Russia fears light fire under nickel price

Nickel surged to a more than three-year high amid growing fears that Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, top producer of the metal, could be the next victim of US sanctions against Russia that has already caused chaos on aluminum markets.

Nickel, used primarily in steelmaking, jumped as much as 4.6% to $14,870 a ton on the London Metal Exchange, the highest level since February 2015. Bullish sentiment was also boosted after production slumped 18% at Brazil’s Vale, world number two producer. Year to date nickel is the top performing major metal enjoying a 21% rise. Measured from the bottom of the mining cycle early 2016 nickel has nearly doubled in price.

Norilsk is said to be in early stage talks with battery makers over possible investment in its mining assets, but is also interested in downstream joint ventures in return

“There’s definitely some pricing in of the possibility that nickel will be incorporated” if there’s a fresh round of sanctions against Russia, said Colin Hamilton, managing director for commodities research at BMO Capital Markets told Bloomberg.

Any sanctions against leading producer Norilsk could crimp output at a time when the market is headed for multi-year deficits thanks to additional demand from the electric vehicle market.

Nickel, together with manganese and cobalt, is a crucial elements in batteries favoured by most of the world’s automakers as the industry moves away from the internal combustion engine.

However, only 5% of nickel production is used in batteries and less than 1% in goes into EV power plants at the moment. The industry is still dominated by Chinese nickel pig iron makers using non-battery grade material from Indonesia and the Philippines.

Norilsk is said to be in early stage talks with battery makers over possible investment in its mining assets, but is also interested in downstream joint ventures in return.

“We might be interested in having some deeper cooperation, say on the battery side, and building a more complete value chain,” Anton Berlin told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of a battery materials conference in Shanghai.

Nornickel is looking for “more than just an offtake (sales) agreement,” he said, adding that a downstream joint venture in China would be a possibility.

Asset grab

Moscow considers US sanctions a form of unfair competition and any response will be in line with Russia’s interests, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday according to a Reuters report.

“The sanctions drive against Russia is becoming an idée fixe. We still consider these sanctions illegal… and we’re convinced that any economist can see open attempts to squeeze Russian companies out of global markets,” Peskov told reporters.

“It’s nothing more than an international asset grab,” he added.

Aluminum anarchy

Aluminum jumped to fresh six-year highs as buyers scrambled to cope with ongoing chaos in the global supply chain more than a week after the US slapped sanctions on Rusal, the top producer outside China.

The metal climbed as much as 3.2% to $2,481 a tonne on the LME, the highest level in intraday trading since August 2011. Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, predicts that the metal, mainly …read more

Source:: Infomine

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Silver on the verge of a break out

Silver on the verge of a break out Stefan Wieler April 18, 2018 Silver prices are trading almost 25% below the values predicted by our price model. This is the largest downside deviation we have seen in over 25 years. We believe this is the result of massive short selling in the futures market. In order to maintain this downward pressure on silver, speculators would have to continue to sell over 500 million ounces of paper silver per year. A reversal of this positioning could lead a >30% rally in silver prices in our view. View the Entire Research Piece as a PDF here. About a year ago we introduced our Silver Price Framework (see Silver price framework: Both money and a commodity, March 9, 2017). In that report, we highlighted that silver prices are driven by monetary demand as well as supply and demand for industrial purposes, the latter of which … Continue reading

Higher Dividends Predict Faster Earnings Growth

“The evidence strongly suggests that expected future earnings growth is fastest when current payout ratios are high and slowest when payout ratios are low.”

– Robert Arnott and Cliff Asness

Last week, I had a special guest at my financial economics class at Chapman University: Rob Arnott, CEO of Research Affiliates Ltd. Based in Newport Beach, California, the company manages more than $200 billion in assets.

Arnott has won more awards for writing breakthrough financial articles than any person I know, including seven Graham and Dodd Awards from the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals.

