Global Shift Towards EVs Has Caused a Spike in Lithium Demand

NEW YORK, July 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to data compiled by Mordor Intelligence, the global lithium market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.33% during the forecasted period from 2018 to 2023. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to lead the market due to its rapid growth in electric vehicles and consumer electronics. EVs and consumer electronics have both adopted the usage of lithium-ion batteries due to their high energy density, ability to recharge and environmental efficiency. The aspects of the batteries have made them attractive for electronic manufacturers and the automotive industries, causing demand to skyrocket. Currently, consumer electronics control the majority of the battery market capital, but it is expected for EVs to dominate the market in the near future. MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF), NRG Metals Inc. (OTC: NRGMF), Dajin Resources Corp. (OTC: DJIFF), BYD CO. Ltd. (OTC: BYDDF), BioSolar Inc. (OTC: BSRC)

The shift from diesel-powered vehicles to EVs has driven the lithium market significantly. The market is being accelerated by the government's adoption of the batteries, requiring automotive manufacturers to transition to an eco-friendlier alternative. However, the supply has been outpacing demand, causing prices to increase. Since the current state of lithium is very limited, auto manufacturers are beginning to lock-in lithium suppliers. "Much of the excitement is due to the rise in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids, and although there is no futures market in Lithium - prices are set in long-term contracts - buyers have to contend with a bullish supply market as battery makers scramble to cover forward under long-term agreements, as the rise in prices affirms," said Stuart Burns, Market Analyst at Metal Miner.

MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: XMG). Just earlier this morning the company announced breaking news that, "the completion of a geotechnical drill program and associated assay results from its Driftwood Creek magnesium project ("Driftwood Creek") in southeastern British Columbia. The objective of the drill program was to establish pit wall stability and assess static pressure of groundwater using piezometers...

Based on the new results, the East Zone appears to have considerable potential to expand the magnesite mineral zone to the east and north. The West Zone has potential to contain additional magnesite with high silica-low calcium content in the north (this zone is characterized by a distinct purple coloured magnesite). Based on the grade and interval of magnesite mineralization encountered in geotechnical drilling, the results will also be evaluated to further target additional exploration drill holes. The Company plans to carry out an additional 3,350 meters of exploration core drilling at Driftwood in 2018. The intent of the drill program will be to further expand the drill indicated resource estimate.

Engagement of Hatch Ltd. - The Company has engaged engineering firm Hatch Ltd. (''Hatch'') to conduct a comprehensive review and multi-phased work program for Driftwood Creek. Hatch will review current mine planning and mine design, mineral processing process design, environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and permitting work completed to date. Additionally, Hatch will suggest project implementation logistics such as power, access, local infrastructure and more. The objective of the work program is to prepare Driftwood for completion of a N.I. 43-101 Pre-Feasibility Study (''PFS''). The PFS will build on the positive N.I. 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment (''PEA'') completed for Driftwood in March (see press release dated March 6, 2018). The PEA study was independently prepared for MGX by AKF Mining Services Inc. (AKF), Tuun Consulting Inc. (Tuun) and Samuel Engineering Inc. (Samuel) in accordance with CIM guidelines and National Instrument 43-101 Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. Highlights include:

  • Life of Mine Pre-Tax Cash Flow during Production of $1,051 million
  • Pre-tax NPV@5% of $529.8 million, IRR of 24.5% with a 3.5-year payback
  • Post-tax NPV@5% of $316.7million, IRR of 19.3% with a 4.0-year payback
  • Initial capital costs of $235.9 million (Total life-of mine ("LOM") - $239.8 includes sustaining/closure costs of $3.9 million and contingency costs of $40.0 million)
  • Conventional quarry pit mine with a 1200 tonne per day ("tpd") process plant using conventional crushing, grinding, flotation upgrading, calcination, and sintering to produce a saleable DBM product
  • Average annual MgO production of 169,700 tonnes during a 19-year mine life
  • LOM average head grades of 43.27% MgO
  • LOM MgO recoveries of 90%
  • LOM strip ratio of 2.4 to 1 of rock to mineralized material

Notes and assumptions:

  1. Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. There is no certainty that all or any part of the mineral resources estimated will be converted into Mineral Reserves.
  2. The Lerchs-Grossman (LG) constrained shell economics used a mining cost of US$8.82/t, processing+ g&a costs of US$106/t, and a commodity price of US$600.00/t 95%MgO DBM.
  3. Mineral resources are reported within the constrained shell, using a cutoff grade of 42.5% MgO (based on a 20-year LOM) to determine "reasonable prospects for eventual economic extraction."
  4. Mineral Resources are reported as undiluted
  5. Mineral Resources were developed in accordance with CIM (2010) guidelines
  6. Tonnages are reported to the nearest kilotonne (kt), and grades are rounded to the nearest two decimal places
  7. Rounding as required by reporting guidelines may result in apparent summation differences between tonnes, grade, and contained metal. M&I = Measured and Indicated.

