The Global Lithium Podcast
By Joe Lowry
The Global Lithium Podcast May 21, 2021
Episode 170: Iggy Tan
Iggy Tan is the Non-Executive Chairman of Lithium Universe (ASX: LU7) and the Managing Director of Altech Chemicals. He was formerly the CEO of Galaxy Lithium.
At Greenbushes in the 1990s
Trying to make carbonate in Oz in the 1990s
Iggy’s time at Galaxy
Mt Cattlin and Zhangjiagang
China’s first “western” lithium plant
Building Galaxy’s lithium portfolio
Time away from lithium
Creating a “Lithium Universe”
The business model for Canada
The industry’s biggest mistake
Iggy the author
Episode 169: "Down Under"
A summary of my recent 12 day trip to Australia.
Episode 168: Tony Ottaviano
Tony Ottaviano is the CEO of Liontown resources. This episode was recorded at Liontown's offices in Perth, Australia the day after I visited their Kathleen Valley project.
Building a culture
The onboarding experience
Relationship with the Tjiwarl
The Dragonfly camp design
Using renewable energy
Documentation & control
Supply contracts / customer visits
The Albemarle deal
Where to next?
Peak Australia LCE production
Episode 167: Lithium Argentina
Lithium Americas will separate into two entities in the fourth quarter of 2023. LAC’s South American assets will become Lithium Argentina (@Lithium_ARG on X aka Twitter). I spent a few days with the team last week in Buenos Aires and Salta, Argentina.
Recording a podcast seemed like a natural thing to do. John Kanellitsas, Franco Mignacco, Ignacio Celorrio, Carlos Galli and Tom Benson joined me with a cameo appearance by Kelly O’Brien.
The journey to becoming Argentina’s third lithium chemical producer
The importance of finding and retaining the right people
Combining cultures in the Minera Exar JV
The Lithium Americas separation
Politics in Argentina
The growing significance of lithium to Argentina
Why it is too soon for Argentina should focus on making batteries
Doing lithium “differently”
The 500,000 ton goal for Argentina
Leveraging talent from other industries
Bringing new technology to exploration
“The Signal and the Noise”
The five year vision for Lithium Argentina
Episode 166: Listener Q&A
On this episode I enlist the help of Rene LeBlanc & Tara Berrie to help me answer listener questions that cover a broad cross section of interests from how to evaluate lithium projects to the impact of the Inflation Reduction Act to where price may be heading. Shout outs to Daniel Jimenez and Chris Berry.
Episode 165: Denis Geoffroy
Denis Geoffroy is the Chief Commercialization Officer at Nano One. Denis has spent a quarter of a century in the lithium ion battery space and was responsible for the only commercial North American LFP operation in Candiac, Quebec.
We discuss his journey in LFP and how Nano One’s “One Pot” technology will enable a resurgence of LFP production in North America.
LFP – born in Texas and the early days in Quebec
LFP’s recent resurgence in the market
How China came to dominate the market
The current state of LFP supply
Nano One: “Changing How the World Makes Battery Materials”
LFP – the “mass market” EV cathode
The original “million mile” battery
Bringing LFP production back to North America
Nano One partnerships
Learning from cathode “OG” Dr Yuan Gao
Episode 164: Chris Gale
Chris Gale is the founder and MD of Latin Resources.
www.latinresources.com.au / @LatinRes on Twitter
Backstory – the long, winding road to lithium
Going to South America
How a lithium explorer survives
The long odds against explorers becoming producers
Upgrading the resource
Learning from Sigma’s experience
What is a tier 1 lithium deposit?
First steps in developing a project
The importance of getting a lithium legend on the BOD
Rest in peace Dr John Goodenough
Episode 163: Tu Le
Tu Le is the founder & Managing Director of Sino Auto Insights (@SinoAutoInsight on Twitter) and a Co-Host of the China EVs & More Podcast.
Tu had significant experience with at Ford, GM and Apple before making his way to China and the EV world.
