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#TM1 Technology Minerals – Britishvolt gets £100m boost to build UK’s first large-scale ‘gigafactory’

The deal to build an electric car battery plant near Blyth will bring up to 3,000 jobs to the area by 2028

A rendering of a Britishvolt plant set to be built near Blyth, Northumberland.
A rendering of the electric car battery Britishvolt plant set to be built near Blyth, Northumberland. Photograph: Britishvolt

The government’s Automotive Transformation Fund will invest alongside asset management company Abrdn and its majority-owned property investment arm, Tritax, to fund a sale and leaseback deal for the huge building that will house the electric car battery factory, near Blyth in Northumberland.

Peter Rolton, Britishvolt’s executive chairman, said: “The UK automotive industry needs a local source of batteries. Chinese or other Asian imports are not going to be an option. There will be very, very significant shortfalls of batteries. We are absolutely vital to maintain the UK industry and support those jobs.”

An artist impression of the Britishvolt factory in Northumberland.
An artist impression of the Britishvolt factory, the first full scale UK battery gigaplant. Photograph: Britishvolt/PA

Britishvolt is one of two major UK battery manufacturing projects that has secured funding, alongside an expansion of an existing plant at Sunderland owned by China’s Envision that supplies to Nissan.

The company is hoping to build the plant rapidly with the aim of supplying a large part of the UK car industry’s needs as it transitions from internal combustion engines to electric cars that produce zero exhaust emissions. It is in talks with several potential clients, and sportscar maker Lotus has signed a memorandum of understanding, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

A new electric vehicle charging station in Slough.
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The plant will employ about 3,000 workers when it is at full capacity in around 2028. The first batteries are scheduled to start production in 2024 to take advantage of rising demand ahead of the UK’s 2030 ban on new cars without a battery.

The government and Britishvolt declined to detail the size of the government investment, citing commercial confidentiality. However, a source with knowledge of the negotiations said it was worth about £100m.

The government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre calculates that the UK will need to produce batteries with a capacity of 90 gigawatt hours (GWh) a year if it is to retain a car industry of a similar size. Current UK production capacity is less than 2GWh, but Britishvolt hopes to produce 30GWh.

Local authorities in the West Midlands and Somerset are trying to attract investors to two more potential battery manufacturing sites. The West Midlands site at Coventry airport last week gained pre-emptive planning permission.

Rolton said: “The company was still working on the timing of a planned stock market listing which will raise the money to build the production line. The full project is expected to cost £3.8bn, but the government backing has already helped in conversations with potential investors.”

 

Britishvolt has previously won backing from Glencore, the FTSE 100 miner, and preparatory construction work at the 93-hectare site has begun.

Securing investment in UK-based battery manufacturing has been an important goal for the government. The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has on several occasions referred to his hopes for the project as part of his plans to “level up” parts of the country that have missed out on investment in recent decades.

The plant will be based in the constituency of Wansbeck, narrowly retained by Labour in the 2019 general election. It is next door to Blyth Valley, a seat formerly part of Labour’s “red wall”, which voted in a Conservative MP for the first time in that election.

Johnson said the plan “is a strong testament to the skilled workers of the north-east and the UK’s place at the helm of the global green industrial revolution”. He added that the factory will “boost the production of electric vehicles in the UK”.

Rolton said Britishvolt had taken part in a jobs fair in the area which prompted “queues round the block”, while some parents even took children out of school to attend. “That’s what it means for the area,” he said.

Read this on The Guardian

#KDNC Cadence Minerals – Cadence Minerals’ lithium asset upgrade after Cinovec’s ‘outstanding results’

Cadence Minerals have enjoyed a dramatic improvement in the quality of their lithium investments after ‘outstanding’ results from the Cinovec mine in the Czech Republic.

The Cinovec mine is operated by European Metal Holdings which has a 49% in the mine. Cadence Minerals holds 8.7% of the equity in European Metal Holdings.

In an announcement made this week, the Cinovec asset received significant upgrades to the resources that included revisions higher to the annual output and the impact of higher lithium prices.

The most recent feasibility study found it is possible to amend the mining process to incorporate the use of paste backfill which will be instrumental in increasing the mines output by 16%.

As a consequence, the Cinovec mine’s expected output has been increased from 25,267 tpa to 29,386 tpa.

The combination of rising lithium prices and the increased production means the projects NPV8 (post tax) increases from $1.108B to $1.938B. This is based on lithium prices of $17,000 which is significantly below the current market price.

