EDITOR: | January 11th, 2016 | 7 Comments

Lifton on Lithium: “It’s got to go higher.”

| January 11, 2016 | 7 Comments

“This is going to be a very good period for lithium-ion batteries.” – Jack Lifton

January 11, 2016 — In a special InvestorIntel interview, Publisher Tracy Weslosky speaks with Jack Lifton, Sr. Editor for InvestorIntel about the increasing interest from the market on lithium-ion batteries. Jack goes on to explain that the real driver for the demand for lithium is going to be once again – China. Having recently visited the largest lithium ion battery recycler, Jack explains that there is no supply chain. And then discusses how the Chinese push for lithium ion batteries will impact our markets, including an increased interest in titanium.

Tracy Weslosky: Jack there’s a lot of buzz on lithium-ion batteries on InvestorIntel. Can you tell us what the catalyst for this is?

Jack Lifton: Yeah. What’s happening is that the American carmakers are finally stepping up to the mass production of lithium-ion battery powered electric cars. GM, the Detroit intergalactic auto show starts, I guess, in the next couple of days. We still call it international even though nobody else does. GM is introducing the Chevrolet Volt, its 200-mile range electric car, which goes on sale this year, at the end of the year as a 2017 for $30,000 including your government kickback on tax breaks. It’s really cheap and it’s good timing for them in the market because Tesla is having a problem bringing their low-cost car into production. Ford’s got a huge program, which at the Consumer Electronics Show the other day in Las Vegas their current President, Mark Fields announced a huge electrification program and self-driving cars and all that stuff. On top of that the Chinese 5-year plan coming out in March for the next 5-years mandates a switch to electric propulsion for cars to reduce pollution in the large cities. The Chinese are actually targeting 5 million units a year by 2020. Now these are the drivers for the interest in lithium-ion batteries. That’s what’s going on here these very largescale applications. At the very least you’re looking at millions of cars being made by the end of this decade using lithium-ion batteries. I know that the companies here in Detroit, we have several lithium-ion battery companies, are very active right now. Now to contrast this or on the other side of the coin, the national newspapers, like the Washington Post, are saying, well, the electric car is another flop, it didn’t work and all that. What I found in my life is that whenever the national newspapers say something isn’t happening, it’s for sure happening. If they say tomorrow’s weather is great, I’m getting my overcoat. They’re always wrong and they’re consistent in that. I think that this is it— we finally hit— this is going to be a very good period for lithium batteries.

Tracy Weslosky: Okay. What I hear you saying is that the real demand is from China for lithium-ion batteries. I think you told me that the driver is going to be, once again — China for this market and that this industry is going to in essence mirror what happened with the rare earth industry. Can you comment on this a little further?

Jack Lifton: Well, I don’t think we’re going to have the silly season here with lithium because lithium is basically one item and its costs are very well known. Today it’s very low price. However, in my opinion we’re going to run into a deficit of this material in the very near-term because, as I mentioned, it’s not just China — it’s United States also….to access the complete interview, click here


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  • Tom

    Jack, I appreciate your points of view on lithium and titanium, but I am a junior graphite mine investor. Do you think that graphite from Canada will go along for the “battery ride” or be squeezed out by non-Canadian producers? Thanks in advance for your valuable insight.

    January 11, 2016 - 7:59 PM

  • Jack Lifton


    Graphite for battery use doesn’t come out of the ground ready for use. Your future depends on your ability to move your product downstream either by selling it to (or tolling it with) a battery grade graphite processor or by doing it yourself. In either case you will have to convince a battery manufacturer that your material is better than the competitions or that you can deliver it on time, to spec, and at the agreed price. The rare earth juniors missed this vital part of business in their planning, and they all believed that the appropriately named “mixed con” would somehow sell itself. Don’t make that mistake.


    January 11, 2016 - 8:32 PM

  • Jeff Thompson

    There is some potential here for TRER to sell lithium into this market as an additional byproduct to supplement their rare earths. An offtake agreement, similar to the one they achieved with the Areva subsidiary for uranium last year would be the ideal goal for lithium as well.

    January 11, 2016 - 8:34 PM

  • Jack Lifton


    In a rational world you would be right to be skeptical, but the momentum seems at the moment to favor the growth of the lithium ion powered EV market. Any significant new lithium production will of course take years to achieve, as will even an uptick from existing brines and mines. During that period if the politicians have their way the demand will outstrip the supply. Subsidies in the form of “tax credits” are already here. How the politicians will fund the development of new deposits and recycling waits for the “kick the can down the road” team to get into action in Washington and Beijing.


    January 11, 2016 - 10:50 PM

  • Colin

    Hello Jack,

    If you get a chance you should look at a Company called Nano One that is now producing Lithium through a Industrial process.They are producing low cost high performance battery materials that is cheaper than Lithium that is mined. Nano One can also produce a wide range of other advanced nano structured composites. Imagine having a Nano One plant producing up to 10,000 tons a day of Lithium next to a battery facility.

    January 12, 2016 - 11:32 PM

  • Weslosky Week and a Technology Metals Summit Restrospective | InvestorIntel

    […] like to do instead is recommend that if you haven’t heard Jack Lifton’s commentary on the lithium market, you take a listen, and if you run a company that operates in Canada, you quickly find out how the […]

    January 22, 2016 - 11:58 AM

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