The Wall Street Journal calls him the “godfather of smart beta” and the creator of fundamental stock indexes. He’s a value investor, recommending stock indexes based on sales, earnings, cash flow and dividends rather than highest market capitalization (such as the S&P 500 Index).
Beware of Money Losers
In my class, he compared the value stock Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) with the growth stock Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA). He said Exxon is a much safer bet. Exxon has $42 billion in debt but made nearly $20 billion in profits last year.

On the other hand, Tesla is losing money every year and is likely to run out of money soon. Arnott predicted that Tesla could self-destruct within a year or two, given its huge $12 billion debt load, high burn rate and growing competition in the electric vehicle market.

“Tesla is no Amazon,” he warned.

Arnott is skeptical that the tech sector can continue to grow as fast as it has. He expressed alarm that the seven biggest companies on Wall Street based on market cap are all tech companies: Alibaba, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Tencent. It’s unprecedented to have one industry dominating the market.
Best Buy: High-Dividend-Paying Value Stocks
Arnott thinks value stocks will have their day in the sun soon. He is especially bullish on high-dividend-paying stocks with high payout ratios.

His 2003 study, “Surprise! Higher Dividends = Higher Earnings Growth,” co-authored with Cliff Asness, is still valid.

They found companies that have a high dividend payout ratio tend to be more profitable over the long run, while companies that have low payout ratios grow slower. They conclude that companies with “low payout ratios lead to, or come with, inefficient empire building and the funding of less-than-ideal projects and investments, leading to poor subsequent growth, whereas high payout ratios lead to more carefully chosen projects.”

The only caveat is to avoid companies that pay out a higher dividend than current earnings. That could spell danger as they could cut or even suspend their dividends in the future.

Here are a few examples of quality companies with sustainable high dividend yields and high dividend payout ratios…

Verizon (NYSE: VZ): 4.9% yield, 32% payout ratio
McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD): 2.5% yield, 60% payout ratio
Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD): 6.5% yield, 90% payout ratio (based on cash flow).

Good investing,

Mark Skousen

P.S. I’m happy to announce that Rob Arnott will be a featured speaker at FreedomFest, our three-day financial summit, this July 11-14, 2018, at Paris Resort, Las Vegas. Other speakers include Alex Green, Marc …read more

Source:: Investment You

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Chris Vermeulen – The Technical Traders – Wed 18 Apr, 2018

Watch The Safe Haven Assets Even If US Markets Continue Up

Chris Vermeulen, Founder of The Technical Traders shares his thoughts on the US markets and safe haven assets. With technical factors pointing higher for the short term for US markets Chris notes that the safe havens are also showing strength.

Download audio file (2018_04_17-Chris-Vermeulen.mp3)

Click here to visit Chris’s site for more technical commentary on a broad range of markets.

…read more

Source:: The Korelin Economics Report

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Energy Markets Starting to Turn After Hitting Rock Bottom; Three Small Caps that Could See 100% to 200% Returns

Source: Bill Newman for Streetwise Reports 04/18/2018

Despite a market recovery in oil prices, with WTI up ~30% over the past six months, most energy stocks have failed to follow suit. Analyst Bill Newman of Mackie Research profiles three Canadian E&P companies that he believes have strong fundamentals and should start climbing as the market recovers.

Even midsized companies, with deep inventories of development locations, a growing production and cash flow base and with relatively strong balance sheets have been orphaned by investors. This has pushed valuations of most Canadian E&P companies to seemingly unprecedented lows, trading below even proven producing reserves (PDP), and at very low cash flow multiples never seen before in the Canadian sector.

The current investment climate has been so dismal and the sell-down of Canadian energy companies during the downturn has been so overdone by the market, that boards of strong companies, including Ranging River Exploration Inc (RRX.TO) and Granite Oil Corp. (GXO.TO) have announced formal processes to evaluate alternatives to enhance shareholder value. In addition, Crescent Point (CPG.TO), which has top-tier assets as one of the larger producers in North America, has recently attracted the attention of an activist given it is so highly undervalued in the marketplace. We believe this underscores the unusually low valuations for the Canadian oil and gas sector. To top it all off, microcaps have been hit even harder than their larger peers, and are trading at levels not seen since the boom in the early 2000s. We see this as an opportunity to buy a basket of highly undervalued oil and gas companies that are positioned for when valuation revert to the norm.

