Global EV Demand Drives Scramble for Fresh Supplies of Vital Metals

0
1602

NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage

With global electric vehicle (EV) demand growth creating the potential for tight supplies in battery metals such as cobalt, multinational companies and industrialized nations are working to secure these critical metals as prices are projected to rise.

  • The growing market for electric vehicles has led to much higher demand for battery metals such as cobalt, lithium and nickel.
  • As the largest producer of EVs and largest consumer of battery metals in the world, China is aggressively looking to secure additional supplies of these critical minerals.
  • Savvy companies are looking to lock in long-term supplies of battery metals.

Driven by the technological advances and environmentally friendly advantages offered by electric vehicles, the long-awaited EV revolution seems to be taking hold. Numerous global corporations are competing for access to limited supplies of battery metals. Prospective cobalt producer Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (PCRCF) (CSE:BOLT) (PCRCF Profile), which just released a detailed corporate update, looks to be in an ideal position to supply those corporations with cobalt. Major miners such as BHP Group Limited American Depositary Shares (BHP), Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) and VALE S.A. American Depositary Shares (VALE) could play a role in growing the global supply of nickel, cobalt and lithium. Apple Inc. (AAPL) took the extraordinary step of looking for direct supplies of cobalt last year, which shows how heated the battery metals market has become.

To view an infographic of this editorial, click here.

EVs Challenge the Global Supply Chain, Drive Innovation

The rise in EV popularity has created a rush to buy and create new supplies of battery metals because, unlike a normal auto, EVs require large amounts of nickel, cobalt and lithium. Investment bank Goldman Sachs predicts that sales of batteries to power EVs will rise from under $10 billion to $60 billion by 2030, which will require that the global availability of battery metals expands to meet swelling demand.

In addition to creating new demand for battery metals, EVs are also challenging nations to compete in order to expand battery-producing capacity. Chinese, Japanese and South Korean companies are all working to build-out their battery production infrastructure at a rapid pace. China’s BYD Auto. Company is currently one of the largest producers of both EVs and batteries for EVs. The company plans to expand its battery manufacturing capacity to 60 gigawatt hours by 2020, nearly half of China’s total battery manufacturing capacity in 2017.

BYD is part of the Chinese government’s plan to become a world leader in EV production. Beijing has spent billions of dollars to support the EV industry over the last decade. According to Chinese research company Gaogong Industry Research Institute, Chinese battery makers held seven of the top 10 slots on the list of the world’s largest suppliers of lithium-ion batteries for EVs last year. BYD ranked third globally, and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) ranked as the world’s top EV battery manufacturer. Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates that China will produce 70 percent of the world’s electric-vehicle batteries by 2021.

China Isn’t Alone in the Battery Build-Out

China wasn’t the first country to build large-scale battery manufacturing facilities for EVs. Both Japan and South Korea have extensive battery fabrication operations, and major companies in both nations plan to expand their capacity over the next decade. According to JATO Dynamics, only 668,000 battery-powered cars were sold worldwide in 2017,  but year-over-year growth was strong at 78 percent. Roughly 82 million passenger cars were sold in the same year, which offers some idea of the potential market size for EVs.

There is neither a lack of government support nor a lack of demand for EVs. One of the only areas where EV growth could face problems may be the supply of battery metals such as nickel, lithium and especially cobalt. Until recently, cobalt was a by-product metal and hadn’t been mined as a primary mine product since the World War II. In addition, currently, more than 60 percent of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Not only is the DRC difficult from a labor-rights perspective, the country also has a long history of violence and an inconsistent record of shipping mineral resources.

Battery producers located in Asia are eager to secure access to cobalt supplies outside of Southern Africa. Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp. (PCRCF) (CSE:BOLT) is in a unique position to support these battery producers grow their operations. The company controls the Cyclops Nickel-Cobalt Project in Indonesia, which is in proximity to all three major battery-producing nations.

As an initial step in that direction, Pacific Rim recently signed a preliminary offtake agreement with Beijing Easpring Material Technology, recognized as an industry leader in China, to purchase nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate from the company’s Cyclops project for an initial term of five years. Indonesia’s record on allowing the development of large-scale mines is strong, and the Cyclops Nickel-Cobalt Project is closer to Asian ports than either Africa or Australia, boding well for the success of this venture.

Occupying a Unique Position

Asian battery producers have limited options when it comes to sourcing essential metals regionally. Pacific Rim Cobalt’s Cyclops Nickel-Cobalt Project occupies a unique location, which is within 4,500 km of accessible ports in Shenzhen, Seoul and Tokyo. The 5,000-hectare property also benefits from excellent local infrastructure allowing for year-round access, with an airport and city nearby. The project is a relatively new development, unlike many cobalt projects in the West, which have been mined-out sporadically over the last century.

In addition, further exploration work at Cyclops is planned. After the company’s exploration results from a mini-bulk sample were announce last year, Pacific Rim Cobalt CEO Ranjeet Sundher commented that “we expect the near-surface nature of cobalt/nickel mineralization at the Cyclops project will lend itself well to low-cost, logistically straightforward drilling. We thus anticipate the opportunity to undertake a resource calculation study, as well as ongoing metallurgy and process option testing, will present itself in the near future. It’s going to be a busy year ahead, and we look forward to getting the drills turning and building value.”

Pacific Rim Cobalt’s Cyclops Nickel-Cobalt Project has returned positive initial sampling results. Further exploration work may help the company delineate a resource and build its way towards a definitive resource estimate. There appears to be no shortage of demand for battery metals, and the Cyclops Project is well placed to potentially service nearby battery-producing companies.

