“The demand isn’t the big story; it’s the supply shortages we’re going to see”
– David Anonychuk, Managing Director, M.Plan International Limited
Demand is clear, but what about supply?
The chemistry and technology responsible for the development of the battery has been advancing at a rapid pace, driving researchers and manufacturers to develop reliable, low-cost batteries with increasing capabilities for energy storage density and charging and recharging. Given this surge in demand, it is obvious that the raw materials required to make these batteries will remain highly sought-after. But the need for these materials is not the end of the story, warns David Anonychuk, Managing Director, M.Plan International Limited.
“The demand isn’t the big story; it’s the supply shortages we’re going to see,” said Anonychuk. “We’re not seeing the investment or companies able to raise the right amount of capital [to progress battery metal projects now].”
He suspects that the current reluctance to invest in battery metal projects by major companies and financial institutions is going to create a supply gap in a few years: “We can all talk about how wonderful the demand is, but who faces the biggest risk? Automotive and chemical companies that need lithium-ion batteries to meet their projections”
Anonychuk predicts that the turning point on the investment side of the battery industry will occur when automotive and chemical companies start making serious supply agreements or acquisitions of mining assets. Currently, there are no major mining companies that have diversified into niche battery metal projects.
“When automotive companies start to invest, other investors will follow – that’s the signal,” said Anonychuk.
Supply Chain Reactions: The complex chemistry of battery metals, market forces and advancing science
CIM Magazine, May 21, 2019, pp. 46-51.
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