Huge lithium discovery in US can reshape electric vehicle battery market: Samantha Cory

A potentially significant discovery of lithium has recently been made on the Nevada-Oregon border in the United States, sparking considerable interest from the automotive industry.

It is reported that 20 to 40 million metric tons of lithium has been found within the McDermitt Caldera, which has the potential to significantly reshape global lithium dynamics.

Lithium is a crucial component in the manufacture of batteries, used to power electric vehicles and various other environmentally friendly technologies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There are concerns around the future supply of lithium, and with the growing demand for the batteries, this has meant that prices are expected to rise in the long term.

Samantha Cory shares her expert insight. Picture: Simon DewhurstSamantha Cory shares her expert insight. Picture: Simon Dewhurst
Samantha Cory shares her expert insight. Picture: Simon Dewhurst

Though, if the discovery is confirmed, it could have profound economic implications, easing concerns about longer-term supply constraints and increasing the likelihood of price stability.

As well as this, the development could enable companies to increase their electric vehicle (EV) sales.

However, this discovery has also heightened political tensions, notably with China, a prominent force in the EV battery market.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Currently, China has a stronghold on the industry, as it is the major global producer of batteries, allowing it to control prices and demand. This find is likely to further intensify competition and geopolitical dynamics in the lithium sector as China will no longer have the same amount of control.

BMW has announced a substantial investment of £600m to support the production of two new electric models at its Cowley manufacturing plant from 2026.

These models include the 3-door Mini Cooper and the Mini Aceman. This strategic decision marks a significant development for the Cowley plant, which had previously faced uncertainty.

The manufacturer has previously indicated it planned to stop producing electric vehicles at the plant and focus on petrol vehicles until 2030.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This latest development carries profound implications for the UK’s automotive industry, signifying a pivotal shift towards more sustainable manufacturing practices, and moving away from conventional petrol car production.

This strategic shift is indicative of a broader commitment towards environmental responsibility and aligns with evolving industry trends to be carbon neutral by 2030.

In 2022, the government announced a UK electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, with £1bn being allocated to ventures in battery technology.

Moreover, this commitment to sustaining production at the Cowley facility is poised to protect the jobs of 4,500 employees at the plant.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Since it was established, the Cowley plant has played a pivotal role in offering job opportunities, supporting the local economy and ‘being the heart of the brand,’ Stefanie Wurst, Head of Mini said.

In Yorkshire, Jet2, the Leeds-based low-cost airline and package holiday provider, has unveiled a positive profit outlook for its annual earnings.

Consequently, Jet2 shares experienced an 8.7 per cent surge, further bolstering the airline’s prospects for expansion. This upturn follows recent challenges faced by the company, such as the disruption caused by the Rhodes wildfires, which led to flight cancellations and also later technical glitches in air traffic control systems, that incurred a total cost of £13m.

Pre-tax profit levels are projected to exceed analysts’ estimates by between 3.11 per cent to 11.71 per cent, due to a ‘strong late booking trend’ observed during the months of July and August, marked by a 5 per cent increase in passengers opting for higher-margin holiday packages.

Samantha Cory is part of the Investment Research team at Redmayne Bentley

Related topics: