In August, cobalt and lithium continued to make news headlines around the world. Here, the Investing News Network looks at the major events, announcements and developments in the battery metals space.
At the beginning of the month, top producer Glencore (LSE:GLEN) posted its first-half results, showing an increase of 31 percent in cobalt production after restarting output at Katanga. The miner is seeking to double its production of cobalt in the next two years.
Meanwhile, battery manufacturers continue to look for ways to reduce the content of cobalt in electric car batteries. Korean battery makers SK Innovation (KRX:096770) and LG Chem (KRX:051910) as well as China’s CATL (SHE:300750) are all said to be developing 811 NCM (nickel-cobalt-manganese) cathodes.
Most analysts would agree that the market is moving towards this next-generation cathode with 8 parts nickel, 1 part manganese and 1 part cobalt, but experts don’t think they will be used at a mass scale any time soon due to safety and stability concerns.
In the lithium sector, top producers and junior companies published plenty of announcements during the month. Chilean lithium miner SQM (NYSE:SQM) said it is set to become the world’s top lithium producer by 2022, according to VP Daniel Jimenez. The company’s increases at its Chile operations, together with new projects in Argentina and Australia, will help SQM beat US-based Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) by 2022.
Also in August, Chinese lithium producer Ganfeng Lithium (SZSE:002460) signed a deal to buy SQM’s stake in Lithium Americas’ (NYSE:LAC, TSX:LAC) Argentina project, boosting Lithium Americas stock and increasing its stake in the global lithium market. The deal was seen as a win-win-win deal and as a good agreement for the industry as a whole.
Another top lithium producer, Tianqi Lithium (SZSE:002466), announced it is seeking to list in Hong Kong and raise up to US$1 billion, money it will use in part to pay for the stake it purchased in SQM back in May. Investors who have been following this story know that the purchase might be delayed as it is under investigation by Chile’s competition authority.
A few other developments worth mentioning include:
- Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) releasing a definitive feasibility study for Pilgangoora.
- Advantage Lithium (TSXV:AAL) releasing a positive preliminary economic assessment for its Cauchari joint venture.
- Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) producing battery-grade lithium at Rincon.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Advantage Lithium is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.