TRU Group Inc, Toronto ON, Tucson USA - Lithium consultants TRU Group Inc says that its updated lithium outlook for presentation Tuesday at the IM Lithium Supply & Markets Conference Santiago 2009 will conclude that the industry is not immune from the global recession and will be pushed into oversupply this year through 2013. Global use of lithium will decline sharply by at least 6% in 2009 and demand is unlikely to bounce back any time soon as consumers put off buying laptops or cell phones containing lithium batteries. This is bad news for an industry accustomed to strong sustained growth over many years.
TRU president Edward Anderson commented that “an outlook presentation of this type is very unusual for us because all of our work is client confidential. However, Mitsubishi Corporation who commissioned the original analysis has authorized TRU to release some of the material”. The techno-economic analysis and supply-demand forecast is a major in-depth assignment conducted by the TRU Lithium Team made up of the world’s top technical experts on lithium production and extraction on the supply side, as well as our highly specialized industry analysts on the demand side. Impacts of recent advances in lithium extraction technology (for example, in selective ion adsorption, electrodialysis, and nanofiltration) are considered.
It is likely now that some expansions and new projects will be delayed or cancelled until market conditions improve. The long range however remains bright because new and large uses for lithium will start having a major impact on demand within the five year horizon: Lithium use in electric vehicle batteries and lithium alloys for aircraft. TRU forecasts that demand will be strong and sustained in these two segments over the long term 2020. The industry does need at least one of the announced pipeline production projects to come into production and also could do with another new project as the market tightens around 2015-2017. New lithium producers still will need to be cost competitive with existing salt lake brine based producers in South America and China. Emerging technology may make some of the undeveloped medium sized (brine) lithium resources quite attractive. Certainly the industry through expansion and development of new resources will have no problem meeting demand.
TRU Group Inc based in Toronto, Canada and Tucson, USA are industrial management and engineering consultants with a strong capability in lithium project development. The firm is a world leader in resource evaluation, salar exploitation, brine & mineral lithium extraction and processing technologies - those in use, prospective, and leading edge. TRU has evaluated and modeled most of the known existing lithium properties and advised a number of players on a wide variety of lithium resource, engineering, process, business and investment issues. The TRU website is trugroup.com and the presentation will be posted on the site after the conference on January 27, 2009 at the link www.trugroup.com/Lithium-Market-Conference.html