Thursday, October 08, 2009

Lithium car batteries may shift balance of industrial power TNR.v, CZX.v, SQM, ROC, FMC, WLC.v, CLQ.v, LI.v, RM.v, F, NSANY, RNO, TTM, TM, DAI, FXI

Price will become the second thought, when national security will matter more - welcome to the Lithium race.

Resources of Lithium and REE will become a matter of Energy security - you can not trade your oil dependence for Lithium dependence on Bolivia or even China to supply your country with batteries: price to be paid could be too dear.

"That is why today's announcement is so important for us. Strategy of staking grounds with historical results brings first positive results: we have a confirmation of Lithium mineralisation with high grade samples, significant system length and it is open in all direction at least on two properties out of three in Ontario. "Other Rare Metals (Tantalum) over limit samples are pending" - is a very inrigiung, but we will wait for the results to be announced before any conclusion. Now we have moved to the new stage of this company: they have Lithium and other Rare Earth Metals, question is the size of the potential discovery and its overall grades. Tantalum presence will make an importam economical credit adjustment to this deposit at the current level of Lithium prices."

From The Times
October 9, 2009

Leo Lewis, Asia Business Correspondent

The lithium car battery is primed to become a “major disruptive force” over the next decade, dictating the fate of the world’s largest vehicle makers, reshaping the electronics industry and sparking possible tensions between the mineral haves and have-nots.
As carmakers ponder moves into greener manufacturing, the risks of mistakes grow greater with every new battery maker or technology that emerges. With the industry rules reset by lithium, analysts say, new businesses are expected to appear from nowhere. Many will fail but some may go on to become the new General Motors or Toyota.
Lithium batteries and the prospect of some future worldwide market for electric cars have already propelled Wang Chuanfu, the founder of the car and battery maker BYD, to become China’s richest man as shares in his company soared. A year earlier, he was 103rd in the rankings.
The prospect of lithium’s rising dominance over a post-oil economy has begun to draw warnings from government and industrial sources that seismic shifts are about to take place. The investment scene surrounding batteries, analysts say, may become more complex as new companies emerge to challenge the established players and speculative bubbles inflate throughout all stages of the battery-making process.
Brokers are touting ways to play the lithium story, from battery producers, such as Samsung SDI and Panasonic, to lithium miners, such as SQM and Chemetall. Several analysts believe that Nissan, with its plans to build battery production in Britain and Europe, represents the best carmaker in which to buy shares to invest in electric cars.
A potentially bloody technology race is under way and mistakes will be made in the stampede, Kanehide Yahata, a CLSA analyst, said. He highlighted the temptation prematurely to view Korean and Chinese producers as the likely winners because there are still huge discrepancies in expertise. Japanese research is eyeing a battery that would allow an 80km drive on a single charge. Korea’s research efforts are focused on developing one that could manage 32km.
“Some automakers, such as Mitsubishi, have missed the point by creating commercially unviable electric vehicles,” he said. “In contrast, Nissan’s Leaf shows great promise. Honda is fretting about what to do while Toyota is quietly treading water. GM is on the wrong scent with the Volt and Chrysler’s plan is just a bluff.”
Toyota’s senior management pointed yesterday to the lithium battery as the “deciding technology” by which Japanese and American carmakers would survive or perish. The supply of lithium batteries is expected to redraw corporate partnerships throughout Asia, particularly in the technology’s heartland of Japan: lithium batteries lie at the centre of the world’s biggest electronics merger between Panasonic and Sanyo.
Nomura Securities analysts predict that lithium will create a new balance of industrial power. “We think the barriers to entry [in battery making] could quickly lower over the next four or five years with the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles the main driver of growth. That could trigger a collapse of the existing business groupings, the adoption of new materials and the deterioration of Japan’s position as the industry pacesetter,” a recent note to investors read.
On lithium’s upstream, the transformation is visible. “In terms of interest and exploration, the lithium industry is experiencing an all-time high. Over the past four months, unclaimed lithium deposits have been snapped up at a rate never seen before,” Simon Moores, an Industrial Minerals analyst, said. The majority of projects, he warned, would end in failure.
Some see a potentially risky side to the boom. On a visit to Tokyo this week, Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, described the coming competition for resources such as lithium as “the next battle we are going to have to take on”.
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