LOS ANGELES, September 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
USA News Group - lithium prices are catapulting forward more aggressively than any other energy investment and these 4 companies are at the forefront. Companies engaged in lithium production, refining and exploration include Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM), FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC), and Far Resources Ltd. (OTC: FRRSF) (CSE: FAT).
Lithium has been labeled the 'new gasoline' by Goldman Sachs as demand for the metal continues to grow at such a rapid pace.
The expansion of the electric vehicle (EV) market is expected to be a key factor in the rising demand. Tesla's new Gigafactory in Nevada alone is estimated to produce enough lithium ion batteries to power 500,000 electric cars per year by 2020.
Aside from investing directly in automakers like Tesla, there are some promising lithium companies who are positioned to be suppliers of the world's new energy source of choice.
The rise in price has opened the door to some smaller companies as well.
One of these that's getting positive attention is FAR Resources Ltd. (OTCMKTS: FRRSF) (CSE: FAT.CN), based on its development of high quality lithium projects in Canada's hotbed for lithium mining in the province of Manitoba.
On the list of existing producers, several continue to perform well as lithium demand grows. Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) is an obvious choice as a producer of lithium carbonate, along with Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM), the leader in the popular lithium triangle in South America, and Nemaska Lithium Inc, the Quebec-based company focused on its new Whabouchi lithium project and supporting refining operations.
THE LITHIUM RUSH CONTINUES
Last year, the top 13 battery makers boasted annual production capacity of 29 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy-storage products. By 2020, those same companies are expected to grow production capacity to 171 GWh, with Tesla's first Gigafactory representing 35 GWh.
Rising demand and prices for the top two lithium products - lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide - have driven revenue, income, and shares higher for the world's top lithium producers.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global market for Li-ion batteries doubled to $22.5 billion in 2016 from $11.7 billion in 2012.
And, the share of the automobile sector in the Li-ion battery market grew to 25% in 2016 from 14% in 2012, per the data from Frost & Sullivan. This represents a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 37%.
As lithium emerges as a vital component in battery supply, in addition in the increasing use of Li-ion batteries in consumer electronic products and efforts to promote the use of electric cars by many governments to curb pollution, the demand for these batteries is expected to follow suit.
SEEKING QUALITY LITHIUM
The lithium industry is keen on producers of quality lithium that can be readily available in order to meet the massive demand in specialty areas, like automotive cells.
Lithium comes in two main forms; brine and hard rock. The supply market is split about evenly between the two, but the main differences lie in the purity of the source and technology required to extract the resource.
Brine deposits generally have better economics, since lithium is already isolated and in a solution within the deposit, and brine operations utilize solar evaporation to concentrate the brine within a series of ponds prior to purification.
Hard rock deposits are found in spodumene, which occurs in lithium-rich pegmatites. They are usually recovered through conventional open pit mining methods and processed to a concentrate that's often transformed to lithium carbonate with 99.5% plus purity.
FAR RESOURCES' 'RESERVE'
In the high quality, pure lithium category, Far Resources Ltd. is of particular interest.
Far Resources is a junior mining company that has been working to secure a potential major lithium resource. The company's Zoro Lithium property near Snow Lake, Manitoba covers a significant lithium pegmatite occurrence that contains a historic 'reserve' based on 1956 drilling of 1.8 million tonnes grading 1.4% Li2O to a depth of 1000 feet.
In simple terms, that figure represents a lot of very high grade lithium potential.
By the industry regulations, Far Resources cannot treat the historical estimate as current mineral resources or mineral reserves as defined by mining regulations. But that fact is being replaced by new data from samples and drilling.
Far Resources is in a full exploration drilling program on their Snow Lake property with results expected to validate what geologist already believe.
Success on its Snow Lake property could quickly vault far right up to the ranks of the other leading lithium producers, making the company very valuable.
The ramp-up of lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities in the coming years will need to be matched by the ramp-up of lithium supply from various producers.
But exactly just how much lithium will that be?
Macquarie estimates global demand is currently about 184,500 tons, and it's slated to rise to more than 260,000 tons in 2020. Metals and minerals consultancy Roskill Information Services has a similar estimate, stating its base scenario for lithium consumption at 290,000 tons in 2020. However, it shows that figure rises to a whopping 420,000 tons in its 'optimistic' scenario.
This leaves a significant shortfall of lithium, based on current reserves and slated new production.
The good news is that the industry's successful companies are up to the task.
These companies have shown the continued incentive to invest major capital to transform the lithium industry. At the same time, exploration and development companies like Far Resources are opening whole new opportunities for lithium production not previously available.
If you're looking for top lithium opportunities for your watch list or aggressive portfolio, then give Far Resources a much closer look.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB)
Albemarle Corporation is a global developer, manufacturer and marketer of highly-engineered specialty chemicals. The Company operates through three segments: Lithium and Advanced Materials, Bromine Specialties and Refining Solutions. Lithium and Advanced Materials segment consist of two product categories: Lithium and Performance Catalyst Solutions. The bromine and bromine-based business includes products used in fire safety solutions and other specialty chemicals applications. The Company serves various end markets, including petroleum refining, consumer electronics, energy storage, construction, automotive, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food safety and custom chemistry services. As of December 31, 2016, the Company and its joint ventures operated 31 production and research and development (R&D) facilities, as well as a number of administrative and sales offices, around the world.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM)
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), is a producer of potassium nitrate and iodine. The Company produces specialty plant nutrients, iodine derivatives, lithium and its derivatives, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and certain industrial chemicals. Its segments include specialty plant nutrients, industrial chemicals, iodine and derivatives, lithium and derivatives, potassium, and other products and services Lithium and its derivatives are used in batteries, greases and frits for production of ceramics. Potassium chloride is a commodity fertilizer that is produced and sold by the Company across the world.
FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC)
FMC Corporation, a diversified chemical company, provides solutions, applications, and products for the agricultural, consumer, and industrial markets worldwide. The company operates through three segments: FMC Agricultural Solutions, FMC Health and Nutrition, and FMC Lithium. The FMC Lithium segment offers lithium for use in batteries, polymers, pharmaceuticals, greases and lubricants, glass and ceramics, and other industrial uses.
For a more in-depth look into FAR you can view the in-depth report at American News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2017/09/20/its-not-too-late-for-lithium-profits
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