Will Bolivia and China become the next OPEC? - Lexus IS Forum
User Tag List

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 09:03 AM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
Will Bolivia and China become the next OPEC?

Although many of us die-hard car nuts don't necessarily want to get all geopolitical when we talk cars, it's sometimes inevitable that we do. One of the arguments frequently used by advocates of alternative-powered vehicles is that the vast majority of the world's oil reserves happen to be located in countries whose political agendas run counter to developed capitalist nations' interests. The Kuwait and Iraq Persian Gulf Wars are, at heart, wars fought over oil. Beyond the Middle East nations, Nigeria is hardly a bastion of stability, and, with Venezuela led by the megalomaniac, Fidel Castro-wannabe Hugo Chávez, there's compelling arguments for the electrification of the automobile.

Yet, the cure may well be just as bad, if not worse, than the disease itself. The "next big thing" in electric car batteries, with their best-to-date range and compact packaging possibilities are lithium-ion batteries. (See: Toyota's Dave Hermance on hybrid lithium(-ion) batteries and fuel economy ). So, where are the world's largest lithium reserves? In Bolivia, currently led by leftist Hugo Chávez disciple-cum-puppet Evo Morales. And now comes word that other obscure and rare metals/elements needed for electric car batteries are found almost exclusively in China. First, here's the "Trov notes" concise summary article from Autoblog on the latter:

China pondering hoarding precious metals used in hybrids and EVs by banning exportation?
by Sebastián Blanco

Ever hear of neodymium? How about dysprosium or yttrium? Thulium or lutetium? These are just some of the metals that China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is considering either banning the exportation of, or at least severely limiting the amount that it will let leave the country. These precious metals are used in manufacturing new (and sometimes green) technologies, and China wants keep the goods available for its growing domestic use.

Neodymium, in particular, is required for making the electric motor in hybrid cars, and every Toyota Prius you've ever seen contains 25 pounds of rare earth elements. iPods, Blackberries and countless other items also require these rare earth minerals.

Right now, China mines more than 95% of the rare earth minerals that are taken out of the ground. Let us repeat that: Ninety-five percent. While some might see the export limits as an act of aggression by China, an Australian rare metals expert told the UK's Telegraph, "This isn't about China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies." Does this mean BYD (a leading Chinese electric and hybrid advocate carmaker in which Warren Buffett has invested) will one day have a big, big advantage?

China pondering hoarding precious metals used in hybrids and EVs by banning exportation? — Autoblog



And here's the full Telegraph article referenced above:

World faces hi-tech crunch as China eyes ban on rare metal exports
Beijing is drawing up plans to prohibit or restrict exports of rare earth metals that are produced only in China and play a vital role in cutting edge technology, from hybrid cars and catalytic converters, to superconductors, and precision-guided weapons.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

A draft report by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has called for a total ban on foreign shipments of terbium, dysprosium, yttrium, thulium, and lutetium. Other metals such as neodymium, europium, cerium, and lanthanum will be restricted to a combined export quota of 35,000 tonnes a year, far below global needs.

China mines over 95pc of the world’s rare earth minerals, mostly in Inner Mongolia. The move to hoard reserves is the clearest sign to date that the global struggle for diminishing resources is shifting into a new phase. Countries may find it hard to obtain key materials at any price.

Alistair Stephens, from Australia’s rare metals group Arafura, said his contacts in China had been shown a copy of the draft -- `Rare Earths Industry Devlopment Plan 2009-2015’. Any decision will be made by China’s State Council.

“This isn’t about the China holding the world to ransom. They are saying we need these resources to develop our own economy and achieve energy efficiency, so go find your own supplies”, he said.

Mr Stephens said China had put global competitors out of business in the early 1990s by flooding the market, leading to the closure of the biggest US rare earth mine at Mountain Pass in California - now being revived by Molycorp Minerals.

New technologies have since increased the value and strategic importance of these metals, but it will take years for fresh supply to come on stream from deposits in Australia, North America, and South Africa. The rare earth family are hard to find, and harder to extract.

Mr Stephens said Arafura’s project in Western Australia produces terbium, which sells for $800,000 a tonne. It is a key ingredient in low-energy light-bulbs. China needs all the terbium it produces as the country switches wholesale from tungsten bulbs to the latest low-wattage bulbs that cut power costs by 40pc.

