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 December 08, 2014
Chinese cobalt prices edge up amid growing sales volumes
    Publisher: Metal Bulletin
    Author: Fleur Ritzema

 
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MetalBulletin.com - December 8, 2014

Excerpt from the MetalBulletin Article

Chinese cobalt prices edge up amid growing sales volumes

China's cobalt prices inched up last week amid rising sales volumes, as market participants decided the minor metal has neared its trough.

Prices have risen on the increase in sales volumes, sources said.

"Some are feeling that domestic cobalt prices may have neared bottom, and those with cash in hand are therefore buying," a major producer official said.

Some end-users were also buying at the current low prices, the producer official said.

Rises in global cobalt prices on Wednesday have boosted local cobalt prices...

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
 November 24, 2014
Construction at Tesla's Gigafactory Ahead of Schedule
    Publisher: Cobalt Investing News
    Author: Charlotte McLeod

 
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Construction at Tesla's Gigafactory Ahead of Schedule

Graphite, Lithium and cobalt market participants have been keeping an eye on Tesla Motors since early this year, when the company announced plans to build a $5-billion lithium-ion battery gigafactory in the United States.

Since then, the maker of electric cars has moved fast. It announced a location for the gigafactory back in September and since then has been making quick progress at constructing it.

Case in point: analyst Simon Moores said Monday via his Benchmark Mineral Intelligence newsletter that construction of the gigafactory is "up to one year ahead of schedule as preparation for the site continued in Q4 2014 at an accelerated pace."

He also states that Tesla plans to use the gigafactory to provide not only electric vehicle batteries, but also "stationary storage applications to store the intermittent energy generated from wind and solar sources."

However, what's perhaps most interesting for market participants is Moores' comment that Tesla, which has already partnered with Panasonic on the gigafactory, is close to announcing other partners. Moores quotes Tesla as saying, "additional Gigafactory partners will be finalised shortly to create a fully integrated industrial complex."

The prospect of more partners has excited market watchers, but as Moores notes, those partners may or may not be raw materials suppliers --- in other words, companies that will provide the graphite, lithium and cobalt that the gigafactory will require. Indeed, in his opinion "agreements with mineral and metal companies should not be expected until well into 2015."

That said, Moores is concerned that even given that time frame, Tesla may ultimately have trouble getting the materials it needs. "What Tesla is asking the world to do is to more than double the output of battery raw materials in a fraction of the time it would normally take to develop and at huge risk to suppliers," he explains.

Definitely some food for thought as the gigafactory hurtles toward completion.

BMW Alliance?

As if the above news wasn't enough, Tesla was also making headlines Monday on rumors of a possible alliance with Germany's BMW.

Reuters reported over the weekend that Tesla CEO Elon Musk told German publication Der Spiegel that his company is speaking with BMW "about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations." He also described BMW's production of carbon-fiber-reinforced car body parts as "interesting" and "relatively cost efficient."

While no other details were provided --- and BMW has not commented --- the news outlet notes that back in June executives from the two companies met to discuss "the creation of charging stations usable or different types of electric cars."

Finally, Musk told the publication that he sees Tesla establishing another battery production plant in Germany in five or six years. While there's been no word yet about demand implications, it's certainly possible that they could be dramatic given current speculation about how much graphite, lithium and cobalt the Nevada gigafactory will require.

To read the full article please click here to visit CobaltInvestingNews.com

 
 November 05, 2014
China Cobalt Falls to Three Month Low, yet Bottom in Sight
    Publisher: Metal Bulletin
    Author: Fleur Ritzema

 
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MetalBulletin.com - November 5, 2014

Excerpt from the MetalBulletin Article

China Cobalt Falls to Three Monthy Low, Yet Bottom in Sight

Chinese cobalt prices fell to a three month low this week although they may have approached near-term bottoms as market participants start hoarding.

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
 October 22, 2014
Raw Material Tightness the Talk of Cobalt Market, Despite Chinese Liquidation
    Author: Fleur Ritzema

 
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MetalBulletin.com - October 22, 2014 - London

Excerpt from the MetalBulletin Article

Raw Material Tightness the Talk of Cobalt Market, Despite Chinese Liquidation

Cobalt market participants are anticipating further raw material tightness in 2015, as supplies from ENRC and Freeport become more limited, sources in London said this week.

