International interest in battery technology and minerals is another very strong positive for Australia with UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta revealing plans to build an even bigger lithium battery in South Australia than Elon Musk’s successful version.
The South Australian state government is set to provide a $10 million loan to assist Gupta in achieving this goal.
Gupta’s planned battery farm would have a capacity of up to 140 megawatt hours compared to the Musk battery’s 129 MWH and would store wind power from a planned wind farm near Adelaide.
While the battery technology and renewable energy has been a hot button political issue, the success of the Tesla battery in storing power when it is cheap and in surplus supply and then suppling it when prices go up has created a lot of interest in smarter grids.
At the same time in an exclusive interview with Small Caps, the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, Mr Bill Johnston, has said the supply of battery minerals including lithium has become a major plus for Western Australia.
That potential was brought into stark relief by the dramatic price rise for cobalt this week to more than US$87,000 a tonne as a large deal by Chinese company Gem with massive minerals trader Glencore threatened to soak up at least a third of the global supply of cobalt and potentially a lot more.
Cobalt is used to produce cathodes in lithium batteries and with China apparently nabbing enough for its needs, the price of cobalt and other battery minerals from here on will be fascinating to watch.
Companies mining and exploring cobalt are welcoming the continued price rise in the commodity.