IPad Boom Strains Lithium Supplies After Prices Triple – Bloomberg 06-20-12

Salient to Investors:

Lithium prices have tripled since 2000. Investors are investing in producers of lithium to take advantage of the demand for iPads and hybrid cars. Apple and Toyota Motor have few alternatives. Lithium-ion generates more electricity than competing cells such as lead-acid. Hybrid electric vehicles fitted with a lithium-ion battery contain about 1.3 kilograms, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have about 12.8 kilograms, an electric vehicle uses about 19.2 kilograms.

Chile is the second-biggest producing country behind Australia. Talison Lithium , Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile, Rockwood Holdings, and FMC Corp. account for almost 95 percent of world supply. Rio Tinto Group may develop a mine in Serbia capable of producing 20 percent of global output of Lithium. Rockwood is backed by KKR & Co.

Most Priuses sold feature a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, but the latest model plug-in hybrid contains a lithium-ion battery. Byron Capital Markets said everything is going to lithium-ion whether or not it was nickel-cadmium in the beginning.

Predictions:

Dahlman Rose forecasts lithium demand to double by 2020, says there are a limited number of known high-grade resources that can be economically extracted, and there has not been a new lithium mine constructed in the last 25 years.

BlackRock is looking to increase its lithium exposure.

Read the full article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/ipad-boom-strains-lithium-supplies-after-prices-triple.html