China's current & future position in the global EV market
Average battery sizes
The return of EV incentives in China ?
EV price cuts
Tu Le: "BYD is what Tesla wants to be"
Why is GM's CEO saying they can't build a profitable EV in the $30-40K price range in this decade
China EV plans for North America
The coming consolidation of EV producers in China
Why legacy OEMs are on the decline in China
E-Mobility "smartification" & ACES
Why software leads the way in EV development
North American & EU decoupling from China - easier said than done
Changing the US driving mindset
E- Mobility growth in India
The critical metals angst of OEMs
Sodium Ion battery impact on EVs
ONE - Our Next Energy
The top five global EV/Mobility companies in 2030
Episode 162: Ron Mitchell
Ron Mitchell is the Managing Director of Global Lithium Resources (ASX GL1) and a veteran of the lithium industry with more than a decade of prior experience at Talison and Tianqi.
Early days doing business in China
Negotiating in China
How does the industry 10X supply?
Ron’s spodumene price “crystal ball”
Global Lithium Resources' two projects
Building the team at GL1
Doing mining differently
A question for Ron from Tara Berrie
Rapid fire from me as well as Alex Cheeseman
Closing comments on China's "interesting" price narrative
Episode 161: John Worth
John Worth is the CEO and MD of geo40 a technology company based in New Zealand engaged in low carbon recovery of minerals from geothermal fluids. They currently produce colloidal silica at commercial scale from geothermal streams in New Zealand and are leveraging that technology to provide direct lithium extraction (DLE) to a variety of asset types containing low levels of lithium (50 ppm & up). After successfully piloting DLE technology they now plan to move to the demo level with a target of commercialization in North America by 2025 and later in other jurisdictions.
- The need to add DLE to the lithium supply portfolio
- What makes a great DLE project
- Why it makes sense to pursue low ppm level lithium streams in North America
- Where DLE fits in on the cost curve
- Tailwinds from the "new normal" of lithium prices
- The need for multiple DLE players
- Why geo40 is leaving the Salton Sea to others
- My comments on what is happening in price
E160: 3 Listeners / Livent & Allkem
I speak with three podcast listeners who are also keen lithium investors - Nathan Wolyniec from Brisbane Australia; John McElroy, a Green Beret with more than 1,000 parachute jumps originally from Syracuse, NY and David Cebalo a retired investor from Indiana. We discuss what drew them to investing in lithium stocks, how they research companies and make decisions. I end the episode with some thoughts on the Livent - Allkem merger announced earlier this week.
Episode 159: Chile/Argentina/Price
There are two guests on this episode: Daniel Jimenez & David Guerrero. Both have been on the podcast multiple times.
You will get perspective on Chile's new lithium strategy/policy from both sides of the Andes. We also discuss the lithium price and lithium development in Argentina. We probe the possibility of changes to Argentina's royalty structure and ponder Argentina's ultimate lithium production potential with and without DLE. We also briefly discuss lithium activity in Bolivia.
If you want to hear more of my thoughts on the new policy in Chile, here is a link to an interview I did with a group in Chile is below:
Episode 158: The Lithium Decade
I presented "The Lithium Decade" in Singapore last week at the Future Facing Commodities conference. Select slides from the presentation will be available on the Global Lithium website.
Episode 157: Peter Hannah
Peter Hannah (@PHmetals on Twitter) is a senior manager at Fastmarkets. This is Peter's second appearance. His first appearance in June, 2022 was in the top ten of all episodes to date.
We discuss the current pricing situation: the volatility in China with spot price dropping vs rising contract prices elsewhere, supply and demand, the future of lepidolite, the perceived threat of sodium ion batteries and much more.
Episode 156: Daniel Jimenez
Daniel Jimenez is the MD of iLi Markets and a director of Galan Lithium. He has deep experience in lithium after spending almost three decades at SQM before starting his own firm. This is Daniel's fourth appearance on the podcast.
In this episode we have a detailed discussion on current and future supply by region in the face of unprecedented demand growth.
