The remaining 75 percent is used by various industries, from pharmaceuticals to ceramics.
Erceg says his goal is to be “among the lowest cost producers” of lithium, which industry estimates put at between $1450-2500/ton.
Like many commodities , the lithium market took a hit after the 2008 recession. The world’s biggest producer, Chile’s SQM, says it sees a glut of lithium until 2020.
But Green Alpha’s Jabusch says the booming worldwide need for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries — for consumer electronics and tools as well as electric and hybrid vehicles — actually points to a current shortage.
“Considering the global economy is experiencing about a 35,000-ton annual lithium shortfall, there will be no problem [for Simbol to] find markets and still get competitive prices,” says Jabusch.
Unlike a typical mining process that produces tailings that require remediation, Erceg says their process actually better prepares the brine for re-injection into the geothermal source, where it would normally be sent anyway.
For power plant operators, a new revenue stream is more good news, considering geothermal energy is already among the cheapest fuel sources.Page 3 of 6 | Prev Page | Next Page