Innovation is needed in processing of battery raw materials
With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage technologies, there is little doubt demand will grow for battery raw materials that must be sourced from the mining industry.
We expect automotive companies and battery manufacturers to invest US$300 billion in the sector in the next 10 years, and they will require new battery mineral deposits to be developed.
Over the next 10 years, we expect demand related to battery raw materials to increase four times for lithium, five times for cobalt, and up to seven times for graphite.
Beyond that, vanadium will be required in increasing volumes for use in stationary batteries for energy storage in renewable energy installations, while rare earths already have a place in high-performance magnets widely used in electric motors and wind turbines.
There will be pressure on the supply of specialty raw materials, and new deposit types are already being assessed for economic viability.
Innovation in mineral extraction and process development is needed to meet the challenges posed by end-use markets — especially in green technology, renewable energy and battery applications.
Already, physical and chemical specifications on mineral products and processed materials are only getting more stringent. Many products must reach 99.99% purity (“four nines”), but even more pronounced are the impurities themselves, at the parts per million level, as they risk affecting the performance of the final product.