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Lithium Batteries: Nothing But Illusion
Jack interesting article - I want to focus on your lithium concentration analysis. I would not pay any attention to the USGS commentry or numbers as they haven't got their act together.
Price to produce
To remove magnesium from a lithium brine it costs about $300 for every one part of lithium - so Uyuni cost of production will be 19.9 x $300 which of course at a $6,000 per tonne li2Co3 price doesn't compute, which is why you should only invest in Hombre Muerto lithium producers or others with sub 5 x mg ratios if you want lithium exposure.
Lithium Carbonate gets manufactured into lithium hexafluorophosphate and its these manufacturers that are the buyers as they turn it into the various cathodes and electrolytes.
Point two Toyota is using Metal hydride batteries and at some point in time they will switch but the question is will it be 2 million Prius switching to spike the price of lithium carbonate prior to 2014 or the 6.6m chinese electric vehicles in 2015-16?
Quality control is also a key issue and recently we saw 3,500 tonnes of lithium carbonate trashed into a lower price range due to lithium aluminium issues - for the week the price spiked to $10,000 per tonne for a european buyer.
Don't believe the export numbers from Argentina. SQM (Atacama) have a very large drilling program at the moment - I wonder why? Any thing to do with magnesium ratios?
Two producers I know can produce a full cycle of lithium carbonate in six months (need a part summer and spring evaporation cycle). The trick is in the treatment of the magnesium, and the depositonal environment of the brine - has to be in the halites.
Jul 3 11:50 PM
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