Benchmark World Tour 2016: Notes from the Floor

- October 17th, 2016

The Benchmark World Tour 2016 made its eighth stop in Vancouver. The Investing News Network was there to listen as notable industry leaders gave presentations on the lithium-ion battery supply.

On October 13, the Benchmark Mineral Intelligence made its 8th stop on the World Tour 2016 in Vancouver.
Held at the lavish Vancouver Club on West Hastings, the conference was close-knit but well attended, with company speakers and notable voices gave presentations about the evolving lithium-ion battery market.
The Investing News Network (INN) was in attendance to get further insight from the presenters and companies, some of which included:

  • Robin Goad, president and CEO of Fortune Minerals (TSX:FT): Fortune Minerals is a company focused on advancing its goldcobalt-bismuth-copper project. In particular, the company will be producing cobalt chemicals used to make rechargeable batteries and declares it is  positioned to become a reliable producer of the aforementioned products that “are critical to a growing world economy.”
  • Warren Stanyer, CEO of Nevada Sunrise Gold (TSXV:NEV): the company has acquired 100 percent interest in the Neptune, Clayton NE and Aquarius projects–all lithium brine exploration properties in the Clayton Valley.
  • Dan Blondal, CEO of Nano One (TSXV:NNO): Nano One says it has a “scalable industrial process” for producing high performance energy storage materials for batteries in addition to a range of advanced nanostructured composite materials.
  • Greg Bowes, CEO of Northern Graphite (TSXV:NGC): Northern Graphite owns a 100 percent interest int he Bissett Creek deposit in eastern Ontario, which is an advanced stage project with a final feasibility study. According to the company’s website, the project has the highest percentage of large flake graphite material.

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Kickstarting the seminar was none other than Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence with a presentation called “the lithium-ion battery supply chain in an energy storage revolution,” which was of particular interest to INN, as the market looks to take off in the next few years.
Moores started the presentation stating that “energy storage is the new oil,” with three main factors in play: pure electric vehicles, utility storage and solar energy, benefiting from this trend–in the medium and long term.
“These three factors are all contributing to an efficient energy grid for the 21st century,” he said to the crowd, adding that it will likely happen sooner than anticipated.
With that in mind, Moores said that the rechargeable battery industry is “still a very young industry”–noting the batteries are used in smart phones, tablets, laptops, hybrid cars, which come from lithium-ion and has “become the chemistry of choice.”
However–looking ahead to 2017 and onwards is the bigger story, where full electric vehicles will heavily come into play as lithium-ion megafactories grow. Moores noted that 75 percent of the factories are, or will be, coming from China.
Some of the megafactories include existing ones and ones many of us are familiar with: Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF), Panasonic (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) to name a few, as well as the aforementioned Chinese producers.
“It’s not just where it’s mined, it’s where it’s processed that’s absolutely critical,” he said. Currently, Australia is the leading source of lithium, whereas China produces half of lithium hydroxide. Moores added that Tesla will “have no choice” but to buy their lithium hydroxide from China.
That being said, lithium demand is expected to grow significantly between now and 2020: a slide in Moores’ presentation showed that 100,000 to 120,000 tonnes of lithium will be needed annually by 2020 to keep balance–half of which he said will come from existing producers.
Although the lithium-ion battery industry is growing rapidly, Moores did note that new brine resource should not be expected before 2020 because “these things take a long time to get up and running.”
Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time news updates!
Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Nevada Sunrise Gold is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid for content.

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