We discuss the currently volatile price situation in China, examine the reasons for it and try to put it in context with pricing in the markets outside of China.
Daniel can be found on twitter at @D_Jimenez_Sch
The iLi Markets website is ilimarkets.com
Episode 155: Jigar Shah
Jigar Shah (@JigarShahDC on Twitter) is the director of the Loan Programs Office at the Department of Energy. Mr. Shah was formerly the co-founder and President at Generate Capital, where he focused on helping entrepreneurs accelerate decarbonization solutions through the use of low-cost infrastructure-as-a service financing. Jigar also has the best laugh of any prior guest on the podcast and celebrated his two year anniversary at the DOE on March 3rd – the day we recorded.
The mandate of the Loan Programs Office
The calculus of leaving the private sector for the DOE
The “alphabet soup” of government programs focused on the Energy Transition
The laziness of big companies
LPO loans – by invitation only
Inspiring action where action wouldn’t otherwise happen
Why Jigar can’t comment on a loan application to LAC for Thacker Pass
Downstream battery investment vs upstream
The contribution of recyclers
Jigar Shah – the “long term lithium bull”
What defines a “friend” of the US
Supply chain risk management
Closing comments on the BMO conference and lithium price
Episode 154: Emilie Bodoin
Emilie Bodoin is the CEO of Pure Lithium.
Pure Lithium is on a mission to change the way batteries are made.
The current state of lithium metal technology
Brine direct to lithium metal - the ultimate DLE?
Lithium ion batteries: a successful compromise
Making lithium metal batteries a reality
Mentors: Dr Donald Sadoway & Robert Friedland
The first big win
Building a team
Learning from mistakes
Scale and cost
A "not so loaded' question
The DOE "disconnect"
Lithium Metal Iron Phosphate
My thoughts on recent happenings in the industry
Episode 153: LAC - GM, The Thacker Pass Decision, & "Patriot Games"
This is a solo episode where I discuss:
The recent General Motors investment in Lithium Americas
The Thacker Pass decision
Rumors regarding Mineral Resources interest in Patriot Battery Metals
Another round of bad lithium analysis from a large bank.
And a shout out to Seth Goldstein at Morningstar
Episode 152: Sigma Lithium - Ana Cabral
My guest is Ana Cabral the Co-CEO of Sigma Lithium
Sigma is in the process of starting up the most significant hard rock project in South America
Commissioning and start-up
Sigma’s value proposition for the battery industry
Spodumene to lithium chemicals conversion ratios
The market for tailings
Becoming a 100K MT LCE producer
The “next guardian” of Sigma
Ana’s view on the past failures of miners
The upward moving cost curve
The Inflation Reduction Act
Ana's respect for Pilbara & WA spodumene producers
My comments on the upcoming Thacker Pass decision
Thoughts (not advice) on lithium investments
Episode 151: Lithium 2023 - "Great Expectations"
This short solo episode takes a look at the lithium year that just ended but more importantly what to expect in 2023.
Brought to you by brinefield services company Zelandez.
DYOR - the Global Lithium Podcast does not present ANY investment advice.
Episode 150: Chris Berry & Listener Questions
Chris Berry (@cberry1 on Twitter) is the founder of Mountain House Partners, a Washington DC based advisory firm. He is also a sought after commentator on the lithium ion battery metals space.
Nothing said on the podcast should be considered investment advice. DYOR - do your own research.
Topics in this episode:
The biggest lithium surprise of 2022
Price – where to from here?
The Inflation Reduction Act
Supply and demand
Canada, Argentina, and Brazil
Redwood Materials recent announcement
Recycling “black mass” at scale
DLE – when will it have an impact on supply?
Lepidolite – how much? how soon? quality?
An “essential question” for Chris from Simon Moores
The “Dragon Armor” LFP battery
Sodium Ion – much ado about nothing?
Battery pack size trends
The “paradox of green growth”
China – where to from here?
Does a “green premium” exist?
