Vollständige Version anzeigen : Lithium das weiße Gold!
ich hab da mal einen Angefang gemacht und 4 Werte gekauft.
1.SQM (WKN: 895007) Weltmarktführer bei Li-Produktion und Mischunternehmen aus Chile
2.FMC (WKN: 871138) amerikanisches Mischunternehmen und Li-Produktion in Argentinien
3. Advanced Battery Technologies (WKN:A0D9Y5) chinesischer Li Batterienhersteller
4. A123 Systems (WKN: A0Q8FY) amerikanischer Li Batterienhersteller
Auf die vielen kleine Explorer hab ich hier verzichtet, da ich da nicht wirklich einen Überblick habe was überleben könnte
oder was eine Niete ist.
Bei den oben genannten handelt es sich aber immerhin um größere etablierte Unternehmen. Die beiden Produzenten
sind charttechnisch im Aufwärtstrend die beiden Batterienhersteller sind momentan noch in einem Seitwärtstrend.
Hier nochmal ein link zum Lithium:
Lithium - das weiße Gold der Anden
Lithium entwickelt sich im Zeitalter der Mobilität zu einem strategischen Rohstoff. Es bildet die Basis für hochleistungsfähige Elektrobatterien für den motorisierten Massenverkehr. Weltmarktführer bei Lithium ist SQM aus Chile. Das Unternehmen verfügt über drei Kerngeschäftsfelder mit dem Schwerpunkt Spezialdünger. Das Lithiumgeschäft ist derzeit noch das kleinste Kernsegment. Damit ist eine Investition in SQM keine riskante Spekulation auf eine Lithiumhausse. Denn auch die Düngemittelsparte ist ein Wachstumsgeschäft und profitiert vom Aufschwung in der Agrarindustrie. Die solide geschäftliche Diversifikation und die globale Marktführerschaft sind überzeugende Investmentfaktoren.
Elektroantrieb erzeugt Lithiumhausse
Die enorme globale Nachfrage nach Öl und die Preisexplosion bei Benzin und Diesel haben die Nachfrage nach benzingetriebenen Automobilen abrupt einbrechen lassen. Die Automobilhersteller müssen ihre Antriebstechnologien revolutionieren: Dabei soll der alte Verbrennungsmotor durch neue Technologien, insbesondere durch die Elektrobatterie ersetzt werden. Nach einer aktuellen Marktprognose sollen ab dem Jahr 2020 weltweit 8 Mio elektrische und hybridelektrische Automobile pro Jahr produziert werden. Davon werden über 60% eine Lithium-basierte Akkutechnologie verwenden. Die hochleistungsfähige Akkutechnologie auf Lithium-Ionen-Basis ist von der Firma Sony für die kommerzielle Nutzung im Jahr 1991 eingeführt worden. Die bedeutendsten Anwendungen finden sich heute im Bereich der portablen Elektronik in Kameras, Handys und Notebooks. Wiederaufladbare Lithium-Ionen-Batterien zeichnen sich durch die hohe Effizienz und Energiespeicherdichte aus. Durch technische Weiterentwicklungen (vor allem Lithium-Luft-Akkus) soll bis zum Jahr 2020 die Energiedichte gegenüber Lithium-Ionen-Batterien verzehnfacht und damit mit einer einzigen Akkuladung die Autoreichweite ähnlich wie bei Benzintanks auf über 800 km erhöht werden. Der künftige Bedarf an großen Lithium-Batterien für den motorisierten Massenverkehr wird zu einem enormen Nachfrageschub bei Lithium führen.
Vorkommen an Lithium regional konzentriert
Lithium wird in konzentrierter Form aus Salzseen gewonnen. Dabei befinden sich gut 70% der Lithiumvorkommen in den südamerikanischen Salzseen in Bolivien, Argentinien und Chile. Daneben verfügt China über bedeutende Lagerstätten. Nach Schätzungen des U.S. Geological Surveys belaufen sich die ökonomisch erschließbaren Lithiumreserven auf über 11 Mio Tonnen weltweit. Aktuell werden jährlich 93 Tsd Tonnen Lithium gefördert. Bei einer deutlichen Erhöhung der Fördermenge droht ein Versorgungsengpass wie beim Rohöl. Allerdings ist Lithium, im Gegensatz zu Öl, recyclebar. Zudem wird sich der Markteintritt Boliviens dämpfend auf die Preise auswirken.
Bolivien verfügt über die höchsten Lithiumreserven, die aber erst erschlossen werden müssen. Der Salzsee „Salar de Atacama" in Chile beherbergt zwar das weltweit zweitgrößte Reservoir, ist aber aufgrund seiner Erschließung und der dort vorherrschenden natürlichen Bedingungen (Sättigung und Qualität von Lithium, Sonneneinstrahlung, Höhe) weltweit einzigartig. Hieraus gewinnt die chilenische SQM mittels eines aufwändigen Verfahrens schließlich das begehrte weiße Lithiumsalz, das Lithiumcarbonat, den Grundstoff für Lithium-basierte Akkus.
SQM hat auf lange Sicht Wettbewerbsvorteile
Die natürlichen Vorteile des Salzsees in Chile führen zu dauerhaften Wettbewerbsvorteilen bei Weltmarktführer SQM. Das Unternehmen hat sich bis zum Jahr 2030 die Abbaurechte gesichert. Zudem führt der Abbau von Lithium als Nebenprodukt bei der Förderung von Kaliumchlorid zu Kostenvorteilen.
