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Australia: OZ To Benefit From Lithium Batteries

In a move that could have significance for Australia, many canny US investors are said to be trying to make money from the exploding popularity of iPads and increasing sales of hybrid cars by investing in producers of lithium for batteries.
Australia is the world’s top producer of lithium, ahead of Chile, Argentina and China. The country has eight ASX-listed companies, including the No 1 producer.

A Bloomberg report says prices for the conductive metal have tripled since 2000 in a market now worth US$1 billion a year as uses expand in vehicles, ceramics, electronics and lubricants. Apple and Toyota, maker of the Prius hybrid petrol/battery car, have few alternatives as they pursue higher performance and mobility.

With worldwide shipments of tablets expected to hit 222 million by 2016 – an IDC forecast – and electric/hybrid car sales also expected to expand dramatically, leading analyst firm Dahlman Rose has forecast lithium demand will double by 2020.
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