February 15, 2018 - 7:36 AM EST
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If You Still Doubt Electric Vehicles, Get Ready for the Super Trucks

Following in the footsteps of Tesla’s recent introduction of the electric semi-truck, a whole new class of lithium powered Super Truck is about to emerge.

Early movers in the lithium mining space are seeing further gains including QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (TSXV: QMC) (OTC: QMCQF), Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM), FMC (NYSE: FMC), and Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX) (OTC: NMKEF).

For a long time, the term electric vehicle conjured the image of a toy-like little contraptions with capacity for a single passenger and little luggage. That was until Elon Musk came along with the swanky, family-size Tesla making its mark on the EV market.

Still, a lot of people saw little application of EV technology in public mass freight transportation. However, even this barrier seems to have been broken with the imminent arrival of the all-electric Tesla Semi and the Super Truck, which will be equipped with an electric APU.

Several companies have focused on lithium production and are expanding their efforts to create new supplies including developing new lithium sources and resurrecting previous mines.

QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (TSXV: QMC) (OTC: QMCQF) is a junior company joining the lithium supply race. The company is focused on Canada’s hard-rock lithium sector in a well-known region in Manitoba with very favorable mining logistics.

Major players in lithium already jumping to increase the production levels of lithium resources include Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM), the largest producer of lithium, FMC (NYSE: FMC), which has large lithium interest in South America, and Australia’s Orocobre Ltd. (OTC: OROCF), already expanding its production capacity out of the gate.

WHAT MAKES THEM SUPER TRUCKS?

The Super Truck developed by government backed Navistar International Corp., will use a high voltage auxiliary power unit (APU) to power secondary functions on a standard truck.

According to Navistar chief engineer Dean Oppermann, the company settled on high voltage because it reduces the volume of wires and other components required. Additionally, high voltage increases efficiency and system capacity.

With Super Truck I, a separate APU was not necessary because there was a fully electric HVAC system already integrated. The company installed a 48-volt electric bus on the existing system, as well as a 48-volt alternator to generate power.

The motor generator captures energy from the braking action of the track and directs to the battery, a technique that is already used in hybrids.

This type of energy recovery is designed to increase freight efficiency by reducing the reliance on the engine to power the air conditioning system. In standard trucks, the engine has to devote some of its power to run the air conditioning compressor, but the Super Truck eliminates this demand.

The Super Truck project started in 2009, with the Department of Energy dedicating more than 100 million dollars. The company is now working on Super Truck II, which is expected to double freight efficiency of class 8 trucks.

By ameliorating the kinetic energy concept used in Super Truck I, the project team for Super Truck II hope to bring more auxiliary functions into the fold. The design is meant to be shared with other truck manufacturers and this could see it become the industry standard by 2020.

It is highly reliant on lithium ion technology and this adds to the demand for lithium, which is already high.

Oppermann believes that falling lithium battery prices, greater durability and more power density are crucial developments for the Super Truck platform.

QMC QUANTUM MINERALS JUMPS AHEAD

If miners for lithium are going to react to the spike in demand, they will need to move now on existing resources. There’s little time to delay for permitting, lengthy approvals or red tape.

That’s the exact profile of QMC Quantum Minerals, which is fast tracking their current project in the Province of Manitoba, Canada. The mineral region is now ranked as the 2nd most favorable mining district in the world according to the Fraser Institute, displacing Australia and others.

QMC Quantum acquired a known lithium property –the Cat Lake Lithium Property, formerly known as the Irgon Mine in 2016.

Its property is in good company. The location is just 20km from the world class Tanco Mine, which was previously North America’s largest and sole producer of spodumene (Li).

A predecessor to QMC drilled 25 holes into the property’s Irgon Dike in the 1950s and reported a historical resource estimate of 1.2 million tonnes grading 1.51% Li20 over a strike length of 365 meters and to a depth of 213 meters.

QMC Quantum’s geological team agrees with the accuracy of those historical drill results and now started a drilling and assessment program to bring the results up to date. The company just reported samples with greater than 2% Lithium within the property and is expanding the sampling.

Direct to production sources like QMC Quantum Mineral’s Cat Lake Project could be vital sources as the entire transport industry is being remade in the form of EVs.

BOTTOM LINE: SUPER PRICES

The burgeoning electronics and EV markets, which are highly reliant on lithium supplies have pushed demand of the metal to astronomical highs.

And with the trend expected to rise further yet, existing lithium mining infrastructure could be unable to meet global demand. It is expected that it will take a handful of years for capacity to come to par with demand.

Generally, mining juniors tend to wait for commodity prices to rise to a level that justifies the astronomical infrastructure capital before committing resources. This causes commodity supercycles, which occur in a series of demand and price surges.

In the long term, lithium demand could surpass that of copper, underlining the immense opportunity that mining junior companies stand to gain.

POTENTIAL COMPARABLES

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE: SQM)

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A., is a producer of potassium nitrate and iodine. The Company produces specialty plant nutrients, iodine derivatives, lithium and its derivatives, potassium chloride, potassium sulfate and certain industrial chemicals. Its segments include specialty plant nutrients, industrial chemicals, iodine and derivatives, lithium and derivatives, potassium, and other products and services Lithium and its derivatives are used in batteries, greases and frits for production of ceramics. Potassium chloride is a commodity fertilizer that is produced and sold by the Company across the world.

FMC (NYSE: FMC)

FMC Corp. is a Philadelphia-based chemical company which is swiftly ramping up its lithium production. Last year, FMC said it was planning to triple lithium hydroxide production capacity by 2019. The first phase of the plan has already started. FMC management also said that it was not ruling out the possibility to spin-off FMC’s lithium segment as a separate publicly owned company. BofAMerrill Lynch recently upgraded FMC stock to “Buy” from “Underperform,” increasing the price target to $103.00 from $66.

Nemaska Lithium Inc. (TSX: NMX) (OTC: NMKEF)

Nemaska Lithium intends to become a lithium hydroxide supplier and lithium carbonate supplier to the emerging lithium battery market that is largely driven by electric vehicles, cell phones, tablets and other consumer products. The Corporation is developing in Quebec one of the most important spodumene lithium hard rock deposit in the world, both in volume and grade. The spodumene concentrate produced at Nemaska Lithium's Whabouchi mine will be shipped to the Corporation's lithium compounds processing plant to be built in Shawinigan, Quebec. This plant will transform spodumene concentrate into high purity lithium hydroxide and carbonate using the proprietary methods developed by the Corporation, and for which patent applications have been filed.

For a more in-depth look into QMC you can view the in-depth report at USA News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2017/12/12/how-to-play-the-stock-markets-january-effect/

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Source: Livemoney (February 15, 2018 - 7:36 AM EST)

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