Im Geschäftsjahr 2008 hat der Konzern aufgrund der dynamischen Preisentwicklung bei Spezialdüngern Rekordwerte bei Umsatz und Gewinn erzielt. Die laufende Wirtschaftskrise wird nun zu Rückgängen führen. In den ersten 9 Monaten 2009 brach der Umsatz um 24% und der Gewinn um 34% ein. SQM hat im September angekündigt, seine Preise für Lithiumcarbonat um 20% zu senken. Dadurch soll die Nachfrage wieder angekurbelt werden. Zudem erwartet SQM im Kerngeschäft für Spezialdünger eine wirtschaftliche Erholung bis zum Jahr 2011. Die geschäftliche Diversifikation ist vorteilhaft.
Mit seinem diversifizierten Geschäftsmodell ist die chilenische SQM als Weltmarktführer für Spezialdüngemittel, Jod und Lithium ein aussichtsreiches Zukunftsinvestment. Alle Geschäftsfelder sind in Wachstumsbranchen angesiedelt. Die Hauptsparte Spezialdüngemittel wird vom langfristigen Aufwärtstrend in der Agrarindustrie deutlich profitieren. Das belegen bereits die Geschäftszahlen von SQM in der Agrar-Hausse 2008. Das Lithiumgeschäft ist gegenwärtig noch recht klein, verfügt aber über hohes Wachstumspotenzial. SQM hält bis zum Jahr 2030 eine Konzession zur Ausbeutung des weltweit zweitgrößten Salzsees mit bedeutenden Lithium-Vorkommen .
Lithium wird im Zeitalter der Elektromobilität zu einem strategischen Industriemetall aufsteigen. Der Rohstoff Lithium wird für die Herstellung hochleistungsfähiger Batterien für elektrisch und hybridelektrisch angetriebene Kraftfahrzeuge benötigt. Damit wird Lithium zu einem Ersatzrohstoff für Öl.
Was haltet ihr davon?
SQM Earnings for the first 9 Month of 2010 (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/SQM-Reports-Earnings-for-the-prnews-45557147.html?x=0&.v=1)
SQM Reports Earnings for the First Nine Months of 2010
Press Release Source: SQM On Tuesday November 23, 2010, 7:22 pm EST
SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM) (NYSE:SQM - News) reported today earnings for the first nine months of 2010 of US$276.3 million (US$1.05 per ADR), an increase of 6.5% with respect to the same period of 2009, when earnings totaled US$259.4 million (US$0.99 per ADR). Gross Margin reached US$454.4 million (34.3% of revenues), 11.5% higher than the US$407.5 million (38.7% of revenues) recorded during the first nine months of 2009. Revenues totaled US$1,324.7 million for the first nine months, representing an increase of 25.9% over the US$1,052.2 million reported in the same period of 2009.
The Company also announced a year-over-year earnings increase of 11.3% for the third quarter of 2010, reporting quarterly net income of US$94.8 million (US$0.36 per ADR) compared to the 2009 figure of US$85.2 million (US$0.32 per ADR). Gross Margin for the third quarter reached US$151.2 million, 15.3% higher than the US$131.1 million recorded for the same period of 2009. Revenues totaled US$459.5 million, an increase of approximately 19.7% with respect to the third quarter of 2009, when revenues amounted to US$383.8 million.
Patricio Contesse, SQM's Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We have continued to observe positive demand recovery across all of our business lines as markets move passed 2009 lows. The market uncertainty that characterized 2009 has dissipated and consumer confidence has returned to markets, as the global economic situation improves."
Mr. Contesse continued, "During the first nine months of 2010 demand for all of our business segments has recovered more robustly than initially expected, reflecting the strong, underlying fundamentals in each market. We anticipate that this momentum will continue during the remaining months of the year and through next year, and considering that the Company is in a unique position to capture growth in each of its markets, we remain optimistic about the long term prospects for SQM."
For the complete version of this press release, please visit our Web site: www.sqm.com.
SQM is an integrated producer and distributor of specialty plant nutrients, iodine and lithium. Its products are based on the development of high quality natural resources that allow the Company to be leader in costs, supported by a specialized international network with sales in over 100 countries. SQM's development strategy aims to maintain and strengthen the Company's world leadership in its three core businesses: Specialty Plant Nutrition, Iodine and Lithium.
For further information, contact:
Mary Laverty, 56-2-4252074 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Fones, 56-2-4252485 / email@example.com
For media inquiries, contact:
Fernanda Guerra, 56-2-4252027 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Statements in this press release concerning the Company's business outlook, future economic performances, anticipated profitability, revenues, expenses, or other financial items, anticipated cost synergies and product or service line growth, together with other statements that are not historical facts, are "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined under Federal Securities Laws.
Any forward-looking statements are estimates, reflecting the best judgment of SQM based on currently available information and involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements. Risks, uncertainties, and factors that could affect the accuracy of such forward-looking statements, are identified in the public filing made with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and forward-looking statements should be considered in light of those factors.
We're Focusing on the Wrong Electric-Vehicle Market (http://www.fool.com/investing/high-growth/2010/11/24/were-focusing-on-the-wrong-electric-vehicle-market.aspx)
We're Focusing on the Wrong Electric-Vehicle Market
By Travis Hoium
November 24, 2010
As General Electric (NYSE: GE) and NRG Energy are grabbing headlines for buying electric cars and building electric-vehicle infrastructure, respectively, I can't help thinking we're focusing on the wrong type of electric vehicles in the media. We hear about General Motors' (NYSE: GM) Chevy Volt, Nissan's Leaf, and, of course, the Tesla Motors (Nasdaq: TSLA) Roadster, but we get no news on the practical applications that are driving the few profitable (or nearly profitable) companies in the industry.
Headlines are nice, but as an investor, I'm more concerned about where I may be able to profit from this trend. GM and Nissan both expect to sell their electrics at a loss (at first), and Tesla is burning money trying to get the Model S launched -- so where is the profit going to come from?