No replacement has been found for neodymium that enhances the power of magnets at high heat and is crucial for hard-disk drives, wind turbines, and the electric motors of hybrid cars. Each Toyota Prius uses 25 pounds of rare earth elements. Cerium and lanthanum are used in catalytic converters for diesel engines. Europium is used in lasers.

Blackberries, iPods, mobile phones, plams TVs, navigation systems, and air defence missiles all use a sprinkling of rare earth metals. They are used to filter viruses and bacteria from water, and cleaning up Sarin gas and VX nerve agents.

Arafura, Mountain Pass, and Lynas Corp in Australia, will be able to produce some 50,000 tonnes of rare earth metals by the mid-decade but that is not enough to meet surging world demand.

New uses are emerging all the time, and some promise quantum leaps in efficiency. The Tokyo Institute of Technology has made a breakthrough in superconductivity using rare earth metals that lower the friction on power lines and could slash electricity leakage.

The Japanese government has drawn up a “Strategy for Ensuring Stable Supplies of Rare Metals”. It calls for `stockpiling’ and plans for “securing overseas resources’. The West has yet to stir.

World faces hi-tech crunch as China eyes ban on rare metal exports - Telegraph

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 11:25 AM
Technical Poseur
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Rapid City, SD
Posts: 23,313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
           
Putting a ban on exportation is an act of hostility. What helps the economy grow more than building factories to make these batteries is letting the market dictate price and selling it for what people are willing to pay. As such your mining company can now afford to hire a research and development staff that can develop ways for your product to become more in demand.

Poster, I mean poster. What have I done?
-Tom- is offline  
post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-29-2009, 09:49 AM
truth versions only
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: in, out, here and there
Posts: 4,704
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
Quote:
Originally Posted by -Tom- View Post
Putting a ban on exportation is an act of hostility. What helps the economy grow more than building factories to make these batteries is letting the market dictate price and selling it for what people are willing to pay. As such your mining company can now afford to hire a research and development staff that can develop ways for your product to become more in demand.
Same as limiting cash for clunkers to domestic products only
kponti is offline  
 
post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-30-2009, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
Quote:
Originally Posted by kponti View Post
Same as limiting cash for clunkers to domestic products only
Which, in the end, didn't happen, even though certain politicians wanted it.

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-31-2009, 03:09 PM
Guru
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Miami
Posts: 7,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
China is a member of WTO, which prohibits this sort of thing.

Quote:
"He is not gay, he's married"

"Oh please! Its right up there with 'He's not gay, he is in a fraternity'"
BUD001 is offline  
post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
More on rare earth metals and the auto industry

As hybrid cars gobble rare metals, shortage looms

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- The Prius hybrid automobile is popular for its fuel efficiency, but its electric motor and battery guzzle rare earth metals, a little-known class of elements found in a wide range of gadgets and consumer goods.

That makes Toyota's market-leading gasoline-electric hybrid car and other similar vehicles vulnerable to a supply crunch predicted by experts as China, the world's dominant rare earths producer, limits exports while global demand swells.

Worldwide demand for rare earths, covering 15 entries on the periodic table of elements, is expected to exceed supply by some 40,000 tons annually in several years unless major new production sources are developed. One promising U.S. source is a rare earths mine slated to reopen in California by 2012.

Among the rare earths that would be most affected in a shortage is neodymium, the key component of an alloy used to make the high-power, lightweight magnets for electric motors of hybrid cars, such as the Prius, Honda Insight and Ford Focus, as well as in generators for wind turbines.

Close cousins terbium and dysprosium are added in smaller amounts to the alloy to preserve neodymium's magnetic properties at high temperatures. Yet another rare earth metal, lanthanum, is a major ingredient for hybrid car batteries.

Production of both hybrids cars and wind turbines is expected to climb sharply amid the clamor for cleaner transportation and energy alternatives that reduce dependence on fossil fuels blamed for global climate change.

Toyota has 70 percent of the U.S. market for vehicles powered by a combination of an internal-combustion engine and electric motor. The Prius is its No. 1 hybrid seller.

Jack Lifton, an independent commodities consultant and strategic metals expert, calls the Prius "the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world."

Each electric Prius motor requires 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of neodymium, and each battery uses 10 to 15 kg (22-33 lb) of lanthanum. That number will nearly double under Toyota's plans to boost the car's fuel economy, he said.

Toyota plans to sell 100,000 Prius cars in the United States alone for 2009, and 180,000 next year. The company forecasts sales of 1 million units per year starting in 2010.