"Forget nickel, forget aluminium, cobalt is the talk of this week. There's just not going to be enough raw materials," one minor metals trader said...

ENRC will halt production of cobalt oxide concentrates in December 2014, earlier than many had expected, according to sources at LME Week in London. The news will come as a blow to Chinese cobalt salt makers, who have been struggling to source raw material at a time of tough competition on end products. Most Chinese cobalt salt makers source the majority of their feed from three DRC-based suppliers: ENRC, Freeport Cobalt and Glencore.

Freeport Cobalt, is likely to divert more of its raw material to its own operation in Finland. While this does not remove overall cobalt units from the market, it does mean that the amount of cobalt intermediates for sale is likely to be far lower in 2015. These intermediates will be made into downstream products, produced at Freeport's Kokkola operation. These are likely to find their way to markets, such as the booming Japanese battery sector, which, unlike the Chinese sector, uses briquettes, powder and chemicals as raw materials...

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
 October 20, 2014
Giant Battery Unit Aims at Wind Storage Holy Grail
    Publisher: Bloomberg
    Author: Whitney McFerron

 
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Bloomberg - London - October 14, 2014
Photographer: Ken James/Bloomberg

A worker prepares to do voltage output tests on a section of solar modules at the Southern California Edison (SCE) solar array in Porterville, California, U.S.

At a windy mountain pass on the edge of the Mojave Desert, North America's most potent collection of batteries used for storing unused power is humming its way toward an electricity revolution.

Southern California Edison, a utility that serves about 14 million people, has amassed more than 600,000 lithium-ion battery cells -- enough to power 2,000 Chevrolet Volts -- at a substation in Tehachapi, California. The $54 million, two-year test project aims to collect power generated from the area's 5,000 wind turbines and store it for future use.

Cost-effective storage for wind and solar energy is the industry's "Holy Grail," Morgan Stanley says. That's because times of high output during sunny days or windy nights don't always match up with peak demand. While batteries are currently too expensive for large-scale use, improving technology is cutting costs, which means storage systems could replace some plants and avoid the need for new ones, as well as cut demand for oil, according to UBS AG and Citigroup Inc.

"We're at the infancy of this," Ron Nichols, the senior vice president of regulatory affairs for Rosemead, California-based SCE, said in a telephone interview Oct. 1. "The technology is important. I don't know if it's a game-changer yet, but it has the potential to be, particularly if it gets implemented more deeply and the costs come down."

In the next seven or eight years, the price of batteries used for storage may fall by about half, to $230 a kilowatt hour of generating capacity, said Sofia Savvantidou, an analyst at Citigroup in London. Policy makers are setting more targets for renewable energy and demand is increasing from companies including electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), she said.

Prices Falling

Electric-car battery prices already have fallen by 50 percent since 2010 to about $500 per kilowatt hour, and "by drawing on auto-battery technology, battery makers may also be able to supply storage batteries at a lower price," Citigroup said in a Sept. 25 report. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk said in July that battery packs for electric cars will drop to $100 in the next 10 years. The Tehachapi batteries are supplied by LG Chem Ltd. and are the same type used in General Motors' Volt.

The Southern California Edison project is part of a push for more wind and solar power in the state, among the sunniest in the U.S. A third of California's electricity must come from renewable sources by 2020, and mandates also require that the three biggest investor-owned utilities store 1,325 megawatts by 2024. California already has more than 12,000 wind turbines, the most of any state, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Excess Energy

Most electricity in the U.S. is produced at the same time it is consumed, and suppliers bring plants on and offline depending on demand. Coal and nuclear plants provide much of the base load, accounting for a combined 58 percent of domestic output last year, government data show. Peak-load plants, usually fueled by natural gas, which accounted for 27 percent of U.S. output, are more flexible. They run when demand surges, often on hot days when consumers run air conditioners.

Only about 4.1 percent of U.S. power came from wind turbines last year, and less than 1 percent was generated by solar panels, both of which are more erratic than fossil fuels. Most of the rest was supplied by hydro-electric dams, geothermal steam and petroleum.

