Project capital, mainstream coverage, and… the end of gas stations?

February 12, 2018

Last week was a bloodbath across the markets, with the Dow having two days of being down more than 1,000 points in the same week! Lithium stocks were not excluded in this sell off as they continued on in correction mode.  Given this turmoil, it’s more important than ever for market participants to stay on top of news flow related to their investments.  As always, we have you covered with the more notable lithium and electric vehicle (EV) stories summarized below.

Lithium miner financing picture:   Given that there are still many notable projects looking for project capital, we decided to explore how the junior miner financing environment has changed over the recent weeks after the SQM deal news and ensuing market volatility.

Mainstream media coverage: We’ve been starting to see more an more news flow from mainstream sources covering the EV and related industries.  Here are a few examples:

  • Motley Fool also wrote a piece about a few lithium stocks that had strong bounces after sell offs.
  • The economist wrote an interesting piece about companies beginning to use satellites to explore for lithium deposits.  While satellites are used for a number of reasons across the business world, including by hedge funds doing diligence on prospective investments, seeing it being used in the lithium space is pretty cool, and shows the scramble by companies to join in on the growth prospects.
  • While we’ve been hearing a lot about lithium recycling of late as the lithium market fundamentals remain tight, the Financial Times wrote an interesting piece today about Cobalt recycling.  Umicore believes that old smartphones that are just wasting away in peoples’ drawers can potentially be tapped to power millions of electric vehicles.
  • Sticking with the Financial Times and their increasing EV related coverage, they discussed Chargepoint CEO Pat Ramano’s belief that “The rise of electric cars will lead to a “deforestation” of inner-city filling stations as drivers charge at home or work.”
  • Much has been made of Tesla’s meeting in Chile, and potential investment in the country to secure lithium supplies.  Our friend Andy Home wrote his take on why Tesla is turning to Chile for its lithium.

Consolidation Alert!: As we’ve mentioned time and again, we believe that consolidation will be one of the themes of 2018.  While we focused more so on the lithium mining industry, the downstream players should not be left out of this story:

  • Last week, energy storage producer Lithium Werks announced that they will acquire Valence Technologies, in an effort to gain a more global presence.  Check out the news story here.
  • Chinese automaker Geely, who owns Volvo Cars has taken a stake in German car and truck maker Daimler.  This is an interested development, which could potentially lead to some sort of EV partnership between the automakers.  

Cool concept: Operating in the greatest city in the world, we couldn’t wrap up this post without mentioning a cool new battery design being developed by NYC’s second finest school- Columbia University (behind Fordham, of course!). Researchers at the university have designed a spine-like lithium ion battery that can be flexed and twisted.  It remains to be seen what applications they will develop this technology for, but we are certainly interested to keep an eye on their progress.

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