Advanced Battery Technology (Nasdaq: ABAT) has had success building its battery technology into scooters that are selling like hotcakes. Scooters make almost too much sense as an electric vehicle. They're small and lightweight and never travel long distances -- at least I wouldn't drive one very far. We aren't talking about a huge market, but it makes more sense in a lot of ways than having an electric family sedan.
The challenge would be the U.S. market, which has never had great tolerance for tiny vehicles such as scooters. But I think a cool electric motorcycle would sell in reasonable volumes if a little design work went into them. Can we get Tesla on this, please?
I’m not expecting Harley-Davidson owners to run out and buy an electric motorcycle, but as a sport-bike guy, I could handle doing away with its annoying zing for the silent ride of an electric. Zero Motorcycles is the closest thing we have right now to a stylish electric bike, but the smaller electric vehicles could use a little more love from both the industry and the media.
Going small has made some progress, but going bigger is gaining momentum in the U.S., and investors are starting to see progress. We've seen Valance Technology (Nasdaq: VLNC) make inroads in the commercial market recently with customer Smith Electric. Frito-Lay and Staples are purchasing a combined 217 vehicles for local distribution, and the government is considering Smith for a 100-vehicle fleet as well.
Commercial electric vehicles make more business sense than passenger electric vehicles do, because defined routes and schedules allow for charging time. Commercial drivers also don't take vehicles on the occasional cross-country road trip, a major deterrent for electric vehicles right now.
And how long will it be until FedEx or UPS (NYSE: UPS) makes a big move into electric vehicles? They both have the infrastructure and delivery schedule to make it work, maybe better than anyone else. Both are testing electric vehicles, but we've seen no huge orders such as what we've seen from GE.
If we take this a step further, I don't see why semi-trucks can't be at least partially battery-powered as well. A123 Systems (Nasdaq: AONE) and Ener1 are building grid-scale battery systems, so scale doesn't seem to be an issue. The size and weight of the pack in the truck would be an issue, but the concept semis I've seen would make more business sense than most of the concept electric cars.
Plus, building the infrastructure wouldn't be nearly as difficult as it will be for passenger cars. Build charging stations on major highways every 100 miles, and when drivers are sleeping, they can get a full charge for the road. That may be a little bit of wishful thinking, but the payback for a truck driving tens of thousands of miles a year has to be faster than for a city commuter.
The bottom line
Whether you're looking big or small, the electric-vehicle market has more going on beyond just the cars getting all the headlines. Commercial trucks and scooters may not be as exciting, but they're driving Advanced Battery Technologies profit and pushing Valence closer to profitability than any of its U.S. battery rivals. That's something to consider when you're looking at investing in the electric-vehicle revolution.
Bei den vorgestellten Werten profitiert man übrigens auch noch nebenbei vom fallenden Euro, da die Kurse in Dollar gemacht werden http://www.finanznavigator.de/stock-board/images/smilies/wink.gif
Mal was Interessantes zu China:
"E-Scooter in China
Die günstigen Preise und die Tatsache, dass sie dort als Fahrräder gelten, haben E-Roller in der VR China bereits vor 2010 sehr populär werden lassen.
China ist das erste Land, in dem im Jahr 2006 erstmals mehr Elektrofahrzeuge als Benzinfahrzeuge verkauft wurden ([B]19 Mio. Elektrofahrzeuge, 13,4 Mio. Benzinfahrzeuge). Der Elektromotorroller gehört mittlerweile zum gewöhnlichen Alltagsbild wie vor 20 Jahren das berühmte chinesische Fahrrad."
Günstige Elektromotorroller sind meistens noch mit normalen Blei-Gel-Akkus ausgestattet, deren Nachteil die geringe reale Kapazität unter Belastung und ihre kurze Lebensdauer ist. Die meisten dieser Elektroroller haben eine Reichweite von etwa 50 km/Ladung und weisen bei schlechter Behandlung nach einem Winter ein geschwächtes Ladungsverhalten auf. Die Ladungskapazität eines Blei-Gel-Akkus ist temperaturabhängig und nimmt bei Kälte - einhergehend mit den physikochemischen Stoffeigenschaften von Elektrolyt und Elektroden - wesentlich niedrigere Werte an als bei Raumtemperatur.
Höherwertige Elektromotorroller sind vereinzelt mit NiCd- oder NiMH-Akkus ausgerüstet.
[B]Die kommende Technologie sind Lithium-Ionen-Akkus, LiPo(lymer)- bzw. LiFePO4-Akkus. Die Verwendung dieser Akkumulatoren trägt zu einer Gewichtsreduzierung und einer höheren Reichweite bei. Nachteilig sind die deutlich höheren Anschaffungskosten - bei Lithium-Ionen mit 300 bis 1400 €/kWh mehr als ein konventioneller Roller - sowie das kalendarische Leben der Lithium-Technologie: auch ohne Benutzung können die Akkus defekt werden, ein Nachteil, der insbesondere bei einer Benutzung mit weniger als 40 Ladezyklen pro Jahr (2000 km/a) zu deutlich höheren km-Kosten (20 €/100 km, 5a) führen kann.
Beim Anlegen aktueller Maßstäbe (Stand: Okt. 2010) verkraften schlechte Akkus etwa 350 Ladezyklen, ehe sie funktionsuntüchtig werden, sehr gute liegen dagegen bei über 2000."
Alle 4 Lithiumaktien mittlerweile schön im Plus! http://www.finanznavigator.de/stock-board/images/smilies/smile.gif
Lithium Battery Stocks Who will rallye in 2011? (http://www.thestreet.com/_yahoo/story/10942720/1/lithium-battery-stocks-who-will-rally-in-2011.html?cm_ven=YAHOO&cm_cat=FREE&cm_ite=NA)
Lithium Battery Stocks: Who Will Rally in 2011?
