- New approach could boost the energy capacity of lithium batteries
- The lithium battery market is projected to grow to $92 billion by 2024
- QMC Quantum Minerals is anticipating completion of its NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource report on its Irgon lithium mine project after three years of exploration
The world’s dependence on continually-advancing computer technology is driving efforts to improve the quality of the lithium-ion batteries that power the vast majority of computerized devices, especially mobile technologies ranging from pocketable cell phones to self-driving electric automobiles. Thanks to the technological boom, lithium has been an in-demand lightweight metal, with most of it being sourced from outside the United States. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and in China have just announced a new way to make cathodes for lithium batteries that may ultimately improve the amount of power that the batteries supply and, in the process, continue to elevate the prospects of lithium explorers such as QMC Quantum Minerals Corp. (OTC: QMCQF) (TSX.V: QMC) (FSE: 3LQ). MIT’s researchers state that their discovery could lead to “batteries that pack a punch but are smaller and lighter than today’s versions, potentially enabling electric cars to travel further or portable electronics to run for longer without recharging,” according to ScienceDaily (http://nnw.fm/xDx8F).
Their research has focused on developing a hybrid lithium battery that incorporates the best qualities of lithium cobalt oxide intercalation-type cathodes, which offer a high volumetric energy density (output), and lithium sulfur conversion-type cathodes, which deliver good gravimetric energy density. According to the report by ScienceDaily, current lithium-ion batteries can have energy densities of about 250 watt-hours per kilogram and 700 watt-hours per liter. Lithium-sulfur batteries reach even higher energy densities, with about 400 watt-hours per kilogram, but otherwise fall short, with 400 watt-hours per liter.
The initial version of the new hybrid can already reach more than 360 watt-hours per kilogram and 581 watt-hours per liter, beating both lithium-ion and lithium-sulfur batteries in their weakest metrics while approaching the levels of their strongest energy metrics. The researchers believe that they can get to 400 watt-hours per kilogram and 700 watt-hours per liter, matching the strongest metrics of each of the two cathode types as the cell is redesigned.
Regardless of that outcome, QMC notes that Research and Markets analysts are predicting a 16.2 percent CAGR, boosting the lithium-ion battery market to $92.2 billion in capitalization by 2024, with other commercial uses for spodumene maintaining additional potential markets.
QMC Quantum Minerals has been working for nearly three years to explore the lithium potential of its southern Manitoba property known as the Irgon Mine. The Irgon project is in a region long known for hosting spodumene and rare-element-bearing pegmatites. This Cat Lake-Winnipeg River rare-element pegmatite field of southeastern Manitoba also hosts the rare-element pegmatite of Cabot Corporation’s nearby Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada (“TANCO”), which, to date, has been one of North America’s mst successful spodumene mines.
Spodumene is a lithium-bearing silicate mineral that occurs in geochemically-enriched granitic pegmatites, and QMC’s hard rock exploration has focused on the possibility of new commercial-level production at a site with a historical estimate calculated over 50 years ago to be 1.2 million tons grading 1.51 percent lithium oxide over a strike length of 365 meters (1,197.5 feet) and to a depth of 213 meters (698.8 feet). The dike is currently open in all directions. The company is in the process of bringing the historical estimate up to current NI 43-101 standards. As part of this process, the company is undertaking a diamond drilling program to confirm the historical assays and drill intersection widths of the Irgon pegmatite. All core samples will be analyzed for 56 elements, including lithium, beryllium, rubidium, cesium, tantalum and niobium, using a sodium peroxide fusion followed by an inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy assay (ICP-AES/ICP-MS). QMC’s consultant, SGS Canada, will undertake these assays at its Lakefield, Ontario, laboratory.
Preparations are approaching the pinnacle as the company readies itself for potential commercial development of the Irgon project and awaits the completion of the NI 43-101 report.
QMC also holds 100 percent title to two volcanic massive sulphide (“VMS”) copper-, lead- and zinc-bearing properties. These are the Rocky Lake and Rocky Namew properties, which together are known as the Namew Lake District project. This project encompasses 57,000 acres and is located in northwest Manitoba in one of the world’s most productive mining regions, the Flin Flon/Snow Lake mining district (http://nnw.fm/f5OMd). Required work permit applications have been submitted to government authorities for the Rocky Lake portion of the project, with a field program expected to begin after receipt of permits. The company believes that the Namew Lake District project has the potential to host several distinct VMS ore bodies and notes that the Namew Lake project remains a hugely prospective exploration target with strong future potential for QMC (http://nnw.fm/k3q9B).
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.QMCMinerals.com
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to QMCQF are available in the company’s newsroom at http://nnw.fm/QMCQF
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