Rio Tinto Diamonds and
Minerals’ CEO, Alan Davies, pushed
Rio’s Serbian Jadar lithium and borates project
into the headlines by noting the site’s potential
for lithium carbonate production.
"Lithium carbonate would be new for us,
but the world will need a lot more lithium in the future for
electric cars," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Hopefully we'll be able to supply into
that sector and be a strategic partner either with a car
manufacturer or a battery manufacturer," he added.
Jadar is host to the rock jadarite, a
mineral thusfar only recorded in western Serbia, from which it
hopes to extract borates and lithium. It has declared an
inferred resource of 125.3m tonnes with a weighted average
lithium oxide (Li
2O) concentration of 1.8% and 16.2m tonnes boron
3) for the deposit’s lower zone. An
18-month prefeasibility study (PFS) is due to begin in
ASX and TSX-listed Orocobre
Ltd has suggested that predicted supply shortage in
lithium carbonate coupled with an intensified push towards
decreasing carbon emissions in the wake of the Paris climate
change agreement may have contributed to a spike in its share
price last week.
The company’s shares rose on
the ASX by 32%, from Australian dollar (A$) 1.37 ($0.98*) on 14
December to an intraday high of A$1.81 on 15 December,
prompting a price query from the ASX compliance wing.
Orocobre has since said it is "not aware
of any information concerning it that has not been announced to
the market that could explain the recent trading".
The company is currently working to ramp
up is Olaroz lithium carbonate facility in Argentina to
nameplate capacity. Bottleneck issues have led to delays,
however, and it now hopes to achieve monthly full production of
1,450 tonnes in the new year.
Asgard Metals, a
subsidiary of London-listed Ariana Resources
Plc, and Slipstream Resources LLC
have completed a joint agreement to sell a package of tenements
in the Pilbara region of Western Australia to ASX-listed
Dakota Minerals Ltd, which they currently
share on a 49:51 basis.
The prospects include part of an extensive
lithium-tantalum bearing pegmatitic dyke swarm, recognised as
containing the second-largest spodumene lithium resource in the
world, Ariana said.
Asgard and Slipstream will split an
initial cash payment of A$300,000 and will be issued 22,500,000
and 27,500,000 shares respectively.
Avalon Rare Metals Inc.
has begun trading on the OTCQX exchange in the US under the
The move follows Avalon’s delisting from the NYSE
earlier this month as it became uncompliant with the
exchange’s continued listing standards due to its
low share price.
Avalon’s CEO, Don Bubar, said
he was "pleased to be able to maintain a US trading market and
continued market access for US investors".
The company, which owns the Separation
Rapids lithium project, in Ontario, Canada, retains its listing
on the TSX and will continue to be a reporting issuer with the
US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
TSX-V- and Frankfurt-listed Dajin
Resources Corp. is carrying out work to create a new
structural map of the basin at its Teels Marsh project in
Nevada, using gravity, magnetic and geoprobe data already
The study will be used for locating
exploration wells and a seismic survey to be carried out in
2016, it said, adding that permitting for these activities is
In finance news, Western Lithium
USA Corp., a TSX-listed junior which recently
completed a merger with
Lithium Americas Corp., has secured a $5m line
of credit with its largest shareholder, Geologic
Resource Partners LLC.
Speaking on an investor conference call
yesterday, Tom Hodgson, Western Lithium’s CEO,
said that the loan agreement was "an insurance policy", which
"may or may not be drawn down".
The deal removes the need to "put plans on
hold as [the company] figures out where the next round of
funding is coming from" and also avoids the dilution of equity,
Western Lithium owns the Cauchari-Olaroz
brine project in Argentina’s northern Jujuy
province, from which it hopes to begin commercial production in
2017, and the Kings Valley hectorite clay project in Nevada,
US, where it hopes to complete testwork for a definitive
feasibility study (DFS) in the new year.
In downstream news, Korean battery
producer LG Chem will sell one gigawatt hour
(GWh) capacity of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries to Arlington,
Virginia, US-based AES Energy Storage over the
coming years. The batteries will be used to power
AES’s Advancion grid-scale energy storage
In a joint statement, the companies noted
that there are 1,400 megawatts (MW) of advanced energy storage
projects either announced or in operation today, compared to
less than 60 MW six years ago. They cited predictions by
Navigant Research indicating that over 11 gigawatts
(GW) of energy storage capacity will be installed annually by
2020 across 22 countries.
Finally, India’s prime
minister, Narendra Modi, has launched the "Go Green" bus
service for MPs, the Times of India has reported.
A retrofitted Li-ion powered bus gifted by
the country’s Ministry of Road Transport
and Highways, will be used to carry MPs to
The ministry will present another such
electronic bus to parliament in the near future and has
approved plans to convert a further twelve traditional diesel
buses use to Li-ion power.
Separately, but also in India,
UK-basedsupermarket giant Tesco Plc has
launched a programme to transport its Bangalore-based employees
in Li-ion powered electric vehicles (EVs), according to local
paper, the Bangalore Mirror.
The project began as a pilot in July with
five EVs and 33 employees participating and has now grown to
include 33 EVs and over 180 employees. It will be scaled up
further over the next few years, Tesco said.
*Conversion made December