“An increased mine life and a resource upgrade that takes the NPV8 from USD1.1bn to USD1.94bn adds substantial value to Cinovec’s already exceptional potential as a future battery grade lithium supply hub for Europe and the rest of the world,” said Cadence CEO Kiran Morzaria.

“Cadence are pleased to remain shareholders and supporters of EMH, and we look forward to further developments.”

The news has seen European Metal Holdings share soar this week to trade at 81p.

Cadence Minerals owns approximately 8.7% of European Metal Holdings following a placing conducted by European Metal Holdings to raise A$14.4 million.

Cadence Minerals stake is worth circa £12.4m with European Metal Holdings shares trading at 81p.

To put this in to context, Cadence Minerals entire market cap is £41m so the market is effectively currently attributing a value of just £28.5m to the rest of Cadence’s assets.

Cadence Minerals Portfolio

Although the latest developments at Cinovec adds tremendous value to a publicly-traded holding of Cadence’s portfolio, their flagship project is the Amapa Iron Ore project which has targets to produce $725 million iron ore per annum.

Cadence Minerals has additional exposure to lithium at the Sonora mine operated by Bacanora Minerals, as well as interest in Northern and Western Australia.

Cadence also has a 30% interest in the Yangibana Rare Earths project operated by Hastings Technology Metal in Western Australia.

 

Read the article on UK Investor Magazine

#BRES Blencowe Resources – Appointment of Battery Limits

Blencowe Resources Plc (” Blencowe” or the “Company”) (LSE: BRES) is pleased to announce the appointment of highly regarded Australian Engineering firm Battery Limits to assist the Company in the completion of the Orom-Cross Graphite Project Pre-Feasibility Study.

Highlights

· Battery Limits is a highly experienced graphite project development engineering firm.

· Battery Limits has completed Feasibility Studies for several tier one graphite projects internationally.

· Extensive graphite project experience in East Africa.

Battery Limits is one of the most experienced graphite project development engineers internationally, with extensive experience in East African graphite projects. Battery Limits has been selected to assist the Company on the basis of this relevant project experience which includes:

· Armadale Capital – Lindau Mahenge Tanzania Graphite feasibility study

· MRC – Munglinup Graphite Australia DFS

· International Graphite – downstream processing DFS

· Graphex Chilalo Graphite – PFS update, PFS and scoping studies and DFS metallurgy and process engineering

· Volt Resources – Bunyu Graphite Tanzania FS, PFS, scoping studies

· Armadale Capital – Lindau Mahenge Tanzania Graphite scoping study

· BlackEarth Minerals – Maniry Graphite Madagascar scoping study

· Black Rock Mining – Mahenge Graphite Tanzania PFS

· Magnis Resources – Nachu Graphite Tanzania PFS

· Triton Mineral – Ancuabe Graphite Mozambique scoping study  

 

Blencowe considers this previous project experience, and in particular the East African graphite knowledge, highly beneficial to Battery Limits assisting in the development of Orom-Cross project.

Battery Limits will lead the Pre-Feasibility Study and will ultimately sign off on the Study, thus providing key credibility to all parties concerned. Study aspects of process engineering and process plant design, capital and operating cost estimates, management of ongoing metallurgical testwork, infrastructure and project implementation will all be undertaken by Battery Limits.

Specialised sub-consultants in Uganda and South Africa will be assisting with tailings storage design, geotechnical and hydrological studies under supervision of Battery Limits.

Executive Chairman Cameron Pearce commented:

“We are both pleased and privileged to have a technical partner with the capabilities and experience of Battery Limits helping us to deliver the PFS, due for completion around mid-2022.  Our Orom-Cross graphite project continues to move towards first production in the medium term and their involvement will help provide a stronger operational and commercial model.”

 

 

For further information please contact:

 

 Blencowe Resources Plc

Sam Quinn

www.blencoweresourcesplc.com

Tel: +44 (0)1624 681 250

info@blencoweresourcesplc.com

Investor Relations

Sasha Sethi

Tel: +44 (0) 7891 677 441

sasha@flowcomms.com

First Equity Limited

Jason Robertson

Tel: +44(0)20 7330 1833

jasonrobertson@firstequitylimited.com

#TM1 Technology Minerals – Q&A: Building battery recycling capabilities

Technology Minerals is a London-based, LSE-listed company creating a circular economy for battery metals. The company, which is also engaged in extracting raw materials required for lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cathodes, plans to increase its lead-acid battery recycling capability to 16,000 tonnes per annum by 2022, and 5,000 tonnes per annum for Li-ion batteries in the same time frame.

Robin Brundle, chairman of Technology Minerals plc, outlines TM’s plans to recycle batteries on an industrial scale.

 

We start full industrial-scale production in early 2022 with two plants, the first, which is currently being installed and will be ready for commissioning in January, is focused on lead-acid battery recycling. The second on lithium-ion battery recycling is now in a manufacture test phase and will be ready for commissioning in February 2022. The sites are both located in the Midlands.

Our recently announced partnership with Slicker Recycling provides a full UK footprint for safe custodianship of collection, of all types of li-ion batteries to our processing plants as we start to build front end inventory during 2022 and grow production. In addition, the wider Slicker group is also very strong in Europe offering a mirror image of the services they offer in the UK. So that could be, at the appropriate time, important for us as we build commercial relationships in Europe.

Can you explain how your recycling process works? How do you get the value out of the so-called ‘black mass’?

The process, for both lead-acid and li-ion, starts through our nationwide collection process and the safe delivery of the batteries to our processing plants in the Midlands.

The li-ion process is industry-leading, and we own the IP on both the process and the plant design. Our process safely deals with all five types of li-ion battery sciences and in any mix or combination at the same time. The plant is modular in design and thus cost effective and each plant can process 5,000 tones per year on a single shift basis. The plant is UK designed, UK manufactured and serviced by a UK company. What sets us apart is that our process does not use pyrolysis or saline solution, and this removes risk to the working environment.

On the lead-acid side, we are industrialising and mechanising a long-established industry that has traditionally been very labour intensive. The efficiencies of the plant combined with our processes really does modernise the sector and will assist in reducing the number of batteries that are either incinerated or worse still sent to landfill.

With regard to black mass, we are working on an end solution for the UK market – it is notable that as it stands – the UK doesn’t currently have the capability to process the black mass back to its constituent parts.

Until the UK has this capability, we have global offtake partners with whom we have already shared testing samples from our process. We already have these offtake partners in place as we build black mass production through 2022.

 

Are your processes patented and do you intend to license them?

On the li-ion plant, we are currently reviewing our patent applications for both the plant and the process. We are focused on retaining our early to market advantage and will take the necessary steps to do so. The final design and build of the plant have taken nearly two years and is testament to the engineering innovation that we have to hand in such depth in the UK.

UK set for industrial scale battery recycling

On the lead-acid side, we are currently writing a new process to surpass any previous patents that exist. The plant has been sourced from the UK, Europe and Brazil and takes circa eight months from order to completion.

What relationship do you have with Gigafactories?

We have a number of ongoing discussions with the battery OEMs which are at various stages of maturity, and also the tier one auto manufacturers to become their respective partners of choice. Certainly, we aim to build out our plants in line with customer requirements and, where appropriate, creating a bespoke recycling capability on-site which utilises the benefits of our modular processing plant and technology.

 

You are currently looking at Li-ion batteries from EVs. Do you plan on using other sources (laptops, tablets etc) of battery?

This proprietary process enables us to put all five sciences of lithium-ion batteries through our process, whether that is from portable devices, laptops, e-bikes, through to the heavier end of automotive and energy stations. Each battery type has a slightly different science, and our process allows us to safely recycle any combination through to the output of the ‘black mass’ material, which is rich in a number of the key metals which goes onto the final process of refining back to their respective form.

 

What markets are you targeting?  

Because of the ability of the process to handle all five sciences in lithium-ion batteries we are not restricted as to sector or industry, from the perspective of local authorities looking for safe handling and recycling, through to the automotive OEMs, fleet management and auto dealership networks we have the logistic solution and the re-purposing and then recycling engineering process that really does embrace a circular economy solution for end-of-use and end-of-life batteries.

 

More broadly, what percentage of your mined products do you expect to introduce into the mix over time? 

Our whole strategy is focused on the circular economy, and specifically in the battery sector, and as such we are targeting 100 per cent of all materials being used, be that mined or recycled.

The focus for our recycling operation longer term is on the UK and European markets with a view to grow to 20,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries and 60,000 tonnes of lead-acid batteries respectively per annum over the next decade.

The largest market opportunity is in the automotive industry, with 800,000 tonnes of battery per year, equating to ~70 per cent of the battery market in Europe

Lead-acid is the largest battery type with 831,000 tonnes, comprising over 72 per cent of the battery market in Europe.

#TM1 Technology Minerals – UK EV battery recycling hots up with Technology Minerals

15 years from now, it is estimated there will be some 250,000 tones of spent EV battery packs, and they all have to go somewhere.

Thankfully, EV batteries aren’t nuclear waste; we can recycle them to extract raw materials and reuse those materials to make more batteries.