California already produces more solar energy than it can consume during certain hours in the spring, when it's sunny but still too cool for air conditioners, SCE's Nichols said. Excess generation may reach 10,000 to 15,000 megawatts by 2020, when the state meets its renewable targets, so batteries will be needed to avoid wasting energy, he said. The Tehachapi facility can store 32 megawatt-hours of energy, making it North America's largest lithium-ion battery project by output, the company says.

Tesla's Gigafactory

Other countries are pursuing similar projects. Wemag AG, a northern German utility, opened Europe's first commercial battery-storage facility last month, a 5-megawatt unit built by Younicos AG that stores power on lithium-manganoxid cells made by Gyeonggi, South Korea-based Samsung SDI Co. (006400) In Japan, Toshiba Corp. is supplying lithium ion batteries for a Tohoku Electric Power Co. pilot project that will create a 40-megawatt energy storage system in Sendai, the largest of its kind when completed in 2015.

Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, is planning a $5 billion "gigafactory" in Nevada with help from Japan's Panasonic Corp. that will be the world's largest battery factory, Musk said last month. Samsung is partnering with Chinese investors to build a car-battery plant in Xian, China. Electric vehicles may make up 10 percent of new car registries in Europe in the next decade, according to UBS, which estimates battery costs will drop by more than 50 percent by 2020.

'Smart Grid'

Besides helping bring battery costs down, electric cars themselves may become a source of energy storage for the power grid, said Patrick Hummel, a utilities analyst for UBS in Zurich. In a "smart-grid world," consumers would recharge cars while at work during the day, when solar output is the highest, and then feed some of that energy back to the grid during the high demand periods in the evening, he said. This could eliminate the need for some peak-load plants, he said.

"Demand peaks typically only last for a few hours, and having electric vehicles during those hours that can also supply to the grid would be a huge, huge benefit," Hummel said by telephone Oct. 6. "It avoids billions in expensive backup or peak power stations or other expensive demand-side responses." Some utilities including SCE's owner, Edison International (EIX), may benefit if their spending on grid upgrades and new technologies includes a focus on electric vehicles, UBS said. Renewable generators and battery manufacturers including Saft Groupe SA and Blue Solutions SA probably will also see benefits, while conventional power generators stand to lose, HSBC said in a Sept. 29 report.

Less Oil

Consumption of oil, natural gas and coal also may drop as battery storage reduces demand for traditional fossil fuels, Citigroup said. Global oil consumption may fall by as much as 4 million barrels a day over the next 15 years as the technology becomes further integrated, Savvantidou said. The world used 91.33 million barrels a day in 2013, BP Plc data show.

In Europe, Germany is leading the transition toward renewable energy. The German government has set a goal that 80 percent of the country's electricity be supplied by renewable sources, including solar and wind, by 2050. The country also provides subsidies to consumers in the form of loans to buy and install batteries alongside solar panels. There are more than 4,000 residential energy-storage systems in the country because of the subsidy program, HSBC said.

Power Plants

The U.S. is still a long way from having enough battery capacity to replace power plants, SCE's Nichols said. The Tehachapi site, half funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, is capable of storing enough energy to power about 1,600 to 2,400 homes.

"If battery storage ever gets to the point where we have a breakthrough technology, where they can run for eight or 10 hours at their full capacity, that would be a real game changer," Nichols said. "We don't see that right now, but one never knows what technology could bring us in the future."

To contact the reporter on this story: Whitney McFerron in London at wmcferron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net John Deane

(To Read the full article please click here).

 
 October 16, 2014
Formation Metals' Idaho Cobalt Project - a Model for Good CSR
    Publisher: Industrial Minerals - Critical Materials for Green Energy
    Author: Emma Hughes

 
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The recent Industrial Minerals publication "Critical Materials for Green Energy" focuses on the importance of the relationship between global mining and "green" applications. The articles in the publication are centered around Tesla Motors Inc. and its construction of the largest battery manufacturing plant in the world, the Gigafactory. The 40 page publication contains several articles discussing how Tesla's Gigafactory will affect the supply and demand for lithium, graphite, cobalt and other critical battery materials up to and beyond 2020

Formation Metals was featured in this edition of the publication (page 30, 31 & 40) and an excerpt from the editorial is below:

Vancouver-based Formation Metals believes that its US-based ICP is well positioned, both geographically and ethically, to capitalise on growing demand for battery grade cobalt chemicals and high purity cobalt metal from the rapidly expanding rechargeable battery and aerospace sectors.

