Rapid Propagation of EVs is Spurring the Growth of the Global Lithium-ion Battery Market

NEW YORK, December 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

According to recent data provided by Zion Market Research, the global lithium-ion battery market was valued at around USD 31.17 Billion in 2016 and is expected to generate revenues of USD 67.70 Billion by end of 2022. Furthermore, the market is said to be growing at a CAGR of slightly above 13.70% between 2017 and 2022. A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a rechargeable battery which is mostly used for consumer or home electronics. These are popular among manufacturers due to their minor memory effect, high energy density, and low self-discharge. Li-ion batteries are also growing in popularity for military use, battery electric vehicles and aerospace applications. By region, North America is one of the largest regional markets in the global lithium-ion battery market. The lithium-ion battery market is mainly driven by the rising demand for smartphones and other consumer electronics devices. The U.S. is the key region in North America and plays a major role in the development of future lithium-ion batteries. In 2016, the U.S. accounted for over 72% of the regional revenue in this market and is expected to witness significant growth, owing to the increasing electric vehicle demand with the growing adoption of high-quality consumer electronics products. MGX Minerals Inc. (OTC: MGXMF), Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM), BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE: BHP), Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO)

The emergence of electric vehicles is excepted to have a significant impact on the Li-ion battery market. A recent announcement by Daimler illustrates the growth potential. According to a report by Tech Crunch the car manufacturer plans to buy USD 23 Billion worth of battery cells by 2030. Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars explained, "Our electric offensive continues to gain momentum. After investing billions of euros in the development of the electric fleet and the expansion of our global battery network, we are now taking the next step: With the purchase of battery cells for more than 20 billion euros, we are systematically pushing forward with the transformation into the electric future of our company. We plan a total of 130 electrified variants at Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2022. In addition, we will have electric vans, buses and trucks."

MGX Minerals Inc. (OTCQB: MGXMF) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: XMG). Just earlier today the company announced breaking news that, "to report additional drill results from its Fall 2018 drill program at the Fran Gold Property ("Fran" or the "Property") in British Columbia, 30 kilometers southwest of the Mount Milligan Gold-Copper mine.

Drill hole FR18-96 intersected the down-dip extensions of auriferous veins known as Zone 3, Zone 2, and Zone 1 in addition to mineralized sections outside of the established zones. FR18-96 was collared and oriented perpendicular to strike of previously tested steeply-dipping mineralized structures. The hole returned a high-grade intercept from 136.00 to 142.35 meters that assayed 6.55 g/t gold and 0.1% copper over 4.1 meters, including 38.7 g/t gold and 0.6% copper from 140.35 to 140.90 meters.

This high-grade mineralization at depth extends mineralization encountered in historic drill hole FR-07-075 to an additional 66 meters down-dip. A broad mineralized section in Zone 2 was also intersected from 157.50 to 166.15 meters and assayed 3.13 g/t gold over 8.65 meters, including 13.9 g/t gold and 0.5% copper from 157.5 to 158 meters. The hole is located 50 meters to the northwest of FR18-95.

Previously reported drill hole FR18-95 returned a broad intercept from 227.0 to 241.0 meters of gold mineralization at depth. This confirmed the extension of gold mineralization in auriferous veins from near surface to depth. The highest-grade gold mineralization was contained within a quartz-pyrite vein which averaged 21 g/t Au over 2.2m including 35.9 g/t Au across 0.76m and 26.70 g/t Au over 0.75m (see press release dated December 3, 2018).

Hole FR18-96 Intersections by Zone

FR18-96 was collared and oriented perpendicular to strike of previously tested steeply-dipping mineralized structures. The hole is located 68 meters to the northeast of historic drill hole 75, and 50 meters to the northwest of FR18-95. The down-dip extensions of mineralized Zone 3, Zone 2, and Zone 1 were targeted and successfully intersected all zones in addition to mineralized sections outside of the established zones.

These zone intersections are based on previously interpreted mineralized zone geometries and exclude mineralized assays outside given intersections:

Winter 2018 Exploration

The Winter 2018 drill program is currently underway. Hole FR18-97 is a vertical hole in the underexplored Hilltop Zone 200 meters to the southwest of the Main Zone. Additional drilling will further test the Main Zone at depth and along strike to the east.

Fran Gold Project

With the exception of short hole reconnaissance drilling at Fran East in 2017, the Fran Property has been dormant since 2011. The property encompasses 10,227 hectares and is located 30km southwest of the Mount Milligan Gold-Copper Mine and 19km by logging road from the Mount Milligan western access road. The Bullion Alley Zone has been the subject of extensive shallow exploration starting in the late 1990's. Significant gold mineralization associated with shear zones has been intersected by historic diamond drilling. A total of 15,575 metres of diamond drilling was completed in 87 drill holes at the Bullion Alley Zone prior to 2018. Previous drilling identified three areas along the northwest trending 1.5km strike with up to three lateral zones. This drilling encountered numerous gold intercepts with variable Ag, Cu, Pb, and Zn. Previous work presumed the auriferous veins pinched out at depth (MacIntyre 2013, MINFILE 093 108). The recently discovered gold mineralization at depth suggests an alternative model must now be considered, and that gold mineralization extends and remains open. No significant drilling below 150m occurred prior to 2018.

