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Despite disruptions from supply issues, COVID-19 pandemic and mine closures, prospects are high for lead in the upcoming years.

Despite COVID-19, the electric vehicle (EV) market in 2021 hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.

In fact, in the first half of the year, over 2.65 million new EVs were purchased globally, up 168 percent from the same period in 2020. As EV demand continues to grow, the commodities needed to enable the electrification of modern society should remain in high demand.

Prominent metals in EVs include lithium, copper and lead. They make up significant components in EV batteries and numerous other parts of the build, and all of this means they should continue to see significant demand. Simply put, current EV technology requires 12 volt lead-acid batteries to run essential components, like safety auxiliary systems, lithium-ion battery management computers and autonomous and communication systems.

When you combine outside factors like pro-EV government policies, the general public’s growing awareness for this technology, and the shift to green technologies in many established industries, it becomes clear why projected demand for lead is expected to grow over the next few years.

What’s driving the lead economy: An overview

Market analysts report that the automotive lead-acid battery market could rise to approximately US$23.7 billion by 2028, with an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.1 percent from 2020 to 2028. Much of this increase can be attributed to lead’s role in the EV and hybrid industry and the future of transport.

While in most current consumer EVs lithium-ion batteries are the primary battery, the cars are also equipped with lead-acid batteries. The lead-acid batteries in EVs serve a similar function to those in internal combustion engine vehicles — powering electrical systems such as lights, windows, navigation, air-conditioning and airbag sensors.

Lead as a commodity in the green revolution is also driving global movements towards the overall electrification of the world. Global demand for electrical power will increase by well over 50 percent over the next couple of decades. Most of this increase is expected to be met by renewable energy sources, and that will create more demand for energy storage systems (ESS).

With the increased popularity of electric alternatives to power, transportation and energy, companies and international powerhouses are seeing the substantial economic necessity of investing in mining and base metals commodity players. Companies need to act fast in finding sources of metals like lead to fuel the demand of a rapidly growing sustainability-focused world.

Lead’s market outlook over the next decade

Since demand is high, lead is experiencing similar challenges to other base metals, including diminishing supply. Most large mines are coming to the end of their life, and smaller mines are also producing less pure lead, which is creating a “green” issue.

However, world leaders like China and Australia are held up as the primary sources for viable lead resources in the world. For example, major Australian player Galena Mining (ASX:G1A) operates its own Abra base metals project, located in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, which is home to one of the largest lead and silver deposits in the world.

Galena Mining leverages advantageous positioning with its 2019 bankable feasibility study for the development of a mine and processing facility. The results of the study include a 16 year lifespan producing high-value, high-grade lead-silver concentrate with potential lead production estimated at 95,000 tonnes per year.

Players like Galena see the economic upside of the lead industry, which is currently experiencing a higher rate of technical development in lead batteries than ever before. Wood Mackenzie's Farid Ahmed projects that "these developments have the potential to narrow the performance gap with lithium-ion — its principal rival for the burgeoning ESS sector."

Unlike other commodities, lead can be recycled infinitely while maintaining its quality, meaning its use in batteries is more environmentally friendly than metals that cannot be recycled in this way. The growing demand for lead in lead-acid batteries for EVs and for use in ESS, as well as its ability to be reused, make it a potentially important part of the green future.

Looking into the future of lead mining

Lead production is expected to grow at a CAGR of 2.5 percent by 2025 to reach 5.2 million tonnes (Mt).Combined production in China, Australia, Russia and Canada is expected to increase from a forecasted 2.8 Mt in 2021 to 3.1 Mt in 2025.

At the same time, these production projections could still see issues with increased demand and undersupply. With limited economic lead mines and recent mine closures — such as the 2019 closure of Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLNCY) 120,000 tonne per year smelter in New Brunswick — major players need to pivot to advance their hold in the lead market.

Notably, Galena has also made show significant strides in its lead player positioning as its major partnerships include IXM, a Swiss base metals trading company; Toho Zinc (TSE:5707), Japan's largest zinc and lead smelter; and GR Engineering Services (ASX:GNG), with which Galena has signed a plant construction contract. Even with mine closures and major disruptions from COVID-19, companies like these are putting in the work to meet the push for a greener world and the demand for vehicle battery, ESS and recyclable applications.

The takeaway

Lead is making a comeback. As an important component in lead-acid batteries for EVs, ESS applications and the overall green revolution, companies and investors alike are looking to this commodity. Despite disruptions from supply issues, COVID-19 and mine closures, prospects are high for lead in the upcoming years.

This INNSpired article is sponsored by Galena Mining (ASX:G1A). This INNSpired article provides information which was sourced by the Investing News Network (INN) and approved by Galena Mining in order to help investors learn more about the company. Galena Mining is a client of INN. The company’s campaign fees pay for INN to create and update this INNSpired article.

