre Paradox Project represents the first large-scale integrated petroleum and lithium exploration project in the United States and is located proximate to the Lisbon Valley oilfield within the Paradox Basin, which has shown historical brine content as high as 730 ppm lithium (Superior Oil 88-21P).
The Project is being simultaneously explored for oil, gas, lithium and other brine minerals as part of the Company's North and South American exploration, testing and analyses strategy to determine locations for deployment of the Company's lithium and mineral extraction technology inclusive of Petrolithium, geothermal, and other lithium brine feedstock sources. MGX controls over two million acres of lithium mineral claims throughout North America.
MGX is currently earning a 75% working interest in the Project, with the remaining interest primarily controlled by a private Utah corporation (the “Paradox Partner”). The Paradox Partner has been engaged by MGX as subcontracted operator of the Project. The Project is host to National Instrument (N.I) 51-101 estimated prospective resources (the “Estimate”) consisting of leasehold and royalty interests in San Juan County, Utah and Miguel County. Colorado. The estimate was prepared by the Ryder Scott Company, L.P. (“Ryder Scott“), an independent qualified reserves evaluator within the meaning of N.I. 51-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities (“NI 51-101”), with an effective date of June 30, 2017. The Estimate was prepared in accordance with N.I. 51-101 and the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation.”
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. On March 9, 2018, the company announced that as expected, it has received approval from Chile's Economic Development Agency(CORFO) for an increase in the company's lithium quota to sustainably increase Albemarle's lithium production in Chile to as much as 145,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) annually through 2043. As previously announced, this quota increase will be enabled by the company's deployment of innovative technology to extract more lithium without the need for additional brine pumping at the Salar de Atacama. “We are pleased that, with this new quota, we have the opportunity to add additional capacity in the Atamaca in a highly efficient and sustainable manner,” said John Mitchell, Albemarle President of Lithium. “Albemarle's new brine yield technology is a part of our already announced Wave 2 capacity expansions targeted for commissioning after 2021. We will continue to actively monitor the market and bring this capacity on, as needed, to meet the needs of our contracted customers.”
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an integrated producer and distributor of lithium, iodine, specialty plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. As the world's largest lithium producer, SQM is committed to the development and sustainability of the lithium industry. In January 2018, the Company announced that it reached an agreement with CORFO to finish the arbitration processes that started in May 2014. The agreement included a one-time payment of approximately US$20 million that is reflected in the fourth quarter 2017 results. As part of the agreement, SQM is allowed to produce and sell up to 2.2 million MT of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) through 2030, albeit at higher lease payments to CORFO and other associated cost. The new payment structure will become effective, as of the moment the agreement is approved by regulatory authorities in Chile, which we expect to occur during March 2018.
Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTCQX: MLNLF) controls over 20,000 hectares of prime land in the heart of the famed “Lithium triangle” – home to the world's most prolific lithium riches. Recently, the company reported that it has received the environmental permit to commence exploration on the properties awarded to the Company by the Salta Provincial Energy and Mining Company. The REMSA Properties form a part of the Company's Pastos Grandes project. The Company's agreement with REMSA was detailed in the Company's news release dated August 24 2017. The Company intends to complete a Feasibility Study of the Pastos Grandes project, with the additional studies to support it, including a production well field model and reserves estimation.
Orocobre Limited (OTC: OROCF) is a dynamic global lithium carbonate supplier and an established producer of boron. On April 18, 2018, the company provided an update on the brine sampling of diamond core hole CAU17 in the NW Sector of the Cauchari JV properties located in Jujuy Province, Argentina. The exploration program is being managed by JV partner Advantage Lithium Corp. who hold 75% of Cauchari. Orocobre owns 29% of Advantage Lithium's issued capital. CAU17 intersected an extensive sequence of gravel and sand dominated units in drill core from 146 m to 210 m depth, with gravel and sand units intersected from surface in the pre-collar. A clay / silt dominated unit was encountered near the bottom of the hole between 210 and 237 m depth. Brine 2 sampling in CAU17 was conducted with a bailer device and three samples were obtained within the gravel unit at 178, 185 and 203 m depth. The lithium concentrations ranged between 549 and 606 mg/l and averaged 571 mg/l lithium and 4,488 mg/l potassium. The Mg/Li ratio of these samples was 2.3:1, identical to the producing Olaroz project to the north.
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