Quality Assurance / Quality Control

The sample chain of custody was managed by site geologist Myles Dickson (P.Geo). Drill core was stored and split at a secure storage facility in Fort St. James, BC. and shipped to ACT Labs Minerals ("ACT") for assay using 1A2-ICP Kamloops Au-Fire Assay and 1E3-Kamloops Aqua Regia ICP(AQUAGEO). Blanks and standards were used for data verification purposes. ACT is an independent, ISO-certified analytical laboratory located in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Qualified Person

Andris Kikauka (P. Geo.), Vice President of Exploration for MGX Minerals, has prepared, reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information in this press release. Mr. Kikauka is a non-independent Qualified Person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101 Standards.

About MGX Minerals - MGX Minerals is a diversified Canadian resource and technology company with interests in global advanced material, energy and water assets. Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release."

Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. Albemarle Corporation recently announced that it has signed an Exclusivity Agreement (Agreement) with Mineral Resources Limited in relation to the potential creation of a 50/50 joint venture (JV) to own and operate the Wodgina hard rock lithium mine and ultimately develop an integrated lithium hydroxide operation at the resource site. Wodgina, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is a world-class hard rock lithium deposit, with an estimated mine life of over 30 years. The proposed JV, which remains subject to negotiation of definitive documents, would combine Albemarle's world-class lithium production and marketing expertise with Mineral Resources Limited's (MRL) leading regional presence and mining capabilities. Under the terms of the Agreement, Albemarle would manage the marketing and sales of lithium hydroxide produced by the JV via Albemarle's long term agreement strategy. "This Agreement is consistent with our corporate strategy of pursuing M&A opportunities that can accelerate and de-risk our organic growth strategy," said Luke Kissam, Albemarle's Chief Executive Officer. "We feel confident in leveraging this world-class lithium resource with an experienced and knowledgeable mining company like MRL to help meet the growing demands of our global customers."

Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. (NYSE: SQM) is a company with worldwide presence in industries essential for human development, through five lines of business: vegetable nutrition of specialties, lithium and derivatives, iodine and derivatives, industrial chemicals and potassium. Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile S.A. recently informed about the lithium carbonate expansion in Antofagasta in Chile. In May 2018, the Company announced an ambitious strategic lithium expansion plan in Chile. This expansion is to be done in three phases, the first was to expand its production from 48,000 to 70,000 MT, in 2018. The second is to increase production from 70,000 to 120,000 MT, to be completed in 2019, and the third phase is to add an additional 60,000 MT of capacity to the Company's operations, reaching a total of 180,000MT by 2021. Patricio de Solminihac, Chief Executive Officer of SQM commented: "It has been an ambitious project that in a short timeframe considers technical and operational challenges allowing us to not only increase our sales volumes, but also meet the lithium quality standards required by our customers." He continues, "We knew that overhauling and ramping up the plant at this moment would be challenging; we have very low inventories, the demand growth is strong, and our customers are requiring complex technical specifications. We didn't want to wait to move forward with these plans, as these conditions were not expected to change in the near future. We have built the most cutting edge lithium carbonate plant in the world, with the lowest investment, totaling less than USD 4,000 per ton of additional capacity."

BHP Billiton Limited (NYSE: BHP) is a world-leading resources company. The Company extract and process minerals, oil and gas and its products are sold worldwide. In support of the Company's environmental targets, Technology is working hand-in-hand with Assets to implement game-changing programs that firmly position BHP as an industry leader in low emissions technology. BHP's Olympic Dam site in South Australia is one of the largest underground copper mines in the world and its investment there in light electric vehicles, powered by lithium ion batteries, is good news for its people and the planet. After extensive planning, one such exciting initiative kicked off at Olympic Dam earlier this month. The Company's first ever light electric vehicle (or LEV) is joining the existing underground fleet of 240 light vehicles with a second expected to join the fold in the coming months. This is all part of a broader initiative aimed at achieving a 50 per cent reduction, right across BHP, in the number of employees with potential exposure to particulate matter. Olympic Dam's switch to LEVs in its operations will reduce emissions, exposure and costs - as well as influencing the rollout of similar initiatives in the Company's other locations.

Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO) supplies the metals and minerals that help the world to grow. Rio Tinto's major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, gold, industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide and salt), iron ore, thermal and metallurgical coal and uranium. Rio Tinto plc released earlier this year a newsletter regarding its Serbia highlights. Rio Tinto continues to build confidence in Jadar by progressing the Project through its different development phases. In particular, Rio Tinto's field work in the ore body area continues, which just happens to be the biggest drilling campaign for the whole of Rio Tinto. Discovered in 2004, Jadar is a unique deposit near the town of Loznica, Serbia. It contains jadarite - a new lithium sodium borosilicate mineral. Jadar is the only place in the world where this mineral can be found. The Company is investing additional resources and supplying the jadarite processing pilot plant in Bundoora with necessary core samples. The Company continues to collect environmental and social baseline data and strengthen the Company's understanding of the future underground mine design and its potential impacts. "Finding a mineral with such high concentrations of borate and lithium is extraordinary but we still have to find a commercially viable means of breaking it down into its component parts. We've assembled a pilot plant in our Melbourne support facility that demonstrates the process of separating the elements. It's been constructed inside a large shipping container so it can be sent to Serbia and used as a model when they build on the mine site," says Chemical Engineer Gary Davis, a key member of the jadarite processing team.

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