With lithium prices skyrocketing beyond wildest expectations, talk heating up about acquisitions and mergers in this space and a fast-brewing war among electric car rivals, it's no wonder everyone's bullish on this golden commodity that promises to become the ''new gasoline".
Moreover, land grabs, rising price predictions, and expectations of a major demand spike are leaping out of the shadows of a pending energy revolution and a new technology - driven resource era.
For once, we have agreement across the board on a commodity: Demand for lithium will continue to rise throughout the year--and beyond--spurred by the rise of battery mega/gigafactories and a burgeoning energy storage business that will change the way we live.
That's why Goldman Sachs calls lithium the "new gasoline". It's also why The Economist calls it "the world's hottest commodity", and talks about a "global scramble to secure supplies of lithium by the world's largest battery producers, and by end-users such as carmakers."
In fact, as the Economist notes, the price of 99%-pure lithium carbonate imported to China more than doubled in the two months to the end of December-putting it at a whopping $13,000 per ton.
But what you might not know is that this playing field is fast becoming a battlefield that has huge names such as Apple, Google and start-up Faraday Future throwing down for electric car market share and even reportedly gaming to see who can steal the best engineers.
Apple has now come out of the closet with plans for its own electric car by 2019, putting it on a direct collision course with Tesla. And Google, too, is pushing fast into this arena with its self-driving car project through its Alphabet holding company.
Then we have the Faraday Future start-up-backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting - which has charged onto this scene with plans for a new $1-billion factory in Las Vegas, and is hoping to produce its first car next year already.
Ensuring the best engineers for all these rival projects opens up a second front line in the war. They've all been at each other's recruitment throats for months, stealing each other's prized staff.
And when the wave of megafactories starts pumping out batteries-with the first slated to come online as soon as next year - we could need up to 100,000 tons of new lithium carbonate by 2021. It's an amount of lithium we just don't have right now.
The war is definitely on, and lithium prices are the immediate and long-term beneficiary. It all depends on batteries, so it all depends on lithium.
The lithium oligopoly ends here, in Nevada
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