Historically, the lynch pin to normalizing valuations has been sparked by opportunistic acquisitions and merger activity. Investors seeing a windfall from a takeover of one company may look to the next most likely target. So far, the M&A market in Canada has been quiet, which is likely a symptom of the current investment climate, that fails to reward companies for expanding their opportunity base, even if the assets are acquired at a bargain price. However, as the sector returns to favor through 2018 onward, we expect M&A activity to pick up again. We also expect valuations to improve after the release of better-than-expected first quarter results from the sector leaders, on the back of higher commodity prices without cost inflation.

With this in mind, we recommend companies that are highly undervalued with strong fundamentals, but with unique differentiating features or future events that can gain investor attention. We like Prairie Provident Resources Inc. (PPR:TSX) for its cash flow funded 2018 capital program that should grow production to ~6,000 boe/day. Also, in Q2/18 the company may receive a favorable ruling from an arbitration tribunal that could award substantial damages, which could be a major near-term catalyst for the stock, significantly adding to the company’s balance sheet and initiating a re-rate in the marketplace.

We also like Pulse Oil Corp. (PUL:TSX.V) for its massive upside from a miscible flood enhanced oil recovery (EOR) program of its two, 100%-owned Nisku Pinnacle Reefs. The EOR project has the potential to add 2,000 bbl/day–3,000 bbl/day of light oil production, which would throw off substantial cash flows and unlock over 25 million barrels of oil equivalent of in-place volumes with potential value of $177 million ($1.39/fd share) versus a market cap of ~$14 million today. This value could be unlocked for very little investment.

And we like Point Loma Resources Ltd. (PLX:TSX), which has established a large, concentrated land base in Alberta, with a large low-cost Manville and Cardium well development inventory for expected rapid production expansion as the energy market recovers. The company also has a sizeable stake in the Duvernay Shale oil play with the likes of Crescent Point and Raging River drilling offset horizontals near Point Loma’s acreage. Point Loma also has additional financial security with no bank debt and the backing of a large strategic Chinese investor that owns nearly 20% of the company.

The energy sector has been out of favor for so long now that the lack of investment combined with OPEC production cuts are pushing down global oil inventories while world economies continue to grow. This could set up the energy sector for a multiyear bull market and we believe our forgotten micro caps could easily have a 100% to 200% return for investors.


Prarie Provident had focused development of conventional oil weighted assets in the Wheatland and Princess properties in Southern Alberta and its Evi area located in the Peace River Arch area of Northern Alberta. The company also holds ~240,000 net acres in the St. Lawrence Lowland of Quebec that are prospective for the Utica Shale. The company remains highly undervalued on a cash flow, reserves and NAV basis and receives no option value for its Quebec assets.

Potential Cash Windfall from Quebec Settlement Could Rerate the Stock: Prairie Provident is seeking damages of US$188.9 million related to the termination of the rights to one of the company’s licences in Quebec. The final hearing concluded in November 2017 and a ruling in the dispute and potential damages could be announced in Q2/18. Over a five-year period, Prairie Provident committed a significant amount of time and capital to securing the exploration licences, acquiring and interpreting seismic and drilling wells. We feel damages of between US$25 million to US$60 million would certainly be in the realm of possibility. Damages at the low end of this range would allow the company accelerate growth through drilling or acquisitions, and could re-rate the stock.

Excellent Q1 Drilling Results; Longer-Term Results a Potential Catalyst: Prairie Provident recently completed a six-well drill program in its Princess and Wheatland (Wayne) core areas. Initial test results exceeded expectations, including an excellent test of ~ 935 boe/d (65% oil) from a well in the Princess area. Longer-term test results could be a near-term catalyst for the stock.

Trading below PDP Value: The current market price of $0.42, Prairie Provident trades at 34% of its proven developed producing (PDP) valuation of $1.30/sh and at 24% of its total proven value of $1.79/sh.