By Andrea Tse 12/09/10 - 12:25 PM EST
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As electric car trends continue to move forward into 2011, investors want to know what's in store for makers of the rechargeable batteries that will be powering them.
The rising stars of the rechargeable battery space have, of course, been light-weight, but energy-dense lithium batteries, which are expected to experience a growing adoption rate in the global push for fuel economy.
According to Wunderlich analyst Theo O'Neill, for lithium batteries to penetrate a meaningful fraction of the world's car market, prices need to fall by about 50%. He estimates this will occur in 2014, or when the industry has produced more than 50 million individual battery cells, or 150,000 electric cars.
The lithium battery business could become very large depending on the market's acceptance of electric cars and hybrids, how quickly battery costs can be lowered and the extent of government subsidies," O'Neill says. In one instance of electric car acceptance, General Motors(GM_) has now raised its planned production rate of plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volts to 60,000 a year by 2012, from the initial planned production rate of 30,000 a year, according to D.A. Davidson analyst Avinash Kant, who cites industry sources in an equity research report. General Electric(GE_) recently announced that it will buy 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015, almost half of them from GM, including the 2011 Chevy Volt.
Earnings and revenue consensus views for lithium battery company A123's(AONE) future quarter are thought to be going through revisions after the company recently told investors that the timing of its automotive OEM customer production ramp up was to be pushed out to the second quarter of 2011, from the fourth quarter fourth quarter of 2010.
Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes sees the OEM delays as "normal growing pains," but remains neutral on the stock. "Despite a leading technology and rapid capacity expansion, we believe the investment cycle ahead of the revenue ramp will take longer and require more capital than expected," he explained in a client note. Craig-Hallum analyst Robert Brown was lowering his estimates for the company, but believes that A123 remains "well-positioned" to capture growth in the hybrid-vehicle and grid-storage markets given its "best-of-breed" products.
The OEM delays were in line with Stifel Nicolaus analyst Dilip Warrier's thesis that electric vehicle production ramps will occur more gradually than expected. "Coupled with aggressive Asian competition, this could lead to a gradual reduction in aggressive consensus estimates for 2011, 2012 and 2013," Warrier said in a note.
A123 management remains optimistic about a major contract with a big OEM in 2012 or 2013; Warrier believes this customer could be GM.
Recently A123v noted significantly lower production yields at new facilities, which was costly for the company, but assures that it has identified the problem and found a solution for it. Such issues are commonly encountered by manufacturers trying to ramp up production, said Warrier.
A123 also recently announced the resignation of CFO Michael Rubino effective Jan. 14, 2011, without naming a successor. Analysts have responded to this with mixed views -- some looking for a stock overhang owing to the element of uncertainty; others saying his departure won't affect the future of the company given that Rubino was rarely involved in pursuing new business deals.
In the coming quarters, investors will want to know what Advanced Battery Technologies(ABAT) ends up doing with its $30 million capital injection via the issuance of millions of additional shares.
This diluting move was a disappointment for many investors -- announced just as the stock was strengthening on strong third-quarter results. A sharp selloff of the stock ensued.
On Nov. 30, Advanced Battery Technologies announced that it was raising $30 million in capital through the issuance of 7.5 million shares, at $4 a share to institutional investors. It was also issuing for investors warrants to buy up to about 3.8 million shares of common stock, which if fully exercised, would provide an additional $15 million in gross proceeds to the company. ABAT said it would likely use the proceeds for acquisitions and expansion of the company's battery manufacturing facility.
Advanced Battery Technologies(ABAT) reported third-quarter net income increase of 118.8% year-over-year to $11.1 million, or 16 cents a share, from about $5.1 million, or 8 cents a share a year ago. For the quarter ended Sept. 30, ABAT generated revenue growth of 46.4% to $25.9 million, from $17.7 million the same time last year, partly driven by its recently-acquired electric vehicle business. At the end of April last year, ABAT said it completed the acquisition of Chinese electric vehicle maker Wuxi Angell Autocycle for RMB 70 million or $3.6 million.
FMC Corp. Declares 12.5 Cent/Share Quarterly Dividend (FMC)
Written on Fri, 12/17/2010 - 3:19pm
By Sarah Hashim-Waris
Officials from FMC Corp. (NYSE:FMC) said Friday that the company's board of directors has declared a regular quarterly dividend of 12.5 cents per share.
The dividend is payable to shareholders on record as of December 31st; the date of payment is scheduled for January 20th.
Shares of the firm are trading 0.31% lower Friday afternoon at $79.77.
FMC Corp. produces diverse chemical solutions, applications, and products.
The company's principal business segments are industrial chemicals, specialty chemicals, and agricultural products.
On October 01, 2010, FMC was downgraded to Hold from Buy at BB&T Capital.
FMC had sales growth of 0.1% during the last fiscal year.
The company has reported $3.0 billion in sales over the past 12 months and is expected to report $3.2 billion in sales in the next fiscal year.
FMC has a potential upside of 12.8% based on a current price of $79.76 and an average consensus analyst price target of $90.00.
The firm is currently above its 50-day moving average (MA) of $75.35 and above its 200-day MA of $65.62.
In the last five trading sessions, the 50-day MA has climbed 1.54%, while the 200-day MA has risen 0.84%.
Advanced Battery Technologies to acquire Shenzhen Zhongqiang
Dec. 23, 2010 (China Knowledge) - Advanced Battery Technologies, Inc<ABAT> on Dec. 20 came into an acquisition agreement worth US$20 million with Shenzhen Zhongqiang New Energy Science & Technology Co Ltd, sources reported.
The Nasdaq-listed firm, based in Shuangcheng Economic Development Zone, Heilongjiang Province, will use US$13.5 million of the US$20 million to assume existing liabilities of the target firm and hopes to complete the acquisition on Jan. 1, 2011.
