Austmine launches Australian-First Innovation Mentoring Program for METS
Austmine has announced in 2016 it will be running its very first Innovation Mentoring in METS Program. The program is unique, as it is the only mentoring program for individuals that are purely dedicated to the METS sector.
“Innovation is critical to the mining equipment, technology and services (METS) industry, and that innovation is what will secure the sustainable future of mining. For this reason, Austmine has developed the Austmine Innovation Mentoring Program. The purpose of this program is to shape the numerous skills required for innovators to succeed in today’s fluid market environment, and to foster individuals who truly embrace and champion innovation,” the association said in a press release.
The mentoring sessions will provide vital guidance regarding participants’ general understanding of innovation, which includes ideation, strategy, commercialization and implementation. According to Austmine, the Program’s major goals are personal development, career enhancement and skills growth for both the participants and the mentors.
Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO of Austmine, states “the Austmine Innovation Mentoring Program recognizes the importance of innovation to the mining and METS industry. It is the first program of its kind in Australia, dedicated purely to embracing and championing innovation.”
The confirmed mentors thus far include:
• John McGagh, Former Head of Innovation, Rio Tinto
• Dallas Wilkinson, Innovation + Development Explosives, Mining Chemicals and Ground Support Technology, Orica
• Alan Broome AM., Chairman Emeritus, Austmine
• Gavin Yeates, Gavin Yeates Consulting
• Steve Durkin, Director, Safescape
• Kirby Johnson, Consulting Partner, Wipro
• Ric Gros, Managing Director, Metsol
• Bill Withers, Founder, acQuire Technology Solutions
Austmine is looking for sponsors for the program, including organizations who are passionate and focused on supporting innovation in our industry, and helping guide the next group of innovators. For more information on sponsorship or on the program, please see the Austmine website or contact Megan Edwards via email on [email protected]
Lithium producers bullish as EV revolution ramps demand
Rising demand for lithium is stoking prices for the electric vehicle battery metal, fueling long-delayed expansions that still may not produce adequate supplies that automakers need to meet aggressive production plans.
Growing industry optimism from higher lithium prices is a change from last year when funding for mines and processing plants dried up during the pandemic.
Albemarle Corp, Livent Corp and other producers are scrambling to make more lithium, but some analysts worry the recent price jump will not spur a big enough expansion to meet a planned wave of new EV models by mid-decade.
Since January, General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co, along with other automakers and battery parts manufacturers, have said they will spend billions of dollars on EV plants.
U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed spending $174bn to boost EV sales and infrastructure. The European Union has similar plans, part of a rush to catch up with global EV leader China.
Those moves have helped an index of lithium prices jump 59 percent since April 2020, according to data from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a commodity pricing provider.
The rising demand “reflects what feels like a real and fundamental turning point in our industry,” said Paul Graves, chief executive of Livent Corp, which supplies Tesla Inc. On Monday, it said it would more than double its annual lithium production to 115,000 tonnes.
Graves warned, though, that “it will be a challenge for the lithium industry to produce sufficient qualified material in the near and medium term.”
Albemarle, the world’s largest lithium producer, aims to double its production capacity to 175,000 tonnes by the end of the year when two construction projects are complete. Albemarle's Q1 profit beat expectations thanks to rising lithium prices. Chile’s SQM, the No. 2 producer, said its goal to expand production of lithium carbonate by 71 percent to 120,000 tonnes should be complete by December.
Australia’s Orocobre is paying $1.4 billion for smaller rival Galaxy Resources, a strategy designed to boost scale and help it grow faster in regions closer to customers.
“The next few years are going to be critical in terms of whether there’s enough available lithium supply, and that’s why you’re starting to see commodity prices start to ramp,” said Chris Berry, an independent lithium industry consultant.
The price gains helped Albemarle and other major producers, including China’s Ganfeng Lithium Co and SQM, post big gains in first-quarter profit and boost forecasts for the year.
Even China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp, saddled with debt due to years of low lithium prices, signaled that recovering demand should help it swing to a profit this year.
Forecasts call for demand for the white metals to surge from about 320,000 tonnes annually last year to more than 1 million tonnes annually by 2025, when many automakers plan to launch new EV fleets, according to Benchmark.
Still, demand is expected to outstrip supply in 2025 by more than 200,000 tonnes, so lithium prices may need to rise to encourage producers to build more mines. That could boost the prices consumers pay for EVs. “Companies across the lithium-ion supply chain are in the best position they’ve been in for the last 5 years,” said Pedro Palandrani of the Global X Lithium & Battery Technology ETF , which has doubled in value in the past year.