Point Loma is highly undervalued and has a large concentrated land base with a large, multi-zoned drilling inventory to fuel growth for many years. PLX has no bank debt and positive working capital to fund low risk well recompletions, facilities expansion and drilling that should double production in H2/18. Point Loma will continue to focus on its multi-layered play types including Mannville oil, Cardium, Nordegg oil, Banff and the Duvernay Shale.

Strategically Backed by Zhongcheng Group: In 2017, Point Loma established a long-term strategic partnership with Evenergy Co. Ltd. (Evenergy). Evenergy is subsidiary of Zhongcheng Group, one of the largest privately owned independent petroleum refinery, oil products and LPG distribution and retail companies in China. Evenergy acquired its initial position last year, through a private placement priced at $0.48 (stock currently at $0.22) and was also granted the right to participate in future equity financing to maintain its pro rata ownership in PLX of 19.9%. Management and directors hold an additional 19.1% of the issued and outstanding shares acquired at an average cost of $0.55 per share versus the current market price of $0.22.

Incredibly Cheap Acquisition Boosts Production by 315 boe/day: In April 2018, Point Loma expects to complete the acquisition of 315 boe/d of net production, with 1.1 million boe of proven reserves and 2.9 million boe of proven plus probable reserves (2P) for a net adjusted cost of less than $1.0 million. The assets are located in the Gilby area within the company’s west central Alberta core area and were acquired from a private company that is in receivership. The opportunistic transaction metrics are excellent with a cost of approximately $2,700 per flowing barrel, $0.80/boe for proven reserves and $0.30/boe for 2P reserves. In addition, the assets have development upside on the ~29,000 gross acres with booked proven undeveloped and probable drilling locations with multi-zone potential in the Mannville, Cardium and Duvernay shale.

Free Option Upside from Its 13,000 Net Acres in the Duvernay Shale Oil Play: Point Loma has established ~13,000 acres (20 net sections) of land within the Duvernay oil shale window. Industry interest in the Duvernay has been heightened by impressive initial oil weighted production tests results from the likes of Artis Exploration (Private), Vesta Energy (Private) and Crescent Point. As a result, land prices continue to escalate in the oil window of the Duvernay. With Crescent Point and Raging River drilling horizontals near Point Loma’s acreage in the near future, Point Loma’s 20 net Duvernay sections alone could be worth more than the company’s current market cap.

Incredibly Cheap: Subsequent to closing the Gilby acquisition, we estimate Point Loma’s production will increase to 1,100 boe/day which equates to a flowing barrel value of $11,200 per boe/day versus the peer group of $20,000 to $40,000 per boe/day.


New Unique E&P Company: Pulse holds Manville assets in Alberta that have near-term production growth potential through low-risk well reactivations, well recompletions and development drilling. Current production of ~250 boe/day is expected to double by this summer and additional work should increase production to ~1,000 boe/day by year-end. What differentiates Pulse from its peers is the massive upside from its miscible flood Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) project of its two Nisku Pinnacle Reefs at Bigoray (100% W.I.).

Massive Low Risk Upside from Miscible Flood of Nisku Pinnacle Reefs: Sproule Associates Limited (Sproule) completed an assessment of the EOR project of the Nisku D and Nisku E pools. Sproule assigned an estimated discovered PIIP of 23.3 million boe, with an unrisked Best Estimate contingent resource of 6.1 million boe (91.3% oil) and an upside case of 8.1 million boe (92% oil). Nisku pinnacle reef wells are prolific producers and a successful EOR program is expected to add production of ~1,000 – 1,500 boe/day for each reef or up to 3,000 boe/day (86 % light oil) for both reefs, which would generate substantial free cash flow.

Potential Value of Up to $177 million ($1.39/fd share) Versus Market Cap of ~$14 Million Today: The average recovery factor of 52 nearby analogous reefs that have been developed with a miscible flood is approximately 80%. Assuming a recovery factor at the bottom end of the range of 55%, and a modest $15/boe cash flow netback, the potential NPV10 is $78 million ($0.61/fd share). With a recovery factor equal to the average of 80% and a $15/boe netback, the NPV10 increases to $177 million ($1.39/fd share).

