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 April 15, 2016
Cheap Lithium-ion Batteries for EVs vs. The Cobalt Cliff
    Publisher: InvestorIntel
    Author: John Peterson

 
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InvestorIntel.com - April 15, 2016
Cheap Lithium-ion Batteries for EVs vs. The Cobalt Cliff

Since early March I've written five articles that focus on supply and demand dynamics in the cobalt mining sector and explain why I believe the lithium-ion battery industry is facing a raw materials shortage of epic proportions. Today I'll drill down into market dynamics within the lithium-ion battery industry and explain why I believe cheap lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) will be the first casualties of the Cobalt Cliff.

I want to begin with an explanation that I've derived most of the numbers in this article by digitizing graphs from Avicenne Energy's presentation at AABC 2016 in Mainz, Germany, a process that's inherently imprecise. While I believe my estimates are close enough to offer a good overview, digitization is dependent on the visual acuity of the human being running the software and like most humans I'm imperfect on my best days.

Based on a careful analysis of Avicenne's graphs I've estimated that in 2015 the lithium-ion battery industry manufactured cells with 61,500 MWh of capacity and generated $17.2 billion in revenue, which works out to an industry-wide average revenue of $280 per kWh at the cell level. Total battery sales to automakers were roughly 15,000 MWh and total revenue from those sales was roughly $5.4 billion, which works out to an average revenue of $360 per kWh. That average will seem high to readers who are accustomed to an endless stream of EV hucksters' happy-talk about $150 per kWh batteries, but it's pretty accurate when you factor in the more costly cells used in PHEVs and HEVs.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 April 12, 2016
Ecclestone on the "very big" cobalt niche
    Publisher: Investor Intel
    Author: Christopher Ecclestone

 
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InvestorIntel.com - April 12, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Ecclestone on the "very big" cobalt niche

The "Blue Metal" is sometimes the term used to describe cobalt. While Cobalt has had the blues in the recent past its worst days seem behind it. Like many other specialty metals it has a poor supply prognosis as its tailwind at the current time and for the foreseeable future.

Overall, cobalt demand is projected to grow from 87,383 tonnes to 113,725 tonnes between 2014 and 2018. Cobalt supply is projected to grow from 91,577 tonnes to 100,778 tonnes over this same time frame. Rechargeable batteries and superalloys comprise 46% and 18% respectively of the total refined cobalt demand. It's important to note that most rechargeable battery users require cobalt in chemical form (sulfate and oxide), while superalloy manufacturers require metal.

[Later in the article, they state:]

Formation Metals Inc. (TSXV: FCO) is ahead of the pack amongst the juniors. This company has the advantage, strategically, that its project is located at Salmon in Idaho and thus could potentially provide the US with an onshore source of Cobalt.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 30, 2016
Tech metal update: blackmarket cobalt, flake graphite caution, and tin's energy future
    Publisher: InvestorIntel
    Author: Robin Bromby

 
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InvestorIntel.com - March 30, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Tech metal update: blackmarket cobalt, flake graphite caution, and tin's energy future

Here are two facts to know about the cobalt business. One, that up to 35% of the cobalt produced in the world comes from mining operations that are losing money (mainly from the nickel they also produce). Two, that some 10,500 tonnes a year (of the total 110,000 tonnes mined last year) is pulled out of the ground by artisanal miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

[Later in the article, they state:]

The good news for those companies, such as Formation Metals (TSX:FCO) in North America and Broken Hill Prospecting (ASX:BPL) in New South Wales, is that CRU estimates that increased government restrictions, increased regulation by end-user companies and variations in metal prices that inhibit buying by international traders, could see the output by Congolese artisanal miners decrease by up to 30% by 2020

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 23, 2016
China Co producers investigate supply chain
    Publisher: ArgusMedia.com

 
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Argusmedia.com - March 23, 2016
Excerpts from the Argus Media Article

China Co producers investigate supply chain

Beijing, 23 March (Argus) --- China's cobalt producers have been asked to provide evidence to show that their products and raw material supply chains are free of child labour.

This comes after a report from human rights campaigner Amnesty International that China's cobalt producer Huayou Cobalt bought cobalt concentrate from mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo that use child labour in dangerous working conditions.

Huayou Cobalt is still investigating this issue and trying to track which parcel of its concentrate imports was bought from the mines.

China's trade chamber CCCMC has taken the lead in assisting cobalt producers to identify potential liability risks in the supply chain. The chamber has also called on global cobalt suppliers to be serious about their roles and responsibilities in the cobalt supply chain and carry out due diligence.

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Argus Media Membership

 
 March 21, 2016
Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital: Cobalt Supply Needs to Rise
    Publisher: Cobalt Investing News
    Author: Charlotte McLeod

 
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Jon Hykawy of Stormcrow Capital: Cobalt Supply Needs to Rise

With demand for lithium-ion batteries growing, the world will need more cobalt from more geographically diverse sources, said Hykawy at PDAC.

By all accounts, lithium, graphite and cobalt got a lot of attention at this year's Prospector's & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference.