This INNSpired article was written according to INN editorial standards to educate investors.

INN does not provide investment advice and the information on this profile should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. INN does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company profiled.

The information contained here is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of securities. Readers should conduct their own research for all information publicly available concerning the company. Prior to making any investment decision, it is recommended that readers consult directly with [add link to company profile][ and seek advice from a qualified investment advisor.

Galan Lithium Quarterly Appendix 5B Cash Flow Report
Galan Lithium Limited
Galan Lithium Limited

Galan Lithium Limited has issued its "Mining exploration entity or oil and gas exploration entity quarterly cash flow report".

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Activities Report for Quarter Ended 31 DECEMBER 2021
Galena Mining
Galena Mining

GALENA MINING LTD. (“Galena” or the “Company”) (ASX:G1A) reports on its activities for the quarter ending 31 December 2021 (the “Quarter”), primarily focused on construction of its 60%- owned Abra Base Metals Mine (“Abra” or the “Project”) located in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

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Quarterly Activities Report December 2021
Galan Lithium Limited
Galan Lithium Limited

The Board of Galan Lithium Limited (“Galan” or “the Company”) is pleased to provide this Quarterly Activities Report for the quarter ended 31 December 2021 to the date of this report. The main focus for the quarter was the ongoing feasibility works, construction activities and further drilling at its high-grade Hombre Muerto West (“HMW”) project and the completion of the PEA/scoping study for the Candelas project. Both key projects are located in the Hombre Muerto West salt flat in the South American Lithium Triangle (see tenement location map in Figure 1).

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ixpert / Shutterstock

Which ASX technology stocks performed the best in 2021? Here’s a look at the five top ASX technology stocks by share price performance.

Australia is home to a thriving tech sector with fresh investment opportunities emerging across a variety of subsectors, such as gaming, fintech, healthcare and cleantech.

The technology sector currently contributes about AU$167 billion to the Australian economy, according to research commissioned by the Technology Council of Australia. This figure has increased by 79 percent from 2016, representing a growth rate that is more than four times that of most industries. In fact, the tech sector is the third largest economic sector in Australia, behind mining and finance/insurance.

Unsurprisingly, many tech stocks on the ASX have performed well in this landscape.

Below the Investing News Network profiles the five best ASX technology stocks in terms of share price performance in 2021. Data for the companies was gathered on December 31, 2021, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all of the best ASX technology stocks listed had market caps above AU$10 million at that time.

1. Novonix

Market cap: AU$4.45 billion; year-to-date gain: 659.5 percent

The first of the best ASX tech stocks on this list is battery technology company Novonix (ASX:NVX), which specializes in developing battery testing equipment for the worldwide lithium-ion battery market. The company was spun out from Dr. Jeff Dahn’s lab at Dalhousie University; Dr. Dahn is one of the pioneers of the lithium-ion battery.

While not yet a revenue generator, the company has benefited from the explosive growth expected out of the fast-moving global electric vehicle (EV) industry.

In December, Novonix announced preliminary results from an environmental impact study; they show the company’s synthetic graphite EV and energy storage system (ESS) battery anode product offers an approximate 60 percent decrease in CO2 emissions, potentially making it “2.5 times better for the environment than Chinese synthetic graphite EV and ESS battery anode material,” as per the Market Herald.

2. Oneview Healthcare

Market cap: AU$114.57 million; year-to-date gain: 488.89 percent

Oneview Healthcare’s (ASX:ONE) interactive software platform offers digital tools to healthcare providers, patients and families to improve point of care outcomes.

This past spring, the global healthcare tech company launched its cloud-based care platform. “Deployed on Microsoft Azure, this platform enables health systems to quickly adopt technology for engaging patients, reducing non-clinical demands on care teams and optimising clinical and operational effectiveness,” notes a press release.

Oneview has signed a number of contracts for the use of this platform, including with Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Northern Health in Melbourne and Kingman Regional Medical Center in Arizona. In late November, Oneview raised AU$20 million in a private placement with plans to use the funds to further product development, scale its cloud enterprise and strengthen its balance sheet.

3. Emyria

Market cap: AU$105.86 million; year-to-date gain: 318.48 percent

Emyria (ASX:EMD) is a healthcare technology company that specializes in data-backed drug development and operates a network of medical clinics. Using proprietary clinical evidence, the company develops registered treatments for underserved medical needs.

Emyria’s current drug development programs center on cannabidiol (CBD) medicines for mental health, CBD/THC treatments for irritable bowel syndrome and MDMA treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.

In late November, one of Australia’s largest private investment groups, Tattarang, made a AU$5 million investment in Emyria, which will help the company further advance its drug development work.

