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Your portal to a wealth of information, presentations and keynote videos on the lithium ion battery supply chain.

Features, analysis and Benchmark Minerals’ presentations on the entire supply chain from lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel supply to battery manufacturing, electric vehicles and stationary storage.

Lithium in 2019

2018 WAS A TURBULENT YEAR FOR THE LITHIUM INDUSTRY, WHICH WAS DEFINED BY FALLING CHINESE LITHIUM CARBONATE PRICES AND A SUBSEQUENT SOFTENING FROM THE Q1 HIGHS FOR REST OF THE WORLD (ROW) PRICES. 

IT WAS A YEAR WHERE LITHIUM HYDROXIDE WAS PUT FIRMLY ON THE AGENDA OF LITHIUM MAJORS, AND CATHODE CONSUMERS BEGAN TO RECEIVE FIRM SIGNALS FROM BATTERY MAKERS FOR THEIR CHOICE OF CATHODE MATERIALS FOR THE EV REVOLUTION. 

AS THE INDUSTRY CONTINUES ON THE PATH TOWARDS A SURGE IN BATTERY DEMAND, HERE BENCHMARK SUMMARISES THE LITHIUM TRENDS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2019.… Read more

SK Innovation plans new battery plant in Georgia: is N America catching up?

In Q4 2018 SK Innovation (SKI) announced that it would be launching its first US-based battery plant in Commerce, Jackson County, Georgia. The company expects to begin production by 2022 with a total installed capacity of 9.8 GWh. The project is expected to cost KRW 1.98 trillion (approximately USD $1.8 billion). 

Outside of the US in its battery plant in Seosan, Korea, SKI currently produces pouch cells for use in electric vehicles (EVs) and Benchmark expects the Commerce plant to continue to use the same format.… Read more

China’s spherical graphite demand surges

China’s 2018 spherical graphite exports increased by 36% year-on-year as of the end of November 2018 as electric vehicle battery demand surges. 

During October, Heilongjiang, China’s largest graphite producing region, reported production of over 90,000 tonnes of spherical graphite from Hegang, a number it seeks to increase to over 100,000 tpa (tonnes per annum) by 2020, with an additional 80,000 tpa targeted for anode supply. Expansion of this scale in one of the country’s key producing regions will further cement China’s dominance in the battery-grade graphite market.… Read more

Is Indonesia altering the nickel market?

At the end of Q3 2018 a consortium announced plans to build a $700 million nickel processing plant in Indonesia aiming to produce battery-grade nickel chemicals. The joint venture sees major stainless-steel manufacturer Tsingshan, and leading battery materials producer GEM, pair up with a 36% share each.

The Chinese-led investment will also see the battery producer CATL taking a 25% share and Japan’s Hanwa receive an 8% interest in the joint venture. 

The project, based in Morowali, Indonesia, is expected to produce 50,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of high purity nickel and 4,000 tpa .… Read more

Batteries scale up

Following Benchmark Minerals Week, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence visited Thor Trucks’ offices and factory in North Hollywood, California. We had the chance to speak to Dakota Semler, CEO and Co-Founder, about the company’s plans, how electric vehicles can infiltrate the truck market and their views on the supply of raw materials for electric vehicles.

Benchmark: When can we expect to see one of Thor Trucks models on the road? Could you provide a timeline and the main challenges to this?

Dakota Semler: We’ll have our first vehicles in customer hands and on the road in early 2019 as .… Read more

Lights, batteries, action!

High purity alumina (HPA) is critical to LED production. Demand for LEDs has surged since 2010 and this demand now accounts for over half of the world’s HPA consumption. But HPA is also being used as coating material for separators in lithium ion batteries. 

Dr Richard Flook explores the high purity alumina market and the Australian production projects looking to feed the growing demand.

High purity alumina (HPA) which is usually accepted to be aluminium oxide (Al2O3) of greater than or equal to 99.99% purity (4N or 100ppm impurities) has been forecast to have a high growth future .… Read more

Breaking the barrier

2019 has broken and a defining year awaits. 

This is the year where the team at Benchmark expects lithium ion battery cell production costs, at least from one producer, to finally drop below $100/kWh. 

If Elon Musk’s 2016 prediction that this could be achieved by 2020 was deemed ambitious, it is now potentially one year ahead of schedule. 

Lower prevailing lithium hydroxide prices together with lower cobalt prices will meet the scaling up of the world’s multi-gigawatt battery plants - or what Benchmark Minerals calls megafactories.… Read more

Nickel – the often forgotten battery metal

By Anthony Milewski, Chairman, Cobalt 27

The mass adoption of the electric vehicle and the roll out of energy storage systems is underway. Look no further than acceleration of recent electric vehicle (EV) sales and headlines around energy storage systems being sold globally. Over the past five years approximately 5 million EVs have been sold. In the past twelve months 1 million EVs have been sold and over the next twelve months we are on pace to sell another 1.5 million EVs.… Read more

LITHIUM-ION BATTERY RECYCLING: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN RAMPING UP TO MEGA SCALE RECYCLING

As the costs of producing lithium ion batteries have dropped their use has increased dramatically. But it’s estimated that only 5% of lithium ion batteries are currently recycled. In this feature Ajay Kochhar, Co-founder, President and CEO of Li-Cycle, explores the barriers to lithium ion recycling and developments in processing technology.

As the world trends towards electrification, exponential growth continues in the use of lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries, from the automotive industry, stationary energy storage (e.g. for renewables), and consumer electronics. 

The consistent improvement and cost reduction of li-ion battery technology has .… Read more

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