Production of lithium-ion batteries is increasing exponentially and will drive long-term demand for materials such as lithium, cobalt, graphite and nickel, investors were told at a BenchMark Mineral Intelligence conference in Perth on Monday

“In 2015, we declared that the battery mega factories were coming,” said Benchmark managing director Mr Simon Moores.

“In August 2018 there were 42 mega factories built or being built – up from three in 2015.

“In September that number had already increased to 45. This shows where the investment is going.”

By 2028 these mega battery factories — such as the gigafactories being built by Elon Musk’s Tesla — would need 840,000 tonnes per year of lithium, 193,000 tonnes per year of cobalt, 1.1 million tonnes per year of graphite anode, and 480,000 tonnes of nickel chemical, Mr Moores said.

Some 95 per cent of the Electric Vehicle (EV) market and 50 per cent of the battery storage market would be lithium-ion by 2028, he  said.

“The money is going into the mega factories, and it’s going into expanding the lithium industry by four or five times.

“If I am a car company, I want technology that is good enough and cheap enough that I can make EVs on a massive scale. At the moment, that is lithium ion.”

Despite this projected growthm there remained a “disconnect” between the stockmarket and “real lithium producers”.

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