Quality Assurance / Quality Control - The sample chain of custody is managed by MGX under the supervision of Mr. Andris Kikauka. Drill core is split at three meter intervals, secured in a nearby storage facility and shipped to ALS Minerals ("ALS"). Blanks and standards are used for data verification purposes. ALS is an independent, ISO-certified analytical laboratory located in North Vancouver, British Columbia. ALS conducts whole-rock analysis using ME-XRF (x-ray fluorescence), 2 gm fused disc, and LOI by furnace..."

NRG Metals Inc. (OTCQB: NRGMF) is an exploration stage company focused on the advancement of lithium brine projects in Argentina. NRG recently reported their initial assays for samples from the second diamond drill hole at the Hombre Muerto Lithium project. The samples were taken from near surface to a depth of 61.5 m below surface. The samples average 719 mg/L lithium with a very low Mg to Li ratio ranging from 2.1 to 3.3. These values are similar to the results obtained in the first diamond drill hole located 2.1 kilometers to the east. Drilling in this hole has advanced to a depth of 226.5 m with a planned depth of 400 m. Host rocks are mainly poorly-consolidated sandstone from surface to 77 m, followed by a layer of compact halite from 77 to 139 m, poorly-consolidated sandstone from 139 to 166 m, and then intercalated halite and sandstone to the current bottom of the hole at 226.5 m. Adrian Hobkirk, Chief Executive Officer of NRG Metals Inc., commented, "We are encouraged to find high lithium grades in the first part of the second hole, and these results demonstrate the presence of lithium-bearing brine across our Tramo property. We will have a more complete picture once this hole is completed and when we have the results of the pumping test from the large diameter hole completed adjacent to the first core hole."

Dajin Resources Corp. (OTCQB: DJIFF), through Dajin Resources S.A, holds concessions or concession applications in Jujuy Province, Argentina that were acquired in regions known to contain brines with Lithium, Potassium, and Boron values. The Company recently announced that it has signed a Joint Venture Agreement with Geothermal Development Associates (GDA), Reno, Nevada. GDA's principal line of business is the development of geothermal resources for electrical generation. They hold geothermal leases that overlap Dajin's placer claims in the Teels Marsh valley. As a result of this JV, GDA and Dajin will share exploration data with the ultimate aim of supporting the development of a lithium brine extraction facility as well as the development of a geothermal plant for electrical generation and the production of direct-use thermal water. This agreement outlines a cooperative relationship where both companies will be focusing on their key strengths to mutually develop Lithium brine and renewable energy resources. Dajin's President, Brian Findlay commented, "The link between geothermal systems and Lithium enrichment has been well documented, so the presence of a strong geothermal system is a good indicator for potentially commercial grades of Lithium in brine. This factor, along with preferential access to green renewable electrical power and thermal energy to power a potential future Lithium brine operation without competition over surface and water rights, enhances the chances of identifying economic Lithium and geothermal resources". GDA's President, Martin Booth, said, "We are pleased with this association with Dajin who understands and appreciates the significance of geothermal resources and how collaboration can help both companies move forward on their respective developments."

BYD CO. Ltd. (OTC: BYDDF) is a high-tech company devoted to technological innovations for a better life. BYD announced its world's largest battery plant in lithium-rich Chinese province on June 28th, 2018. BYD opened a 24GWh power battery factory in Western China's Qinghai province as it prepares to increase total production capacity to 60GWh by 2020. The technologically advanced factory, which is equivalent to the size of 140 football fields, will be the largest in the world after its construction is completed in 2019. It is also BYD's third battery factory in China after Shenzhen and Huizhou. BYD's new Qinghai factory is technologically advanced, employing the use of a first-rate Manufacturing Execution System, smart logistics, driverless automatic guided vehicles and a seamless information integration. "Electrification is a done deal as several countries have announced a deadline for the sale of internal combustion engine cars to end. Electric vehicles are on the cusp of another boom," said BYD President and Chairman, Wang Chuanfu.

BioSolar Inc. (OTCQB: BSRC) is developing a breakthrough technology to increase the storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of lithium-ion batteries. BioSolar recently announced that the Company has executed a joint development agreement with Silicio Ferrosolar SLU, a subsidiary of Ferroglobe PLC (NASDAQ: GSM), for collaborative efforts to assess, develop, and/or market silicon anode materials for high power, high energy lithium-ion batteries by integrating BioSolar technology and Ferroglobe silicon materials. This joint agreement follows BioSolar's recent announcement that it has achieved a significant performance milestone in silicon micro-particle (SiMP) anodes enhanced by its innovative silicon anode additive technology, with data suggesting its technology can achieve significantly higher capacity with lowered costs. Through this partnership, as well as other potential industry relationships, BioSolar seeks to capitalize upon what many consider to be a high growth market opportunity, as recent reports predict the silicon anode battery market will hit a CAGR of 21.5% through 2024. "We are pleased to have Ferroglobe as a development partner, a company with a proven track record of developing and supplying silicon materials to global marketplaces," said Dr. David Lee, Chief Executive Officer of BioSolar. "We are confident that this partnership and its subsequent results will continue to demonstrate not only higher performance but also better price points, strengthening BioSolar's commercial viability and market potential."

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