The session starts off with a view towards lithium supply and demand and panellists discuss various price assessments, where they expect prices to move next, and whether this points to the beginning of a bull market. One interesting note made is that the capital coming into the lithium space is much more sober and patient than it was back in 2016/16 as well as being stickier – in that investor are more committed to taking on longer time frames. That said, panellists note the difficulties still in bringing new assets onstream and the time it takes for explorers to get to market. On the investment front, they note the necessity in looking at the fundamentals if you’re in the space for the long-term.
The panel discusses whether 20,000 is a sustainable price in the long-term and note that it might be more realistic for prices to settle in at around $12-13,000/tonne – which should also allow for better projects to get funded.
They discuss EV penetration rates and the future for the industry, different chemistries as a potential threat to the lithium market, and more. The impact of current market fundamentals on the supply chains is noted – with cobalt and nickel scarcity along with lithium scarcity as major considerations for OEMs and others along the supply chain at the moment.
The panel looks at direct lithium extraction techniques and the impact of this on the industry. This ties into the discussion on ESG, how it impacts funding, concerns around costs, benefits, and more.
Finally, they look at preferred regions for mining and investment – what makes sense currently, risks, ESG considerations, and more.
Rodney Hooper, Partner, RK Equity
Chris Berry, President, House Mountain Partners
Emily Hersh, Managing Partner, DCDB Group
JP Vargas de la Vega, Managing Director, Galan Lithium