Canadian exploration and mine development company Formation Metals Inc. is a polymetallic developer with a unique primary cobalt mine that is poised to supply the US cobalt market -- and its timing could scarcely be better.

Cobalt is a silver grey transition metal used in a diverse array of industrial and military applications to make everything from corrosion-resistant steel to lithiumion (Li-ion) batteries. The metal has been on the European Union's list of "critical" raw materials since 2010 and has been considered a "strategic" mineral by the US government since the 1980s, based on concerns over access and potential future supply shortages in view of projected demand growth. While consumption of cobalt is rising in a number of industries, a significant amount of media and investor attention has recently been given over to its use in Li-ion batteries.

Estimates by Roskill Information Service delivered at the Cobalt Development Institute's 2014 conference in Brussels, Belgium, in May, indicate that demand for cobalt in batteries has grown at a rate of 7.6% per year over the last five years to 2013, with batteries accounting for 35% of total cobalt consumption. "Consumption in the rechargeable battery sector will see growth from approximately 33,000 tonnes of cobalt in 2013 to a projected figure of close to 60,000 tonnes in 2020," a 2013 Cobalt Market Review report from Darton Commodities Ltd stated.

"This demand scenario should be taken in the context of no new meaningful cobalt production projects on the horizon and could herald the beginning of the next bull run in cobalt metal prices," it added - a projection that Formation believes favours the timing of its plans for the development of its cobalt mine.

Formation's primary asset, located in the mining-friendly state of Idaho, is the 100%-owned, fully environmentally permitted, Idaho Cobalt Project (ICP). The company describes the ICP as "an ethical source of critical raw materials benefiting from strong domestic demand and low carbon footprint," or, to put it another way, the "greenest mine in America"...

Although Formation expects to be in a position to supply cobalt to customers in a number of markets, including solar energy, the company believes that it will have a particular allure for Tesla as a potential supply partner. "We believe there is an opportunity to develop a very unique synergy, beneficial to both Tesla and Formation, in the procurement of cobalt from our ICP," Honsinger told IM. "Our cobalt will be ethically sourced from an environmentally sound and safe workplace and will contribute to the local economy. It represents near term, secure supply from a politically stable country and complies with Tesla's stated intention to source as many of its raw materials as possible from domestic or nearby sources," he added.

To Read the 4 page full article on Formation Metals Inc., Please click on the link below.

Critical Materials for Green Energy

Formation Metals Editorial - Industrial Minerals Publication Oct 2014

To read the full 40 page publication, Register to download full publication
and follow on Twitter @IndMin.

FULL DISCLOSURE: A fee has been paid for the advertisement and production of this publication.

 
 October 13, 2014
US Defense Logistics Agency Published Raw Materials Sales Plan for 2015 - Including Lithium-Cobalt Oxide & Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt
    Publisher: Industrial Minerals
    Author: Laura Syrett

 
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL COMPANY NEWS RELEASE
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Indmin.com - October 13, 2014

Excerpt from the Industrial Minerals Article

US Defense Logistics Agency Outlines Potential Lithium and Rare Earth Acquisitions - Including Lithium-Cobalt Oxide & Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt

The US Department of Defense has identified and tracks a number of minerals it considers to be critical to US national security and its purchasing intentions are an indicator of demand and availability of certain materials.

The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has published its raw materials sales plan for the financial year (FY) 2015, indicating that it is considering purchasing half 150kg each of lithium-cobalt oxide and lithium-nickel-cobalt. The DLA's Annual Materials Plan, which was published on 2 October and is effective from 1 October through to September next year...

