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Copper and lithium price going up?

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Battery technology is a really interesting one. There's a lot of different next-generation chemistries (without even beginning to get stuck into the joys of fuel cells) alll of which would have different demand impacts on different metals. But because there's been so much investment in lithium-ion production facilities (Tesla's gigafactory, VW recently made a major Li-ion investment) there's actually a strong financial incentive for companies to stick with the chemistry they've sunk money into for at least the medium term.

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I disagree. even some oil/power station companies are diversifying

their investment with the addition of renewables and biofuels.

companies can move with the times or stay as history. imo the battle

for batteries chemistry is not quite over yet. it only takes a percentage

of the batteries market to be taken by competing chemistry to

remove a lot of the surplus demand that drives prices up. lithium

may still be a wait and see what happens.



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sci-fi future crystal ball prediction : I think we will be able to look back and see a lot of similarities between the story of Lithium and the story of Aluminium.

Aluminium : <nearly?> twice as abundant in the earth's crust as Iron, yet early civilizations jumped straight to the Iron age and aluminium didn't get a look in till the mid 20th century. Reason being it required an understanding of electricity / electrolysis to purify it and start using it. According to wikipedia, In 1900, a metric ton of aluminium would set you back $14,000. Within 50 years price had dropped to around $2500 which is pretty much where prices still are today.

Lithium : another super abundant metal. Clearly doesn't hang about if exposed to water, so unsurprisingly most of the world's supply exists evenly dissolved in the oceans. Where-ever you are in the world your seawater will have the same concentration of lithium dissolved in it. The challenge is how to get at it. There's a lot of dissolved sodium <sea salt> in the water with it which makes purification difficult and more expensive.

But its a good challenge to crack, and Lithium is too good at doing its job in battery chemistry to be ignored or easily substituted. But when someone does cracks the supply challenge, from an investment perspective, Lithium prices will be game-overed and the world won't be running out of the stuff in a hurry.

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