Lithium company valuations
Episode 149: Peter Oliver
Peter Oliver has been one of the most influential people in the lithium industry over the past two decades. He spent 18 years at Talison – 12 years as CEO/Managing Director and later was a Non-Executive Director.
Peter guided Talison through the acquisition by Tianqi Lithium in 2013 and then served as an advisor to Tianqi when they sold 49% of Talison to Rockwood (now Albemarle) and later acquired 24% of SQM. He was a founding director of Tianqi Lithium Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tianqi that was established to build the first hydroxide conversion facility in Australia. Peter remained a director until June 2021.
Few have the breadth of experience and understanding of the global lithium markets. Peter has recently returned to the lithium world as a Non-Executive Director of Latin Resources.
The history of Greenbushes and the transition from tantalum producer to dominant hard rock lithium mine.
The lithium industry before the lithium ion battery
China’s rise as a lithium chemical converter based on Greenbushes spodumene.
Competing with brine based lithium in China
Lithium industry structure and why it needs to evolve to supply the energy transition
The reason China continues to lead the world in lithium chemicals production
Lepidolite – why development has been limited and its potential in the future
Staying under the radar
Coming back to the industry / joining the Latin Resources board
The lithium opportunity in Brazil
Episode 148: Cam Henry & John Young
John Young is the Non-Executive Chairman of Green Technology Metals (ASX: GT1) and a Co-Founder of leading lithium producer Pilbara Minerals. Cam Henry is the Founder and CEO of Primero, an EPC company that serves many industries but stands alone as the leading company serving the hard rock lithium space. He is also a Non-Executive Director of Green Technology Metals.
In this episode we cover the current state of the hard rock universe from what is happening in Western Australia to developments in Canada, Brazil, and Africa.
After a macro discussion of the hard rock world we get into specifics of what attracted these two Aussie lithium pioneers to get involved with Green Technology Metals and why developing lithium in Canada will be critical to the future of battery supply chain development in North America and the EU.
We also discuss the GT1 partnership with Lithium Americas and why that is important to the future development of the company.
Towards the end of the podcast, Cam turns the tables and asks me some questions. We end with rapid fire.
Episode 147: JP Vargas
JP Vargas is the Managing Director of Galan Lithium
Galan's Hombre Muerto West resource in Argentina
The chloride strategy
The most significant project challenges
Relationship with the Catamarca Government
Episode 146: Lithium & Travel Update - Chile, Reno, Camino & Oz
This is a short episode with a focus on my recent trip to Chile as well as my time on the Camino in Portugal & Spain, a short visit to Reno and upcoming trip to Australia.
If you want to skip the brief comments on the Camino trek I recently completed, fast forward to minute three:
Mentions: Summit Nanotech, SQM, Albemarle, LAC, CORFO, Daniel Jimenez & iLi Markets
Episode 145: Henry Sanderson
Henry Sanderson (@hjesanderson on Twitter) is an author and executive editor at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. He was previously with the Financial Times. His recently published book Volt Rush is a must reader for anyone interested in EVs, critical metals and the energy transition.
Henry’s reason for writing Volt Rush
The rags to riches stories of Chinese “clean energy barons” now billionaires
Avoiding the "oligarch syndrome"
What Xi Jinping wants
Jack Ma becomes a verb
A Wuling vs a Tesla - is EV penetration a meaningful metric?
EVs: “democratized” in China but not in the west?
The challenge of developing “China free” supply chains
The Inflation Reduction Act
Do US OEMs have the right EV strategy?
The resurgence of LFP
Western Australia’s growing lithium influence
China’s raw material vulnerability
Africa’s future role in critical metals
The changing lithium landscape in South America
The future of China’s domestic lithium resources
Lithium in the UK?
Who are the “losers” in the race to go green?
Episode 144: Austin Devaney
Episode 143: Listener Questions
In this episode I briefly speak about why I believe the "Big Banks" have, for the most part, gotten their recent price forecasts wrong.
