Canadian companies poised to benefit from lithium surge?

by Keith Powell
Tesla Model 3 electric car.

A prototype of the Tesla Model 3 electric car. — Photo courtesy Tesla Motors

Fresh on the heels of Tesla's incredible unveiling of the model 3 Electric car—people lined up around the block, others camping out overnight to lay down their $1000 deposit—the rare earth mineral that is at the core of the car's batteries and makes it all run is lithium.  Some 276,000 pre-orders were placed for the new (though undeveloped) model 3 Tesla electric car.

A number of mining companies with offices or connections to Vancouver hope to be players in the potential lithium rush, according to a report in Business in Vancouver (BIV).

Vancouver's Lithium X is just one of a number of Canadian juniors that is riding the lithium wave, thanks in part to Tesla's hot new electric car release.

According to an article in BIV, North America's only producing lithium mine is Silver Peak in Nevada’s Clayton Valley, which is owned by Albemarle Corp. (NYSE:ALB), a chemical company.

However, Lithium X is one of a handful of junior players who has recently snatched up lithium brine property in the same region.

Interestingly enough, according to BIV two of the top-performing companies in the mineral sector and listed on the 2016 TSX Venture 50 list were Canadian lithium juniors: Vancouver’s Pure Energy Minerals Ltd. (TSX-V:PE) and Quebec’s Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX-V:NMX).

Tesla Model 3 electric car.

Vancouver's Lithium X is just one of a number of Canadian juniors that is riding the lithium wave, thanks in part to Tesla's hot new electric car release. — Photo courtesy Tesla Motors

Also on the lithium front, Vancouver’s Lithium Americas Corp. (TSX:WLC) – formerly Western Lithium USA Corp. – last week announced a $25 million joint venture with Chile’s Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile SA (NYSE:SQM) – the world’s largest lithium producer – on a lithium project in Argentina.

Lithium is the critical element in lithium-ion batteries, which power everything from cell phones to electric cars. There is already a substantial market for this rare earth mineral, but it could become a lot bigger, if the electric vehicle market booms the way Elon Musk and other analysts predict it will.

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