The Importance of Lithium and Cobalt in Today's Energy Market

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Lithium-ion batteries are an efficient source of energy for rechargeable storage devices, capable of expanding battery durability; leading to an increasing power source for consumer electronics, including hybrid and electric vehicles. According to a research by Techsci Research, the global lithium-ion battery market is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 17% during 2016 - 2021. In terms of energy demand, it is expected to increase from 12928.4 Million Ton Oil Equivalent (MTOE) in 2014 to 17,000 MTOE by 2020. Scientific Metals Corp., eCobalt Solutions Inc., Panasonic Corporation, Lundin Mining Corporation, FMC Corporation.

A report by Rockstone-Research, indicates the importance of cobalt in the market: "The growth of the Li-ion battery industry, which has already contributed to booms in both the graphite and lithium space, is likely to result in growing demand for cobalt, given it's a key material input in most li-ion battery cells. Cobalt prices have already started rising, but are still a long way from their pre-financial crisis highs. Second, there is a serious geopolitical situation brewing in the DRC, the country responsible for over 60% of annual global primary cobalt production. If those developments turn sour and the current president, Joseph Kabila once again fails to step down at the end of 2017, then there is the real possibility of an outbreak of unrest in the country. That could lead to significant disruption to cobalt output from the country, the likely result of which would be a serious global cobalt supply squeeze."

Scientific Metals Corp. on April 26th, reported that it has launched its 2017 exploration program at the Iron Creek Cobalt Project, initially commencing with the rehabilitation of the underground workings. 

The Company is finalizing plans with a claim staking contractor to expand the size of the property through claim staking, and will commence claim staking soon, as the snow pack melt allows. Surface and underground drilling campaigns are in the final stages of planning, and will follow underground and surface mapping and sampling programs. All work will be conducted on the patented lode mining claims, which cover the historic resources that have already been identified. Please see Company news release dated September 7, 2016 for a summary of the project. 

The Company has commenced the rehabilitation of the portals to three underground tunnels, which currently have a combined length of 1,500 feet and access the mineralized zones. The first portal (Adit #1) now has new timbers installed at the surface, and access has been gained to the entire length of tunnels connected to Adit #1. Further rehabilitation of the tunnels will be completed prior to the planned underground sampling and mapping program, which will be followed by underground drilling. A contractor has been selected to complete the underground drilling. 

During 2017, the Company plans to conduct geophysical surveys over the known mineralized zones to identify a method that will assist in locating drill targets. Extensive surface sampling, in sediment, soil and outcrop is planned. 

eCobalt Solutions Inc. commits to providing ethically produced and environmentally sound battery grade cobalt salts, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly and transparently in the United States. The company's primary asset, the 100% owned Idaho Cobalt Project, remains the only advanced stage, near term, environmentally permitted, primary cobalt deposit in the United States. The ICP is comprised of the Mine/Mill (M/M) site located in Lemhi County, Idaho, near the town of Salmon, Idaho and the Cobalt Production Facility (CPF), a stand-alone hydrometallurgical facility expected to be located in Southern Idaho. 

Panasonic Corporation recently announced that it held an opening ceremony for a new automotive lithium-ion battery factory in Dalian, China. The factory is Panasonic's first automotive battery cell production site in China. Panasonic will further strengthen its global competitiveness in the automotive battery industry by the establishment of production sites in Japan, the United States, and China. Panasonic has provided automotive lithium-ion batteries to a number of auto manufacturers on a global basis and is leading the automotive battery market. Furthermore, in response to further increase in the demand of high-performance automotive lithium-ion batteries, Panasonic not only increased production at Japanese sites but will also start automotive battery cell production in the United States in 2017. 

Lundin Mining Corporation is a diversified Canadian base metals mining company with operations in Chile, the United States of America, Portugal, and Sweden, The company holds an indirect 24 percent equity stake in the Freeport Cobalt Oy business, which includes a cobalt refinery located in Kokkola, Finland. The refinery processes unrefined cobalt and related metals and manufactures advanced inorganic products for use in a variety of applications in fast-growing end use markets. 

FMC Corporation has served the global agricultural, industrial and consumer markets with innovative solutions, applications and quality products. The company operates its businesses in three segments: FMC Agricultural Solutions, FMC Health and Nutrition and FMC Lithium. FMC announced a new long-term supply agreement with Nemaska Lithium, Inc. Under the agreement, Nemaska will provide FMC with 8,000 metric tons per year of lithium carbonate beginning in mid-2018. Based in Quebec, Canada, Nemaska Lithium, Inc. is constructing new lithium production capabilities of 28,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent.

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