First lithium shipment for Galaxy Resources kicks off 2017 surge
This is only reinforced...
2017 represents a new opportunity for Western Australia to firmly strengthen its position as the world’s lithium mining capital.
This is only reinforced further with the news that Galaxy Resources has officially shipped its first shipment from Mt Cattlin Operation at the Esperance Port, around 10,000 tonnes of lithium concentrate, valued at around $US6million.
What do we know about Galaxy Resources?
Galaxy Resources Limited is a lithium-focused resources company, with operations across Australia, Canada and Argentina.
The Company is headed up by three directors:
- Martin Rowley, Independent Non-Executive Chairman. A co-founder of First Quantum Minerals and currently Executive Director, Business Development, Rowley was also a non-executive Chairman and director of Lithium One, which was acquired by Galaxy in 2012.
- Anthony Tse, Managing Director. Tse has over 20 years of corporate experience working with TOM Online, China Entertainment Television and CSN Corp. Tse is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Directors (HKIoD) and a member of the Hong Kong Mining Investment Professionals Association (HKMIPA).
- Jian-Nan Zhang, Non-Executive Director. Deputy General Manager of Fengli Group (Australia) Pty Ltd and a shareholder in the Company. He was previously Managing Director of Winly Trade & Investment in China.
Galaxy Resources has three flagship projects, the Sal de Vida deposit, Mt Cattlin and the James Bay project.
Sal De Vida is one of the world’s largest and highest quality undeveloped lithium brine deposits with significant expansion potential. The project is located in north-west Argentina in the rather aptly named “Lithium Triangle”. The Lithium Triangle is home to more than 60 percent of the world’s annual production of lithium.
The Mt Cattlin spodumene project, located near Ravensthorpe, Western Australia, consists of open pit mining and processing. At full capacity, ore could be processed at a rate of one million tonnes per annum (tpa) with lithium oxide concentrate production of 137,000 tpa and 56,000 pounds (lbs) per annum of contained tantalum (Ta2O5).
The James Bay lithium pegmatite Project is located in Quebec, Canada. The project contains indicated resources of 11.75 million tonnes grading at 1.30% Li2O and inferred resources of 10.47mt grading at 1.20% Li2O. The James Bay deposit occurs at surface and resource modelling indicates that the resource is amenable to open pit extraction. There is excellent potential to increase the resources through additional delineation of the pegmatite dykes along strike and at depth and potential to increase grade through infill drilling.
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British Lithium Pressured Due To Calls for Electric Cars
The British demand for lithium is set to reach 75,000 tonnes by 2035 as the government works towards their ban on the sale of high-polluting diesel and petrol vehicles within the UK. This comes as automakers worldwide continue to insist on the benefits electric vehicles will have on slowing the rate of climate change.
It is estimated that the UK will require 50,000-60,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year by 2035 for battery production to satisfy government needs. This is assuming production remains at 1.2 million vehicles per year, and the amount of lithium required does not increase.
British Lithium, which hopes to begin constructing a quarry to produce 20,000 MT of lithium carbonate a year in a $400 million investment, are not without competitors, both within the UK and abroad.
Competition For Lithium Rises In Europe
After only five years after its initial launch, Cornish Lithium is setting its sights on becoming a UK powerhouse in mining lithium, aiming to begin commercial production in under four years. Jeremy Wrathall, a former investment banker and current managing director of Cornish Lithium, had the future in mind when founding the company.
“In 2016, I started to think about the electric vehicle revolution and what that would mean for metal demand, and I started to think about lithium,” he said in an interview with AFP. “A friend of mine mentioned lithium being identified in Cornwall, and I just wondered if that was a sort of unrecognised thing in the UK.”
Lithium was first discovered in Cornwall around 1864 and has not been mined again since 1914 when it was produced as an ingredient in fireworks. Now, however, Cornish Lithium is reportedly in the testing stage to see if the metal can be produced commercially to meet the growing demand required for the electric car sector.
Despite Cornwall’s close historic ties to mining lithium, Wrathall insists that the project is purely commercial.
Cornish Mining Revival For Lithium Production
“It’s not a mission that drives me to the point of being emotional or romantic,” he says. “It’s vitally important that we do get this technology otherwise Europe has got no lithium supply.”
The European Commission has also stated their goal to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 to aid the environment. That being said, the majority of lithium extraction currently relies on power provided by environmentally damaging fossil fuels─a slight contradiction.
Alex Keynes, from the Brussels-based lobby group Transport & Environment, is adamant that mining for lithium should be done sustainably.
“Our view is that medium-to-long term, the majority of materials including lithium should come from efficient and clean recycling.
“Europe from a strategic point of view should be looking at securing its own supply of lithium.”
Despite growing competition from abroad, British Lithium Chairman, Roderick Smith, continues to place importance on the mining of lithium within the UK.
“Imagine what the UK economy would look like if we lost our automotive industry,” Smith says. “The stakes are high for the UK.”
Smith expects the UK to compete with other European countries to secure a lithium battery plant in the near future.