INN caught up with Andrew Miller of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence to talk all things battery metals, from demand to prices.
Battery metals have been performing better than many expected this time last year.
Speaking with the Investing News Network, Andrew Miller, product director at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said the market is starting to see a turnaround in these markets from a price perspective.
“But more importantly, the demand fundamentals that we’ve been talking about for so long now (are starting) to come to fruition,” he said.
For Miller, by the end of the year, it will be clear that the flexible capacity in some of these markets isn’t going to be able to absorb all of the new demand.
“And when you come into this growth period where year-on-year the volumes are getting significantly bigger in terms of orders from the battery industry, I think that has the potential to create a real bottleneck in terms of keeping supply up with demand,” he said.
Demand for key raw materials used in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs) is here to stay, explained Miller, and the growth curve for battery metals is just at the start. With prices going up, more money is coming to the sector.
He said more supply is expected to come online as a result, whether it be the incumbents accelerating some of their previously laid plans for expansions, or newcomers to the space attracting capital and pushing for development and new projects.
“At the moment, you need new producers to get up to full capacity, plus you need the introduction of one or two mines every single year from now on,” Miller noted. “So that’s a pretty steep ask for an industry that hasn’t had the best track record of delivering on some of those expansions.”
He also talked about the creation of a lithium-ion economy in different regions around the world, with Europe, North America and Australia all pushing toward building or strengthening their EV supply chains.
“It’s not just a China story anymore. The EV sales numbers, when you look at what’s happening in Europe, look at what’s happening in North America, that tells you the story of where this growth is going.”
He added that in terms of building out the steps preceding battery cells all the way back to the mine, “there still needs to be a lot done.”
“I think you’re going to see a lot more in terms of partnerships. We’ve already started to see a few of those emerge, partnerships along the supply chain, or in some cases integration along the supply chain, which will make sense for some companies,” he said. “But a lot more activity I think is definitely to come over the next few years.”
Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, which tracks prices for raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and graphite, will be hosting its EV Fest for a second year in a row. The event will run from June 1 to 4, and will include free online webinars covering topics from cathodes and anodes to gigafactories.
To learn more about Miller’s thoughts on the battery metals space and what’s ahead for the build out of supply chains around the world, watch the video above.
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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.