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Which battery metals will be the winners in the energy transition?

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Commodities, Conferences, Management, Mineral Economics, Mining, PhD, Publications, Recommended, Strategy


Last August, my colleague Josh Wright of Rowton Ltd., presented some research conducted with Allan Trench (The University of Western Australia) and myself, at the Argus Media China Metals Week Conference in Beijing, China.

The presentation was entitled “Which battery metals will be the winners in the energy transition?” and is available on Slideshare:

Battery metals & the energy transition – Wright et al – Sep 2016 – Greenfields Research / Rowton Ltd / Centre for Exploration Targeting / The University of Western Australia from John P. Sykes


The key points of the presentation are:

  • The energy transition will likely have a substantial impact on some currently minor metals markets;
  • Some minor metals markets have the potential for transformational growth becoming a major ‘battery metals’ industrial sector;
  • However, of the battery metals some face more severe constraints on geological discovery, technical supply and demand growth, as well environmental and socio-political constraints;
  • In the end, the socio-political context of the energy transition will determine what sort of future we progress into; with different implications for the ‘battery metals’ sector in each;
  • Some battery metals such as lithium, vanadium and nickel do, however, seem to have more potential than the others;
  • For the affected businesses navigating the energy transition will be difficult as it is not obvious when it will arrive, or what it will look like when it does;
  • Companies seeking to capitalise on growth in the ‘battery metals’ sector need to:
  • Target those markets with the most potential for substantial market growth;
  • Approach these markets in a holistic manner, removing discovery, supply, demand, technical, environmental and socio-political constraints;
  • Be ready for a ‘strategic triple jump’: hop through the present, step through the energy transition, and jump into the future (whatever it may be).


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