Call this one smartphones: part 2. If you have one of those magical devices, or perhaps an i-Pad or other smart tablet of some kind, you may now that an essential element that drives social media is lihium.
It has a long and growing list of industrial uses. Those of you reading or listening to this on a smartphone probably know that lithium is one of the key ingredients in rechargeable batteries that power the digital world as we know it. It also has a number of extremely valuable medicinal uses, in anti-depressants and other drugs that help many with mental health issues, especially those who are bi-polar. We used to call such poor souls ‘manic depressive’.
The industrial uses gobble up about three quarters of the stuff, and right now there’s speculation that southeastern Manitoba could see a bit of a mining boom because there seems to be a lot of lithium in the ground there. Who knew?
But if you’re thinking of investing your retirement nest egg in the stuff, maybe just watch for a while as the story unfolds. Right now Canada is a relatively small player in the lithium story. We have proven reserves of a little over 200,000 tons which pales in comparison to what’s available in places like China, Australia, Argentina and Chile.
Then, I came across a Financial Post story with the headline “Cobalt may take the reins from lithium in 2017” .. oops! Cobalt is a more recent addition to the battery business, and large amounts of it are being mined in places like the Congo in Africa. Wait a minute, isn’t there a place called Cobalt in northern Ontario? Indeed there is and the mining of cobalt and silver began there more than 120 years ago. The area has a colourful history, and maybe it’s due for a comeback.
Boy, I sure wish I paid more attention in that geology class 50 years ago.
I’m Roger Currie