The rest of the episode is answering listener questions:
The Inflation Reduction Act
DOE Loan Program
Canada's future in lithium
The EU vs North America in battery supply chain development
Companies mentioned: SQM, Albemarle, Ganfeng, Tianqi, Lithium Americas, Pilbara Minerals, Mineral Resources, Rio Tinto, Green Technology Metals, Tesla, Galan Lithium, Livent, Allkem, Wesfarmers, Frontier, Critical Elements, E3 and several more
Episode 142 Anand Sheth & Roland Chavasse
I interview the co-founders of the International Lithium Association (ILiA). Anand, known as “The Lithium Raj,” has deep lithium experience. Roland has experience running other major industry associations.
We start off discussing Anand’s experience as a lithium pioneer marketing spodumene from Australia (Greenbushes) before discussing the International Lithium Association’s reason for being.
Follow them on Twitter: @ILiA_lithium & Linked In
The ILiA website: https://lithium.org/
The early days & growth of the lithium market in China
Building relationships & negotiating in China
The early days of Tianqi & Ganfeng.
The transition from spodumene use in glass & ceramics to chemical conversion
How China competed with low cost brine imports from South America
China’s rise in battery
Moving from Talison to Galaxy & later Pilbara Minerals
The thinking behind the creation of the International Lithium Association
Attracting the major lithium players as members
The Association’s areas of focus and challenges
Serving members & the general public
What does ILiA look like in 2027?
Rapid fire with the first "do over" in GLP history
Episode 141: Ken Brinsden
As CEO of Pilbara Minerals for over six and a half years Ken Brinsden (@KenBPilbara on Twitter) had a long list of accomplishments. We discuss the past, present, and future in this episode.
Lithium: unreasonable expectations on an immature industry
The new price paradigm
The creation and future of the Battery Metals Exchange (BMX)
“Rearranging” margins in the supply chain
End user naivete
The significance of the Altura acquisition
The importance of the team
Newcomers with mid-stream production aspirations
Innovation in mining is inevitable
Why the future for Pilbara isn’t spodumene
Lepidolite and the Goldman Sachs “Report”
Grooming a successor
Episode 140: Mid Year Update / Listener Questions
This is a solo episode where I discuss learnings from recent travel to the Benchmark and Fastmarkets conferences, my visit to the new Lithium Americas Technical Development Center in Reno, thoughts on the "speed" of the DOE loan office and recent announcements by Ford and GM. The episode closes with a Q&A session where I take questions and rapid fire from a long time podcast listener.
Episode 139: Tony Ottaviano
Tony Ottaviano is the CEO of Liontown Resources and an experienced mining executive.
The move from the “Big End of Town” to the world of lithium
The Kathleen Valley project
Building vs operating
The most significant challenges Tony faces
The offtake deals – Tesla, LG, and Ford
Episode 138: Peter Hannah
Peter Hannah is the Senior Price Development Manager at Fastmarkets and one of the best young commentators in the battery metals space.
Lithium supply and demand dynamics
The meaning and importance of the spot price Ponder when lithium will mature as an industry
Why supply will define demand over the next few years Discuss the future of hedging lithium
And why we agree $16/kg lithium carbonate won’t happen anytime soon
I close this episode with thoughts on recent analyst reports, Argentina’s latest move to secure fair export prices and BYD’s foray into Africa
Episode 137: David Guerrero
David Guerrero is currently an independent consultant and advisor with a long history in the Argentina lithium industry beginning with Lithium One before becoming the President of Galaxy Resources - Argentina. David is sought after by parties from around the world that draw on his deep knowledge when considering investments in South American lithium brine assets.
The current state of the lithium industry in Argentina
Which new projects have the best chance of producing by 2025 & 2030
The most significant barriers to success for brine projects
The potential for export of “liquid spodumene” aka lithium chloride brine
The role of Federal and Provincial governments in the lithium industry
Argentina vs Chilean royalty policy
Episode 136: WeChat Lithium Night
My Q&A session with a WeChat Group featuring some of the brightest young minds in the lithium/battery/EV ecosystem.
