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Lithium as an investment

HWS AG’s GERMAN LITHIUM PARTICIPATION (GLP) investment programme is the world’s first direct investment opportunity for lithium. Lithium is the most important raw material for battery production. We offer the purchase of physical lithium as Lithium carbonate, the world’s most important lithium compound (“battery grade” > 99.5%). The primary investment objective is to participate in price increases of the raw material with security of physical ownership. The certified Lithium carbonate is filled into sealed steel drums, so-called Lithium Investment Units (LIU). We store the Lithium Investment Units for the investors in a high-security warehouse in Germany.

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Spodumene © HWS AG / GLP
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Lepidolite © HWS AG / GLP
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elemental Li © HWS AG / GLP
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Sale/repurchase price for Lithium Investment Units

The GERMAN LITHIUM PARTICIPATION investment programme gives investors the opportunity to purchase Lithium carbonate. Below are the daily updated sales and repurchase prices for a Lithium Investment Unit with 150 kg battery grade Lithium carbonate. To display the sales or repurchase process follow the link of the respective barrel icon.

9.829 €

Sales price per Lithium Investment Unit

= 65,53 €/kg battery grade Lithium carbonate

corresponds to 150 kg battery grade lithium carbonate, for immediate sale by HWS AG, net price plus storage rental and drum/pallet deposit, minimum purchase quantity = four Lithium Investment Units (if less than four drums are ordered, a fee for small quantities is charged, a cost overview of the drum and pallet deposit and the storage rental can be found here)

Sales price from 22.06.2022 / please click on the barrel symbol for more information about the sales process

Price development of the selling price of a lithium investment unit

Price development of the repurchase price of a lithium investment unit

9.534 €

Repurchase price per Lithium Investment Unit

= 63,56 €/kg battery grade Lithium carbonate

corresponds to 150 kg battery grade lithium carbonate, for immediate purchase at the HWS AG, net price plus storage rental and drum/pallet deposit, minimum purchase quantity = four Lithium Investment Units (if less than four drums are ordered, a fee for small quantities is charged, a cost overview of the drum and pallet deposit and the storage rental can be found here)

Repurchase price from 22.06.2022 / please click on the barrel symbol for more information about the repurchase process

Lithium price forecast

The figure below shows the development of the Lithium carbonate price based on historical/current data between 2002 and 2022.  Also a price range forecast on the basis of different sources until 2030 in USD per tonne of battery grade Lithium carbonate is shown.

Development of the Lithium carbonate price (battery grade, in US dollars) between 2002 and 2022 with price forecast until 2025/2030 © HWS AG / GLP

LIU | Lithium Investment Unit

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The Lithium carbonate is stored in steel drums in the high security storage facility of HWS AG. Each barrel forms a Lithium Investment Unit (LIU). Four Lithium Investment Units, combined on one pallet, form a FULL LIU (see data sheet). Seamless tracking of the Lithium carbonate supply chain from producer to storage guarantees high quality standards. A warehouse management system ensures control and traceability of the Lithium Investment Unit storage location in the high security warehouse. A sophisticated security concept as well as the basic security aspect of the storage site as a former nuclear bomb-proof warehouse guarantees the safe storage of the Lithium Investment Units. A retain sample of each stored Lithium Investment Unit is taken during storage and stored separately. Therefore, the quality of the stored lithium can be tested at any time in an independent laboratory (e.g. ALS Global). This guarantees a high degree of security and transparency.

Lithium | Use and demand

Uses and Demand – In 2021, the world’s lithium demand was divided between the following applications: 71% of the world’s produced lithium was used for battery production. About 14% of the lithium was used in glass and ceramics production and another 4% was used in the production of lubricants. The remaining 11% of the world’s lithium production is distributed among various applications, such as polymer and mold production (USGS 2021, exkl. USA).

USGS 2021 © HWS AG / GLP

The production is concentrated in the so-called South American salares (Bolivia, Chile) with approx. 50% of the world production (based on data from 2015) as well as on minerals from (mainly pegmatitic) deposits (Australia, China) with 40% of the world production. 10% comes from other sources (Kavanagh et al. 2018).

European lithium demand based on planned increase in battery production by 2025 (assumption: 160 grams per kWh) © HWS AG / GLP

European lithium demand for the next few years can be seen from the battery production capacities that are planned or already being implemented (upper figure). Based on already planed battery production facilities alone, a lithium demand of 25,000 metric tons can be assumed for Europe in 2025., a lithium demand of 25,000 metric tons can be assumed for Europe in 2025. In 2025 this would already correspond to a demand of one fifth of the worldwide lithium production. The largest consumers of lithium are automotive battery manufacturers such as Samsung, CATL, and Northvolt (MM 2020).

The figure below shows the so-called Technology Readiness Level of different battery technologies. It is particularly noticeable that all technologies under development rely on lithium as cathode material (except for laboratory developments, which currently only achieve a TRL of 1 or 2) (Wilkenes 2020).

Overview of the technological readiness level of various battery technologies, based on Wilkenes 2020 © HWS AG / GLP
Overview of the technological readiness level of various battery technologies, based on Wilkenes 2020 © HWS AG / GLP

Lithium | Properties

Origin and properties – Lithium was discovered in 1817 by Johan Arfvedson. One year later William Brande and Humphrey Davy succeeded in creating a metallic representation of the element. Its name comes from the Greek (‘lithos’) and means stone.  In nature, it only occurs in compounds due to its high chemical reactivity. In the earth’s crust it occurs in a concentration of 17 ppm. Economically usable concentrations of lithium are found in so-called pegmatites as well as in brines (either as continental brines in the form of so-called salares or as a by-product of oil production and there dissolved in the reservoir water). Lithium is also the lightest metal in the universe and is found in the periodic table of the elements after hydrogen and helium. It is composed of three protons (Gunn 2014).

Pegmatites are coarse-grained, magmatic rocks which are formed by late crystallization of the magmatic residual melt. Lithium pegmatites are relatively rare, although lithium usually occurs together with tin and tantalum. The most common lithium mineral of pegmatitic deposits is spodumene (with a lithium content of 3.7%). Other lithium containing minerals are petalite, lepidolite and Zinnwaldite (Gunn 2014).

Lithium-containing brines (or continental brines) are formed in continental basin structures (i.e. morphological landscapes framed by elevations or mountains on all sides), whereby surface water and groundwater from the surrounding formerly volcanically formed mountains accumulate eroded and washed out lithium over geological periods. During this process, lithium and other economically important elements such as boron and potassium are enriched by high rates of evaporation (Gunn 2014).

Lithium investment | Opportunities and risks

Opportunities – Undisputed growth market with huge demand and potential due to the beginning, large-scale electrification of the automobile. Furthermore, there is no substitution for lithium at the same power density in batteries. Only lithium provides high power densities in a very small space. For the next decades, there are no alternative technologies for energy storage to replace lithium batteries that can be used on a large industrial scale in sight. Therefore, if the spread of the electric car grows exponentially as expected, the demand for lithium will also explode.

Risks – Lithium investment is so far only possible via shares in established groups (including SQM, FCM, Albemarle and Junior Miners). There is no “pure” lithium share, SQM, FMC and Albemarle always buy other business areas as well. Junior Miners with lithium projects are highly speculative, most of them fail, this means a total loss of the invested capital. Furthermore there is no possibility to invest in Chinese miners, which represent 50% of the world market. Further hurdles are the high political risks in the most important producing countries Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and China.