Like the plastic trays and milk bottles you throw in the bin, used EV batteries are recycled to separate the useful minerals from the chaff. This not only reduces our dependency on virgin materials but slashes carbon emissions in the supply chain.

The recycling process shreds the EV batteries, creating a black mass, which consists of high amounts of lithium, manganese, cobalt, and nickel metals. Those metals are refined further to create a fresh supply of rare and uncommon metals.

Battery recycling for electric vehicles includes both the main battery pack and the 12V battery, which can be lead-acid or lithium-ion.

The ultimate goal is to create a closed-loop manufacturing process. In November, Northvolt announced the world’s first 100% recycled EV battery.

UK EV battery recycling

In the UK, battery recycling facilities are relatively common, but facilities that recycle EV batteries are not. You see, EV batteries are enormous, and they have a different chemical composition to the batteries in your smartphone, requiring different recycling and refinement processes. The process is expensive and difficult.

Technology Minerals PLC, a British company, aims to change this as the UK’s first listed company to create a circular economy in the battery metals sector.

They aim to achieve this with proprietary recycling technology and a partnership agreement with a leading hazardous waste company, working closely with them to design and develop recycling facilities that can recycle EV batteries at scale.

The deal will see Recyclus Group, a 49% Technology Minerals owned company, partner with hazardous waste management and service delivery provider Slicker Recycling. The partnership will boost recycling output for lithium-ion batteries with a high level of refinement, preserving the quality of the extracted metals with great efficiency.

“There is a clear demand building as a result of this quantum shift to electrification,” says Alex Stanbury, CEO of Technology Minerals.

“We are focused on extracting raw materials required for lithium-ion batteries, whilst solving the ecological issue of spent Li-ion batteries, by recycling them for re-use by battery manufacturers.”

The demand for electrification is only going to increase, and we have to come to terms with the battery waste this will create.

The move by Technology Minerals is the first of its kind in the UK and a welcome step in the right direction for EV battery recycling.

Battery Energy Storage Is A $1 Trillion Opportunity As Costs Continue To Crash – Forbes

Companies such as Sweden’s Box of Energy, which recycles lithium-ion car and bus batteries for use in energy storage, is among the companies likely to profit from the growth of the sector. Photographer: Mikael Sjoberg/Bloomberg

Article by Mike Scott, Forbes

Large-scale energy storage used to be part of the future of energy. But it’s here now, and it’s going to become increasingly important in the years to come.

Clean energy researchers at Bloomberg NEF (BNEF) find that more than $1 trillion will be invested in the sector between now and 2040. The group’s latest Long-Term Energy Storage Outlook says that the “tumbling costs of utility-scale lithium-ion battery storage systems will transform the economic case for batteries in both the vehicle and the electricity sector”, predicting that prices will fall by 52% between 2018 and 2030, adding to the steep declines already experienced this decade.

This will lead to $1.2 trillion of investment flowing to the sector in the next 22 years, creating a cumulative capacity of 942GW, BNEF said. In the near term, the market will be dominated by South Korea and the US, but China will be the driving force from the 2020s onward.

Energy storage is key to helping governments decarbonize their economies by using more renewable energy because the dominant sources, wind and solar, are intermittent and do not provide constant power. “ Cheap batteries mean that wind and solar will increasingly be able to run when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining ,” the report says.

 Yayoi Sekine, energy storage analyst for BNEF and co-author of the report, said: “We have become much more bullish about storage deployments since our last forecast a year ago. This is partly due to faster-than-expected falls in storage system costs, and partly to a greater focus on two emerging applications for the technology – electric vehicle charging, and energy access in remote regions.”

Logan Goldie-Scot, head of energy storage at BNEF, added: “We see energy storage growing to a point where it is equivalent to 7% of the total installed power capacity globally in 2040. The majority of storage capacity will be utility-scale until the mid-2030s, when behind the meter applications overtake.”

Behind-the-meter, or BTM, applications will be installed in business and industrial premises, and in millions of homes. For their owners, they will perform a variety of tasks, including shifting grid demand in order to reduce electricity costs, storing excess rooftop solar output, improving power quality and reliability, and earning fees for helping to smooth voltage on the grid.

Two thirds of installed capacity in 2040 will be in just nine markets – China, the US, India, Japan, Germany, France, Australia, South Korea and the UK, the Outlook says. However, there will also be rapid growth in other markets, especially emerging markets in Africa. Utilities are likely to “recognize increasingly that isolated assets combining solar, diesel and batteries are cheaper in far flung sites than either an extension of the main grid or a fossil-only generator,” the report says.

