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"The biggest trend we will face in the

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BatterUp88   Tuesday, 03/19/19 11:24:11 AM
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"The biggest trend we will face in the 21st century"

At the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention, the Investing News Network spoke to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence Managing Director Simon Moores about the future of lithium-ion megafactories, raw materials supply and what’s ahead for battery metals.

Moores shared his thoughts on his recent hearing to the US Senate, the second testimony the expert has given in less than two years. Moores warned representatives that in the current global battery arms race, the US is a “bystander.”

“This time around, I sent a more direct message […], and I think that message got through,” said Moores, who added that Benchmark Mineral Intelligence will work closely with senators and departments to keep the momentum going.

Moores also talked about lithium-ion megafactories and how global battery capacity in the pipeline has increased since Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) announcement of Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

“Since then, we’ve had 71 [megafactories] being announced. I think the most important factor as well, which surprises a lot of people, is [that] 45 of those 71 are in production now,” he said. “We are starting to see supply chain restrictions, pressures on the biggest battery factories.”

For investors, Moores said it is quite simple: to have electric vehicles, there is a need for quality batteries, and “that’s why investors should focus on, specifically, the battery plants.”

Speaking about the energy storage revolution, Moores said delays are a given because of the scaling up needed in the raw materials supply chains.

“They are going from niche to mainstream,” he said. “No one has done [this] before; no one has produced lithium, cobalt, graphite anode or nickel chemicals [at the scale that’s going to be needed].”

But what is the biggest solution to these delays? Investment.

“Nowhere near enough of these lithium companies, or even from the cobalt perspective in the US, but lithium especially, […] are getting funded,” Moores said. “It’s almost like big investors have had their chance and they’ve turned it down. I can’t work out why you would turn down the biggest trend we will face in the 21st century, which is energy storage.”

For Moores, the money to fund these projects will need to come from the car industry.

“Another option is big mining companies and oil and gas companies,” he added.

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