Shenzhen Zhongqiang currently has a daily output capacity of 70,000 lithium-ion battery cells for mobile phones, MP3 and video game consoles.
In order to increase the battery output, Advanced Battery Technologies on Dec. 20 also spent US$26 million to mainly acquire a 56,000-square meter plant in Dongguan, Guangdong Province. The plant, which is designed to produce 500,000 handset battery cells and 70,000 mAh of high capacity battery, is expected to have an annual sale of more than US$100 million, sources reported.
Copyright © "2010" [url]www.chinaknowledge.com (http://www.chinaknowledge.com/newswires/News_Detail.aspx?NewsID=39793)
High on Lithium: Jon Hykawy
January 11, 2011
With oil prices edging closer to $100 per barrel, the chatter about electric cars is again on the rise. Jon Hykawy, head of global research with Toronto-based Byron Capital Markets, thinks the time is nigh for the mass adoption of electric cars, all of which will need specialty metals like lithium. But where is that lithium going to come from? In this exclusive interview with The Energy Report, Jon handicaps most of the players in the lithium space and highlights a few that could be takeover targets.
The Energy Report: Jon, tell us why lithium is generating a lot of excitement right now.
Jon Hykawy: It's a case of the general public starting to understand what the electric car might be able to do. As electric cars start to penetrate global markets, that will save the consumer a considerable amount of money, and help develop power infrastructure in the United States, a country now spending $300 billion a year on foreign oil. The electric car will also have a significantly positive effect on the environment—no matter how the electricity is generated. Obviously, lithium batteries will play a critical role because you need a fair bit of lithium per vehicle that is going to be built. I think people are starting to understand that there's going to be a tremendous pull on lithium. That's really what's driving the excitement.
TER: Lithium is not like gold or copper, two of the most commonly mined metals. If someone is investing in lithium companies, what are some lithium basics that investors should know?
JH: Lithium mining is largely dependent on chemistry. The costs really scale with the individual deposit and with the individual chemistry of the brine, if it's a brine deposit.
The first rule of thumb is that lithium is an industrial chemical. There is a defined demand for it. Nobody makes jewelry out of lithium. There's not an insatiable demand for the stuff. You want to find the companies that can produce lithium inexpensively. Frankly, that tends to limit you to looking at brine deposits. You can look at hard rock deposits to the extent that you can look at a company like Talison Lithium Ltd. (TLTHF.PK), based in Australia. Talison's ore grade is very, very high. It's really a bit of a mutant in the hard rock space. As a result, there are very few other hard rock projects that we think have any hope of doing anything in the market over the longer term. We tend to tell people to look either at brine deposits or possibly at the clay deposits because some of the clay projects out there, especially Western Lithium USA Corp.'s (WLCDF.PK) King's Valley lithium project in Nevada, have a shot at coming in at a relatively low cost. And cost is key; on the brine side, you really want what you want in every deposit—high grade. You want a high level of lithium in the brine. In Chile, off of the Atacama Desert, you're going to see grades of 2,000 parts per million (ppm) of lithium. That's at the top of the range. Anything over 800 ppm is a very, very strong deposit. But you also need low levels of contaminants like magnesium and sulfates. If you find all of those things, then you have a reasonable deposit. You just need to couple that with great management and good financing and you have yourself a mine.
TER: Who are the major lithium players at this stage?
JH: At this point, there are four major producers. They've been the four major producers for a significant period of time. Three of them produce from brine deposits in South America. Those are Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA (SQM), which is the Chilean national mining and chemical company; FMC Lithium (FMC), which is part of FMC Corporation; and Chemetall, which is part of Rockwood Holdings, Inc (ROC). And, as I mentioned earlier, Talison Lithium. Talison really dominates the market for lithium that's used to manufacture glass and ceramics. But they also sell a fair bit of their lithium to companies in China that produce battery-grade lithium.
TER: And most of it comes from the Greenbushes Lithium Operation in Western Australia, and, as you said, that's a hard rock deposit.
JH: Yes, they produce a mineral called spodumene. The theoretical limit on lithium concentration in spodumene is about 8% lithium. They can produce something that is as close to 8% as it matters.
TER: What's the life expectancy of that operation?
JH: Longer than you or I are going to care. They have a high-grade core of about 4% lithium that probably can last through the next 20 to 40 years. It's a very rich, long-life mine. That's one of the reasons there are no other major hard rock suppliers because the primary market for that material is glass and ceramics. When you have something that's as inexpensive to produce as the spodumene from that high-quality deposit, it's very, very difficult for anybody else to get into that game.
TER: But what about the lithium Talison produces that is used in batteries?
JH: They sell that same spodumene concentrate that contains lithium and other companies in China turn it into battery-grade material, but it's more expensive than producing it from brine.
TER: You talked a little bit about lithium-ion batteries and, in particular, those being used in cars. There was a press release published in early December about Japan's Sanyo (SANYY.PK) doubling its plant production capacity for lithium-ion batteries. Sanyo has contracts to supply Volkswagen (VLKAF.PK) and Suzuki (SZKMF.PK). The company says that the market for lithium over the next 10 years will average $6 billion a year. It's worth about $4 billion now. Do we have enough lithium to meet that demand?
JH: Well, first about the figures that you quoted. Lithium batteries are not used in electric vehicles today. The batteries in the Honda (HMC) Insight or the Toyota (TM) Prius, today, are all nickel-metal-hydride batteries. In terms of automotive use, the use of lithium battery is completely greenfield; it's starting essentially from zero. As far as whether we have enough lithium, if you look at a vehicle like the Nissan (NSANY.PK) LEAF, it uses about 4 kilograms (kg.) of lithium metal or about 21 kg. of lithium-carbonate equivalent. We usually quote the amount of lithium shipped in the world as lithium-carbonate equivalent because it's a nice, benign chemical. Last year, the demand for lithium was about 100,000 tons. You can see that one vehicle using 20 kg. of lithium-carbonate equivalent is not going to stretch lithium demand until millions of vehicles are produced each year.
