The Tesla gigafactories are just one part of the demand story
Following China Molybdenum’s US$1.5 billion purchase of Anglo American’s phosphate and niobium unit, Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co has had its proposed purchase of RB Energy’s Quebec lithium development – which the vendor once said was capable of producing “the highest-quality lithium carbonate in the world” – approved by a Canadian court.
The Chinese group paid an undisclosed amount for the property that is expected to need another US$150-200 million to bring into production.
Though Tesla has dominated international headlines with its gigafactory developments, the fact is there are far more downstream lithium-reliant technology manufacturing facilities being built elsewhere in Europe and China.
There is also a growing realisation of the existing reserves and resources, which can more than cater for consensus mid-term demand from those facilities.
Lithium carbonate mine production capacity being added by end-2018 should cover demand assumptions out to 2025, pitting less mature projects against each other in competition for any slivers of remaining market share.
A Chinese assault on lithium developments would provide a natural selection process for that post-2018 crop of lithium hopefuls, deciding which companies will realise a commercial value for their projects and which will have wasted their time and investors’ money.
Read more from original source: http://www.mining-journal.com/commodities/industrial-minerals