As China's industries begin to consume most of its own rare earth production, Toyota and other companies are seeking to secure reliable reserves for themselves.

Reuters reported last year that Japanese firms are showing strong interest in a Canadian rare earth site under development at Thor Lake in the Northwest Territories.

A Toyota spokeswoman in Los Angeles said the automaker would not comment on its resource development plans. But media accounts and industry blogs have reported recently that Toyota has looked at rare earth possibilities in Canada and Vietnam.

http://www.autonews.com/article/2009...308319944/1186

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 07:58 AM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
From January '09, a Time magazine article on lithium and Bolivia

For Lithium Car Batteries, Bolivia Is in the Driver's Seat
By Jean Friedman-Rudovsky

Breaking America's dependence on foreign energy supplies and suppliers who often don't like the U.S. is a driving force behind the search for alternative fuels. That includes electric cars, which wheezing Detroit has finally realized it needs to produce. But at Detroit's International Auto Show this month, the excitement surrounding the Big Three's announcements that they're shifting from gasoline to voltage has been tempered by another realization: most of the lithium used to make the batteries for those cars is found in Bolivia, whose leftist President isn't too fond of the U.S.

Small, impoverished Bolivia, in fact, is the Saudi Arabia of lithium. It's home to 73 million metric tons of lithium carbonate, more than half the world's supply. The largest single deposit is the Salar de Uyuni, a vast, 4,085-square-mile (6,575-sq-km) salt desert in the southern Potosi region that is also one of Bolivia's biggest tourist attractions.

President Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous head of state, prides himself on state control over natural resources he nationalized the country's (massive natural gas reserves in 2006). If the past is any indication, electric carmakers should look to the Andes with sober eyes. "This is a unique opportunity for us," says Bolivian Mining Minister Luis Alberto Echazu. "The days of U.S. car companies buying cheap raw materials to sell expensive cars are over." Indeed, Bolivia's lithium abundance could put car manufacturers in the position of replacing one energy-rich Latin American U.S. critic — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — with another.

Many foreign carmakers have already found that out. Auto executives estimate the demand for lithium could exceed supply in a decade. As a result, representatives from companies like Mitsubishi and Toyota have approached the Morales government to get in on the ground floor of Bolivia's lithium development. They've been routinely turned away. "All they wanted to do was carry away the raw lithium carbonate," says Echazu, "and that's not what we're after."

What Bolivia is after is a largely, if not purely, state-run lithium industry from mining to industrialization, which might even include actual manufacturing of the coveted lithium-ion batteries. Morales recently announced a $5.7 million pilot plant to process raw lithium carbonate, now under construction on the edge of the Salar, which hopes to produce its first 40 metric tons of the material by the end of this year.

Last week, General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner insisted that "the supply, design and construction of [electric-car] batteries must be a core competency of GM." GM plans to build a plant soon, as well as a battery research center, along with the University of Michigan. Toyota is already majority owner of the plant that makes the batteries for its Prius gas-electric hybrid car. Other car companies are looking to manufacturing firms like Chinese BYD, a leading cell-phone battery producer, to satisfy their battery needs.

The core question is whether Bolivia's lithi-leverage will eventually drive up the price of those batteries, which can already add about $10,000 to the cost of a car. Experts say that as production of the lithium-ion packs increases, they're actually getting closer in price to cheaper but less effective nickel-based batteries. Still, a big factor will be whether the demand for them rises as much as anticipated. "It is difficult to predict just how many electric vehicles we will see in the market," says Jennifer Moore, a spokeswoman for Ford, which hopes to have its family of BEVs (battery electric vehicles) on the North American market by 2012. "Much depends on the speed at which battery technology progresses, but equally important, cost considerations related to lithium-ion batteries."

But Bolivia analyst Erasto Almedia of the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group says automakers shouldn't panic. Morales may talk a big nationalist game, Almeida argues, but he always ends up accepting foreign investment and technological support that could give the car companies a foot in the lithium-production door. "The conditions exist for foreign investment and involvement in the lithium sector in Bolivia," Almeida contends, especially if Bolivia wants to expand beyond the initial pilot plant.

Saul Villegas, a director at the Bolivian Mining Corporation (COMIBOL), the operative wing of the Mining Ministry, seems to agree. "We know that we lack know-how and that we need investment to pull this off," says Villegas, pointing out that the government has formed a scientific committee made up of auto experts and representatives from car companies worldwide.