A Global Drive for Vital Resources

Pacific Rim Cobalt is exploring for cobalt in a jurisdiction that has produced some of the biggest mines in human history. Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) developed the Grasberg mine in Indonesia. It is the world’s largest gold mine and second-largest producer of copper. The mine operates in the remote highlands of the Sudirman Mountain Range in the Papua province, located on the western half of New Guinea. Freeport-McMoRan and its predecessors have been the only operator of exploration and mining activities in the area since 1967.

Major miners such as BHP Group Limited American Depositary Shares (BHP) and VALE S.A. American Depositary Shares (VALE) are also looking for ways to leverage the growth in demand for battery metals. BHP is a world-leading resources company that extracts and processes minerals, oil and gas. The company is headquartered in Australia but sells its products worldwide. BHP announced last year that it would be trying to sell as much as 90 percent of the output from its Australian Nickel West operations to the battery sector.

With its primary focus on mining, Vale is expanding production at its Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in Canada, and the cobalt produced there is already under contract to waiting buyers, including Wheaton Precious Metals Corporation. The company is the world’s largest iron ore and nickel producer, with operations in other mineral sectors as well. VALE invests in research studies around the world to identify new mineral reserves, and its teams of geologists and engineers use techniques ranging from  rock-sample collection and subsoil drilling to satellite image analysis to identify the presence of minerals.

Despite production expansions by major miners, companies such as Apple (AAPL) that rely heavily on batteries will be competing against the EV industry to buy these essential materials. Cobalt is a critical ingredient in the tech giant’s core product line, including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and MacBooks. Recognizing the growing demand for the mineral used in its lithium-ion batteries, Apple may be negotiating directly with miners to secure acquisition of the precious metal annually for at least the next five years.

For more information about Pacific Rim Cobalt, please visit Pacific Rim Cobalt (PCRCF) (CSE:BOLT).

About NetworkNewsWire

NetworkNewsWire (NNW) is a financial news and content distribution company that provides (1) access to a network of wire services via NetworkWire to reach all target markets, industries and demographics in the most effective manner possible, (2) article and editorial syndication to 5,000+ news outlets (3), enhanced press release services to ensure maximum impact, (4) social media distribution via the Investor Brand Network (IBN) to nearly 2 million followers, (5) a full array of corporate communications solutions, and (6) a total news coverage solution with NNW Prime. As a multifaceted organization with an extensive team of contributing journalists and writers, NNW is uniquely positioned to best serve private and public companies that desire to reach a wide audience of investors, consumers, journalists and the general public. By cutting through the overload of information in today’s market, NNW brings its clients unparalleled visibility, recognition and brand awareness. NNW is where news, content and information converge. For more information, please visit https://www.NetworkNewsWire.com.

Please see full terms of use and disclaimers on the NetworkNewsWire website applicable to all content provided by NNW, wherever published or re-published: http://NNW.fm/Disclaimer

DISCLAIMER: NetworkNewsWire (NNW) is the source of the Article and content set forth above. References to any issuer other than the profiled issuer are intended solely to identify industry participants and do not constitute an endorsement of any issuer and do not constitute a comparison to the profiled issuer. FN Media Group (FNM) is a third-party publisher and news dissemination service provider, which disseminates electronic information through multiple online media channels. FNM is NOT affiliated with NNW or any company mentioned herein. The commentary, views and opinions expressed in this release by NNW are solely those of NNW and are not shared by and do not reflect in any manner the views or opinions of FNM. Readers of this Article and content agree that they cannot and will not seek to hold liable NNW and FNM for any investment decisions by their readers or subscribers. NNW and FNM and their respective affiliated companies are a news dissemination and financial marketing solutions provider and are NOT registered broker-dealers/analysts/investment advisers, hold no investment licenses and may NOT sell, offer to sell or offer to buy any security.

The Article and content related to the profiled company represent the personal and subjective views of the Author, and are subject to change at any time without notice. The information provided in the Article and the content has been obtained from sources which the Author believes to be reliable. However, the Author has not independently verified or otherwise investigated all such information. None of the Author, NNW, FNM, or any of their respective affiliates, guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any such information. This Article and content are not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular security or course of action; readers are strongly urged to speak with their own investment advisor and review all of the profiled issuer’s filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission before making any investment decisions and should understand the risks associated with an investment in the profiled issuer’s securities, including, but not limited to, the complete loss of your investment.

NNW & FNM HOLDS NO SHARES OF ANY COMPANY NAMED IN THIS RELEASE.

This release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. “Forward-looking statements” describe future expectations, plans, results, or strategies and are generally preceded by words such as “may”, “future”, “plan” or “planned”, “will” or “should”, “expected,” “anticipates”, “draft”, “eventually” or “projected”. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events, or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements, including the risks that actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, and other risks identified in a company’s annual report on Form 10-K or 10-KSB and other filings made by such company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements.  The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and NNW and FNM undertake no obligation to update such statements.

NetworkNewsWire (NNW) is affiliated with the Investor Brand Network (IBN).

About IBN

Over the past 10+ years we have consistently introduced new network brands, each specifically designed to fulfil the unique needs of our growing client base and services. Today, we continue to expand our branded network of highly influential properties, leveraging the knowledge and energy of specialized teams of experts to serve our increasingly diversified list of clients.

Please feel free to visit the Investor Brand Network (IBN) www.InvestorBrandNetwork.com

Corporate Communications Contact:
NetworkNewsWire (NNW)
New York, New York
www.NetworkNewsWire.com
+212.418.1217 Office
Editor@NetworkNewsWire.com
Media Contact:
FN Media Group, LLC
NNW@FinancialNewsMedia.com
+1-(954)345-0611

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here