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Top Lithium Producer Predicts EVs Will Consume Almost All Lithium Supply by 2030

VANCOUVER – Energy Metals News – By 2030, almost all lithium sales will be for EV batteries, according to Eric Norris, at this year’s edition of The Battery Show in Michigan. Norris, the President of the lithium business unit at Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) told the audience that his top global lithium producer company expects demand to more than double worldwide from 2025 to 2030. According to the statement, Norris believes that EV battery demands will soak up the lithium supply, up from just 20% of the global demand just a decade ago. Because of this, Norris believes lithium extraction for EV batteries will expand throughout North America. Among the active players in the North American lithium space, many are vying for a position as tomorrow’s big players, including lithium developers such as Usha Resources Ltd. (TSXV:USHA) (OTC:USHAF), Patriot Battery Metals Inc. (TSXV:PMET) (OTC:PMETF), Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ:PLL), and even automaker Stellantis N.V. (NYSE:STLA).

With assets both in Nevada, and in Ontario, Vancouver-based mining company Usha Resources Ltd. (TSXV:USHA) (OTC:USHAF) recently gave an important update on its White Willow Lithium Pegmatite Project, located 170km west of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Within the update, USHA relayed that it had identified ten key drill targets across a 25km strike on the project, after collecting a total of 837 samples, with assays for 219 samples pending receipt and analysis. Among the results so far, including results up to 0.5% Li2O, 1,730 ppm cesium, 120,000 ppm tantalum, and 3,540 ppm rubidium.

"We are thrilled with the findings from the initial programs at White Willow," said Deepak Varshney, CEO of Usha Resources. "As seen at Patriot Battery Metals' Corvette Project, which has over 20 kilometres of trend, lithium pegmatite swarms occur in clusters, each of which has the potential to become a deposit. The findings thus far strongly validate our belief that Willow is a flagship asset where Ontario's next major lithium discovery will occur."

USHA wasted no time after acquiring the White Willow project earlier this year in March, 2023. Now having completed 5 weeks of fieldwork this season, and with data compilation complete for 618 samples, the company intends on drilling each of the 10 identified target pegmatites as part of its maiden drill program, which is scheduled to commence in Q1 2024.

Over that time, White Willow has gained traction amid USHA’s respectable North American portfolio, quickly asserting its importance as the company’s leading hard rock lithium asset, and bolstering USHA’s now two-pronged strategy to move closer to a future role as a key lithium producer. The other asset which was the first to capture the title as the flagship of the company’s portfolio is that of the Jackpot Lake Lithium Brine Project in Nevada, where the company began drilling and preparing for a new 43-101 resource estimation back in June 2023.

“The work to-date has demonstrated that Jackpot contains the right system for a major lithium discovery and by exploring to a depth of 2,000 feet, we aim to gather a more comprehensive understanding of the mineral potential within our project area, further enhancing the overall resource estimation and project feasibility of Jackpot Lake,” said Varshney.

However, it’s been White Willow that’s been producing eye-catching headlines since the company’s announcement back in early August 2023, when USHA discovered a second lithium-cesium-tantalum pegmatite swarm, which tripled the original strike to over 25km.

“We are thrilled with the findings from the initial programs at White Willow,” said Deepak Varshney. “As seen at Patriot Battery Metals’ Corvette Project, which has over 20 kilometres of trend, lithium pegmatite swarms occur in clusters, each of which has the potential to become a deposit.”

The Corvette Project which Varshney is referring to has been somewhat of a lithium darling since Patriot Battery Metals Inc. (TSXV:PMET) (OTC:PMETF) discovered its CV Lithium Trend in the emerging spodumene pegmatite district in 2017. Since then, the project has captured the market’s attention, to the point that even Albemarle Corporation (NYSE:ALB) was enticed enough to take a 5% stake in the company back in July 2023.

Recently, Patriot filed a NI 43-101 technical report on the CV5 mineral resource estimate on the property, following up on an announcement in late July that delivered the largest lithium pegmatite resource in the Americas at CV5, Corvette Property, Quebec, Canada. In that announcement, Patriot shared it had 109.2 Mt at 1.42% Li2O and 160 ppm Ta2O5 inferred.

Also working in Canada is Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ:PLL), which in early August 2023 announced the first commercial shipments from its North American Lithium (NAL) mine, which the company co-owns with Sayona Mining. By the end of that month, Piedmont announced it had already received a partial prepayment of $31.6 million for its inaugural September shipment of 15,000 dry metric tons of lithium concentrate under NAL’s offtake agreement.

"This is a significant day for Piedmont Lithium as we announce the first shipment of lithium concentrate under our offtake agreement with NAL and the receipt of a prepayment, which significantly increases our cash position," said Keith Phillips, President and CEO of Piedmont. "We look forward to the additional Piedmont Shipments and JV Shipments planned for 2023, and we expect sales from Piedmont Shipments to help fund our strategic initiatives while reducing our need to raise equity in the market.”

Automaker Stellantis N.V. (NYSE:STLA) has even thrown its hat into the North American lithium production scene, having committed to investing more than $100 million in California’s Controlled Thermal Resources. The investment is being received as Stellantis’ latest bet on the direct lithium extraction (DLE) sector, in the hunt for new sources of the EV battery metal.

Makers of popular car brands Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Maserati and more, Stellantis has stated in the past that half of its fleet will be electric by 2030. As per the deal, Stellantis has committed to nearly triple the amount of lithium it’s set to buy from Controlled Thermal, which is a boost upon its previous order of 65,000 metric tons annually for at least 10 years, starting in 2027.

"This is a significant investment and goes a long way toward developing this key project," said Rod Colwell, CEO of Controlled Thermal, whose company plans to spend more than $1 billion to separate lithium from superhot geothermal brines extracted from beneath California's Salton Sea after flashing steam off those brines to spin turbines that will produce electricity starting next year.

According to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, the partnership with Controlled Thermal is “an important step in our care for our customers and our planet as we work to provide clean, safe and affordable mobility."

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