Mining for Batteries

Simbol MaterialsMay 18, 2010, – To drive the electric-car revolution, manufacturers are going to need a lot more lithium. And a startup wants to be a cheaper and more eco-friendly supplier.

Lithium is used in the production of lithium ion batteries—the kind used in cell phones and cameras, but also in the all-electric Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, and other fully electric cars.

Annual demand for lithium worldwide is about 22,000 tons, but electric-car batteries will increase demand by a third annually, starting this year, according to Cormark Securities Inc., which tracks the lithium market. Little is produced in the United States.

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