Wednesday, May 18

BHP Vows to Stay Out of Lithium Rush With Shortages Set to Fade

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(Bloomberg) — In a world of surging metal prices, lithium stands out as booming electric-vehicle sales send the battery component into the stratosphere. Conspicuously, the world’s top mining company has no plans to join the rush.

For BHP Group, the frenzied talk about looming lithium shortages in a clean-energy transition will fade given it’s one of the more abundant elements in nature.

While lithium mining is “definitely within our skill set,” BHP prefers its projects large, long-life and scalable in commodities with differentiated cost curves, said the company’s Minerals Americas head. The fact that low-cost lithium deposits tend to come from brine in places like Chile and Argentina is another deterrent for the Melbourne-based miner, which has committed to minimizing use of continental water in drought-hit Chile.

“We recognize that at the moment there’s short-term supply-demand conversations,” Ragnar Udd said in an interview this week. “How that plays out over the next 20 or 30 years, I don’t think it will last.”

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