Foreign investors will have to be sensitive to Bolivian anger and resentment about the past, however. This is hardly the first time, for example, that Bolivia's Potosi region has been eyed by the outside world for its natural riches. During the colonial era, silver from the area's prodigious mines helped fund the Spanish empire. But historically, all that wealth has left the local population, especially the indigenous, with little more than desperate poverty and early death by mining-related diseases like black lung. Another concern is the environmental impact; but lithium mining, as observed in countries with deposits like Chile, Argentina and China, seems to be less hazardous than other kinds of mineral extraction. "Lithium could be one of the least contaminating mining processes," says Marco Octavio Rivera of Bolivia's Environmental Defense League, although he notes that prolonged exposure to lithium can cause nervous system disorders.

The relatively safe extraction process is also good news for the thousands of tourists who flock to Potosi each to see the Salar's sprawling white desert and sleep in a hotel made entirely of salt. Lithium is found in the water in the area, but instead of unsightly pipelines, the lithium-mining process will use hidden underground ones to siphon the water from below the Salar's surface to extract the lithium carbonate.

Either way, Morales' main concern is that a larger portion of the lithium profits remain at home to better the lives of people for whom electricity and paved roads are rare and electric cars non-existent. "We are very excited about the prospects," says Delia Alejo of the Southern Highland Regional Federation of Women Peasants, which represents the farmers of Rio Grande, near the pilot plant. "This is going to bring great development." It could if Americans are as serious as they say about trading in an old foreign energy supply for a new one.

For Lithium Car Batteries, Bolivia Is in the Driver's Seat - TIME

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
A subsequent article relieves the concerns over lithium supplies

Lithium supplies enough for two million vehicles by 2015, easy, expert says
by Sebastián Blanco - Autoblog

Nissan was clear from the unveiling of the Leaf EV that the battery would be a 24 kWh lithium ion pack. They've now said that each pack will require about 4kg of lithium (metal equivalent*). This new number gave an analyst over at GL Groups a chance to crunch some numbers and see if any of the worry over a limited amount of lithium available as we move to more and more electrification in automobiles. The short answer: no need to worry.

Using 24 kWh as an average pack size – a reasonable choice considering that the Chevy Volt will use a 16 kWh pack while the Tesla Roadster will sport a 53 kWh pack – and an estimated worldwide production of 500,000 hybrids and pure electric cars with these large packs in 2015, the total lithium demand would be around 2,000t (metal equivalent). This would be not even 10 percent of the lithium that was mined in 2008. The analyst – an unnamed "GLG Expert Contributor" who is a member of the GLG Energy & Industrials Councils – estimates that enough lithium could be produced to make up to two million li-ion vehicles by 2015. Add in some lithium recycling and the fact that lithium producers were only operating at about 75 percent of total capacity last year, and worries about a lithium OPEC seem misplaced. At least for now.

*Non-rechargeable lithium batteries contain lithium metal, whereas li-ion batteries do not use lithium metal.

Lithium supplies enough for two million vehicles by 2015, easy, expert says — Autoblog Green

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 08:34 AM
Country Boostin
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: In my car
Posts: 13,444
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
           
Are hybrids or electric powered cars really the wave of the future? Will this really even matter?

I honestly believe without a doubt that in the next 4-5 years reports will be out about the damages hybrid vehicles cause the environment during the manufacturing process. Once these are widespread the environmentalists will panic and we will be back to looking at something else.

I still want to know why hydrogen powered cars are making more of an impact. Even natural gas vehicles.

©2006 my.IS
01 ASP IS300
14 Cadillac CTS-V
07 C6 Z06
97 Supra tt 6 speed
Forced Induction Facts *READ THEM* Its some good stuff!
OKCIS is offline  
post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-03-2009, 10:05 AM
Technical Poseur
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Rapid City, SD
Posts: 23,313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
           
I really have to agree with what TopGear said about Hydrogen being the car of the future. It most closely emulates what we currently do. And humans are creatures of habit not change.

Poster, I mean poster. What have I done?
-Tom- is offline  
post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-17-2009, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
True about hydrogen's potential benefits as a fuel, but there are still two major issues to conquer: the ridiculously high cost of fuel cell stacks and the chicken-and-egg quandary of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

Meanwhile, back to this thread's original subject, here's a new article on Bolivia and lithium:

Lithium the New Oil in Electric Auto World
By Pacifica Goddard, Anca Gurzu, Gavin Blair and Keith Nuthall
WardsAuto.com

New technologies devour new resources, and the transition to hybrid and electric vehicles could make some currently impoverished countries rich.