...With responsibility for analysis, procurement and management of materials considered critical to the US national security, the DLA tracks the supply chains of a broad range of minerals, including rare earths, used in fighter jets and missile defence systems, and lithium, used in batteries and fuel cells for remote energy storage....

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Industrial Minerals Subscription or follow on Twitter @IndMin

 
 October 09, 2014
Cobalt at Centre of Breathtaking Scientific Discovery
    Publisher: Metalbulletin.com
    Author: Fleur Ritzema

 
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MetalBulletin.com - October 9, 2014 - London

Excerpt from the MetalBulletin Article

Cobalt at Centre of Breathtaking Scientific Discovery

The cobalt world is always looking for innovative new applications for the blue metal, and this one is truly breathtaking.

A new-fangled crystal, which comes from cobalt, appears to be capable of holding and storing oxygen at high concentrations.

A paper by researchers from the University of Southern Denmark notes that the material acts as both a sensor, and a container for oxygen, which can be used to bind, store and transport oxygen. "In the lab, we saw how this material took up oxygen from the air around us," the study's author, Christine McKenzie, said.

It can absorb and release oxygen many times without losing the ability. Why does this matter, I hear you ask. Well, the crystal, which is actually a salt which comes from cobalt, could have a lot of useful and potentially life-changing applications. It could feed high concentrations of oxygen into hydrogen fuel cells, lightening the load for lung patients who have to carry around heavy oxygen tanks. And scuba divers could potentially leave their tanks at home.

Divers could get oxygen from this material as it filters and concentrates oxygen from surrounding air or water. "A few grains contain enough oxygen for one breath, and as the material can absorb oxygen from the water around the diver and supply the diver with it, the diver will not need to bring more than these few grains," Mackenzie said. And it's all thanks to cobalt, which is bound in a specially-designed organic molecule. "Cobalt gives the new material precisely the molecular and electronic structure that enables it to absorb oxygen from its surroundings," explains McKenzie...

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
 October 03, 2014
Battery Sector Fuels Higher Japanese Cobalt Imports
    Publisher: MetalBulletin
    Author: Fleur Ritzema

 
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL COMPANY NEWS RELEASE
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MetalBulletin.com - October 3, 2014 - London

Excerpt from the MetalBulletin Article

Battery Sector Fuels Higher Japanese Cobalt Imports

The cobalt industry is benefiting from strengthening demand in the battery sector in Japan, a country which has seen imports surge 10% so far in 2014.

Japanese imports of unwrought cobalt reached 6,626 tonnes in the January-August period of 2014, official customs data shows. The increased imports, sources said, are the result of higher demand, particularly from the battery sector. "Japan is really on fire. It's partly related to the yen, and partly technological advances and the battery sector," one source told Metal Bulletin.

Battery demand for use in smart phones, most recently from the iPhone 6, is strong, while demand for tablets is also growing, sources explained. And better demand from the electric vehicle sector has increased the need for lithium-ion batteries, which are cobalt-based. This is boosting consumption of cobalt metal, powders and chemicals, and benefiting battery makers such as Panasonic and suppliers of battery materials such as Nichia....

"It appears to be that there is a strong growth in automobile battery demand, where the quality is critical," explained a second cobalt market source. Japanese battery materials are known for their high quality and are typically made using more refined types of cobalt, which are more plentiful compared with intermediates...

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
 September 17, 2014
Cobalt prices drift as anticipated post-summer pick-up disappoints
    Publisher: MetalBulletin
    Author: Fleur Ritzema

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




MetalBulletin.com - September 17, 2014 - London

Excerpt from the MetalBulletin Article

Cobalt prices drift as anticipated post-summer pick-up disappoints

Cobalt prices drifted lower mid-week, after post-summer spot demand disappointed waiting producers, sources said.

Producer supplies had been limited for several months, despite it being the traditionally quiet summer period, which can lead to slack demand and lower prices.

Bucking the traditional trend, cobalt prices had held firm at more than two-year highs throughout the summer due to this tightness in producer availability.

Traders, consumers and some producers noted that spot metal demand has been slow this week, given the time of year....

To read more, Sign up for a Free Trial Metal Bulletin Membership or follow on Twitter @metalbulletin

 
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