The Rise and Future of Ganfeng
Global Supply Chain Issues
BYD & CATL's Future Outside of China
Tesla's Lithium Positioning
The Lithium Decade
Why Didn't Western Lithium Companies Prepare for the EV Boom?
Do Any Legacy OEMs have a Meaningful Lithium Strategy?
The Best Barometer of Lithium Price
Chile's Lithium Future
How Much Influence will China have in Argentina's Lithium Future?
Geopolitics and the Battery Space
Episode 135: Dr. Rene LeBlanc
Rene LeBlanc is the Chief Technical Officer at Lithium Americas. Rene has also worked for Tesla and FMC Lithium (now Livent).
How much lithium is needed in the production of a lithium ion battery pack?
Update on Cauchari
Ramping up a greenfield lithium project
Seasonality in brine production
Update on Thacker Pass
LAC's new Technical Center in Reno
Cauchari's water use vs currently used DLE
Episode 134: Rio Tinto (Marnie Finlayson & Grant Donald)
My guests from Rio Tinto are Marnie Finlayson, MD of Battery Materials, and Grant Donald, GM of Strategic Marketing, Minerals.
RT’s battery materials strategy
Being a leader in the green economy
Producing lithium from mine waste in California
The Rincon project in Argentina
The battle for lithium talent
Supporting local communities
Keeping up with technological change
RT’s view of the market going forward
RT’s thoughts on where their lithium will go
The status of the Jadar project in Serbia
Being a leading force in the energy transition
How does RT’s battery business look in five years?
In my closing remarks I discuss Elon Musk’s tweet about getting in to lithium production. Lithium remains Elon and Tesla’s Achilles’ heel
Episode 133: Simon Moores
The Benchmark vision & business model
Limiting factors to the growth of the “lithium ion economy”
The “great battery raw material disconnect”
The LME nickel fiasco
Is President Biden invoking the Defense Production Act significant?
Tesla compared with legacy OEMs
The emerging US Battery Supply chain compared with the EU – rhetoric vs reality
Vertical Integration in the battery/EV space
Why the lithium shortage is understated – the battery scrap conundrum
Where is Benchmark in five years?
The impact of geopolitics on the lithium ion battery world
Episode 132: "March Madness"
A solo episode covering the following topics:
Lithium prices - why SQM, Albemarle and Livent have very different prices per kg
The price of lithium stocks
The false narrative of Chinese lithium dominance
Is GM the "Don Quixote" of the EV world?
Energy Secretary Granholm playing politics in West Virginia
Lithium training for media types
Geothermal lithium - not ready for prime time?
Episode 131: Seth Goldstein
Seth Goldstein is an analyst at Morningstar - an industry leader providing independent research and analysis on a global basis. In his role at Morningstar, Seth covers Tesla, Albemarle, SQM, Livent and Lithium Americas.
The EV market from a regional perspective
An update on Tesla’s new plants in Texas and Germany
Lithium supply and demand - how long will the shortage last?
Was Albemarle’s new lithium demand estimate for 2030 a meaningless theoretical exercise?
Why lithium is different than other resource markets
The Mineral Resources / Albemarle lithium JV - who has the upper hand in WA?
Livent: Too little, too late with a flawed strategy? Or a strong niche player?
Cathode – which “flavor” wins?
SQM – will they outperform Albemarle on price again in this market cycle?
Will SQM finally meet one of their volume predictions?
The “Spot” vs contract pricing gap – how much? For how long?
How will OEMs adjust their strategy to lithium limitations in this decade?
Seth’s thoughts on Lithium Americas – Cauchari and Thacker Pass
Product qualification in a market shortage
Episode 130: Chris Reed
Chris Reed is the CEO of Neometals
First lithium success – the development of Mt Marion and a profitable exit
Battery recycling plans – Europe, North America, Asia
Feedstock – scrap & end of life batteries, timing
EVs “dirty little secret” – minimizing the current five years it takes the average EV to recoup the carbon footprint deficit with ICEs
The contribution recycling can make to lithium supply by 2030 and 2040
“Peak Spodumene”: What total LCE volume? When?
