INDUSTRY FOCUS

The fire may be out of battery metals investment (briefly), but electric vehicle markets are just beginning to heat up.

Volkswagen (VW), the biggest legacy carmaker in the world, has indicated that series production of its beachhead EV model – the affordable ID.3 – will start in November.

It’s an important moment for the EV build out.

With the ID.3, VW says it will be launching “the largest electric offensive in the automotive industry worldwide”, which includes 70 EV models in the next decade. That’s a lot of batteries.

And according to the New York Times, VW has implied that economies of scale will push the cost of batteries in the ID.3 below $100 per kilowatt hour – the point at which EVs become more affordable than internal combustion models.

Which means the ID.3 will be a cheap, mass produced EV for the layman – a required ingredient to light a rocket under widespread adoption.

It all begins tomorrow, when the ID.3 (along with a refreshed VW logo) is unveiled at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

As Twitter philosophers have pointed out — investment which flocked to the battery metal thematic in 2016/2017(ish) has now left before the warmup, let alone the main event.

SMALL CAP SPOTLIGHT

A better week for our basket of battery metals stocks — 63 winners, 36 no change, and just 46 losers.

Galan Lithium (ASX:GLN) +31%

Early success at the Candelas lithium brine project in Argentina lit a fire under the Galan share price – before it promptly fell off a cliff, like every other advanced explorer in the space.

But September has been good to Galan, so far. A maiden drill hole at the Pata Pila project, adjacent to Livents Corporation’s (NYSE:LVHM) tenure, has performed “beyond expectations”.

Galan was targeting an anomaly which was believed to represent the extension of Livent’s brine producing aquifer.

But this drillhole is currently at a depth of 647m and has intercepted three major brine horizons — all containing heavy brines.

“The discovery of heavy brines not only in the Livent production aquifer but also from two new previously unknown aquifers at Pata Pila is beyond our expectations,” Galan managing director Juan Pablo Vargas de la Vega says.

“We are very excited by the potential of Pata Pila to host a significant lithium brine resource, and are confident that Galan has the potential to increase its lithium resource inventory beyond the maiden Candelas resource estimate due this month.”

Australian Vanadium (ASX:AVL) +27%

Advanced vanadium play Australian Vanadium announced a couple of potentially big wins this week.

Last week, its project was given Major Project Status by the federal government, which basically means a streamlined and accelerated approvals process.

Australian Vanadium was also testing whether it could upgrade a waste stream product into high-grade iron ore, which could mean significant bonus revenue over the life of the project.

The testwork was successful, improving iron grades from 54 per cent up to an average of 66 per cent, the company says.

As a result of this successful testing, work is now underway to physically separate titanium, “to further upgrade the material and improve its value”.

“With the amount of iron and titanium rich calcine that’s forecast to be generated by The Australian Vanadium project process, there is a big opportunity to unlock the value of this material,” chief operating officer Todd Richardson says.

Also up on no news were US based lithium explorers Hawkstone Mining (ASX:HWK) +23% and Anson Resources (ASX:ASN) +19%.

www.ferroalloynet.com