- World governments helping to drive turn toward eco-friendly increase in lithium-ion battery use
- Marifil reviving unexplored property in ‘lithium triangle’ while negotiating for additional acquisitions
- High-tech batteries expected to account for 60 to 70 percent of lithium and cobalt demand by 2020
The geopolitical gear shifts driving automakers to turn toward sharply enhanced production of electric vehicles (EVs) and the under-produced minerals that make up the EVs’ lithium-ion batteries have created a market party for lithium and cobalt explorers such as Marifil Mines Ltd. (TSX.V: MFM) during the past couple of years, as revenues and investor interest have soared. However, the first two months of 2018 have seen projections for lithium’s fortunes cool as the resolution of legal wrangling in Chile led to immediate concerns that the coming years may see a supply surplus instead of the scarcity previously anticipated. Amid the uncertainty pushing prices lower, the projected rise in demand for EVs has remained constant, however — not to mention the need for lithium-ion batteries in internet-connected devices such as cell phones and electronic tablets — as a number of countries try to mitigate environmental harm to the planet by codifying policy in favor of renewable energy sources that are not reliant on the oil and gas industry.
Marifil has staked out land for mineral exploration in the renowned ‘lithium triangle’ of South America. It is reviving a program that was active in Argentina a decade ago, building on an unexplored mine it possesses with an application for a second and negotiations for a purchase option in a third property to establish a significant property portfolio of ‘salar’ brine evaporation lakes. In addition to nearly 152,000 acres of lithium-staked properties, Marifil has 100 percent ownership of 887 acres of land for cobalt exploration and 91,565 acres of gold mining rights in an advanced exploration stage epithermal polymetallic deposit with “excellent infrastructure and mining friendly politics.”
Analysts have predicted that global lithium-ion battery demand will grow between six and seven times by 2026 (http://ibn.fm/q6DEG). Sean Brodrick, senior editor at Weiss Ratings, calls the pullback in lithium stocks overdone, predicting that global demand will grow by 75,000 metric tons in the next two years, outpacing new supplies of 25,000 to 30,000 metric tons over that period. Hallgarten mining strategist Christopher Ecclestone forecasts a much tighter market for cobalt that might tip into the “cannot-get-it-for-love-or-money” category. All told, high-tech batteries are expected to account for 60 to 70 percent of the demand for both lithium and cobalt by 2020, notwithstanding concerns about reported human rights violations in world-leading cobalt producer the Democratic Republic of the Congo (http://ibn.fm/Aop33).
In the meantime, gold prices also continue to rise and provide optimism for mining companies that may increase if the United States’ national deficit continues to increase in relation to the gross domestic product. Amid the optimism, Marifil announced last month that it had closed private placement funding for $2 million that will inject additional life into the company, subject to the final exchange approval. The company stated in a news release that proceeds from the funding will benefit acquisition plans, a drilling program at its gold claim and other output from its general working capital accounts (http://ibn.fm/NUITY).
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.MarifilMines.com
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