As the world moves away from fossil fuels, the soft metal lithium will become increasingly in demand as a critical component of auto batteries for green cars.

One country in particular looks set to prosper from this: poverty-stricken and land-locked Bolivia. But mining the resource poses stiff challenges.

Home to an estimated 6 million tons (5.4 million t) of lithium, Bolivia controls about of 50% of the material’s global reserve, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The next largest supplies can be found in Chile (3.3 million tons [3 million t]); and China (1.2 million tons [1.1 million t]).

This fall, the First International Forum on Science and Technology for the Industrialization of Lithium and Other Evaporative Resources was staged in the South American country’s capital of La Paz.

Sponsored by the vice ministry of science and technology of Bolivia’s ministry of planning and development, some proceedings also were held at the country’s richest lithium deposit, the Uyuni salt flats.

There, the Bolivian government demonstrated it was well aware of the potential riches it could make from lithium.

“We know there are obstacles, (however) we are optimistic we’ll have a large lithium plant on target by 2014,” the country’s mining minister Luis Alberto Echazu told journalists during the event.

Unlike other countries with proven reserves – such as China, Argentina, Australia, Canada and Chile, Bolivia does not yet produce lithium.

However, the Bolivian government, reinvigorated by the re-election of President Evo Morales, has said it plans to invest $500 million in a large lithium plant and another $500 million in supporting infrastructure. The goal is to create a plant producing up to 33,000 tons (30,000 t) of lithium carbonate per year, about 30% of current annual global production.

The construction of a $5.7 million pilot raw lithium-carbonate processing plant, on the edge of Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, (the world’s largest salt flat), is nearing completion, and the government hopes to extract an initial 1,300 tons (1,200 t) in 2010.

Although many companies, such as Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and Sumitomo Corp., France's Bollore Group and South Korea's LG Chem Ltd., are interested in getting involved in the Bolivian lithium industry, none of these companies have been ready to meet Bolivia’s various demands – including that lithium-ion batteries be produced locally.

Consequently, President Evo Morales declared in November the lithium industry would be 100% state owned. However, Bolivia is receiving some free advice and expertise from Bollore, Mitsubishi, Sumitomo and Kores Ltd., as well as from countries such as Iran and Brazil.

Keith Evans, a U.S.-based geologist and industrial-minerals expert, says that despite this help, “in rejecting foreign investment, the project will be ignoring the important expertise available from the development of somewhat similar brine projects” involving the extraction of lithium from salts.

Uyuni is not an ideal location for lithium production, he says, because although “the brine reserves in the Salar de Uyuni are undoubtedly very large, the concentration of lithium is low in comparison with competitive sources. The brine also contains high concentrations of magnesium, which will greatly increase the cost of lithium recovery.”

There are additional problematic factors, Evans tells Ward’s, such as “the low evaporation rate for a project, which largely will be dependent upon solar evaporation as a major processing step, and the fact that the Salar floods seasonally to the depth of half a meter.”

If that combination of poor foreign investment and geological difficulties hamstrings Bolivian extraction, it could have a serious effect on world supplies of the mineral, some experts say.

Japan’s Mitsubishi predicts that without significant production in Bolivia, there will be a global supply shortage of lithium by 2015, as production of electric and hybrid vehicles rises.

Others argue the country won’t be a limiting factor on advance battery production.

Even if Bolivia fails, it “will not be an impediment to the massive electrification of the world's motor vehicle fleet, as adequate lithium reserves are available elsewhere in the world,” Evans says.

General Motors Co., set to launch its plug-in Chevrolet Volt in November 2010 using battery technology from LG Chem, also appears confident in the lithium supply pipeline.

“There’s a lot of lithium out there with or without Bolivia,” says spokesman Brian Corbett. “We are definitely not concerned about long-term lithium supplies.”

Increased demand likely means raw-material prices will escalate, but that too doesn’t appear to be a major worry for industry insiders.

“It’s very likely the price of lithium is going to rise along with the increased demand, but the cost of batteries doesn’t depend only on raw-material prices. It’s just one factor,” says Wataru Nakamoto, assistant manager at Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture between Mitsubishi, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and battery maker GS Yuasa Corp. “The economies of scale as supplies increase, as well as advancements in technology, are also important.