Bigoray Facilities Owned 100% W.I. by Pulse: As most of the required infrastructure for the Bigoray EOR is in place, the miscible flood project requires a relatively small investment per Nisku Reef providing massive upside without the risk and significant cost of an extensive horizontal drilling program. Start-up of the injections facilities is underway with injection expected to commence in late 2018.

Bill Newman is vice president of international and domestic oil and gas research with Mackie Research Capital Corp. He has been an energy analyst for 22 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Calgary, and has a CFA designation.

Want to read more Energy Report articles like this? Sign up for our free e-newsletter, and you’ll learn when new articles have been published. To see a list of recent articles and interviews with industry analysts and commentators, visit our Streetwise Interviews page.

1) Bill Newman: I, or members of my immediate household or family, own shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: None. I personally am, or members of my immediate household or family are, paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this article: Within the last two years, Mackie Research Capital has managed or comanaged an offering of securities for, and received compensation for investment banking and related services from Prairie Provident Resources Inc., Point Loma Resources Ltd and Pulse Oil Corp. Bill Newman has research coverage on the following companies mentioned in this article. Prairie Provident Resources Inc., Point Loma Resources Ltd and Pulse Oil Corp. Relevant disclosures required under applicable to companies under coverage discussed in this article are available on our web site at I determined which companies would be included in this article based on my research and understanding of the sector.
2) The following companies mentioned in this article are billboard sponsors of Streetwise Reports: None. Click here for important disclosures about sponsor fees.
3) Statements and opinions expressed are the opinions of the author and not of Streetwise Reports or its officers. The author is wholly responsible for the validity of the statements. The author was not paid by Streetwise Reports for this article. Streetwise Reports was not paid by the author to publish or syndicate this article. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Streetwise Reports requires contributing authors to disclose any shareholdings in, or economic relationships with, companies that they write about. Streetwise Reports relies upon the authors to accurately provide this information and Streetwise Reports has no means of verifying its accuracy.
4) This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports’ terms of use and full legal disclaimer. This article is not a solicitation for investment. Streetwise Reports does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on Streetwise Reports should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned on Streetwise Reports.
5) From time to time, Streetwise Reports LLC and its directors, officers, employees or members of their families, as well as persons interviewed for articles and interviews on the site, may have a long or short position in securities mentioned. Directors, officers, employees or members of their immediate families are prohibited from making purchases and/or sales of those securities in the open market or otherwise from the time of the interview or the decision to write an article, until one week after the publication of the interview or article.

( Companies Mentioned: PLX:TSX,

Quantum Minería wants to extract rare earth elements from groundwater

Following the Castilla-La Mancha government’s rejection of its rare earth project near the Campo de Montiel county in central Spain, Quantum Minería is now asking the Guadiana river Hydrographic Confederation for a permit to explore groundwater 200 metres deep, where the company believes there is monazite.

The rare earth element, commonly found in placer deposits, is used in the manufacturing of electronic devices.

According to Spanish media, the information regarding Quantum’s request was revealed by the platform Sí a la Tierra Viva (Yes to Living Earth). The document the activists obtained shows that the Madrid-based miner wants to carry out some reconnaissance work in an area of 340 square kilometres near the town of Torrenueva. The idea is to verify the existence of a continuous flow of 2.7 litres per second, as the company would like to process 87,730 cubic metres of water per year.

However, Sí a la Tierra Viva says such plans contravene local water policies which state that the community is responsible for making sure that water sources are protected and used in a rational and sustainable way. Members also say that Quantum’s plans are incompatible with the fact that farmers in the area are having difficulties accessing scarce water resources, particularly nowadays that dry seasons last for longer than in previous decades.

The activists also state that an approval for this project would be a complete contradiction of the previous denial of Quantum’s environmental permits, as it was established that rare earth mining activities would put at risk the habitat and passage area for steppe birds, the Iberian lynx, the little bustard, the royal kite and the imperial eagle, all of them included in the catalog of endangered species.

