The quest for vertical lithium supply-chain self-sufficiency is truly on, as graphite powerhouse Magnis Resources (ASX: MNS) decided to pull the trigger in acquiring a 10% stake in Charge CCCV (C4V), a US-based, lithium-ion battery technology group.
The deal also includes an “exclusive 5-year agreement over selective patents”, which is expected to empower Magnis in making commercial headway in the lithium-ion battery sector.
According to the terms of the agreement, Magnis will acquire a 10% stake in C4V for a total of US$7.5 million, comprising an upfront consideration of US$2 million, US$2.5 million in fully paid ordinary shares in Magnis and a further US$3 million cash payment to be paid within the next 12 months. The deal includes Magnis providing with C4V just under 7 million shares, to be issued in 15 days’ time.
According to C4V, its technical expertise and know-how have helped the company to secure a string of patents that have the potential to serve up the next generation of both anode and cathode components in lithium-ion batteries and improve the technical specifications of current lithium-ion batteries in several important categories.
One of its major innovations is the cobalt-free battery – thereby making cobalt mining activities a potentially redundant afterthought.
C4V claims that its patented material can generate a much larger kilowatt output per dollar spent, at almost no increase in production costs. C4V said that its battery material provides for a “robust crystal stability allowing higher voltage operations”, combined with “superior corrosion resistance to side reactions thereby increasing battery life” resulting in a reduced cost of ownership.
The acquisition deal effectively secures Magnis with access to the latest technical developments in lithium-ion battery technology which are gradually being applied to all manufacturing practices in the sector.
Magnis said that by entrenching its existing relationship with C4V, the two companies can develop high-efficiency manufacturing practices providing “significant performance and cost advantages”.
According to Magnis, today’s agreement provides the company with a strong diversifier that widens its commercial scope and diversifies its activities towards a more balanced and future-proofed stance.
Detailing C4V technology
The latest update from C4V is that its Generation 1 battery compositions have been deemed commercially viable, featuring “cobalt and nickel-free cathode chemistry” that boasts higher voltage and longer cycle lifetime than currently available commercial materials.
C4V’s novel approach differs from most other battery-makers who have embraced cobalt to almost the same degree as lithium and graphite for the battery manufacturing process.
As a result of its alternative approach, C4V says its production methods are leading the field from a safety perspective.
Battery manufacturers and resources miners
In recent months, both resources miners and battery manufacturers have tried to branch across to one another to secure enviable positions in their respective industries.
The likes of Apple and Tesla are rumoured to be scouring the globe for ample amounts of high-grade lithium and cobalt to ensure long-term sustainability in their supply chains. The growing search for strong battery metal supplies has also attracted political hurdles, some of which are related to questionable mining practices.
By the same token, significant lithium producers such as Magnis and Glencore have also been rumoured to be in talks directly with electronics manufacturers including battery-makers such as Panasonic.
“We are delighted to become a significant shareholder in C4V. We have been working closely with C4V for three years and we are delighted to be officially part of the team. Their expertise in the lithium-ion battery sector is unparalleled and Magnis is now set to directly benefit from this,” said Frank Poullas, Chairman of Magnis.
“While cobalt prices are around US$95,000 per tonne, to have access to a battery technology which eliminates cobalt, will be extremely important for the industry and the Company’s involvement with our battery plants globally,” said Mr Poullas.