4. PlaySide Studios

Market cap: AU$445.38 million; year-to-date gain: 139.13 percent

PlaySide Studios (ASX:PLY) develops mobile games, virtual reality, augmented reality and PC games. The company’s portfolio consists of 52 titles, including original intellectual property games, as well as games developed with the worlds’ largest studios, such as Disney (NYSE:DIS), Warner Bros and Nickelodeon.

PlaySide Studios is Australia’s largest publicly listed gaming technology company, and following its 2020 initial public offering, it generated revenue of AU$10.88 million for the 2021 fiscal year. In November, the company inked a landmark deal with 2K Games, a label of Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO).

In the last weeks of 2021, PlaySide signed a number of deals, including a contract with Shiba Inu Games and a partnership with One True King to co-develop a PC-based game, which will also provide access to One True King's 21 million global followers.

5. Universal Biosensors

Market cap: AU$175.98 million; year-to-date gain: 127.59 percent

Last on this list of best ASX tech stocks is medical device technology company Universal Biosensors (ASX:UBI), which develops, manufactures and commercializes diagnostic testing systems for point-of-care providers and at-home use. It has products for blood glucose monitoring, coagulation testing, immunoassays and molecular diagnostics.

“UBI’s biosensor technology platform has been used to deliver more than 10 billion diagnostic tests to patients worldwide generating billions of dollars in sales,” states a company presentation. “We have licensed and partnered new technology and new biosensors with global applications.”

In November, Universal Biosensors signed a three year master collaboration agreement with Mayo Clinic Biopharma Diagnostics. The deal includes work on Universal Biosensors’ Tn antigen cancer biosensor. In late December, the company entered into a global exclusive license agreement with IQ Science for the commercialization of a SARS-CoV-2 N-protein detection test that will use Universal Biosensors' proprietary electrochemical strip and device technology.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

australian bills with gold coin
Schlachta Stanislav / Shutterstock

Looking for the best-performing cobalt stocks on the ASX? Here's a look at the three top gainers of 2021.

Cobalt prices have soared this past year, with investors paying more attention to this battery metal.

A large reason for cobalt’s bullish behaviour is that it is used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, which power electric vehicles (EVs) — as demand for EVs continues to rise, it's likely cobalt demand will remain strong too.

Currently the future of EVs looks bright — the market is growing quickly and is expected to boom over the next decade. In the first half of 2021 alone, EV sales ballooned by 160 percent, and by the end of the year, a total of 15 countries had announced measures to begin transitioning toward an all-electric future.

The three top cobalt-producing countries worldwide are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia and Australia — the last of which is investing in ramping up its production of the metal.

With that in mind, which Australian cobalt miners gained the most value in 2021? Read on to learn more about the three best cobalt companies on the ASX by year-to-date share price gains. All information was obtained on December 30, 2021, using TradingView's stock screener.

1. Jervois Global

Year-to-date gain: 63.89 percent; current share price: AU$0.59

Jervois Global (ASX:JRV) is best known for its Finland operations, which produce cobalt for chemical, catalyst, pigment, powder metallurgy and — most significantly — battery applications. The company is currently in the process of launching its new Idaho Cobalt Operations (ICO) and is on track to become the first US cobalt miner.

On December 15, Jervois announced an update on ICO, saying first ore is expected in August 2022, with sustainable production expected by December 2022. The estimated capital expenditure required to stay on schedule has risen to US$99.1 million, up from US$92.6 million, with mine engineering 64 percent complete.

2. Cobalt Blue Holdings

Year-to-date gain: 177.78 percent; current share price: AU$0.50

Cobalt Blue Holdings (ASX:COB) is a rare cobalt-only company, and defines itself by its planned ethical and sustainable extraction and production processes. The firm's flagship New South Wales-based Broken Hill project is slated to produce an average of 3,500 to 3,600 tonnes per year of cobalt once in operation.

In December 2021, Cobalt Blue Holdings announced it has executed a memorandum of understanding with the State of Queensland, acting through the Department of Resources, to assess opportunities for the recovery of cobalt (as well as any coexisting base and precious metals) from mine waste.

3. Australian Mines

Year-to-date gain: 31.25 percent; current share price: AU$0.21

Australian Mines (ASX:AUZ) is aiming to supply metals to the growing EV industry, with a focus on ethical and sustainable production. Its flagship Queensland-based Sconi nickel-cobalt project boasts a mine life of over 30 years and will be capable of processing 2 million tonnes of ore annually.

In late October, Australian Mines reported on its quarterly activities, including an agreement for Korea-based LG Energy Solution, a top global producer of EV batteries, to buy 100 percent of the Sconi project’s nickel-cobalt hydroxide output over an initial six year term. The future agreement indicates that LG Energy Solution will buy a projected 7,000 tonnes of cobalt from Australian Mines over the six year period.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.