TER: But at the same time, we're seeing a major increase in the price of lithium per ton. It's around $6,500 per ton right now.
JH: I think that's rather high. Lately, the price of industrial-grade lithium has been around $5,000 a ton. And the battery-grade material has been selling for something like $5,600 or $5,700. The historical high prices do run up to $6,500 per ton, though.
TER: But the price for lithium is not set like copper or nickel prices on the London Metals Exchange. Lithium prices are determined by buyers and sellers working out agreements with each other. How is that dynamic influencing junior explorers with lithium projects?
JH: Unfortunately, it's a more complex question than that. But the critical point at this stage is that none of the four key lithium suppliers want to grant offtake agreements to automotive manufacturers. As far as these suppliers are concerned, there's plenty of lithium on the market and the automotive manufacturers should be happy to go out and buy their lithium through negotiated contracts, just like everyone else.
But you can't ask an automotive manufacturer to depend on the fact that they're going to get 50 or 100 tons of lithium on a given day. Maybe there's only $60,000 or $70,000 worth of lithium coming, but if they miss that shipment they could literally cease production to the tune of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of vehicles. So carmakers will not depend on a spot contract. They need offtake agreements; they need something that's carved in stone.
To that end, what's been happening lately is that a lot of these automotive manufacturers are doing direct offtake agreements with the junior lithium miners. They're actually going out and tying up supply by buying it directly from the juniors.
TER: What are some examples of those?
JH: Well, there's been a few high-profile ones. For example, one of the better-known names in the junior lithium space is Orocobre Limited (OROCF.PK). They signed an offtake agreement and development program with Toyota Tsusho. So Orocobre's program seems to be advancing reasonably well. We expect that sometime in the first quarter of 2011 we're going to hear about the finalization of that agreement and an equity injection by Toyota into Orocobre's Salar de Olaroz lithium project in Argentina.
Another company that has signed two separate agreements is Lithium Americas Corp. (LHMAF.PK). They have lithium supply agreements with both Magna International Inc. (MGA) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MSBHY.PK). Lithium Americas' Salar de Cauchari lithium project is just up the road from Orocobre's lithium project in Argentina.
Another Argentine group that signed something recently is Lithium One Inc. (LITHF.PK). They share the salar that FMC produces lithium from, Salar del Hombre Muerto, in the Argentine desert. That salar produces about 15% of the world's lithium through FMC. Lithium One's agreement is with the Koreans, via Korea Resources (KORES), to supply a number of potential buyers with lithium. There are certainly some frontrunners in this space.
TER: What is it about these deposits in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia that make them so prospective for lithium?
JH: There are a couple of things that are important. One is that the portion of the world that we're talking about—the desert in South America—has been uplifted. Millions of years ago there were small, relatively salty lakes there due to their proximity to the ocean. Those lakes were eventually lifted into the mountains and set on the leeward side so the evaporation rates have been very high. As a result, nature has done a lot of the work.
The salty brine that was left behind is just below the surface where it's protected from further evaporation. It has a high enough concentration of lithium to make it worthwhile to process. But it also has a low enough concentration of contaminants that those materials don't negatively impact the cost of the lithium. That has made the South American desert one of the least expensive places in the world from which to source lithium.
There are other places in the world where this same sort of thing has happened. It's happened in Tibet. It's happened in portions of China. It's happened in a few other places but in most of those places the lithium concentration is low and the concentration of some contaminants, like magnesium, is relatively high. That, unfortunately, has made those deposits uneconomic to mine at this point.
TER: You mentioned Lithium Americas. It owns the Salar de Cauchari lithium-potassium property in Argentina, where pilot-scale processing is underway. You have a speculative buy rating on Lithium Americas with a target price of $2.50. It's trading around $1.90 now. What sort of catalyst is going to bring it up to that level?
JH: What really matters at this point is that Lithium Americas produces a definitive feasibility study that points out the flow sheet that they're going to use to produce lithium. It's a bit of an interesting deposit. They have a reasonably good concentration of lithium but they also have a relatively high abundance of sulfate, one of those contaminant ions. If you had nothing but sulfate, you'd have a bit of a problem and it would be an expense. But they also have a fair bit of potassium in their brine. Potassium and sulfate together are potash. If you could get the chemistry correct and put the right flow sheet together, Lithium Americas could be a relatively inexpensive producer of lithium, as well as a relatively inexpensive producer of fertilizer. The two of them together would make a very interesting revenue stream. You sometimes see those dual revenue streams from some of the major producers, like SQM in Chile.
TER: Has Lithium Americas done studies to determine if they can get the chemistry right?
JH: In theory it's workable. They've worked on it on a pilot-scale basis. What it really comes down to now is finding what the cost is going to be and that's where the feasibility study comes in.
TER: When should that be published?
JH: We're hoping we're going to see something from Lithium Americas relatively early in the New Year. That will give us some comfort.
TER: Well, we'll look forward to that. You also mentioned Lithium One. What's unique about its Sal de Vida Brine Project in Argentina?
JH: Well, one of the geologists who works on the deposit in Argentina had a very good statement about it. We were discussing the deposit's chemistry when he just smiled and said: "God was very good to Lithium One." They have a relatively high abundance of lithium. They have very low magnesium levels. And the sulfate levels are well matched to the two of those. They really have no other contaminants to worry about. It looks a lot like the brine that FMC deals with on the other half of the salar. It's a very good brine. In terms of chemistry, there's very little you could ask for other than even higher levels of lithium. But as far as it goes, Sal de Vida is one of the more straightforward projects that you're going to come across.