Hype surrounding the metals stems from the fact that they're all used to make lithium-ion batteries, which are required by electric vehicle makers. In particular, many market participants are excited by the fact that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) and other major companies are building lithium-ion battery megafactories that will make large amounts of the batteries and require vast quantities of lithium, graphite and cobalt.

Click here to read the full Cobalt Investing News report.

 
 March 14, 2016
Cobalt Supplies Are A Gigarisk For Battery And EV Manufacturers
    Publisher: SeekingAlpha.com
    Author: John Peterson

 
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SeekingAlpha.com - March 11, 2016

Excerpts from the Seeking Alpha Article

Cobalt Supplies Are A Gigarisk For Battery And EV Manufacturers

Summary

Cobalt is an essential raw material for all high-energy lithium-ion cells, and the battery industry currently uses 41% of global cobalt production.

Cobalt is also an essential raw material for superalloys, machine tools, catalysts, pigments and other high value products that use the other 59% of global cobalt production.

Roughly 94% of global cobalt supplies come from copper and nickel mines (principally in Africa) that produce cobalt as a minor byproduct.

The other 6% comes from "artisanal" cobalt miners that reportedly rely on slave and child labor.

Whenever highly inflexible supply chains encounter rapidly increasing demand, chronic shortages and skyrocketing prices are unavoidable.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 11, 2016
Cobalt: the backstory of a technology metal
    Publisher: INVESTORINTEL
    Author: Robin Bromby

 
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL COMPANY NEWS RELEASE
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InvestorIntel.com - March 11, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Cobalt: the backstory of a technology metal

It has certainly been cobalt's week. John Petersen has authored two imposing posts (PT 1, PT 2). Now Christopher Ecclestone has underlined the worries that should be concerning Tesla and other end-users about the possibility that the supplies of lithium and cobalt on which they are depending for their lithium-ion batteries might just not be there when they put in their orders (and he cites the fact that London Metal Exchange warehouses have just 614 tonnes of cobalt in their care).

This is a very important story for InventorIntel given that cobalt is being seen increasingly as a technology metal and a "green" one, the latter reflecting its battery applications.

There is an additional consideration: the availability of cobalt for batteries is complicated by (a) the looming shortage of the metal and (b) the competing demand for it. While projections for 2018 show that battery chemicals will require 49% of cobalt output, the metal is also needed for superalloys, hard metals, ceramics and pigments, catalysts, tyres and paint dryers, electroplating, animal feed, synthetic diamonds and other battery technologies (AlNiCo, SmCo, NdFeB).

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 10, 2016
Tesla's Supply Chain -- Triumph of Hope over Experience?
    Publisher: Investor Intel
    Author: Christopher Ecclestone

 
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL COMPANY NEWS RELEASE
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InvestorIntel.com - March 7, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Tesla's Supply Chain -- Triumph of Hope over Experience?

They say that second marriages are the triumph of hope over experience but we can't help thinking the same of Tesla's "belief" that when miners said to it that they would be able to provide enough Lithium, Cobalt and Graphite for its Gigafactory it actually believed them. We can't escape the feeling that the texting acronym ROFL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing) was made for exactly this situation.

[NOTE: The following paragraphs are excerpts from the full article. To read the full report, Click here]

In this piece we shall follow on from the firestorm that John Peterson created in his piece last week with a specific look at how credible the chance of any of the many projects in the three metals of import actually becoming productive was over the last five years.

Cobalt

This metal has until recently been one of the least talked about in the battery supply chain probably because it has an LME quoted price and thus this has given many the illusion that it is a "major trade metal". Wrong! To put this in perspective the LME warehouses only have 614 tonnes of this metal in stock. Not exactly a base on which to build a major battery industry and still get a good night's sleep.

This brings us then to the subject of primary Cobalt mines. These are rare unicorns indeed.

Formation Metals (FCO.to) is the obvious candidate for Tesla to "take out" if Tesla starts getting serious but even then, the project would probably not fully supply Tesla's needs. Then it might need to move on to the NiCoCo project of Fortune Minerals (FT.to) to be fully self-sufficient. The others are all too early stage or too small to be realistic help in ameliorating Tesla's looming Cobalt crunch.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 07, 2016
Add cobalt to your list of technology (and critical) metals
    Publisher: Investor Intel
    Author: Robin Bromby

 
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL COMPANY NEWS RELEASE
- FOR THE INFORMATION OF SHAREHOLDERS AND INTERESTED PARTIES ONLY -




InvestorIntel.com - March 7, 2016
Excerpts from the InvestorIntel Article

Add cobalt to your list of technology (and critical) metals

If you're reading this and attending PDAC in Toronto, it might pay to swing by the stall operated by Formation Metals (TSX:FCO), a company that has what it claims is the "sole, near term, fully environmentally permitted, cobalt project in the United States".

That is, if you have read John Petersen's superb article on InvestorIntel looking at the three critical metals that go into the lithium-ion batteries. His conclusion: the one to worry about most, in terms of security of supply, is cobalt.

To read more, Click here for the full article

 
 March 02, 2016
Come Visit us at the PDAC in Toronto - Booth 2416 A Session (Sunday/Monday, March 6 & 7, 2016

 

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