In 2019, 97-year-old John B. Goodenough received the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work on developing lithium-ion batteries
His discovery more than 40 years ago led to a massive breakthrough, giving us the rechargeable batteries hidden inside devices we use every day...
From smartphones and computers to power tools and medical equipment.
But today, it’s led to a boom that’s signaling the biggest shift in the auto industry in over 100 years.
It’s expected to change the landscape of our cities… What vehicles we buy… And how we travel throughout the day.
That’s why Tesla has built a 1.9 million square foot factory to ramp up production of the lithium-ion batteries for their electric vehicles…
With plans to produce batteries for over 500,000 vehicles per year.
Given the amount of lithium required to support this huge projected market, lithium mining companies are experiencing a major boost.
While North America has largely been explored already over the last 50 to 100 years…
Europe’s seeing new opportunities that could prove to be extremely lucrative in the days ahead.
And United Lithium is preparing to dive in at their new Bergby Project in Sweden, once their purchase closes. They’ll jump right on it, because the deal terms call for United to spend at least $1M on the property in the first 18 months after closing.
Located near the world-famous Woxna Graphite mine and the new Northvolt lithium battery gigafactory, it’s in the perfect location…
This is why over the last year, shares have already shot up an incredible 371%.
But as they prepare to close on Bergby and begin their new drill program, there could be far more exciting news in store in the coming months.
1 - High-grade Lithium Near Surface
The new Bergby property covers an enormous 1,903 hectares of land.
And it hasn’t taken long for them to get an idea of what they may find in their upcoming drill program.
That’s because much of this untapped lithium deposit outcrops on the surface.
This means the production costs shouldn’t be driven up by deep holes just to test what they’re sitting on.
They’ve got more promising data on the property from historical testing in recent years as well.
In 2017, 33 holes were drilled in the Bergby property, and 27 of them struck lithium.
But even with 27 of 33 holes delivering positive results, this number could have been even higher if these initial holes went deeper under the surface.
While they’ve got an idea as to where this lithium-rich ore lies already, the project could grow much larger.
The deposit is open along strike to both the north and the south, so there’s no telling how much further the deposit could run in either direction.
Plus, this historical data is showing they may be sitting on extremely high-grade lithium deposits.
While miners in Canada may be happy with 1.5% to 2% lithium in the deposits, several of the holes have tested at 3% to 3.5% lithium on United’s new soon to be purchased property.
To put that into context, the theoretical maximum for lithium concentration in ore is up to around 7.5%...
But it would be nearly impossible for grades to run that high unless you were manually sorting the rocks and picking out lithium crystals by hand.
This may become incredible news for United, as not only are they sitting on several holes that have already proven up lithium ore…
But it’s shaping up in some places to be very high-grade lithium which could be extremely valuable.
The discovery has already been made on the Bergby property. Now United needs to define how big this discovery could be, prove up its commercial grade and determine economics.
2 - The Numbers Are Working In Their Favor
Other junior miners have fallen into the trap of chasing big discoveries…
Only to come up empty-handed in terms of profits because they’re not accounting for holes in the bucket.
While it’s important to find a lucrative opportunity on the front-end, it’s just as important to keep expenses low while pursuing these huge discoveries.
That includes lowering costs for drilling, processing, and transportation.
And in United’s case, they’re planning on keeping costs down for all three.
With the deposit already showing lithium outcrops at the surface, they won’t waste precious cash wondering where to drill down in many cases.
Plus, they’ll be able to use more traditional methods to process the mineral, which helps lower their costs in that area as well.
In other parts of the world like in Argentina, they need expensive technology to help extract the lithium on a large scale.
But with United’s Bergby play, they can move ahead using traditional mining methods…
Using simple flotation processes to help them keep more of their money in hand.
And the location of their property in Sweden is making it quick and easy to transport whatever lithium they might develop there.
With the largest highway in Sweden running through their property, the infrastructure leading to and from Bergby is incredible.
And while they’re just an easy drive away from the massive Northvolt lithium battery gigafactory, making it easy to transport by truck…
They’re also close to a major deep seaport, helping deliver it to other gigafactories in nearby markets when the time comes.
