Lithium, which is the lightest of all metals, has a unique combination of chemical and physical properties that make it ideally suited for use in a wide range of battery and other industrial applications. As such, lithium ion batteries are found in a very wide range of consumer electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptop computers and other portable electronic devices.
At the same time lithium ion batteries are critical components in electric vehicles and hybrid automobiles. The demand for lithium is increasing, and is presently outpacing supply sources. The battery market is expected to grow at over 6% annually between 2015 and 2025, with lithium batteries accounting for 35% of this growth, according to CRU International.
Over the same period, the electric transportation sub-market alone is expected to experience a 23 percent compounded annual growth rate.Global lithium supplies are derived from “hard rock” (pegmatite-hosted) deposits and from lithium-enriched brines from the Australia, Chile, China, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, the only lithium production from a brine operation in Nevada. Of these two major types of lithium deposits, lithium-enriched brines are the lowest cost source of the metal in terms of both capital expenditure and operating cost.
With large battery manufacturing facilities, such as Tesla’s “Gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada and Faraday Motor Works’ proposed manufacturing facility near Las Vegas, Nevada, our Sal Rica and Columbus Basin projects are at the epicenter of lithium brine development, production and consumption in the United States.