Energy storage can play a number of roles in the electricity system, helping to balance variable supply and demand, helping the grid operate more efficiently and allowing individual customers to cut their bills by cutting peak-time use . Eventually, it may be possible to aggregate lots of behind-the-meter projects to provide a viable alternative to utility-scale for many applications but it will take years before regulatory frameworks in some countries fully allow this, BNEF says.

Nonetheless, energy storage will become a practical alternative to new-build generation or network reinforcement, the analysts say.

But even with this rapid growth in the market, BNEF says that stationary storage sector will make up only 7% of total battery demand in 2040. “It will be dwarfed by the electrical vehicle market, which will more materially impact the supply-demand balance and prices for metals such as lithium and cobalt,” the Outlook concludes.

Oil price rally boosts electric car sales – Via Oilprice.com

Article by OilPrice.com

Tesla’s competition is about to get more crowded next year with many legacy automakers and luxury brands launching a record number of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

All EV makers will have one common element that could help lift demand for battery vehicles—rising oil prices leading to fuel prices at four-year highs, which could turn consumers towards EVs.

To be sure, charging infrastructure and range are still key concerns in consumers’ minds regarding EVs, but utilities and major oil firms such as Shell and BP are already looking to expand the charging infrastructure, especially in Europe.

Battery pack prices have been dropping constantly this decade and are expected to continue to fall. In terms of cost comparison, some estimates point to battery pack costs becoming competitive with the internal combustion engine (ICE) cars by 2027.

Rallying oil prices, with Brent Crude topping $85 a barrel this week, come just as the number of global offerings of EVs next year is expected to rise by 20 percent to 216 models, research by Bloomberg NEF shows.

“The higher the price of oil the more tailwind we’re going to have behind electric cars,” Bloomberg quoted Carlos Ghosn, chairman of Renault and Nissan Motor, as saying at the Paris Motor Show this week.

Next year, Nissan will launch the sale of a longer-range model of its best-selling EV Leaf.

German carmakers are also jumping into the EV competition.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled last month its first all-electric model Mercedes-Benz EQC, which will be launched on the market in 2019. BMW is teasing the premiere of a new concept EV, BMW Vision iNEXT. Audi has started mass production of the Audi e-tron, the brand’s first all-electric SUV, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019.

Ultra-luxury brands will also be offering electric vehicles. Aston Martin is building Rapide E with a target range of over 200 miles and projected top speed of 155 mph, with customer deliveries set for Q4 2019. Porsche is working on its first purely electric series, Taycan, and plans to invest more than US$6.9 billion (6 billion euro) in electromobility by 2022, doubling its initially planned expenditure.

While almost every carmaker out there is unveiling or planning EV models, gasoline prices are up and even after the end of the U.S. driving season, the national gas price average as of October 1 was $2.88 – a pump price not seen since mid-July.

“The last quarter of the year has kicked off with gas prices that feel more like summer than fall,” AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano said.

“This time of year, motorists are accustomed to seeing prices drop steadily, but due to continued global supply and demand concerns as well as very expensive summertime crude oil prices, motorists are not seeing relief at the pump.”

High fuel prices could be part of consumers’ motivation to buy more EVs.

Global cumulative EV sales are already 4 million, according to Bloomberg NEF, which notes that the time for reaching each of the million sales has been rapidly shrinking. The first million in sales, reached in Q4 2015, took around 60 months to achieve; the second million came in 17 months; the third million took 10 months; and the fourth million needed just six months. Bloomberg NEF expects the next million EVs to take just over 6 months and the five-millionth EV to be sold in March next year.

The EV share of the global car fleet is still minuscule, considering that the world’s stock of cars is 1.2 billion units. But battery costs and range are less and less the stumbling blocks in EV adoption, according to Wood Mackenzie. Battery is one third of the cost of an EV today. Yet, costs have already declined by 80 percent this decade and will fall further. Battery pack prices will drop below US$200/kWh this year and then fall by around 10 percent each year, WoodMac said in July.

“The critical threshold is US$100/kWh – that’s when EVs will compete on commercial terms with ICE vehicles. We think we’ll get there by 2027,” WoodMac says.

EVs will displace around 5 million bpd to 6 million bpd of oil demand by 2040—some 5 percent of total oil demand, the consultancy has estimated.

ICE cars are not going anywhere in the next decade or two, but the higher the price of oil, the more competition they’ll have from EVs and the more incentives consumers will get to pick an EV for their next new car.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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