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Lithium Market in Demand Thanks to Electric Vehicles

Lithium Market in Demand Thanks to Electric Vehicles

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According to a report published by Transparency Market Research, the global lithium-ion battery market is expected to reach US$77.42 billion by 2024 and with a compound annual growth rate of 11.6 percent during the forecast years. The increasing demand for electric vehicles as well as other consumer electronics, such as smartphones and wearable equipment continues to drive the growth of the market. A Lithium-ion battery is a type of rechargeable batteries with high power density. It is getting more popular as many automakers use it as an alternative to nickel-metal batteries in electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTC: MLNLF), Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), FMC Corp. (NYSE: FMC).

The declining availability of fossil fuels and the benefits of clean energy continue to boost the demand for electric vehicles. According to a report by Reuters, Consultants CRU Group stated that, “electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales could increase to 4.4 million in 2021 and reach more than 6 million by 2025.” In addition, the consumer electronics market is expected to witness rapid growth in the coming years due to the strong demand for smartphones and other portable electronics in the Asia-Pacific region and other developing countries.

Millennial Lithium Corp. (OTCQB: MLNLF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol ML. Earlier today, the company announced that it is pleased to report very positive analytical results from the latest exploration well at its Pastos Grandes Project in Salta, Argentina. Exploration hole PGMW17-04b, was drilled to a depth of 564 metres (m) and terminated in a brine-bearing formation. This hole, coupled with the results of holes PGMW16-01 and PGMW16-02 (see News Release dated Jan. 25, 2017), confirm the salar’s brine carrying capacity extends to much greater depths than encountered in previous exploration wells. Hole PGMW17-04b intersected a robust brine horizon averaging a lithium grade of 535 milligrams per litre (mg/L) from 93.5m to 475m.

Millennial CEO, Farhad Abasov, commented, “We are very pleased to see that drilling in the Pastos Grandes salar continues to encounter very thick lithium brine-bearing sequences. The average lithium content of hole PGMW17-04b is 535 mg/L over an impressive 381.5m which is significantly higher than the values encountered in previous drilling. Millennial currently has two drills turning to further define the lithium-bearing brine in this region as it works toward a maiden resource estimate.”

Exploration well PGMW17-04b, drilled to a final depth of 564m, was sampled using a double packer system which is designed to isolate sample intervals. Twenty seven brine samples were collected from 93.5m deep to 475m, and yielded an average lithium grade of 535 mg/L and an average magnesium/lithium ratio of 5.6. Individual lithium grades from the hole range from a low of 463 mg/L to a high of 623 mg/L. Potassium values range from 4906 mg/L to 6148 mg/L and average 5610 mg/L over the 381.5m intersection. Similar to magnesium, the sulphate/lithium ratio is also lower in this region, averaging 17.4 compared to an average of approximately 22.1 in holes PGMW16-01 and 02. Clastic sediments, primarily sand, form the majority of the lithium-bearing units and continue to the bottom of the hole. We anticipate the zone below 475m (the depth limit of pneumatic packer testing) to be consistent with the rest of the hole and we are undertaking bailer sampling to confirm…”

Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) in an official company blog announced earlier this year that, together with Panasonic Corp. (OTC: PCRFY) mass production of lithium-ion battery cells has begun, which will be used in Tesla’s energy storage products and Model 3. The company said that the, “Gigafactory is being built in phases so that Tesla, Panasonic, and other partners can begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections and continue to expand thereafter. Our phased approach also allows us to learn and continuously improve our construction and operational techniques as we continue to drive down the cost of energy storage. Already, the current structure has a footprint of 1.9 million square feet, which houses 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors.”

Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. We power the potential of companies in many of the world’s largest and most critical industries, from energy and communications to transportation and electronics. On May 3rd, the company reported first quarter 2017 net sales of $722.1 million, net income from continuing operations of $62.7 million and adjusted EBITDA of $211.4 million. “Our first quarter results clearly demonstrate the increased growth profile of Albemarle following the changes to our business portfolio over the last few years,” said Luke Kissam, Albemarle’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Excluding currency exchange impacts and divested businesses, both revenue and adjusted EBITDA grew by double digits, 15% and 14%, respectively, compared to first quarter 2016. Our industry-leading Lithium business lead that growth, with an adjusted EBITDA increase of 56%.”

FMC Corp. (NYSE: FMC) operates its businesses in three segments: FMC Agricultural Solutions, FMC Health and Nutrition and FMC Lithium. On June 23rd, it announced that the company has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Epax Omega-3 business to Pelagia AS. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Q3 2017, subject to customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions. “We are pleased to sell our Omega-3 business to Pelagia AS, a leading manufacturer of pelagic fish products,” said Eric Norris, President, FMC Health and Nutrition. “We believe Pelagia provides a strong strategic fit for our Epax® Omega-3 product line and will complement Pelagia’s existing portfolio.”
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