The Electric Vehicle Race: Battery Metals, the New Gold Rush.

Battery Metals

As over 2,700 executives, investment bankers, and industry veterans gathered last week in the precious metals capital for Australia’s most important annual mining symposium; it was evident where the sector’s concentration lay. All focus is on the frantic search for battery metals to facilitate the global transition to electric vehicles.

According to Bloomberg, Gold has dominated the Western Australian city of Kalgoorlie, a home to one of the world’s largest-open pit mines, nestled right next to residential streets.

The most sought-after mining CEOs are no longer those who have uncovered large troves of gleaming gold but rather those who have delivered previously disregarded projects to produce quantities of battery metals like lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt.

A flurry of recent supply deals led by Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) to add contracts for battery metals from Australian mining companies is drawing new attention to a nation that already supplies approximately three-quarters of Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s lithium requirements and is aiming for a rapid expansion in the production of a wide range of raw materials.

Battery Metals: A New Rush

There are few better instances of the transfer from gold to electric vehicles than IGO Ltd. (ASX: IGO) which has increased its investments in nickel and lithium while selling its underground gold business interest. Executives transported conference attendees to Greenbushes, the world’s largest hard rock lithium mine, and Kwinana, a refinery that processes raw materials into specialized battery chemicals.

At the conference, Peter Bradford, the managing director of IGO Ltd. (ASX:IGO), stated that achieving global net-zero targets will need a considerable rise in renewable energy installations and electric car usage. IGO Ltd. (ASX:IGO) and its partners intend to treble Greenbushes’ manufacturing capacity by 2027.

BHP Group Ltd. (ASX:BHP)

BHP Group Ltd. (ASX:BHP), Australia’s most prominent business in the mining industry, is likewise capitalizing on the prognosis for rapidly expanding battery metal demand. BHP Group Ltd. (ASX: BHP) said on Monday that it had made an offer to acquire OZ Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) a copper and nickel producer with operations in Australia and Brazil. Despite the proposal’s rejection, observers view the proposed combination as attractive. Monday’s trading in Sydney saw an increase of 35% for OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) shares.

BHP Group Ltd. (ASX: BHP) predicts electric models will account for 60 percent of new car sales by 2030 and 90 percent by 2040, according to Jessica Farrell, asset president of the Nickel West unit, a once-unwanted collection of mines smelters, and refineries, including a facility in Kalgoorlie. The fortunes of the latter have been transformed by EV sector demand. The company added a prospective supply arrangement with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) to previous agreements with Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Toyota Motor Corp. (TYO:7203) last month.

Battery metals like lithium producers continue to be the most sought after. Liontown Resources Limited (ASX:LTR)‘s executives celebrated recent agreements with Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA), Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F), and LG Chem Ltd (KRX:051910) at the conference, while Core Lithium Ltd. (ASX:CXO) — which also has a tentative agreement with Elon Musk’s automaker — informed delegates that its Northern Territory project is on track to deliver the first shipment battery metals by the end of the year.

Pilbara Minerals Ltd. (ASX:PLS)

Pilbara Minerals Ltd. (ASX:PLS), whose partners include Great Wall Motor Ord Shs A (SHA:601633) and battery manufacturer Contemporary Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (SHE: 300750), got a record-tying offer for its spodumene, a semi-processed type of lithium, in one of its monthly auctions this month.

In an interview at his company’s Pilgangoora facility in a remote part of northern Western Australia, the CEO of Pilbara, Dale Henderson, stated that the current demand and price of Battery Metals levels are unprecedented.

Featured Image:  Megapixl @Jasonbennee

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