Australian miners ramp up search for lithium to meet EV demand

Excerpt from mining.com

Exploration spending by Australian-listed miners hit an eight-year high in the fourth quarter of 2021, driven by the search for new lithium resources to meet surging demand from battery and electric vehicle makers.

Miners invested A$973 million ($700 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31, according to a report by consultancy BDO, up 11% on the prior quarter. The spending lift was supported by a record A$3.75 billion worth of financing flowing into the sector through equity and debt raisings.

“It’s not just a continuation of the trend we’ve seen in the last three or four quarters, it’s a substantial increase,” Sherif Andrawes, BDO’s Global Head of Natural Resources, said in a phone interview. Miners were spending more on investment and exploration, while steady access to capital meant they had been able to replenish their funds, he added.

Prices for a wide range of raw materials, from copper and nickel to iron ore, have surged on the back of government stimulus spending to boost the economic recovery from the pandemic. The mining industry is stepping up its efforts to find new resources to meet strong demand and cash in on the strong price environment, but is playing catch up after years of under-investment.