• 4 minutes Pompeo: Aramco Attacks Are An "Act Of War" By Iran
  • 7 minutes Who Really Benefits From The "Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia" Narrative?
  • 11 minutes Trump Will Win In 2020
  • 15 minutes Experts review Saudi damage photos. Say Said is need to do a lot of explaining.
  • 2 hours Ethanol is the SAVIOR of the Oil Industry, Convenience Store Industry, Automotive Supply Chain Industry and Much More!
  • 7 mins Ethanol, the Perfect Home Remedy for A Saudi Oil Fever
  • 2 hours Instagram Now Banning Photos Of People At Gun Ranges, Claiming They Promote "Violence"
  • 14 hours Let's shut down dissent like The Conversation in Australia
  • 8 hours Famous Manufacturer of Anti-Ethanol Additives Proves Ethanol's Safety and Benefits
  • 13 hours Collateral Damage: Saudi Disruption Leaves Canada's Biggest Refinery Vulnerable
  • 20 hours Saudi State-of-Art Defense System looking the wrong way. MBS must fire Defense Minister. Oh, MBS is Defense Minister. Forget about it.
  • 20 hours Hong Kong protesters appeal to Trump for support.
  • 5 hours US and China are already in a full economic war and this battle for global hegemony is a little bit frightening
  • 10 hours Trump Accidentally Discusses Technology Used In The Border Wall
  • 10 hours One of the fire satellite pictures showed what look like the fire hit outside the main oil complex. Like it hit storage or pipeline facility. Not big deal.
  • 13 hours Iran in the world market
Alt Text

Chinese Rare Earth Exports Tumble As Trade War Accelerates

China, the world’s largest producer…

Alt Text

Vanadium Spikes On New Chinese Regulations

A new regulatory measure in…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

More Info

Premium Content

Are We Really Facing A Battery Metal Shortage?

Tesla says that there could be a shortage of the key metals used in the manufacturing of electric vehicles as a dearth of investment in mining fails to keep up with soaring demand.

A shortage of nickel, copper and lithium could crop up in the years ahead as the sale of EVs continues to climb, Sarah Maryssael, Tesla’s global supply manager for battery metals, told a closed-door Washington conference of miners, regulators and lawmakers, according to Reuters. As a result, the prices for these minerals will likely shoot up.

EVs require higher volumes of these metals than gasoline or diesel powered vehicles. For instance, EVs need twice as much copper. According to Reuters, Tesla is trying to cut its use of cobalt, a critical metal that is overwhelmingly mined in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo where its production is associated with human rights abuses. Instead, Tesla will need more nickel.

In order to promote more mining, especially within the U.S., Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WV) are proposing legislation that would ease permitting requirements on new mines. The legislation is positioned as a national security concern, clearly with an eye on China. China controls about two-thirds of the world’s battery electric manufacturing capacity, a figure that is expected to rise to 73 percent by 2021, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The U.S. only accounts for about 13 percent of global lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity. Related: Saudi Arabia, UAE “Draw The Death And Collapse Of OPEC”

Much of the world’s lithium is produced in Chile, Argentina and Australia, and a lot of that capacity has been developed by international companies, including American and Chinese companies. But even as China locks up lithium supply in South America, it has also developed lithium production at home. Bloomberg estimates that China has eight times the domestic lithium production capacity than does the U.S.

“It has been decades since a lithium refining facility has been built in the United States,” said Eric Norris, the lithium president of North Carolina-based Albemarle Corp., according to Bloomberg. “Any new project will take time to develop, as the regulatory bodies determine required permits, potential community impact, etc.”

Analysts argue that if the U.S. is to scale up EV manufacturing, it will need supplies of lithium and other metals. “You can’t build half a million electric vehicle battery packs without a secure supply of several critical raw materials,” Chris Berry, a battery-metals analyst at House Mountain Partners, told Bloomberg. “If the U.S. lags in the build out of lithium or cathode capacity, its supply chain dynamism and competitiveness around the new energy theme is put at risk.”

Lithium demand is set to more than triple through 2025, rising from 300,000 tons per year to over 1 million tons per year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank just launched its “Climate-Smart Mining Facility,” the first-ever fund dedicated to promoting sustainable mining for the minerals needed for EVs and renewable energy. The fund will aim to ensure that countries that host much of the mining will actually benefit from the extraction. Related: $1 Billion In Iranian Crude Is Stuck At This Chinese Oil Hub

The initiative will promote mining projects that incorporate renewable energy at their operations, crucial since mining accounts for up to 11 percent of global energy use. It will also seek to recycle materials and ensure that mining does not result in deforestation.

The World Bank estimates that by 2050 demand for lithium, graphite and nickel will skyrocket by 965 percent, 383 percent and 108 percent, respectively.

EV sales are rising around the world, and the deployment of solar and wind also continues to scale up. Bloomberg notes that many of these clean technologies actually rely on the same supply chains, and compete against one another for certain high-tech parts. As a result, some solar-component companies have to wait as long as 50 weeks for parts because EV companies are scaling up production, illustrating the bottlenecks that are beginning to appear.

In short, the clean energy transition will require gargantuan volumes of certain metals and minerals, even as the supply of those commodities appears to be lagging behind demand projections.

By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play