This cannot be overstated as Europe’s EV markets have driven demand for lithium for EV batteries high sky high.
That’s helping United lock down the capital they need much easier than it would in other parts of the world.
They recently raised $4 million and have plans to raise an additional $8 million in the near future.
With the additional capital they expect to lockdown, they’ll have their drill program funded and ready to get started.
3 - Rapid Sale to the Massive European Market Without Tariffs
As they’re settled within 5 km of a deep seaport, this gives them easy access to ship lithium to nearby gigafactories in Poland, Germany, and other countries investing heavily in batteries.
And their location in central Sweden also puts them closer to Stockholm than any other lithium mine in the country.
With the biggest highway in the country leading through the property, it couldn’t be easier to deliver the mineral to their nation’s capital to take advantage of the demand there, once the company is producing commercial quantities.
This is all coming at a time when the EU just approved billions more in subsidies to help develop the booming EV battery industry, helping them cut their reliance on China and Asian markets.
With this move, the EU have approved 2.9 billion euros to be granted to 12 countries throughout Europe, including Sweden…
And it’s set to “cover the whole production chain, from mineral extraction to design, battery manufacturing and recycling.”
That means United could have easier access to additional capital for this and other projects in the area as they move ahead.
As the lithium battery markets are expected by some analysts to hit $1 trillion in the next 5 years, investment in lithium mining is flowing heavily, particularly in Europe.
That places United (CSE:ULTH; OTCMKTS:ULTHF) in an excellent spot as they move forward with a promising, potentially high-grade lithium exploration project in a prime location to deliver throughout the region.
Other companies set to ride the lithium boom:
Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE:LAC, TSX:LAC) is one of North America’s most important and successful pure-play lithium companies. With two world-class lithium projects in Argentina and Nevada, Lithium Americas is well-positioned to ride the wave of growing lithium demand in the years to come. It’s already raised nearly a billion dollars in equity and debt, showing that investors have a ton of interest in the company’s ambitious plans, and it will likely continue its promising growth and expansion for years to come.
It’s not ignoring the growing demand from investors for responsible and sustainable mining, either. In fact, one of its primary goals is to create a positive impact on society and the environment through its projects. This includes cleaner mining tech, strong workplace safety practices, a range of opportunities for employees, and strong relationships with local governments to ensure that not only are its employees being taken care of, but locals as well.
Lithium Americas’ efforts have paid off in the market, as well. While many companies across multiple industries struggled last year, Lithium Americas’ stock soared. In February last year, the company’s stock price was sitting at just $5.26, while today it is at $21.12, representing a 300% return for investors who bought in just a year ago.
Suncor (NYSE:SU, TSX:SU) is best known for its oil operations. In fact, it has pioneered a number of high-tech solutions for finding, pumping, storing, and delivering its resources. When the rebound in crude prices finally materializes, giants like Suncor are sure to do well out of it. While many of the oil majors have given up on oil sands production – those who focus on technological advancements in the area have a great long-term outlook. And that upside is further amplified by the fact that it is currently looking particularly under-valued compared to its peers.
Not only is it big in the oil sector, however, it is a leader in renewable energy. Recently, the company invested $300 million in a wind farm located in Alberta. Additionally, as Canada moves away from oil, Suncor is well positioned to take advantage of another one of the country’s resource reserves; Lithium. The best part? It doesn’t even have to move very far. Alberta’s oil sands also hold abundant amounts of lithium ripe for the picking.
Like much of the oil industry, Suncor had a rough 2020 due to crashing crude prices and lower demand for oil. Despite this, however, Suncor has been steadily recuperating some of its losses and has been on a roll in 2021. In just the past two months, the oil giant has seen its share price climb by 12% and still has plenty of upside.
Teck Resources Limited (NYSE:TECK, TSX:TECK.B) is one of Canada’s largest and most diversified resource companies, with operations across the globe. While its primary mining and mineral development plays focus on steelmaking coal, copper and zinc, Teck also has a major stake in renewable energy ventures.
