Berry on marketing trends igniting interest in batteries and their raw materials
March 17, 2015 — Chris Berry, co-editor of the Disruptive Discoveries Journal, founder of House Mountain Partners, LLC and Sr. Editor for InvestorIntel in an interview with Tracy Weslosky discusses energy metals and market trends for 2015.
Tracy Weslosky: Chris I’m very excited about 2015 and in particular the trend towards an interest in batteries. Because we have you here, I’d like you to just give us a bit of an overview in this market sector.
Chris Berry: Sure. Well, obviously the interest in batteries, and in particular lithium-ion batteries, has really be driven by Tesla over the last couple of years with their announcement last year of the Gigafactory and the demand that that implies, not just for the batteries themselves, but also for the raw materials. It’s really, for lack of a better phrase, ignited interest in the sector, not just for electric vehicles, but also for energy storage.
Tracy Weslosky: Of course, you’re very bull on lithium and cobalt. Is that correct?
Chris Berry: That’s correct.
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Tracy Weslosky: Okay so between the two I think you prefer cobalt. Is that correct?
Chris Berry: Well, I think in terms of, you know, a potential to derail some of this bullishness, cobalt is a real challenge right now. When I say it’s a challenge procuring a reliable supply of cobalt is an issue. You know, yes, there’s plenty of it out there, but nevertheless it’s really a geopolitical argument. I mean, most of the cobalt that is produced these days comes from the Congo or Russia and it’s refined in China. You know, there’s a geopolitical argument when you start talking about cobalt. Finding those deposits in, let’s just say, safer geopolitical jurisdictions, is a real key going forward.
Tracy Weslosky: So I notice that you usually rank cobalt as your favorite for the year. Okay so then lithium, is that second or is that down the list?
Chris Berry: I like to say, you know, it’s, sort of, like asking which of your kids you like more. I mean, I really like them both a lot. I would say cobalt would be first. Lithium would be a very close second.
Tracy Weslosky: Of course, I know which cobalt companies you like. What I’d like to know is which lithium companies are your favorite or the ones you’re watching this month.
Chris Berry: Well, I’m watching several. You know, interestingly enough Orocobre has just gone into production so I’m interested to see how that ramp up goes. They’re down in South America. I have been paying very close attention to Lithium Americas. This is another Canadian junior. They have a deposit in Argentina. They have a relationship with POSCO, which is one of the largest steel producers in the world. Okay so I’m interested to see how this relationship plays out. Also very interested in Western Lithium, which has a unique clay deposit in Nevada not actually far from where the Gigafactory that Tesla is putting together is going to be built. Those are just a couple.
Tracy Weslosky: Of course, there’s rumors everywhere and speculation on which lithium companies are currently talking to Tesla. What have you heard?
Chris Berry: You know, we’ve all heard the rumors and everyone — you know, talk is loose every now and then. My gut feel is that Tesla is probably talking to everybody across the entire value chain whether or not it’s the juniors or the near-term producers or obviously the companies…to access the rest of this interview, click here
An accomplished entrepreneur and corporate finance professional, Tracy Weslosky is the CEO for InvestorIntel Corp. and the VP of Business Development for Bellotti Capital Partners ... <Read more about Tracy Weslosky>