Electrolytic Lithium aka “Eli”– the process and potential
Changing the cost curve
Neometals upcoming London Listing
Supply and demand imbalance
Episode 129: "Live from El Dorado" with Standard Lithium & Benchmark Mineral Intelligence
A double episode for Super Bowl weekend.
Part One is with Standard Lithium's Dr Andy Robinson and Will Smith. Andy is COO. Will is Engineering Manager. We discuss the Standard Lithium project with partner Lanxess in El Dorado, Arkansas. Part Two features Andrew Miller the COO of Benchmark Mineral intelligence. We discuss lithium price, supply and demand and several other topics.
Episode 128: Simon Hay
Simon Hay is the CEO of Leo Lithium and the former CEO of Galaxy Resources. Leo Lithium has a 50/50 JV with Ganfeng Lithium to develop the Goulamina Project in Mali.
Africa's history in lithium
Project details: resource/reserves, grade, flowsheet, utilities, etc
Timing of stage 1 and stage 2
Benefits of having Ganfeng as a partner
The lithium market - what is "different this time"
Episode 127: Sigma Lithium
My guests are Co-CEOs Ana Cabral-Gardner and Calvyn Gardner
A lively discussion that was originally 72 minutes edited down to 47 minutes.
Construction update and challenges
Covid and other obstacles
Battery Quality spodumene – reality or myth?
Partners that matter
Lifting up the local community
Lithium: “The Limiting Factor” to EV Growth?
How long is the “short term”?
Episode 126: Henrique Ribeiro
My guest is Henrique Ribeiro of S&P Global Platts, a leader in providing price information, industry market insights and analytics. In addition to his work in lithium/battery metals price information and analysis, Henrique is also a host on the Platts Future Energy Podcast.
In this episode, we discuss Platts role in providing information about lithium and other battery metals. We cover their methodology for making price assessments and how they factor in lithium product specifications.
We discuss the significance of the “spot” price and why it can vary so significantly from contract price and information found in import/export statistics.
I ask about quality control in the Platts process and how they deal with contacts that may try to “massage” the information they provide.
I ask Henrique for his thoughts on the lithium supply and demand imbalance and when price may “soften”.
We discuss the questions Henrique is most often asked by various industry stakeholders.
Platts does not forecast lithium prices. We will discuss the logic behind that practice.
In a world of many different prices for the same lithium grade, you will learn the value of the spot price as an indicator.
We close with a slow rapid fire.
Find out more at: spglobal.com
Episode 125: Daniel Jimenez
My guest is Daniel Jimenez ex SQM and currently running his own advisory firm, iLi Markets (ilimarkets.com). Recorded less than two weeks before the Chilean Presidential election runoff - described as the most divisive in the country's history. We discuss potential impacts of the election on the lithium industry depending on whether the winner is from the right or the left.
At minute 14, we begin a discussion of the Atacama & the current & future production of both SQM & Albemarle from the world's premier brine asset. We we also review the reasons for SQM lagging the pricing results of most competitors. Spoiler alert – we both expect that situation to change.
We also ponder Albemarle’s long & winding road in ramping up production from expansions in Chile.
We move on to a discussion of global supply & demand. Daniel’s 2021 & 2022 total demand numbers are higher than mine but not drastically so.
Daniel provides his thoughts on the potential for new lithium projects in Chile as well as DLE before moving on to the potential & challenges for the EU & North America to supply a significant percentage of their future lithium demand.
We cover the recent rise of Chinese investment in South American lithium projects.
Will recycling contribute significantly to lithium supply before 2030?
Solid state batteries & the potential impact on what lithium raw material requirements.
Daniel can be found on Twitter @D_Jimenez_Sch
Episode 124: Dr Yuan Gao
Dr. Yuan Gao has been a significant player in the lithium ion battery space for a quarter of a century. From his early days at FMC Lithium working in battery R&D to his time with Molycorp in rare earth materials followed by a five-year tenure as CEO of Chinese cathode producer Pulead and most recently as a member of Lithium Americas Board of Directors and as a sought after advisor. Few have the breadth of experience Yuan has.
Dr. Gao holds twenty-one patents.
In this episode we discuss the cathode market in detail from LFP to High Nickel products. We also review the challenges in producing LMFP and “Cobalt Free” High Nickel.
We discuss the regionalization of battery supply chains and why it will be difficult for North America and Europe to play “catch up” with Asia.
We move on to the future of solid state batteries and the challenges faced by the recycling industry. We ponder when recycling industry will transition from processing the scrap of new gigafactories to being part of a truly circular lithium ion battery ecosystem.
As always, we close with rapid fire.
Episode 122: Dr Tom Benson
Tom Benson is the lead geologist at Lithium Americas
- What makes a viable lithium resource?
- Project time lines
- The world's top resources - #1 may surprise you
- Thacker Pass
- Projects, protests, and politics
- Being a good neighbor
- Tom Benson’s version of the “Golden Rule”
- Great resources vs great projects
- Straight talk about sulfur
- Developing talent
- The “Lithium Lab”
- Environmental “imperialism”
- The battle for hearts and minds
- Rapid fire
Tom can be found on Twitter @thomasrbenson
Episode 121: Nano One
Episode 119: Live Q&A from Panorama Minero
My brief remarks on the status of the lithium market followed by Q&A at the Panorama Minero "Lithium South America" event in Buenos Aires on September 29th, 2021. The Q&A begins at 12 minutes. The questions come from a variety of influential people in the world of lithium in South America.
Below of is a list of the questions and the people asking them:
1- Daniel Jiménez, iLi Markets
Your opinion on projects that plan to use DLE, not just in Argentina but also the US & Europe.
2- Miguel Soler: Secretaria de Minería e Hydrocarbons’ de Jujuy
Based on your knowledge and the history of technology evolution during the 20th and present centuryy. How long you believe technologies demanding Lithium will stay with us? before they are replaced by others like Hydrogen and/or new developments ?
3- Flavia Royón, Secretaria de Minería y Energía de Salta
What are the biggest threats you see, associated to the lithium industry development in LatAm in light of: the market dynamics, geopolitics, process technologies and the availability of other critical energy metals?
4- Teresita Regalado, Secretaria de Desarrollo Minero de Catamarca
Thoughts on how to optimize Argentina's opportunity regarding the Lithium supply, taking into account its geographical location with respect to other sources of raw material located close(r) to where the highest industrial consumption is ?
5- José de Castro, COO de Integra Lithium
Why, despite the fact CAPEX, OPEX, Water Footprint and Carbon Footprint are usually higher in most DLE processes than those in conventional evaporation, so many companies have been generating promises on “green and sustainable” processes, contrary to current productions and generating a bad feeling effect in public opinion?
6- Carlos Galli, Consultor/Especialista
We discussed last year about the involvement of OEM (auto makers) in lithium production. Do you see any changes in their approach to try to secure lithium supply? What are your thoughts about this?
7- Alejandra Cardona, de la Cámara Minera de Salta y Mint Intelligence
In the global context, the generation of clean energies is promoted as strategies to fight clámate change. Talingo care of the environment means more mining is needed. How did this impact lithium & other E-mobility related minerals supply projections on a global scale and how does Argentina position itself in this scenario?
8- Alejandro Colombo, Director Periodístico de Panorama Minero
Are you expecting a bigger move from overseas Chinese companies through M&As? What response is expected from the United States and Europe to ensure a sustainable supply chain in the coming years?
9- Ignacio Celorrio, Presidente para Latinoamerica - Lithium Americas
En: Which sources of financing for Li Projects will emerge, in addition to the current ones ? Also, which countries you believe have the biggest potential to take new projects into production ?
10- Asistente al seminario - Event attendee
There is not much talk about Lithium Chloride and solid state batteries use lithium metal. What is the projection of possible Lithium Chloride producers?