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Orocobre, Lithium Power International, Battery Minerals - Noosa Day-2 (afternoon session)

Next-gen battery material firms we're on stage at the Noosa Mining Exploration Conference in Queensland.
conference audience
Its hard to ignore the impact of Tesla on the market

Companies producing some of the component materials used in the next generation of batteries were on stage at the Noosa Mining Exploration Conference in Queensland.

And while it was hard to ignore the impact of Tesla on the market, the discussion was more on changing supply and demand dynamics for lithium and, to a lesser extent, graphite and their impact on price.

Sailing into a perfect storm is Orocobre Ltd (ASX:ORE), which is already producing lithium at the Salar de Olaroz facility in Argentina.

Capitalising on strengthening prices, the company plans to double production to 35,000 tonnes a year. “We are capable of expanding multiple times and funding it internally,” said chief executive Richard Seville.

Moving over the border to Chile, Lithium Power International Ltd’s (ASX:LPI) Maricunga Project is not quite so far advanced.

It is sitting on a 2.15 million tonne lithium carbonate resource with a preliminary feasibility study slated for completion in the final quarter of this year. “We have the most advanced project in Chile, which now has real scale,” managing director Martin Holland told the Noosa audience.

Battery Minerals Ltd (ASX:BAT) is not your average graphite company. Yes, it owns two prime assets in Mozambique. But it also plans to develop a plant in the US which has the potential to high-grade the element for use in new Tesla-style lithium-ion batteries.

It has carried out a PFS and completed a bulk sample. The cost of developing the Mozambique mine and a refinery in Nevada is put at $57-$67 million.

But chairman David Flanagan said: “We think we can cut and optimise costs further.”

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