Monday, June 29, 2009

Gold theft (literally) & More push for Lithium-Electric-Cars - TNR.v

At the Royal Canadian Mint, the big question remains unanswered: What the heck happened to our gold? After a thorough independent investigation, it still has no concrete answers and says a theft is possible.

For the past few months, the Mint has tried to get to the bottom of an unprecedented scandal in which some gold it was supposed to have in its inventory for the 2008 fiscal year has seemingly disappeared. Monday, it revealed that $15.3-million of precious metals is unaccounted for at its Ottawa facility.

Christine Aquino, director of communications for the Mint, said it is looking into “all” possibilities at this time, including the chance that someone pulled off an Ocean’s 11-esque heist from a facility that ranks as one of the most secure in the country. It has even asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to do its own investigation.

“We’re not going to discount anything,” she said.

The one thing the Mint is confident of is that the problem is not accounting. Monday, it released a 54-page independent report by Deloitte & Touche LLP that determined there were no counting mistakes that could explain the $15.3-million discrepancy in inventory. Deloitte went to great lengths to make sure no accounting errors were made ­— it even checked out the precious metals content in the Mint’s chlorination slag (a byproduct of the refining process).

Deloitte said that 17,500 troy ounces of gold, or 0.32% of the Mint’s stock, is unaccounted for. At today’s spot gold price of US$940.70 an ounce, that is worth nearly $16.5-million (the Mint’s $15.3-million figure reflects prices at the end of last year).

Even thieves now know not to rob banks - gold and commodities is the real currency that stands its ground against massive dilution from US government bail outs!

On a more serious note - EPA is proposing tougher air care rules - meaning more support for Electric Vehicles and light emission vehicles (LEV) like most hybrids.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration on Monday proposed to strengthen a key air pollution health standard to better protect children and people with respiratory illnesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it wants to tighten the air quality requirement for nitrogen dioxide that is released from motor vehicles, coal burning power plants and factories.

The pollutant is among those the EPA is required to examine periodically to determine that concentrations are at a level to ensure healthy air. Nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory problems and is of special danger to children and people suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

The federal air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide, as it applies to health, has not been changed in 35 years.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement the proposal to tighten the requirement reflects the latest scientific findings on what is needed to protect people's health.

"We're updating these standards to build on the latest scientific data and meet changing health protection needs," Jackson said. She said the proposal, if adopted, would "fill gaps in the current standard and provide important additional protections where they are needed most."

The EPA especially wants to assure that the federal requirement addresses health concerns from short term exposure of an hour or less. The proposal would maintain the current long-term concentration requirements, monitored over a year, but establish a new standard based on one-hour monitoring.

While the annual standard of a maximum 53 parts per million nitrogen dioxide concentration in the air would remain the same, the EPA wants to limit short-term concentrations -- based on hour-long monitoring -- to between 80 ppm and 100 ppm to provide added protection from short-term exposure.

"Current scientific evidence links short-term exposure, ranging from 23 minutes to 24 hours, with increased respiratory effects, especially in persons with asthma," the EPA statement said. These exposures, it said, often occur close to heavily traveled roadways and lead to increased visits to emergency rooms, hospital admissions and respiratory illnesses, particularly in children, the elderly and asthmatics.

The EPA set its first air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide in 1971, establishing both a standard to protect health and a secondary standard to protect public welfare. All parts of the country are well below the annual standard, but the short-term requirements need to be addressed, the agency said.

Under the ambient air quality rules, which cover a number of pollutants, the agency cannot take into account economic cost in establishing a federal standard, which is used to determine whether the air in a certain designated area is to be considered healthy. If an area has unhealthy air it risks the loss of federal highway funds and possibly other sanctions.

The EPA said it will accept public comment over the next 60 days on its nitrogen dioxide proposal and also plans to hold several hearings. It said it anticipates a final rule to be issued by January.

On a daily basis there is now some sort of environmental push for more efficiencies in cars. Even lagging car manufacturers are scrambling to switch gears to hybrid / EV samples like Chevy Voltz - lithium's future is bright.