TER: You mentioned Western Lithium, too. The company has a clay deposit, the King's Valley lithium project in northern Nevada. Have you been to that project?
JH: I have, yes.
TER: What were some of your thoughts after seeing it firsthand?
JH: Firstly, King's Valley probably contains a never-ending stream of lithium. There are two things that distinguish it. The first is it's in the United States, so the political risk is minimal. The second thing is that there are five lenticular deposits of hectorite clay that effectively contain an inexhaustible supply of lithium. And through the publication of Western Lithium's preliminary feasibility study, the company has shown it can produce battery-grade lithium, or what certainly looks like battery-grade lithium, at a very reasonable cost. The cost outlined in its study would make Western Lithium one of the least expensive producers of battery-grade lithium in the world. That is interesting to us.
The process that Western Lithium is using to recover the lithium looks a lot like the mundane processing of an industrial material like vanadium. While it looks a little like that, it's never been done on a commercial scale. That's still a risk that investors need to keep in mind. This is a novel method for producing lithium. While you can get game-changing results out of novel approaches, you can also get some serious negative surprises once in a while.
TER: What about some other companies with projects that are similar to Western Lithium but perhaps a little further away from production?
JH: There is one. We know this company reasonably well and have visited all their sites. Rodinia Lithium Inc.'s (RDNAF.PK) Salar de Diablillos lithium brine project in Argentina looks like a good one to us. Again, it's one of those deposits that's been blessed by reasonably good chemistry. They've got relatively high levels of lithium. Good magnesium levels. Good sulfate levels. It should be a relatively tractable project. It's not a huge project, but in the larger scheme of things you don't need to be huge. You just need to target the right markets and find some buyers who want to buy the stuff.
TER: With most of these deposits being found in the same part of the world, are we going to see some takeovers?
JH: We've already seen a few. For instance, we've seen Talison take over Salares Lithium and its properties in Chile. The idea of a hard rock player owning brines is an attractive one to me. I like the synergies that come with the two approaches in terms of being able to guarantee delivery to automotive customers, for example. With brine, for example, lithium production is dependent on the weather, so guaranteed delivery can become an issue. Production of lithium from hard rock or clay is nearly certain and independent of the weather. Put the two together, and you can have guaranteed delivery with potentially very low costs.
We're likely to see more takeovers. Lithium Americas' Salar de Cauchari and Orocobre's Salar de Olaroz in Argentina are really side by side. There's a tremendous amount of potential synergy between what Orocobre is doing and what Lithium Americas is doing. You may well see some activity there. If not an outright merger of the two companies, you could certainly see some cooperation on the processing of lithium. That would make an awful lot of sense. Frankly, none of the properties in Argentina are really all that far away from one another, so some sort of regional processing facilities would make sense there, too.
TER: Do you have some parting thoughts on lithium?
JH: As I said earlier, people need to bear in mind that lithium really is an industrial chemical. There is a defined demand for it. The companies that are going to succeed in the lithium space are going to be the ones that put together the right marketing agreements and produce it at a reasonably low price. If you manage to pull those things together, lithium mining is highly lucrative. Nature has done most of the work and the margins in the space can be 50% or more. You don't often see that in the production of an industrial material like lithium.
TER: Thanks, Jon; interesting as always.
Jon Hykawy is currently with the research team at Byron Capital Markets, with a specialized focus in the lithium and clean technology/alternative energy industries. Jon holds both a PhD in physics and an MBA from Queen's University and has been working in capital markets as a clean technologies/alternative energy analyst for the last four years. He began his career in the investment industry in 2000, originally working as a technology analyst. His current area of focus is the lithium sector, ranging from availability and production to lithium battery technology. He has extensive experience in the solar, wind, and battery industries, conducting significant research in the areas of rechargeable batteries, ranging from rechargeable alkaline to lithium-ion to flow batteries. Jon is also fluent in Spanish and Ukrainian.
1. Brian Sylvester of The Energy Report conducted this interview. He personally and/or his family own shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
2. The following companies mentioned in the interview are sponsors of The Energy Report: Talison, Western Lithium USA, Lithium Americas, Lithium One and Rodinia.
3. Jon Hykawy: I personally and/or my family own shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I personally and/or my family am paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
Electric-Car Component Makers Power Up
ByGeorge DeVaux, RealMoney Contributor , On Wednesday January 12, 2011, 2:30 pm EST
High petroleum prices will help to drive the market (http://www.thestreet.com/p/_search/rmoney/investing/10956873_2.html) for electric storage devices that power electric vehicles. And two companies that produce the components for electric cars are worth watching.
Electric vehicles need to store electricity. Batteries -- think A123 -- and capacitors -- think Maxwell Technologies -- use different storage approaches.
A rechargeable battery uses reversible chemical reactions to store the energy. An EDLC (electric double layer capacitor) stores the electrons on the surface of its component material. A material which does not conduct electricity (a dielectric) separates the positive and negative charge layers. (Note that these types of capacitors are sometimes called ultracapacitors or supercapacitors. These terms refer to the relative energy density, and the total energy storage can range from tiny -- as in a cell phone -- to very large.)
For the transportation market, the significant parameters include cost, energy density (watt hours per kilogram, or W•h/kg), power density (a measure of time to charge), volumetric energy storage and lifetime (measured in charge discharge cycles).
The energy density of a lead acid battery ranges from about 30 to 40 W•h/kg. For a lithium ion battery, the energy density is on the order of 160 W•h/kg. This dramatic differential helps explain the use of lithium ion batteries in automobiles.
For the next few years, lithium ion batteries will supply the bulk of the power storage market for electric vehicles such as the Volt produced by General Motors. Ultracapacitors will serve as a complement in regenerative braking and to provide surges of power for acceleration and hill-climbing. Over several years, ultracapacitors may close the density gap with batteries.
