Caspar Rawles: Cathodes, Anodes and What to Expect in 2023

Lithium Investing
large lithium battery

INN caught up with Caspar Rawles of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence to talk about the battery manufacturing space.


Speaking with the Investing News Network after this year’s Benchmark Week event, held in Los Angeles in mid-November, Caspar Rawles, chief data officer at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said the main trend in battery manufacturing this past year has been a big increase in the volume of production.

“Lots of new battery plants, lots of new capacity now producing and delivering largely into the electric vehicle (EV) market, but sort of growing into the energy storage spectrum as well,” he said. “One of the key trends within that as well has been the continued growth of lithium-iron-phosphate batteries within the Chinese market specifically.”

Another key trend seen in 2022 has been a more aggressive push from governments to reduce their dependence on Asia and build domestic supply chains for lithium-ion batteries. “Fundamentally, one of the challenges that potentially plays into all of this, is that you can build the battery plants, you can build the EV plants, you can build the cathode plants, but if you don't have the raw materials to feed them, they're just expensive weights on your balance sheet,” Rawles said.

Commenting on the cathode space, he highlighted that over 90 percent of cathode production capacity plans currently sit within China. “In the US and in Europe, plans have been very much focused around battery production, and of course EV production, because you have large automakers in those regions, but that midstream hasn't really been well attended to” Rawles said.

“We're starting to see those investments happen, but building a new cathode plant is a two to three year time horizon — best-case scenario. So there's still going to be some time before we see those plants come online.”

On the anode side, the expert pointed out that graphite might be at a turning point.

“Just the volume, the rate at which the market has been growing, has particularly accelerated over the last couple of years,” he said. “When we think about raw materials, graphite is actually the largest component by weight compared to any other battery raw material, so each gigawatt hour or megawatt hour of capacity that's deployed has a big impact on graphite.”

Rawles also shared his insight on the market share for anodes and cathodes going forward. Listen to the interview above to learn more of his thoughts, or click here for the full Benchmark Week playlist.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


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