Casey recommended Western Lithium at $0.19 and it hit a high of $0.75

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lithium Power! Hybrids Selling well, Rare Metals Demand strong, China seeking commodities! TNR.v,, VMS.v, CZX.v, IPT.v,!

It's a matter of time - hybrids are approaching the critical mass of recognition that they're so good - it even top sales in Japan where congestion, pollution, and small cars already dominate the road.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp's Prius hybrid was Japan's best-selling car in May, a dealers' group said on Thursday, attesting to robust demand for low-emission cars helped by government incentives amid flagging auto sales.

Competition is also heating up between automakers as the Prius, of which a new model hit the market last month, grabbed the top slot for the first time after Honda Motor Co's new Insight became the first hybrid to head the best-seller list in Japan in April.

"I think a green car tax break and other incentives helped the sales performance (of the Prius) quite a bit," Akihiko Otsuka, chief engineer for the new Prius, told reporters in Toyota City, home to the automaker.

The third-generation model Prius, which went on sale on May 18, was priced about $3,000 less than the previous version and there were more than 80,000 advance orders for it.

Toyota said on its web site that factory shipment would be mid-November or later for orders made after May 31.

"The Popularity of hybrid cars will undoubtedly continue as their prices have come down to affordable levels and will be more so in coming models," said Kazutaka Oshima, CEO of Rakuten Investment Management. "In addition, oil prices have been rising again lately," he said.

A ranking of Japan's top 30 excluding 660cc minivehicles by the Japan Automobile Dealers Association showed the Prius selling 10,915 cars in May, followed by Honda's Fit compact with sales of 8,859 cars. The Insight was in third place with 8,183 cars.

Gas-sipping hybrid cars have become a rare bright spot in an industry hit hard by recession, and Toyota and Honda are locked in a fierce battle in the category.

But some analysts have pointed to a growing challenge for Toyota to strike a balance with sales of gasoline cars, which have higher profit margins.

(Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim in Toyota City; Editing by Michael Watson)

In other news - China is seeking in a dramatic way to replace their rapidly-devaluing US dollars with something tangible. Anyone with a sane, rational, thinking mind would do the same.

BEIJING -- China should buy more gold because the dollar is poised for a fall and the metal is needed to support the greater international role envisaged for the yuan, a senior researcher with the ruling Communist Party said on Thursday.

Li Lianzhong, who heads the economic department of the Party's policy research office, also said China should use more of its US$1.95-trillion in foreign exchange reserves to buy energy and natural resource assets.

Speaking at a foreign exchange and gold forum, Li also said that buying land in the United States was a better option for China than buying U.S. Treasury securities.

"Should we buy gold or U.S. Treasuries?" Li asked. "The U.S. is printing dollars on a massive scale, and in view of that trend, according to the laws of economics, there is no doubt that the dollar will fall. So gold should be a better choice."

There is no suggestion that Li, even though he is a senior researcher, was enunciating an agreed party line.

However, a debate is swirling in China about how the country can reduce its exposure to the dollar and to U.S. assets in case America's ultra-loose fiscal and monetary policy rekindles inflation and erodes the value of the dollar and U.S. Treasuries.

To that end, China has said it will buy up to US$50-billion worth of bonds denominated in Special Drawing Rights, the International Monetary Fund's unit of account, to be issued by the IMF.

Chinese companies, at Beijing's bidding, are also snapping up energy and commodity supplies around the globe to fuel its fast-growing growing economy.

Sinopec, China's largest oil refiner, agreed on Wednesday to buy Swiss oil explorer Addax Petroleum Corp for US$7.24-billion in China's biggest overseas acquisition.

China disclosed on April 24 that it had increased its holdings of gold to 1,054 tonnes from 600 tonnes since 2003.

However, China's foreign exchange reserves have grown so fast over the same period that gold's share of the stockpile, the largest in the world, has shrunk.

Li cited the high share of gold in the foreign exchange reserves of the United States, Italy, Germany and France, to argue that China's gold holdings, which account for about 1.6% of its reserves, are too small.

China does not disclose the composition of its currency reserves, but bankers assume around 70% of it is held in dollar assets.

China is the largest single holder of U.S. Treasuries, with US$763.5-billion at the end of April, according to U.S. Treasury data.

Analysts say this data set understates the true number as it does not capture paper bought through dealers in London or elsewhere.

Li said a second reason for buying more gold would be in anticipation of the yuan one day becoming a reserve currency.

The yuan is not convertible on the capital account, meaning it cannot be freely traded for other currencies for financial transactions that are not related to trade.

This rules out the yuan's use as an international reserve currency, for central banks would not be able to convert it quickly if necessary.

But, in a very preliminary step towards that goal, China is paving the way for greater use of the yuan beyond its borders.

The People's Bank of China has arranged currency swap deals with six countries since December totalling 650-billion yuan (US$95-billion) so that trade and investment with China can be conducted in yuan, not dollars.

And China will soon allow selected firms in the southern province of Guangdong that trade with Hong Kong to settle their transactions in yuan, or renminbi.

"If the yuan should go international or become a reserve currency, China needs more gold to back that," Li said.

When the yuan does become an international currency, which Li acknowledged was a long way off, he said the composition of the SDR should be reformed to include the Chinese currency.

Ideally, in the long term, the SDR would be made up of the dollar, euro, sterling and yen and yuan, each with a weighting of 20%, Li said.

The SDR is currently made up of the dollar (with a weighting of 44%), the euro (34%), the yen (11%) and sterling (11%)

The four currencies in the SDR, which must be convertible, are those issued by Fund members with the largest share of global trade. The weights assigned by the IMF are based on the value of exports and the amount of reserves denominated in those currencies.

The composition of the basket is reviewed every five years. the next review is due in 2010.

How do you think the best way to get out of a position trading it back to the same country through purchase of commodities and mines!!

Resources-focused private equity firms are raising billions of dollars and, in terms of dealmaking, will be far more nimble than China's massive state conglomerates, said two sources familiar with the matter.

The funds will also be able to cut smaller deals under the radar and avoid the type of scrutiny that has slowed Chinalco's $19.5 billion tie-up with Rio Tinto (RIO.L)(RIO.AX).

A group of around 300 mine entrepreneurs recently raised 500 million yuan ($73.25 million) for the China Mining United Fund, its chairman Zheng Zhi told Reuters, and the fund aims to raise up to 10 billion yuan to target Western Europe, Africa and Australia for resources such as gold, copper and iron ore.

It is already investigating about 30 projects, Zheng said.

Despite the fund's small size compared to state-owned giants such as Chinalco, Minmetals, and Hunan Valin Iron & Steel, its cozy relationship with Beijing and alignment with official economic policy, is clear.

"We private entrepreneurs think it's important to secure valuable overseas resources, partly for the sake of our country," Zheng said. "We're getting a lot of support from the government for overseas asset acquisitions."


China's hunger for overseas resources shows little sign of fatigue, and is not dampened by the political sensitivities of big deals such as the Chinalco-Rio tie-up, or Minmetals' $850 million deal with OZ Minerals (OZL.AX) regional dealmakers say.

Expect to see alot more buyouts like Lynas and government doing anything they can to try and stop the flow of buyouts and getting their own funds back into the country...

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Currency is Metals

Metals are the new currency - it's something tangible amidst all the chaos of the market. Unemployment is heading to double digits in the US (Whitehouse)

Article below by another newsletter writer encourages this concept further drawing a popular theory of late - China is quietly acquiring assets with US$ dollar - smart way to exchange your currency supply for something tangible, no?


Let’s talk about China.

China is the US’s largest creditor. All told, the People’s Republic has $700+ billion in US Treasuries. However, if you account for other dollar denominated investments, China is believed to have 70% of its $1.7 trillion in foreign reserves sitting in green backs.

That’s an unbelievable amount of money invested in the US dollar. Needless to say, the Chinese are not too happy about our Central Bank’s decision to print TRILLIONS of dollars propping up the US financial system.

Indeed, the initial rumblings of what will eventually turn into outright conflict (either economic or war) have already begun. China’s Premier Wen Jiabao recently commented, "We have lent a huge amount of money to the US…Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried."

Other, former Chinese officials have been less polite in their public statements. Yu Yongding, a former Chinese central bank adviser, recently referred to the US Federal Reserve “as the world’s biggest junk investor… ridden with rubbish assets,” and to Chairman Ben Bernanke as “helicopter Ben.”

The situation has gotten intense enough that Secretary of the State Hillary Clinton flew to Asia to plead with China and other US creditor nations to continue buying US Treasuries. “By continuing to support American Treasury instruments the Chinese are recognizing our interconnection. We are truly going to rise or fall together," Clinton said at the US embassy there.

In simple terms, China owns a TON of dollar denominated assets. And the Fed is doing everything it can to devalue the dollar. Thus China has a few options:

1) Openly sell the dollar, thereby destroying the value of its reserves and inviting open war with the US.

2) Quietly shift away from the dollar without openly attracting attention or threatening the US publicly.

The Chinese government, particularly its Premier, has been floating option #1 in the media, discussing the potential for dropping the dollar standard along with Russia and Brazil.

However, this boils down to nothing more than grandstanding. The Chinese are not idiots. And they know that dropping the dollar standard would destroy a HUGE portion of their foreign reserves, since everyone and their mother would follow suit.

Indeed, abandoning the dollar for another currency (say the yen or euro) would serve no benefit from an economic standpoint. It would crush China’s Treasury denominated reserves as the dollar plunged. It would also be akin to trading one problematic investment for another: no major world currency is backed by gold or any asset of real value.

No, to my way of thinking, the Chinese are merely posturing with these statements, trying to draw attention away from the fact that they’re already begun pursuing option #2 (diversifying away from the dollar in private). Indeed, China has already begun moving into a new currency, one that is neither fiat nor flawed. And they did it in their usual manner: under the radar with great focus and determination.

That new currency is natural resources.

Throughout 2009, China has been buying up natural resources, commodities, and other real assets at a break-taking pace: copper imports hit a record 329,000 tons in February, only to be eclipsed by a new record of 375,000 tons in March.

The copper story is just the latest and most obvious display of China’s new currency binge. The Chinese have been buying up mines, metal ore (57 million tons of iron in April alone), and other resources for years now. The headlines were right under the world’s collective nose, but no one was thinking “diversification away from the dollar.” Instead they were thinking, “purchases needed to fuel economic growth.”

Truly, it wasn’t until the world noticed that China was still buying commodities in record amounts even after its economy took a hit that the media began to connect the dots.

Here are a few dots to consider…

Feb.10, 2009: China buys Oz Minerals, the world’s second largest zinc miner for $1.7 billion

Feb. 12, 2009: China buys $20 billion worth of Rio Tinto, one of the three largest iron ore producers, giving it the potential to raise its stake to 19%.

Feb. 24. 2009: China buys 16% of Fortescue Metals an Australian iron ore company.

April 1, 2009: China buys $46 million worth of Terramin Australia’s lead and zinc supplies in Algeria.

April 15, 2009: China buy 51% of Ontario’s Liberty Mines: a nickel producer.

One should also consider that these are merely the transactions that are publicly displayed. The Chinese government has proved adept at buying assets below the radar via foreign holding companies and other complicated business structures. Informal accounts posit that China has in fact scooped up even more natural resources and mines via these methods today.

Indeed, the Financial Post recently reported that China has been secretly buying up gold, raising its gold reserves by three-quarters since 2003. The newspaper also reported: “Hou Huimin, vice general secretary of the China Gold Association, said China should build its reserves to 5,000 tons.” That’s more than four times what China’s current reserves f 1,024 tonnes.

The reasoning here is simple. Unlike paper currencies, natural resources and commodities cannot be reproduced ad infinitum by central banks. Thus they are inflation proof. In addition, natural resources actually offer a direct benefit to China’s economy whereas an investment in a foreign currency (the dollar or otherwise) is merely a means of parking cash for a return.

Finally, and most notably, natural resources allow the Chinese to diversify away from the dollar without damaging their current dollar holdings: or their relationship with the US: if word got out that the Chinese were dumping Treasuries, the Treasury market would implode, destroying the value of China’s current investment.

Make no mistake, the Chinese have already begun diversifying away from the dollar. They just haven’t advertised the fact openly. Chinese students openly laughed at our Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner when he gave a talk there promising that “Chinese assets were safe” in the dollar. If Chinese STUDENTS can figure the Fed’s moves out, what do you think the Chinese GOVERNMENT is doing?

I think we both know the answer to that.

Best Regards,

Graham Summers

GoldCorp Founder McEwan - takes over Minera Andes -

Big news - Robert McEwan (founder of Goldcorp fame) has stepped up as the new CEO of junior miner - Minera Andes.

Why do we care? Because for someone of his past records to commit fully to an area like Argentina is a very good thing. In his AGM held in Vancouver for Minera Andes - he even confirms the potential that Argentina is basically the next Nevada.

See Minera Ande's AGM video for free on Youtube, prefaced by Mr. Goldcorp himself about debasing of US Dollars and inflation going out of control - a very convincing argument with anecdotes about the Zimbabwe trillion-dollar bill.

Part one:

Part two:

Part three:

In case you are not aware of Nevada's history of gold, here's a synopsis:

Gold mining in Nevada, a state of the United States, is a major industry, and one of the largest sources of gold in the world. Nevada currently produces 82% of all the gold mined in the United States.[1] Almost all the gold in Nevada comes from large open pit mining and cyanide heap leaching recovery. A number of major mining companies, such as Newmont Mining, operate gold mines in the state. Active gold mines include those at Jerritt canyon.

Although Nevada was known much more for silver in the 1800s, many of the early silver-mining districts also produced considerable quantities of gold. The Comstock Lode, for instance, produced 8.6 million troy ounces (267 tonnes) of gold through 1959, and the Eureka district produced 1.2 million troy ounces (37.3 tonnes).

Two flagship properties Minera Andes is touting now:

1) San Jose - producing mine with difficult partner Hochschild - described once again as "partners from hell" and last choice partners by the experienced mining CEO.

2) Los Azules - sound familiar?

Minera Andes hold 49% and mining giant Xstrata Copper holds 51% Back-in option provided they pay 3X of MAI's expenditure so far. It looks like they will do it - paying $39 million for nearly $700 million asset value (11 billion lbs of copper) seems like a surefire way to make money!

What's never mentioned is the legal disclosure : tiny mining junior TNR holds a significant stake to Los Azules's future. Read Minera Ande's PR Statement at their news releases!

Certain of the MIM properties are subject to an underlying option agreement, which is the subject of a dispute between Xstrata Copper, as option holder, and Solitario Argentina S.A., as the grantor of that option and the holder of a back-in right of up to 25 per cent, exercisable upon the satisfaction of certain conditions, within 36 months after the exercise of the option by Xstrata Copper. The dispute surrounds the validity of a 36-month restriction on a back-in right held by Solitario.

The back-in right is huge and will send the TSX microcap onto the radar screens of many once if its confirmed.

Not to mention the new International Lithium & Rare Earth Metals spinoff. The value is greater than ever!! With so many bullets in the barrel TNR looks to be a solid investment choice whether you're long on base metal, precious metals, or REE and new technology (green!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The New Lithium Rush is on! TNR.v

International Lithium Corp / TNR hit a high of $0.28 last week, retreating back to $.23 range last week, thanks in no small part to flurry of media coverage ranging from Canadian paper "Vancouver Sun" and even taking part in the cover article by well respected trade magazine Resource World 2009.

Are you going to get in before the International Lithium (ILC) shares are spun off and given to current shareholders?? At current trading prices it wouldn't be entirely out of the question to IPO at $0.40+

For those who still doubt lithium is here to stay - innovations from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the pioneer institutions of the free world is surely a sign of things to come...

Engineers at MIT have made a breakthrough that could translate into smaller, lighter, and faster-charging lithium ion batteries, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Wednesday.

Gerbrand Ceder, the Richard P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT; aided by Byoungwoo Kang, a graduate student in materials science and engineering, have made a small battery that can be fully charged or discharged in 10 to 20 seconds.

A detailed explanation on how they did this has been published in the March 12 issue of Nature, but here is a brief recap of what they essentially accomplished.

While lithium ion batteries have high energy densities, they are also known for their inability to gain and discharge energy quickly. That is why it commonly takes hours to recharge the battery on a plug-in electric vehicle.

Electric vehicle proponents have been struggling with this battery issue, some coming up with clever ways around it. Better Place, for example, came up with the idea of drivers saving time by swapping-out discharged car batteries for fully charged ones at electric vehicle stations.

Ceder and Kang experimented with the way lithium ions move in and around lithium iron phosphate, a material commonly used in lithium ion batteries. They worked with it to develop a new surface structure that gets ions to move more quickly from one place to another. They compare their project to building a beltway that goes around a city to avoid traffic, but has tunnels that let you drop in to exactly where you need to be.

"The ability to charge and discharge batteries in a matter of seconds rather than hours may open up new technological applications and induce lifestyle changes," according to Ceder and Kang's paper in Nature.

In addition to being significantly faster, batteries made with their material degraded much less than usual lithium ion batteries after repeated discharges and recharges during testing. Because of that, they believe their batteries could be made with less material making them lighter and smaller.

Because their invention is not a completely new material, but rather a change to the way it's structured, the researchers said in a statement that their material could be implemented into commercial batteries within 2 to 3 years.

What's more - even top Engineering schools in Canada - Waterloo is targetting lithium batteries as the next big breakthrough...

Everyone wants a better battery. From handheld gadgets to the green energy of the future, many technologies hinge on finding a reusable, cheap, long-lasting power storage device.

Thanks to researchers at UW lead by Prof. Linda Nazar, new potential has been found in a chemical reaction that has been studied for 20 years, bringing an exciting development to the quest for the next generation of battery.
Lithium-sulphur batteries have long been known to have very high potential energy storage capacities for their weight in theory, much higher than currently-used lithium-ion batteries. Unfortunately, actually exploiting the reactions between lithium ions and sulphur is challenging for many reasons. For one, sulphur does not conduct electricity, so attempting to use it directly as the positive electrode means that not much charge will flow. Another problem is that chemicals called polysulphides, produced in the middle of the reaction, can escape the positive electrode and become attached to the negative one. This leads to a reduction in battery life since these molecules do not contribute to energy storage in subsequent recharging.

Prof. Nazar and her group have published the results of a proof-of-principle solution to both of these problems in a paper this month in Nature Materials. Their work considers a new architecture for the positive electrode, distributing the sulphur in a very thin layer over an array of carbon tubes separated by carbon nanofibres. The carbon conducts electricity and can impart the charge to the sulphur molecules that are in close contact with it. This allows the sulphur to react with the lithium ions in the electrolyte, the liquid that moves between the electrodes, overcoming the first challenge.

The second difficulty is partially solved by the spongy nature of the carbon-sulphur electrode. It helps prevent the polysulphide molecules that become dissolved in the electrolyte from escaping and shortening battery life. However, the researchers went a step further and added chains of molecules to the electrode structure that are very polar and tend to trap polysulphides. Prof. Nazar compares this to keeping a party alive by “bringing out another tray of appetizers” when it looks like the guests might be leaving.

Together, these improvements showed a five fold increase in the available energy storage by weight over conventional lithium-ion batteries and a loss of less than 20 per cent of the energy capacity over thirty charging cycles. Prof. Nazar thinks that achieving 100 cycles without significant capacity loss using a positive electrode system similar to theirs would be possible.
These batteries may ultimately be of use in large-scale energy storage systems. Toyota provided funding for Prof. Nazar’s project, hoping for technology that could be used in electric cars, where current lithium-ion cells are not ideal because of their limited capacity and cost. In addition, technology based on lithium-sulfur cells could be used to store energy from renewable sources, like wind or the sun, during peak production times for later use by consumers.

An important issue to consider with any industrial application is the cost of production. Prof. Nazar says that for her group’s technology, the raw materials are fairly inexpensive. Sulpher is “as cheap as you can get,” and current lithium prices are reasonably low. However, with more and more automakers racing to find technologies suitable for electric vehicle power, the demand for lithium is slowly rising. As soon as these automobiles go into mass production, lithium demand will go through the roof. Depending on how the situation progresses, we may find that lithium-sulphur batteries become more expensive to produce than we would estimate today.

On the upside, the lithium-sulphur batteries that Prof. Nazar is developing could be recyclable and the byproducts are environmentally friendly. First of all, lithium and sulphur are two very common elements found in natural environments: lithium being a component in salt brine deposits, and sulphur being mined from the earth. Also, it is possible to retrieve the lithium from spent batteries to reuse in new batteries. In this way, natural lithium resources need not be depleted to a great extent with continued production of the batteries.

When asked what first inspired her to conduct research in this exciting field of materials and electrochemistry, Prof. Nazar explained that she began her Bachelor of Science at UBC planning on either majoring in biology or physics, “but definitely not chemistry.” During her first year, however, she fell in love with chemistry, thanks to a compelling first year professor, and decided to pursue the subject further. She completed her PhD and was employed by a corporate research company, where she worked with materials related to the first lithium battery ever made. Later, she came to work at UW and has been conducting research on lithium battery technologies since 1994.

Prof. Nazar says that she would be interested in hiring students for co-op placements to add to her group, now consisting of four postgraduates, seven graduates, and four undergraduates. For the team, the next step is “making it better,” but she is also looking at other lithium battery concepts. Prof. Nazar says that, provided they are not superceded by a better technology, lithium-sulphur batteries “could be viable in the next five to ten years,” maintaining UW’s place as a leader of green innovation.
Everyone wants a better battery - isn't it funny that of all the technology that mankind has developed - energy storage has not seen significant improvement while we search and hunt for more energy options?!!


Note of caution - Here at M101 we are beginning to see more junior companies trying to acquire rare earth and lithium deals in hoping to get a reasonable share appreciation so they can do financing afterwards...buyer beware!!

Lomiko buys nine lithium claims in Chilean salt lake

2009-06-15 12:52 ET - News Release

Mr. A. Paul Gill reports


Lomiko Metals Inc. has purchased 50 per cent of nine pedimentos (claims) making up 1,900 hectares of the Chilean salar (salt lake) known as Salar de Aguas Calientes. The board of directors approved the purchase based on the following criteria:

  • The claims are in an excellent location adjacent to main sealed highway;
  • The salar has significant surface brines known to contain lithium;
  • The claims purchased surround a mining concession held by Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA (NYSE: SQM) at Salar de Aguas Calientes;
  • Lithium producers will be searching for new sources of lithium to meet or increase production requirements to meet current and anticipated market demand;
  • The claims are within 70 kilometres of the SQM production facility located at Salar de Atacama;
  • Research indicates the amount of high-quality lithium reserves required for batteries is limited by environmental factors;
  • The current market for lithium ion batteries is anticipated to grow 25 per cent per year;
  • The lithium triangle located at the borders of Chile, Argentina and Bolivia contains 70 per cent of the world's economic lithium deposits
  • Forbes Magazine referred to the region as the "Saudi Arabia of lithium."

Lomiko paid $30,000 to acquire 50 per cent of the claims and is currently negotiating with the other 50-per-cent owner to complete 100-per-cent ownership on this property.