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Sunday, Apr 14, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Alternative Energy

Fulfilling EV mandates in North America and abroad will require 388 new mines

The International Energy Agency says 50 lithium, 60 nickel and 17 new cobalt mines will be needed by 2030

388 new mines required to fulfill EV mandates from Canada, the U.S. and others: Fraser Institute
Lithium South is a Canadian company mining lithium in the salt flats of Argentina. Photo via Lithium South Development Corporation

Almost 400 new mines will be required to meet electric vehicle mandates implemented in North America and elsewhere.

Canada’s Fraser Institute said Thursday that the world will need 50 new lithium mining operations, 60 more nickel-producing assets and 17 additional cobalt mines by 2030. The top-ranking think-tank cited the International Energy Agency (IEA) for that prediction.

Ninety new mines will be required for cathode and anode production, 81 for electric vehicles in general and another 90 for battery cells as well.

The Canadian government introduced regulations to phase out fossil-fuel-powered vehicles at the end of last year and wants 35 per cent of all medium and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the country to be electric by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2040. Similarly, the Biden administration is aiming to have 50 per cent of the cars and light trucks sold in the United States be electric or primarily electric hybrids by the end of the decade.

The administration is also mandating that the U.S. government completely stop purchasing gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.

Read more: Lithium South Development technical report shows 40% increase in lithium recovery

Read more: Lithium South Development first production well installed at Hombre Muerto lithium project

More batteries, more metals, more mining

Canada has been ramping up its production capacity for necessary commodities with projects like the James Bay lithium mine in Quebec and the Nechalacho rare earth elements mining operation in the Northwest Territories, but a vast number of new mines will still be needed to meet demands.

The country has also been establishing several battery factories, such as Northvolt’s $7 billion lithium-ion production facility under construction in Quebec and the E-One Moli battery factory being built in Vancouver next year. Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) invested $1.8 billion this April to redesign Ontario’s Oakville Assembly Complex for electric vehicles.

The increased battery production rate inherently demands more metals needed for their construction.

“These timelines are ambitious, calling for a major expansion of the prevalence of electric vehicles in the major vehicle classes in a very short time—only seven to 10 years,” said Kenneth P. Green, Senior Fellow at the Fraser Insitute in the report.

Green says that mining and refining facilities take a lot of time to develop and are plagued by environmental and regulatory uncertainty and barriers. The IEA says lithium production timelines can take anywhere between six to nine years and nickel production can take 13 to 18.

“Barring breakthrough developments in battery technology, this massive and rapid expansion of battery-electric vehicle production will require a correspondingly massive and rapid expansion of the mining and refining of the metals and rare earth elements critical to battery-electric vehicle technology,” he added.

Fulfilling EV mandates in North America and abroad requires 388 new mines: Fraser Institute

Graph by the IEA via the Fraser Institute

Canada’s government just invested $1.5 billion in a critical minerals infrastructure fund to help accelerate the production of metals and rare earths needed to meet that required expansion. The Biden-Harris administration also invested US$3.5 billion to accelerate domestic battery production in the U.S. earlier this month.

A report released in April by the multinational market researcher Technavio predicted that the global market for electric vehicle batteries would be worth almost US$54 billion more in 2027 than it was in 2022. It will be ascending at a compound annual growth rate of 19.57 per cent in the coming years, according to the report.


Lithium South Development Corporation is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage


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