“Bolivia is not the only supplier,” he adds.

Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., which has a battery JV with NEC Corp. and is about to launch its electric Leaf small car on the global market, also believes current worries over lithium availability are overblown.

“We’re confident there are enough lithium reserves to meet our requirements,” Nissan spokesperson Pauline Kee says.

Lithium the New Oil in Electric Auto World

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-20-2010, 08:15 AM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
Toyota turns to Argentina for lithium

The full article is a Wall Street Journal subscriber-only article, but the introduction is informative enough:

Toyota in Lithium Agreement
BY ANN DAVIS AND DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI

A key supplier of Toyota Motor Corp. moved to secure a long-term source of lithium in Argentina, in one of the first global natural-resource plays of the electric-car age.

Edging out Chinese buyers, Toyota Tsusho Corp., which is 21.8% owned by Toyota Motor, secured low-cost loans from the Japanese government to take a stake in a lithium project that could begin commercial production by 2012.

The move signals how the search for high-quality lithium used in hybrid and electric-car batteries is prompting jockeying for the earth's commodities.

Toyota Seeks Lithium Supply for Batteries - WSJ.com

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-03-2010, 06:55 PM
truth versions only
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: in, out, here and there
Posts: 4,704
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
Quote:
Originally Posted by jruhi4 View Post
The full article is a Wall Street Journal subscriber-only article, but the introduction is informative enough:

Toyota in Lithium Agreement
BY ANN DAVIS AND DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI

A key supplier of Toyota Motor Corp. moved to secure a long-term source of lithium in Argentina, in one of the first global natural-resource plays of the electric-car age.

Edging out Chinese buyers, Toyota Tsusho Corp., which is 21.8% owned by Toyota Motor, secured low-cost loans from the Japanese government to take a stake in a lithium project that could begin commercial production by 2012.

The move signals how the search for high-quality lithium used in hybrid and electric-car batteries is prompting jockeying for the earth's commodities.

Toyota Seeks Lithium Supply for Batteries - WSJ.com
Yes ladies and gentlemen, Toyota got a bailout. But good for them, one step in controlling the reach of the China empire (that is soon coming).
As much as I despise electric/hybrid cars for their pollution, they still are the cars of the future especially when all these 'environmentalists' are still around
kponti is offline  
post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-14-2010, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
Taking Lithium With A Pinch Of Salt
By Matthew Walls - The Source at The Wall Street Journal

Lithium’s best known for its use by those suffering bipolar disorder. Visions of an age of electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries would have this mood stabilizer become the new black gold. At present, only specialty car makers like Tesla Motors have cars on the road with lithium batteries.

But Nissan, GM, Toyota, Honda and Chinese automakers have models they plan to roll out in the next few years. Nissan has been the most ambitious, with plans to build capacity for over 500,000 electric vehicles, which use much more lithium than hybrids like Toyota’s Prius.

Not surprisingly, miners have been quick to seize on the story, playing up lithium’s green credentials. About 50 exploration companies have announced lithium developments over the past year, according to U.S. based industry analyst TRU.

Though small, the miners can deliver big gains for investors: shares of Orocobre, an Australian exploration company, nearly doubled after Toyota took a 25% stake in its Argentinean lithium deposit in January.

Sorting the wheat from the chaff among these small miners isn’t made easy by disagreements over just how much lithium is in the ground, or how quickly electric vehicles will catch on. A small community of geologists, chemical engineers and consultants follow lithium and it appears to suffer a bipolarity of its own.

On one side are those warning of shortages and a Bolivian monopoly–most lithium comes from the salt flats of the Andes, where it’s found in salt crusts left atop evaporated plains. Bolivia may have half the world’s lithium reserves, but the bulk of today’s production comes from deposits in Chile, Argentina and Australia.

Competition among Japanese, Korean, French and Chinese companies for South America’s lithium brines has created the impression of scarcity.

But on the other side are those forecasting oversupply for the next decade and possibly even declining prices.

The world’s biggest producer, Chile’s SQM Holdings, claims existing capacity and reserves are abundant enough to meet demand under even the most bullish scenarios for electric vehicles over the next 10 years. World demand is roughly 120,000 metric tons a year, with a quarter used in batteries, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS puts world reserves at 11 million. SQM puts the number at 19 million tons, and battery maker Johnson Controls – a big winner in the Obama administration’s $1.7 billion subsidy package for battery makers in 2009 – puts the number close to 28 million tons. Recycling would create another large supply source, and many expect recycling output to grow even faster than that from brines and mines.

