LOS ANGELES, October 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —
USA News Group -Despite any pullback by indicators like the leading Lithium ETF of late, price forecasts are continuing to indicate rising prices for lithium, making lithium companies very attractive.
Companies in the lithium mining and production sector expected to benefit from the price increases include: Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX) (OTC: NMKEF), Galaxy Resources (OTC: GALXF), and NRG Metals Inc. (TSX-V: NGZ) (OTC: NRGMF).
Lithium continues to be a seriously hot commodity, with news about electric vehicles (EVs) filling headlines worldwide and prices for the white metal trending upward.
EVs depend on lithium-ion batteries for efficient storage and operation, and the massive increase in demand is creating a significant potential for shortfall in the very near future.
The upside to these changes is the fact that lithium companies are stepping up their game to provide more high quality lithium and add all new sources to help fuel the power source revolution taking place.
Some early stage lithium mining companies are entering hyper-development in order to capture the momentum being generated and move quickly to production.
One of these junior miners is NRG Metals Inc. (TSX-V: NGZ.V) (OTCQB: NRGMF), which is aggressively developing potentially very large lithium brine projects in South America in the prolific “lithium triangle” producing area.
Already big lithium mining and production companies are having a great run.
Companies with exposure to lithium are seeing their share prices gain markedly as demand forecasts contribute to price forecast increases. These include Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), the leading producer of lithium in South America’s hotbed with a one year return of 69.6% from this time last year, Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX.TO) (OTCQX: NMKEF), a Canadian company focused on its new Whabouchi lithium project and establishing refining operations in Quebec, along with Australian miner Galaxy Resources (OTC: GALXF), with a 59.3% 1-year return so far in 2017.
PRICE FORECASTS REVISING UPWARDS
Battery-grade lithium carbonate is reflecting the rise in demand, which seems to be nearly unstoppable.
At present, battery-grade lithium carbonate prices are forecast to average $13,000 a ton over the 2017 to 2020 period from around $9,000 in 2015 to 2016, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Lithium hydroxide, which is also battery-grade, is expected to average $18,000 a ton between 2017 and 2020 compared to $14,000 from 2015 to 2016.
The demand for lithium has been increasing continuously with each new announcement from not only supply chain industry players, but also from governments.
As an example, earlier in 2017, France and the UK outlined plans to ban the sales of all fossil fuel cars by 2040. That sounds like it’s a way off, but this is the first whisperings of fossil fuel bans, which have since been followed by a whopper.
China, which leads in the EV space, announced in September that it plans to ban all fossil fuel vehicles in the near future.
Analysts in the space see these moves as positive for the battery mineral space overall and see China showing the largest growth in the EV cycle. They suggest that one new lithium mine at least needs to be brought on line each year through 2025 in order to meet the requirements.
Currently, just four companies account for about 86% of global lithium production, with 70% of lithium production based South America.
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME: NRG METALS
About two-thirds of proven reserves of lithium are concentrated in a small, high-elevation area of South America. The “Lithium Triangle” is located at the intersection of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile.
It’s likely that if a company wants to develop new lithium reserves to production, this is the area to pursue.
That’s case with NRG Metals, which has focused its lithium efforts in the Puna Region, widely regarded ass one of the most productive areas in Argentina, a country responsible for about 50% of the world’s lithium.
NRG Metals is a Canadian miner, but has attracted some very high profile management in-country.
Their Chief Operating Officer is Jose Gustavo de Castro, the former country manager for Orocobre in Argentina until 2015.
Gustavo de Castro helped to grow the operation of Orocobre from 10 employees to 800 in construction and some 200 people in operations. He is credited with the exploration and development of the Orocobre Oraloz lithium project being brought to commercial production.
With solid mining management in place, NRG Metals has positioned itself right at ground zero for lithium. Its two core projects are the Salar Escondido lithium project; a well-developed project heading into drilling, and the Hombre Muerto North lithium project; with exploration now under way in the province of Salta.
The region is host to the Hombre Muerto Salar, where leading lithium producer FMC is producing approximately 20,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year, as well as Galaxy Resources’ large development stage Sal de Vida project.
NRG Metals recently released news of its VES geophysical survey that has identified “a highly conductive horizon that is interpreted to represent a brine target with potential to host lithium.”
Now, the company is drilling the property in order to detail the potential for lithium resources that it plans to take through to production.
Based on the rising forecast for lithium prices, producers and near-term producers of lithium hold a lot of potential. Those companies that use favorable pricing to advance to production could see early rewards.
Though it may be an early-stage developer in South American, NRG Metals could certainly use this to its advantage. NRG is rapidly advancing not one, but two significant lithium projects in the world’s richest lithium region.
The current demand for lithium fuelling rising price forecasts demonstrates the need for solutions to add new lithium supplies or face potential shortage, and even price spikes.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB)
Albemarle Corporation develops, manufactures, and markets engineered specialty chemicals worldwide. The company offers lithium compounds, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride, and lithium specialties and reagents for applications in lithium batteries and many other applications. Albemarle Corporation was founded in 1994 and is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX.TO) (OTCQX: NMKEF)
Nemaska Lithium Inc. intends to become a lithium hydroxide supplier and lithium carbonate supplier to the emerging lithium battery market that is largely driven by electric vehicles. On August 01st, the company released diamond drilling results from the 2017 drill program at its 100-per-cent-owned Whabouchi lithium mine project. The 4,361-metre drill program combines definition drilling to a depth of 50 metres in the five-year starter pit between sections 200E and 700E as well as expansion drilling in the Doris zone located immediately to the southwest of the main Whabouchi deposit.
Galaxy Resources (OTC: GALXF)
Galaxy Resources Limited is a lithium-focused resources company, with assets spanning Australia, Canada and Argentina. Galaxy is currently advancing plans to develop the Sal de Vida Lithium and Potash Brine Project (“Sal de Vida“) in Argentina, which is situated in the Lithium Triangle, a region where Chile, Argentina and Bolivia meet. Sal de Vida is a proven high quality resource has excellent promise as a future low cost production facility. Galaxy also owns the Mt Cattlin Spodumene Mine near Ravensthorpe in Western Australia and the James Bay Lithium Pegmatite Project in Quebec, Canada.
For a more in-depth look into NRG Metals you can view the in-depth report at American News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2017/10/16/how-south-americas-lithium-triangle-is-gearing-up-to-feed-our-battery-addiction-3/
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