May 17, 2020

Botswanan Uranium mine given green light

Letlhakane Project
Uranium Mining
A-Cap
Botswanan Mining
Dale Benton
1 min
Botswanan Uranium mine given green light
Botswanas first Uranium mine has taken a big step in becoming a reality, following environmental approval from the local government.

The Letlhakane pro...

Botswana’s first Uranium mine has taken a big step in becoming a reality, following environmental approval from the local government.

 The Letlhakane project, just outside of Francistown, Botswana, is an exploration and resource development project from A-Cap resources. The project will be the first of its kind for Botswana, which is estimated to have 1.04billion tonnes of uranium reserves.

A-cap submitted an application for a mining licence last year and the environmental approval from the government represents a huge step towards receiving said licence.

“This is a major milestone for A-Cap and its flagship uranium project with an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) approval being an important requirement for securing a mining licence,” a statement from A-Cap said.

The Letlhakane project, one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the world, will hold a shallow pit mine with an 18-year mine life.

“We have been conducting extensive work over the years, commencing 2009, in studying and identifying the overall environmental and social impacts associated with developing the first uranium mine in Botswana. The board has ensured the highest standards have been adopted in preparing the Environment Impact Statement,” said A-Cap CEO, Paul Thomson.

Follow @MiningGlobal

Read the May 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine 

Share article

May 7, 2021

Lithium producers bullish as EV revolution ramps demand

Lithium
Electric Vehicles
Albemarle
SQM
3 min
Lithium producers are drawing optimism from rising prices for the electric vehicle battery metal

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.

Lithium

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.”

Albermarle

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.

Electric Vehicles

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.

Share article