The big unknown in forecasting lithium supply and demand trends is how quickly electric vehicles catch on. A new lithium brine can take more than five years to develop, so supply potentially could struggle to keep pace if demand takes off. The Obama administration has called for 1 million hybrids and electric vehicles on American roads by 2015. Optimistic forecasts put hybrids and electric vehicles at around 20% of world auto sales by 2020. That roughly correlates to 5%-10% annual growth in lithium demand, strong growth but not unusual for a young market.

Existing producers and exploration companies with low-cost assets backed by proven reserves are likely best positioned to profit from the age of electric vehicles. Investors would be right to be cautious of anything else. Whether lithium supply should be a worry for battery makers and automakers is questionable. It’s well known the high cost of lithium batteries is one of their current drawbacks. But lithium accounts for roughly just 5% of the battery’s cost.

But battery makers, and automakers in particular, could tolerate higher prices without undue damage to margins.

Taking Lithium With A Pinch Of Salt - The Source - WSJ

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 03-26-2010, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
Übercargeek
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: South Florida
Posts: 16,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
           
This summary of an article from The New Yorker goes back to my fears over Evo Morales:

Lithium Dreams
by Lawrence Wright

With the emergence of electric cars, lithium could challenge petroleum as the dominant fuel of the future. And nearly half the world’s known resources are buried beneath vast salt flats in southwestern Bolivia, the largest of which is called the Salar de Uyuni. Bolivians have begun to speak of their country becoming “the Saudi Arabia” of lithium. Yet it’s not clear that Bolivia is capable of making money off its trove. President Morales, who is closely aligned with the populist socialism of Hugo Chávez, of Venezuela, is prone to revolutionary declarations: “Either capitalism dies or else Planet Earth dies.” Such rhetoric tends to scare away the kind of foreign investment that would facilitate the development of the Salar. Then there is Bolivia’s lack of infrastructure: electricity, water, and gas are sparsely distributed, and few of the country’s roads are paved. Before Bolivia can hope to exploit a twenty-first-century fuel, it must first develop the rudiments of a twentieth-century economy. Writer visits a pilot project for extracting and processing lithium on the Salar. The pilot project is a crucial test for the government, but it is only a portion of what Morales has promised. Morales told the writer that not only would Bolivia mine and process lithium on its own; it would also make batteries—and, eventually, cars. Discusses the history of batteries and tells about the use of lithium-ion batteries in hybrid and electric cars, including the Chevrolet Volt, which goes on sale later this year. Also mentions the “lithium-air” battery researchers at I.B.M. are working on. Gives biographical information about Morales, who grew up in an adobe hut in the Altiplano. Like many poorly educated Bolivians of his generation, Morales had few opportunities for employment. Being an Indian was also a barrier. Before entering politics, Morales made his reputation as a fearless and canny leader of the coca growers’ union, an office that he still holds. Tells about Morales’s opposition to the activities of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2008, after President George W. Bush placed Bolivia and Venezuela on a blacklist, Morales and Chávez expelled their respective American Ambassadors. Discusses Bolivia’s long rivalry with Chile and the reduction of Bolivian territory in wars with its neighbors. Writer accompanies Morales on a visit to the town of Baures. Carlos Mesa, a historian and former President of Bolivia, told the writer that Morales has four fixed ideas: “The state is sacred; the state represents all Bolivians; the state should be the boss of everything; and these things together guarantee happiness and progress.” Writer meets Guillermo Roelants du Vivier, who is the head of the scientific committee that Morales has charged with developing the resources of the Salar—of which potassium chloride may rival lithium as a source of income for Bolivia. Tells about the announcement in January of a hundred-million-dollar deal between Toyota Tsusho and the Australian mining company Orocobre to supply Argentine lithium for hybrid and electric cars.

Read more:
Can Bolivia become the Saudi Arabia of the electric-car era? : The New Yorker

Industry Editor, Moderator, All-around Car Nut and the official my.IS Grandpa
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."—Soren Kierkegaard
jruhi4 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

  Lexus IS Forum > Off Topic > my.IS Roundtable

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Lexus IS Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself. If your address is invalid, you will likely lose access to the site.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Current users viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome