When Chilean lithium producer SQM released its annual report earlier this year, the market sat up and took notice of battery minerals.

It said that it was forecasting 20 percent growth for the lithium market this year against 2018 levels — largely driven by demand from electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Global Market Insights has forecast annual lithium-ion battery market growth of 12 percent year on year to 2024 — coming off a base of $US24 billion ($A34.5 billion).

Now the numbers are flowing from a top-down and bottom-up perspective, the general understanding of battery minerals and opportunities for Australian producers are starting to be understood.

The ABC has reported on the potential for lithium producers to transform regional areas, much in the same way coal and iron ore has done so — but with a catch.

“Australia has a long history of just shipping out the raw concentrates and material and not taking advantage of value-adding,” the ABC quoted associate professor of engineering at RMIT, Gavin Mudd, as saying.

“I think it would be really great to see Australia break that historical trend.”

Companies such as Technology Metals Australia (ASX:TMT) are not only well-placed not only to dig the stuff out, but harness their first-mover advantage to create more value for the ecosystem.

Its Gabanintha vanadium project in WA is one example of the juniors stepping up in advance of the more established players.

A pre-feasibility study on the project delivered a maiden ore reserve of 16.7Mt @ 0.96 per cent vanadium oxide and a project post-tax net present value (NPV) of A$850M (US$589M) from an initial 13-year mine life.

That makes it one of the largest pure-play vanadium projects in the world with peak production set to reach 13,000 tonnes of V2O5.

Should TMT succeed, it could be good for the ecosystem as a whole with a world-leading battery minerals operation right here in Australia.

 

This content is produced by Star Investing in commercial partnership with Technology Metals Australia. This content does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.