By Chris Berry and Alex Grant
Livent’s announcement last week that they would invest in E3 Metals Corp. of Alberta, Canada to help develop the company’s direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology was a major signal to the industry that new technologies can play an important role in meeting future lithium demand for batteries. Traditionally, financial capital in the mining exploration sector has chased unproductive assets as commodity prices have risen, only to be squandered when those same prices mean revert. Is there perhaps a new model or funding mechanism available to add to lithium supply?
We share the belief that new technologies are key to future lithium supply and here we’ll share some of the ideas from our recent conversations on the topic. For context, Alex co-founded Lilac Solutions, a DLE technology company, and now advises on technology strategy/flowsheet development for several lithium project developers. Chris is a prominent minerals market analyst who provides corporate strategy and advisory services to investors and companies along the lithium ion supply chain. We both spend our days focused on how macroeconomic and technological forces affect the lithium industry from different angles, and we hope this article provides some actionable insight for project developers, investors, and other industry players.