The supply of lithium is rapidly increasing, with the number of lithium mines jumping from 22 to 60 in the past six years, and an expected 200 mines by the end of the decade. This growth in supply has led to a volatile market, with Mark Selby, CEO of Canada Nickel, noting that the difference between a high and low price is closely tied to the number of operations in the market. He mentioned that when the market had 32 operations but only needed 31, two of them went out of business, causing a price spike.
Selby emphasized that there is room for multiple battery chemistries in the market, and that investors should not view the market as having only one winner and everything else as a loser. He believes that the market will likely have a range of options based on performance, from entry-level to premium.
Despite the evolving technology, Selby expressed confidence that nickel substitution is not a major concern. He highlighted the high energy density of nickel and the constant effort to incorporate more nickel into batteries.
The conversation was moderated by Northern Miner Group President Anthony Vaccaro.