US Senator Murkowski launches American Mineral Security Act at Benchmark Minerals Summit in Washington DC
At the inaugural Benchmark Minerals Summit 2019 in Washington DC, US Senator Lisa Murkowski reiterated what the entire world is slowly but surely catching wind on; the unprecedented expansion of the mineral resource trade.
At the inaugural Benchmark Minerals Summit 2019 in Washington DC, US Senator Lisa Murkowski reiterated what the entire world is slowly but surely catching wind on; the unprecedented expansion of the mineral resource trade. The crux of her address revolved around the announcement of a new bipartisan bill with a twofold aim; to secure mineral resources and supply chains for the US’ auto and energy industries, and to reduce US reliance on foreign sources.
Upon even the briefest analysis of the global mineral resource trade, it is alarmingly evident that Asia has taken the front foot, and the US has a lot of catching up to do if they hope to even be a competitor against China’s current monopoly over the production of these resources. Simon Moores, the Managing Director of Benchmark Minerals, observed the urgency of Asia’s clout, deeming the current levels of production as “a global battery arms race that is intensifying”. Moores commented: “Right now, the US produces 1% of global lithium supply and only 7% of refined lithium chemical supply, while China produces 51%. For cobalt, the US has zero mining capacity and zero chemicals capacity whilst China controls 80% of this second stage.”
Lithium ion is a 40 year-old technology that powers everything from smart phones to electric vehicles. The focus during the Summit on Lithium ion is a concern that is permeating globally; a couple of weeks ago, France and Germany announced a consortium dedicated to investing in the production of battery technology for electric vehicles, pledging $6 billion USD to the project. The European Commission has pushed for even more national governments to invest in the area, acknowledging that Asian countries have taken an astounding lead in the sector.
Additionally, a key resource that is fundamental to the engineering of lithium ion is Graphite, which Asia is once again in the lead with. “Graphite is the most extreme example with no flake graphite mining and anode production compared to China’s 51% and 100% of the world’s total, respectively”, Moores observed at the conference.
Given that there is 40 times more Graphite in lithium ion than lithium, the demand for the resource is greatly on the rise as the global quest for renewable energy. Graphite demand rose an enormous 25% from December 2016-17, with the overall global levels of graphite set to soar by as much as 200% by 2020. As the world turns to batteries, mining operations will have to expand to meet demand; currently the biggest graphite mine in North America produces just 25,000 tonnes annually.
Most recently, BlackEarth Minerals (ASX: BEM) has completed an advanced Scoping Study which identified their Maniry Graphite Project to have a 10-year mine life capable of delivering in excess of US$600 million of graphite revenues, which shapes BlackEarth a prime long-term supplier of battery-suitable graphite.
BlackEarth Minerals trades under the ASX code: ‘BEM’
More information on BlackEarth Minerals can be found at their Investor Centre.
*Reach Markets are paid a retainer to assist BEM with private investor management.
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