IM Lithium News in Brief 22 – 28 July

By Myles McCormick
Published: Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Orocobre revises forecasts down; Tesla predicts 10 year "tipping point" for EVs; lithium potential demonstrated in Parkinson’s treatment.

Orocobre Ltd. has revised its Q3 2015 forecasts for lithium carbonate production at its Olaroz project in Argentina down to 1,100 tonnes, from 1,200 tonnes previously.

The ASX-listed company has been working on resolving a number of bottlenecks in production, including one issue relating to the cooling system in the purification circuit, which is not expected to be resolved until the final quarter of the year.  

In its most recent quarterly report, Orocobre announced that it produced 126 tonnes lithium carbonate product during the three months to the end of June 2015 at the Olaroz lithium facility, in which it owns a 66% interest.

Completion of debottlenecking work and an increase in quantities of concentrated brine from September onwards are expected to lead to growth in production volumes in Q4, the company said.

Receipts for the quarter stood at Australian dollar (A$) 8.4m ($6.12m). However, high administrative and production costs left Orocobre with a net operating cash flow of A$2.9m ($2.11m).

Fellow Australian miner, European Metal Holdings Ltd, has announced that processing of a bulk sample collected from the Cinovec lithium-tin-tungsten project in the Czech Republic has begun in Freiburg, Germany.

The sample will subsequently be used in lithium mini-plant testing at Strategic Metallurgy’s facility in Perth, Australia to produce lithium carbonate and by-products.

The company expects formal approval to drill the planned programme at Cinovec from Czech authorities within a month.

TSX-V-listed Dajin Resources Ltd. completed a 550 station gravity survey at its Alkali Lake lithium project in Esmerelda Country in Nevada, US.

Surface sampling earlier this year at the property – which consists of 138 placer claims over an area of 1,138ha (11.38km2) – confirmed the presence of near-surface lithium

The results of the gravity survey will be processed to create a 3D image of the basin in order to define its depth and volume, parameters, which need to be established before proceeding with further exploration.

Canadian explorer, Western Lithium USA Corp. has closed a private placement of subscription receipts to an affiliate of the Thai energy company, Bankchak Petroleum Public Co. Ltd.

Bangchak was issued 9,214m subscription receipts at a price of $0.54 each, for total proceeds of $5m.

TSX-V-listed Lithium Americas Corp., has extended a cooperation agreement with South Korean technology firm POSCO through to September this year.

The agreement, which was originally signed in January 2014, has thus far provided a commercial platform for the companies to build a lithium extraction demonstration plant at the Cauchari-Olaroz salar in Jujuy, Argentina.

The extension has been granted to allow for the completion of work on a potassium demonstration plant and to continue discussions relating to a commercial scale lithium and potassium plant at the salar.

JB Straubel, chief technology officer of US-based automotive and energy storage company, Tesla Motors Inc., has predicted that improvements in energy density and grid storage technologies will make it cheaper to drive electric vehicles (EVs) than traditional petrol-based vehicles.

Speaking at the Inter Solar North America conference in San Francisco earlier this month, Straubel predicted an "amazing tipping point" would occur in this regard "certainly within the next 10 years".

French designer and manufacturer of advanced technology batteries for industry, Saft Groupe SA, has received orders of €20m ($22.1m*) from Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), India’s only nationwide 4G long term evolution (LTE) operator.

Saft will supply is 'Evolion’ lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery systems to RJIL’s Base Transceiver Station (BTS) sites to support India’s ongoing 4G/LTE roll-out programme.

Voltabox of Texas Inc., the US subsidiary of German automotive supplier paragon AG, has officially opened a new Li-ion battery pack production plant in Leander, near Austin, Texas.

The site will mass-produce the company’s batteries on fully-automated assembly lines for sale in the US market.

In medical news, a study by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, published in Brain Research, found that low dosages of lithium may be used to counter side effects of the medication most commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease

In a study using mice, low dosages of lithium were found to reduce the prominence of abnormal involuntary movements (AIMS), which are long term side effects associated with the use of 'Carbidopa/Levodopa’ – a drug used to boost levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is low in Parkinson's patients.

Finally, energy storage technology development company, BioSolar, Inc. has suggested that its 'Super Battery’ technology – currently under development – could significantly lower the cost of onsite energy storage

It pointed to a report by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association which predicted that the energy storage market in the United States will triple in 2015.

It is currently working on a technology to double the storage capacity, lower the cost and extend the life of Li-ion batteries.

*Conversions made July 2015

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