The lithium sectors in the United States and Canada are gearing up for significant growth in 2024, despite recent challenges in pricing and demand that have affected the global market.
Experts maintain a positive long-term outlook for lithium, acknowledging potential issues amidst rapid industry changes.
Dubbed the new oil for electric vehicle (EV) production, the race to secure lithium has been intensifying. The demand for lithium-ion batteries in the US soared to a record high in early 2023, fueled by increasing interest in EVs and the transition to clean energy. According to the S&P Global Commodity report, lithium-ion battery capacity is projected to reach 6.5 TWh by 2030, with lithium playing a crucial role in the EV industry and being essential for achieving net-zero goals.
The market for lithium-powered EV batteries is expected to grow annually by over 22%, with the EV transport segment capturing 93% of the market share by 2030. In response to the pandemic and geopolitical tensions, companies are reevaluating undeveloped lithium resources, accelerating projects, and seeking new ventures. Government policies promoting energy transition and regional battery supply chains are driving this growth.
Despite a dip in lithium prices in 2023 due to lower demand from the battery and EV sectors, forecasts predict a rise in global passenger plug-in electric vehicle sales by 2027. While analysts expect lithium prices to stabilize between $20,000/t and $25,000/t from 2024 to 2027, the industry remains attractive for investment, supported by government policies favoring the EV sector.
Battery startups are also attracting significant investments, with venture capital flowing into these emerging companies. The cyclical nature of the lithium industry, coupled with current pricing and supportive government regulations, continues to make it an appealing investment option.
The US and Canadian lithium sectors are undergoing a transformative phase, marked by escalating demand, construction booms, and market volatility. Despite fluctuations in lithium prices, a resurgence is anticipated with the growing EV market. Canada, especially Quebec, is adopting a comprehensive approach to support the lithium supply chain, highlighting the mineral's critical role in the clean energy transition.
S&P Global reports that EV sales are expected to exceed 30 million units in 2027. The report also notes a significant drop in lithium prices in 2023 from the record highs of 2022, which exceeded $70,000/tonne, primarily due to decreased demand from the battery and EV sectors.
As North America gears up to meet the soaring demand for lithium, exploration companies like Li-FT Power (TSXV:LIFT) (OTCQX:LIFFF) wil play a crucial role in making these ambitious plans feasible.
Unlike most companies that need to excavate dozens of meters to uncover lithium, Li-FT Power's deposit boasts kilometers of high-grade lithium conveniently positioned on the Earth's surface. The scale of this deposit is so big that it is visible from satellite imagery, with the potential to become one of North America's largest hard-rock lithium deposits.
LIFT Unveils High-Grade Lithium Deposits in Yellowknife Lithium Project
Li-FT Power Ltd. (TSXV:LIFT) (OTCQX:LIFFF) is a mineral exploration company focused on acquiring, exploring, and advancing lithium pegmatite projects situated in Canada. The companys primary focus is its flagship Yellowknife Lithium Project, based in the Northwest Territories, Canada.
The company completed a substantial 34,238-meter drill program in 2023 and is gearing up for another major drilling phase in 2024. To date, Li-FT has reported results from 148 out of 198 diamond drill holes (24,674 meters) and the results have been very promising.
On January 16, Li-FT Power highlighted notable findings from eight drill holes at the BIG West, Nite, and Fi Main pegmatites. These results showcased significant intervals of spodumene mineralization, a key lithium-bearing mineral. Key highlights included a 27-meter (m) interval at the Fi Main pegmatite with a lithium oxide (Li2O) concentration of 1.26% and a 22m interval at the same pegmatite with a concentration of 1.53% Li2O.
David Smithson, SVP of Geology at Li-FT Power, expressed excitement about these results, particularly noting the improving grades and widths at the Fi Main and Nite structures.
We are very excited to get the drills back to this structure in the upcoming 2024 winter drill program to confirm how far, and to what depths these grades extend, Smithson said.
The week prior, Li-FT Power Ltd. (TSXV:LIFT) (OTCQX:LIFFF) reported significant assay results from eight drill holes at the BIG West, Nite, Shorty, Fi Main, and Fi Southwest pegmatites, which revealed notable intervals of spodumene mineralization.
Some of the major highlights from this set of assays includes: 13m at 1.24% Li2O (Echo), 13m at 1.28% Li2O, (BIG East), 13m at 1.27% Li2O, (Ki) and 11m at 1.38% Li2O, (Shorty).
Adding to these significant findings, earlier results from the BIG East, Echo, and Shorty pegmatites revealed equally promising mineralization. Notably, the BIG East pegmatite exhibited a 26-meter interval with a Li2O concentration of 1.56%, marking one of the highest grades discovered in the project. The Echo pegmatite also showed promising intervals, including a 10-meter stretch with a Li2O concentration of 1.24%.
Li-FT Power is rapidly advancing with a robust 60,000-meter drill program, set for completion by the end of Q2 2024. This marks a pivotal step towards realizing the project's full potential. Upon completion, the focus will shift to compiling an initial Mineral Resource Estimate by Q3 2024, setting the stage for a Preliminary Economic Assessment within the next 18 months.
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