Nestled in San Carlos, California is Tesla, founded by South African born entrepreneur and media darling, Elon Musk. While San Carlos may be on the other side of the world, tinkering on Musk and Tesla will soon give rise to a lithium boom.
Expressing his opinion about an anticipated lithium boom, energy publication Oilprice, James Stafford wrote “The age of electrification across the transportation sector, the solar panel revolution, and Tesla’s battery gigafactory are igniting a battle for the cheapest battery. That will transform lithium into a boom-time mineral and the hottest commodity on the energy investor’s radar. It has been easy to take lithium for granted. This wonder mineral is the backbone of our everyday lives, popping up in everything from the glass in our windows to our mountains of electronics.”
In May this year, Tesla unveiled its Powerwall that would enable homes and business amongst others to store energy in its batteries for later consumption. Said Tesla in a statement published on tech website MyBroadband, “Tesla is not just an automotive company, it’s an energy innovation company. Tesla Energy is a critical step in this mission to enable zero emission power generation.”
“While investors have long appreciated the steady rise in demand for this preferred mineral, the number of new applications continues to multiply. Smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other consumer electronics demand more lithium. But the largest driver for future lithium use will be in electric vehicles and home batteries for solar panels. That has lithium on the verge a boom for which supply can no longer be taken for granted,” said Stafford.
“Not since the shale boom have we seen a market transformation of such significance. Lithium has long been used for a variety of mundane purposes, and while the variety is spectacular, with applications in everything from glass, ceramics and greases to a line-up of industrial process, it has flown under the radar for most investors,” he added.
Any hope of producing lithium lies squarely in the hands of Australian outfit, Black Fire Minerals. The Aussie firm in 2009 acquired the dormant Karibib Lithium Pegmatite Project from Sunrise Minerals effectively acquiring the Rubikon, Helicon and Fricke’s lithium, tantalum and cesium mines which operated intermittently from 1930 to 1994.
According to Bloomberg, Ernst and Young in November 2014 expressed concern over Black Fire and gave an unqualified opinion, expressing doubt that the company could continue as a going concern.