NEW YORK, December 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
A research report by Markets and Markets estimates that the lithium-ion battery market is expected to be valued USD 68.97Billion by 2022, or growing at a CAGR of 16.6% between 2016 and 2022. The market for lithium nickel manganese cobalt battery type is expected to grow at the highest rate between 2016 and 2022. Reuters reported that by 2020, 75 percent of lithium-ion batteries will contain cobalt, whose properties allow electric cars to extend their range between charges, according to eCobalt Solutions. The growth of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery market is a result of demand for electric vehicles, smart devices and other consumer electronics, as well as of strict government mandates on fuel economy. First Cobalt Corp. (OTC: FTSSF), FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM), Glencore Plc (OTC: GLNCY)
A report by Rockstone-Research also indicates the importance of cobalt in the market. According to Rockstone-Research, "The growth of the li-ion battery industry, which has already contributed to booms in both the graphite and lithium space, is likely to result in growing demand for cobalt, given it's a key material input in most li-ion battery cells. Cobalt prices have already started rising, but are still a long way from their pre-financial crisis highs. Second, there is a serious geopolitical situation brewing in the DRC, the country responsible for over 60% of annual global primary cobalt production. If those developments turn sour and the current president, Joseph Kabila once again fails to step down at the end of 2017, then there is the real possibility of an outbreak of unrest in the country. That could lead to significant disruption to cobalt output from the country, the likely result of which would be a serious global cobalt supply squeeze."
First Cobalt Corp. (OTCQB: FTSSF) is also listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol 'FCC'. On December 19th the company announced, "New positive drill results from its 2017 drill program, confirming the presence of three cobalt bearing veins to the southwest of the past-producing Keeley mine in the Canadian Cobalt Camp. First Cobalt's 2017 drill campaign is targeting cobalt mineralization over a two kilometre strike length, representing less than two percent of its land package with several known historic cobalt-rich mines."
- 0.12% Co over 5.50m, including 0.68% Co over 0.34m in the Woods vein system which, together with the Watson vein, accounted for over 80% of the production in the Cobalt South area of the Cobalt Camp
- Greater than 1.00% Co over 0.42m* in the KeeleyCo#1 vein and 0.60% Co over 0.38m in the KeeleyCo#2 vein
- KeeleyCo#1 and KeeleyCo#2 veins are two metres apart and are interpreted as parallel structures to the Woods vein, where only minor mine workings exist
- Zinc and lead intersected as part of a hydrothermal halo around the vein systems provides another example of previously unknown metal zoning now seen elsewhere in the Cobalt Camp
Trent Mell, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: "We have identified cobalt mineralization to the north and south of the historic Keeley and Frontier silver-cobalt mines. Intersecting meaningful cobalt veins at the Woods Vein Extension and now at the southern extent of the Keeley mine has provided important data points and insights into historic mining operations. We are learning valuable structural information in this first drill program that will be applied to an ambitious camp-wide drill program commencing in January 2018."
Recent surface sampling results including the Drummond, Juno and Silver Banner mines in Cobalt North, the Caswell mine in Cobalt Central and the Bellellen mine in Cobalt South, together with 2017 drilling assays, will be integrated into First Cobalt's geological model to plan the 2018 drill program.
FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC) has served the global agricultural, industrial and consumer markets with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. FMC's 2016 pro forma revenue was approximately $4 billion. FMC employs more than 7,000 people throughout the world and operates its businesses in two segments: FMC Agricultural Solutions and FMC Lithium. On November 6, 2017, the company reported third quarter revenue of $646 million, which is an increase of 3 percent year-over-year. FMC Lithium reported third quarter segment revenue of $94 million, an increase of 28 percent sequentially and an increase of 35 percent versus the prior-year quarter. Segment earnings increased over 50 percent sequentially and more than doubled year-over-year to $37 million in the quarter. Higher volume from FMC's new hydroxide operations in China and higher year-over-year prices were the main contributors to growth. The outlook for Lithium segment revenue for the full year of 2017 remains in the range of $340 million to $360 million, an increase of 33 percent at the mid-point compared to 2016, while the outlook for full-year segment earnings has been raised to a range of $124 million to $128 million.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. Earlier this year, the company announced that it has developed an innovative technology that could enable Albemarle to sustainably increase total lithium production in Chile to as much as 125,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) annually, without the need for additional brine pumping at the Salar de Atacama. As a result of this development, Albemarle has requested that Chile's Economic Development Agency (Corfo) increase Albemarle's lithium quota. Assuming the technology proves commercially viable, Albemarle plans to build and start-up additional lithium carbonate capacity in Chile in the early 2020s, once current expansion projects are completed and producing at capacity. Projects already underway should increase Albemarle's total annual production capacity in Chile to greater than 80,000 metric tons of LCE by 2020.
Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is an integrated producer and distributor of lithium, iodine, specialty plant nutrients, potassium-related fertilizers and industrial chemicals. On December 20, 2017, the company announced that it and its subsidiary SQM Australia Pty, have finalized the purchase of 50% of the assets of the Mount Holland Lithium Project in Australia. This purchase is from MH Gold Pty Ltd, Montague Resources Australia Pty Ltd y Kidman Resources Limited. SQM Australia and the Sellers have also signed a joint venture agreement describing the development, construction and mining operations, concentration and refining plants for the production of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide. This joint venture agreement will also allow for the exploration and exploitation of Sellers's lithium rights which are not included in the Agreement.
Glencore Plc (OTC: GLNCY) is one of the world's largest global diversified natural resource companies and a major producer and marketer of more than 90 commodities. Earlier this year, the company announced it has today purchased from subsidiaries of Fleurette Properties Limited the Fleurette group's remaining 31% stake in Mutanda Mining Sarl and an approximate 10.25% stake in Katanga Mining Limited. Mutanda is a high grade copper and cobalt producer, with its operations located in the province of Lualaba in the DRC. As of December 2016, Mutanda production was at an annualized production rate of above 200 ktpa. of copper cathodes and 24 ktpa of cobalt in hydroxide. Katanga operates a major mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo producing refined copper and cobalt.
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