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Lithium Driving the Future of Transport

5 January 2023 07:15

Spurred on by global movements towards net-zero emissions, lithium was to be the big winner in 2022 and it seems likely the critical battery metal will hold on to its crown well into this year.

Seeing a year-on-year growth of 87.21 per cent, lithium is currently trading at CNY 519,500 (6:00 am UTC +800) per tonne, with forecasts indicating this growth will continue, as the critical metal is estimated to grow to around 538,460 CNY/T by the end of this quarter and then to above 556,782 CNY/T this time next year.

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Much of lithium’s growing popularity can be attributed to the rapidly growing electric vehicle market, with countries around the world fighting to secure supply for this burgeoning industry, with a report from the International Energy Agency in July stating that to meet government demand, the critical mineral and battery metal supply chain, including lithium, will have to increase ten-fold.

With lithium continuing to grow, investors are strongly on the lookout for the explorers hunting for the critical battery metal.

As of late, Latin Resources’ (ASX: LRS) Colina lithium project has been drawing investors’ eyes, with the project’s initial mineral resources estimate coming in at 1.3 million tonnes @ 1.6 per cent Li2O.

On top of Colina’s massive MRE, the company has shown it will be able to make the most of it, with early metallurgical testing showing a recovery rate of up to 80 per cent at grades up to 7.96 per cent while retaining low iron content.

Oar Resources (ASX: OAR) is also set to benefit lithium’s ongoing popularity, with its recently acquired Denchi lithium project in Western Australia’s legendary Goldfields region.

Denchi is perched just 120 kilometres away from the tier-1 Kathleen Valley lithium project held by Liontown resources, which holds an estimated 156 Mt of LiO2 at an average grade of 1.4% Li2O.

Initial reconnaissance at Denchi has shown several outcropping pegmatites prospective for lithium, caesium and tantalum mineralisation, the same type of host rock as at Greenbushes, the world’s largest operating lithium mine.

On the acquisition, Oar Executive Chairman Chris Gale said “We see this project as a valuable addition to our stable of critical mineral assets that are in demand globally as the race for renewables continues to accelerate.”

Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) is another explorer maximising return from lithium’s continuing momentum, with a spodumene pegmatite swarm being uncovered at the Medcalf prospect of its Lake Johnson lithium project JV.

LIT is looking to attack the lithium battery market from another angle, with its battery recycling company Envirostream being the industry-leading in Australia and seeing exciting growth last year, having locked in a new deal with South Korean tech giant LG to process a minimum 250 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries.

As the EV market continues to rise and lithium becomes more and more pivotal to attain net-zero emissions, all eyes will be on these junior explorers to provide for this ever-growing industry.

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