Though Teck is not a lithium play, it will still play a massive role in the future of battery technology thanks to its massive copper and zinc resources, two materials that are invaluable in the batteries driving technology forward. It’s also a major investor in clean energy battery company ZincNyx.
In a release on Teck’s website, the company explains why this investment is so important: “Flow batteries – such as the zinc-air battery developed by ZincNyx, with its flexible and low-cost scaling, long-term storage properties and the ability to separate the energy storage function from the power generation source – could provide a more efficient alternative for large-scale energy storage.”
Teck Resources fell to just $7 per share in March of last year due to the market chaos sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this downturn, however, the company was able to rebound significantly, rising by nearly 180% to its current prices.
Westport Fuel Systems (NASDAQ:WPRT, TSX:WRPT) isn’t a lithium play, but it is an important company to watch in the global energy transition. Especially as the world races to leave behind traditional gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Because it is a manufacturing play at heart, it is a unique way to get in on the boom in the alternative fuel auto industry.
It helps build the tools needed for carmakers to incorporate less damaging fuels like natural gas. Though natural gas doesn’t get quite the attention as electric vehicles do, there are over 22.5 million natural gas vehicles on the road across the globe. And that market is expected to grow as the energy transition really takes off.
Westport Fuel has been making major moves in the market over the past year, and its efforts are finally coming to fruition. Since February 2020, the company has seen its stock price rise by 348%, and with more potential deals like the one it has just sealed with Amazon to provide natural gas-powered trucks to its fleet, the stock has even more room to run in the coming years.
Blackberry Limited (NYSE:BB, TSX:BB) is a company that is distinctly aware of how important lithium is to the future of technology. While it has pivoted away from its iconic cell phones of yesteryear, it is still very much involved in the industry. From it’s high-profile partnerships with the likes of Amazon and more, to its key posturing in the Internet of Things explosion, BlackBerry is a great stock that could be trading at a relative discount compared to some of its peers.
BlackBerry recently launched a new research and development arm called BlackBerry Advvanced Technology Labs. Charles Eagan, BlackBerry CTO. “Today’s cybersecurity industry is rapidly advancing and BlackBerry Labs will operate as its own business unit solely focused on innovating and developing the technologies of tomorrow that will be necessary for our sustained competitive success, from A to Z; Artificial Intelligence to Zero-Trust environments. We believe this highly experienced team will allow us to remain nimble, engaged and, above all else, proactive in our efforts to be the most trusted security software leader in the market.”
Though BlackBerry has seen some increased volatility in recent weeks due to its popularity among Redditors, the company has a lot of potential in the long term, and will likely remain as one of Canada’s premiere tech firms for years to come.
By. Olivia Keegan
**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
This article contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this article include that demand for lithium will increase in future as currently expected; United Lithium’s business and plans, including with respect to undertaking further acquisitions, completing the acquisition of Bergby, acquiring additional mineral claims nearby Bergby, complying with the terms of the Bergby acquisition and carrying out exploration activities in respect of its mineral projects; that most of the lithium is reachable close to surface; that they can reduce costs compared to many similar projects; and that they can raise $4M quickly. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include that the Company may not be able to finance its intended drilling programs, aspects or all of the property’s development may not be successful, their methods of mining of the lithium may not be cost effective; the risks that the acquisition does not complete as contemplated, or at all; that United Lithium does not complete any further acquisitions; that they do not acquire the additional mineral claims in the region of the Project prior to March 21, 2021; that United Lithium does not spend $1,000,000 on exploration work on the Project within 18 months from the Closing Date; the Company may not be able to carry out its business plans as expected; changing costs for mining and processing; permits may not be granted for the mining projects; increased capital costs; the timing and content of upcoming work programs; geological interpretations and technological results based on historical or even current data that may change with more detailed information or testing; potential mineral recoveries assumptions based on limited test work with further test work may not be viable; competitors may offer cheaper lithium; more production of lithium could reduce its price, or the price may drop for other reasons; alternatives could be found for lithium in battery technology; the availability of labour, equipment and markets for the products produced; and despite the current expected viability of its projects, that the minerals cannot be economically mined on its properties. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and the writer assumes no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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