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Mining Billionaire Targets EV Boom With ‘Green’ Lit...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Mining Billionaire Targets EV Boom With ‘Green’ Lithium Play

Brine lakes are seen at the end of a track at a Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM) lithium mine on the Atacama salt flat in the Atacama Desert, Chile, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Almost three-quarters of the world’s lithium raw materials come from mines in Australia or briny lakes in Chile, giving them leverage with customers scrambling to tie-up supplies. The mining nations hope to bring refining and manufacturing plants that could help kickstart domestic technology industries. Photographer: Cristobal Olivares/Bloomberg
By Bloomberg
04 Feb 2021 1

Mining billionaire Gina Rinehart’s mining empire will help to finance a lithium project in Germany being developed to supply the key ingredient for electric-car batteries needed by Europe’s auto industry.

Rinehart’s closely held Hancock Prospecting Pty will become a cornerstone investor in Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd.’s A$120 million ($92 million) institutional share sale, with the proceeds to be used to further the development of the project. It plans to have a definitive feasibility study ready by 2022.

Vulcan, whose shares in Sydney have risen more than threefold this year, hopes to benefit from rising demand for lithium in Europe, which is trying to build up a local battery-manufacturing industry to reduce dependency on Asian suppliers. The company’s pre-feasibilty study values its lithium resources near Offenburg at 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) before taxes.

Lithium carbonate, an EV battery material, saw biggest monthly jump in five years

The Australian startup claims it can produce battery-grade lithium without emitting carbon dioxide by extracting lithium using a geothermal power plant in southern Germany. The method is similar to what Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is researching in California’s Salton Sea.

Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, is looking to gain exposure to the battery metal at a time when prices are starting to recover after a difficult 2020. China is leading a resurgence in demand for lithium as the global economy starts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Lithium carbonate prices surged 37% in January, the biggest monthly gain since December 2015, according to Asian Metal Inc.

A raft of Australian miners are looking to boost their capacity in the battery minerals space. IGO Ltd in December agreed to buy a 49% stake in Tianqi Lithium Corp’s Greenbushes operation in Australia, the biggest lithium mine in the world.

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  • The race to EV’s is getting faster and faster – Jaguar are saying all their vehicles will be post petrol by 2030 that’s only 9 years away. And no sign of this catching on in SA. Perhaps this is because, in the absence of decent public transport with a defunct PRASA, it would be way too expensive to expect our taxi associations to upgrade the current mode of transport! This means we will end up with the worlds redundant technologies, eventhough we have the capacity to produce green Lithium ourselves here in this country, supporting both job creation, and Green Energy. The question we have to ask ourselves is “. Is this country, it’s people and government sophisticated enough to move and adapt to the fast changing future of the rest of the world? Sadly I think not.

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