MetalsTech was formed to identify, fund, acquire, explore and develop major lithium projects in Quebec, Canada.

Lithium is a soft silvery-white metal which is highly reactive and does not occur in nature in its elemental form. In nature it occurs as compounds within hard rock deposits (such as the Whabouchi Deposit in Quebec) and salt brines.

Lithium and its chemical compounds have a wide range of industrial applications resulting in numerous chemical and technical uses.

Lithium is a key component of the accelerating growth in battery technology which includes cell phones, laptops & tablets, electric & hybrid cars (EV), and grid storage.

The emergence of these markets is being driven by a global desire to reduce carbon emissions and break away from traditional infrastructure networks. This shift in energy use is supported by the improving economics of lithium-ion batteries. Global battery consumption is set to increase significantly over the next decade, placing pressure on the battery supply chain & lithium market.

Lithium-ion Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the negative electrode (anode) to the positive electrode (cathode) during discharge, and from the cathode to the anode when charged. Lithium-ion batteries are common in portable consumer electronics because of their high energy-to-weight ratios, lack of memory effect, and slow loss of charge when not in use. In addition to consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries are increasingly used in defence, automotive and aerospace applications due to their high energy density. They are generally much lighter than other types of rechargeable batteries of the same size. The electrodes of a lithium-ion battery are made of lightweight lithium and carbon.

Lithium-ion Applications

Consumer Electronics – Li-Ion batteries are most common in consumer electronics, with Laptop batteries being the largest segment. The more advanced Li-Ion Polymer batteries which can be formed to be very thin and flexible, are found in devices like the iPad, iPods and Smartphone’s. With the astronomical growth of this segment, battery production has also grown exponentially.

Healthcare – In the US, the Government has set aside $22 billion for technology improvements to implement electronic medical records (EMR) which involves collecting data at the point of care or at the patient’s bedside in hospitals. This requires mobile power in laptops for up to 18 hours or more, which no laptop battery can provide. Hospitals have used Li-ion external batteries which provide additional six hours of run time which is inadequate for EMR. Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries mounted on mobile carts are also used but not preferred, due the inherent drawbacks of the SLA battery. Li-Ion batteries are growing in popularity as they are lighter and have a lower cost of ownership.

Electric Vehicles – The electric car has been the biggest catalyst for the growth of Li-ion battery manufacturing. There are two main categories in the automotive sectors; pure electric vehicles and “plug in” hybrids. Commercial vehicle fleets are also following suit led by both major Government initiatives as well as the corporate sector. Most electric vehicles and hybrids on the road today are passenger cars, however there are also versions of commercial vehicles and vans, utility trucks, buses, trains, motorcycles, scooters, and military vehicles. In addition to the car manufacturers with vehicles on the road already, almost all major manufacturers are developing electric vehicles. Major scooter and motorcycle manufacturers have launched electric scooters. The increasing cost of petrol coupled with the lower cost of producing Li-ion batteries will spur growth in mobility sectors.

Materials Handling – Forklift and lift truck manufacturers have introduced Li-ion battery powered lift trucks for use in warehouses.

Marine – Lead acid batteries shave long been used in boats, yachts and ships. Li-ion batteries are making inroads here also.

Mass Grid Energy Storage – Following electric vehicles, the mass energy storage sector is growing as major utilities are installing Li-ion battery storage systems to harness excess power generated by the grid. These systems are many times larger than automotive batteries.

Home Energy Storage – Home energy storage is an important growth market and combined with continued advances in solar energy capture, has the potential to revolutionise how we power our homes.

Telecommunications – The rapid growth of mobile phone users worldwide, has led to a massive surges in construction of cellular transmission towers which have traditionally used lead acid batteries for emergency power storage. Weight, size and short cycle life of the lead acid battery is prompting telecommunication providers to switch to Li-ion batteries. This sector is still emerging and demand is expected to grow.