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Source:: Infomine

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Australian miner reports maiden potash resource in Germany

Melbourne-based Davenport Resources (ASX: DAV) reported a maiden Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant resource of 576.6-million tonnes at 12.1% potassium oxide at its Ebeleben mining licence, located in Germany’s South Harz region.

Ebeleben, which covers 38.8 square kilometres, is one of three perpetual mining licences in the South Harz Basin that Davenport acquired recently from the government agency known as Bodenverwertungs‐und‐verwaltungs GmbH.

The project adjoins the south‐eastern boundary of the former Volkenroda potash mine, which last operated in 1991 and produced 27.4 Mt of potash. In detail, the recently announced Jorc resource comprises mostly sylvinite (324 million tonnes at 15.6% K2O) and Carnallitite (252 million tonnes at 7.5% K2O).

“While Ebeleben is one of our smallest areas, [consultant] Mincon has confirmed a significant resource that compares closely to both the historic resource and the recently-announced exploration target,” Davenport Managing Director, Chris Gilchrist, said in a media statement. “We believe there is sufficient data to support the conversion of historic resources into mineral resources as defined by the Jorc code,” he added.

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Source:: Infomine

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Rare earths extracted from coal mining by-products

Researchers from West Virginia University and the National Energy Technology Laboratory are working on a project aimed at extracting rare earth elements from the acid mine drainage found at various coal mine sites in the United States.

Besides pioneering a new and less expensive method to recover the 17 elements, the scientists want to bolster domestic supply to reduce the current dependence on Chinese imports. Rare earth elements are used in cell phones, rechargeable batteries, DVDs, GPS equipment, medical equipment and various defense applications.

In their quest, the academics did a preliminary sampling and discovered that minerals such as candium, yttrium and neodymium become soluble in acidic environments, which means that they can concentrate near mine sites. With this information, they developed a potential feedstock for a refinery they wanted to build at the university and analyzed that initial product. They found that about 45 per cent of the rare earths in acid mine drainage are in the heavy categories, which are the more valuable categories.

Besides allowing them to “harvest” RRE, their initiative would also positive effects when it comes to cleaning up coal-polluted streams.

The researchers expect to start extracting rare earth elements from sludge, drainage sites, and groundwater, refining them and taking them to market in a couple of years once their pilot program is completed.

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Source:: Infomine

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This is the only chart lithium price bears need see

This is the only chart lithium price bears need see

A month ago Morgan Stanley sent shares of lithium producers and explorers tumbling after the investment bank forecast growing surplus in the market starting as soon as now, resulting in forecast prices halving from today’s levels.

Morgan Stanley said Chilean low cost brine producers SQM and Albemarle alone could bring 200kt per year by 2025 and after adding new and expansion hard-rock projects in Australia and China half a million extra tonnes per year could be available. Consider that global supply last year totalled just over 200kt.
Orocobre prides itself on being the first brine lithium producer to go into production in more than 20 years
The negative assessment raised eyebrows in the industry with executives criticizing the New York bank for underestimating the rise in demand, the complex nature of lithium mining leading to production ramp-up problems, and bottlenecks with processing of battery-grade lithium compounds.

A report released this week by Canaccord Genuity is much more sanguine about the outlook for the battery raw material. The Canadian financial services firm also predicts a rush of new tonnes hitting the market, but expects most of the new supply to come from higher-cost hard rock mines producing lithium concentrate or ore. The firm now sees surpluses only arising in 2020 and only if converter capacity can catch up with mine supply.

Interestingly, both Morgan Stanley and Canaccord in their respective reports reproduced a nearly one-year old graph about lithium mine supply from an investor slide presentation by Orocobre which prides itself on being the first brine lithium producer to go into production in more than 20 years.

The slide shows just how wide the gap between supply forecasts and reality can be. And in a bit of delicious irony, Orocobre’s Olaroz operation has become the poster child for just how long it can take to bring a lithium project into full production (7 years in this instance):

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Source:: Infomine

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