A123 makes lithium ion batteries. The transportation sector accounts for about 50% of its product revenue. Products for the electric grid account for about 30%. The balance is for general commercial purposes. In its third-quarter report, A123 revealed that its transport customers are ramping at a slower pace than originally anticipated. A six-month delay is not critical, but the cash runway is getting shorter. A significant ramp in sales could alter the cash flow from negative to positive with a significant impact on the price-to-sales ratio.
Batteries require very long discharge/charge cycles (hours), vs. seconds for ultracapacitors. Batteries can be cycled only a few thousand times vs. several hundred thousand times for ultracapacitors. Batteries currently provide higher energy densities, but that advantage may disappear.
Maxwell Technologies produces capacitors for a number of industry sectors. It recently received a $1.7 million contract from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) for an integrated system that combines an advanced capacitor, an advanced battery and an integrated management system. Additional contract phases could add $8 million. These contract amounts are significant when compared with Maxwell's R&D budget of about $15 million per year. Also significant is DARPA's approach to rapidly fielding technology. The organization is focused on getting technology into the hands of the leading developer as fast as practical. This contract could significantly affect Maxwell's top line within a few years.
EDLCs are used in regenerative braking systems to store energy and to reaccelerate the vehicle. More than 1,000 buses use EDLCs as the primary energy system. Because the charge range is typical less than 10 miles, these bus systems require recharge stations along the route.
Most EDLCs use activated carbon as component material for the storage of electric charge. Substantial improvement in the amount of surface area will come from other forms of carbon such as nano tubes, graphene, aero gels and carbides. Improvements in the dielectric layer will permit higher voltages. An improvement by a factor of 10 in energy density is likely in the commercial marketplace over the next few years. Ford has sponsored significant carbon nano tube work for EDLCs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Currently, commercial EDLCs are available with an energy density up to 30 W•h/kg. Laboratory demonstrations are already at three times that level.
Which Lithium Battery Stock Will Stage a Turnaround in 2011?
By Andrea Tse (http://www.thestreet.com/author/1167748/AndreaTse/all.html) (http://www.thestreet.com/email/story/10971308.html)01/13/11 - 08:01 AM EST
NEW YORK (TheStreet (http://www.thestreet.com/)) -- In 2010, Ener1(HEV (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/HEV.html)_ (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/HEV.html)), A123(AONE (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/AONE.html)_ (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/AONE.html)) and Advanced Battery Technologies(ABAT (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/ABAT.html)_ (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/ABAT.html)) exhibited lackluster performance for a variety of reasons, ranging from delays in customer orders to share dilution from capital injection.
When Needham analyst Michael Lew initiated coverage of lithium battery maker Ener1 earlier this year, the company was becoming increasingly present in China, the world's number one vehicle market, and ramping up production to help Norwegian electric vehicle producer THINK fulfill a backlog of orders for more than 2,000 electric vehicles. Lew said he significant opportunity in the company.
Lew said that if Ener1 was able to ramp up its battery production to 900 packs a month while fulfilling Think's orders, it would "elevate the company's stature" in the emerging electric vehicles market and, furthermore, lead to more business supply agreements with tier-1 automakers.
Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes, however, maintains a neutral view of the stock, noting that the ramp up in Think sales in 2010 and 2011 was occurring more slowly than expected and that Ener1-Wanxiang bus and truck projects remain in prototype form given the still ongoing JV negotiations.
Lew has been optimistic about the possibility of long-term financial gains for Ener1 through its growing presence in China through a joint venture (JV) agreement with Chinese tier one auto parts supplier Wanxiang for developing battery systems, and relationship with Chinese automaker Geely via its partnership with Volvo; Ford(F (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/F.html)_ (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/F.html)) recently sold its stake in Volvo to Geely's parent company.
Earnings and revenue consensus views for lithium battery company A123's coming quarter are thought to be undergoing revisions after the company recently told investors that the timing of its automotive OEM customer production ramp-up was to be pushed out to the second quarter of 2011, from the fourth quarter of 2010.
Wienkes, for his part, sees the OEM delays as "normal growing pains," but remains neutral on the stock. Craig-Hallum analyst Robert Brown was lowering his estimates for the company, but believes that A123 remains "well-positioned" to capture growth in the hybrid-vehicle and grid-storage markets given its "best-of-breed" products.
In the coming quarters, investors will want to know what Advanced Battery Technologies ends up doing with its $30 million capital injection via the issuance of millions of additional shares.
This diluting move was a disappointment for many investors -- announced just as the stock was strengthening on strong third-quarter results. "The market is anxious to see what this surprise was about," says Olympia analyst Paul Resnik.
"The lithium battery business could become very large (http://www.thestreet.com/story/10942881/1.html) depending on the market's acceptance of electric cars and hybrids, how quickly battery costs can be lowered and the extent of government subsidies," Wunderlich analyst Theo O'Neill says.
Case in point, General Motors(GM (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/GM.html)_ (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/GM.html)) has now raised its planned production rate of plug-in hybrid electric Chevrolet Volts to 60,000 a year by 2012, from the initial planned production rate of 30,000 a year, according to D.A. Davidson analyst Avinash Kant, who cites industry sources in an equity research report. General Electric(GE (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/GE.html)_ (http://www.thestreet.com/quote/GE.html)) recently announced that it will buy 25,000 electric vehicles by 2015, almost half of them from GM, including the 2011 Chevy Volt.
In light of this background, which of the lithium battery stocks mentioned do you think is most likely to stage a turnaround in 2011? Take our poll below to learn the consensus of TheStreet.
20:28 | 01.02.2011
Solarworld will im Erzgebirge Lithium fördern
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