For a couple of years I've been interested in coal stocks.
In particular, GCE and WTN and ...

>And have you made any money?
Some. I did win the 2008 FWF Contest and might have won the 2009 Contest had I not dropped out in March, 2009.

Anyway, I've recently been getting e-mail touting lithium mining stocks, so I thought ...

>You thought you'd invest in lithium stocks, right?
Well, first I have to larn something 'bout lithium ... the major ingredient in lithium-ion batteries.


It's possible to get an electric current running between two dissimilar metals which are immersed in some conductive material (the electrolyte).
For example, the first battery was invented by Alessandro Volta in 1800.
The materials were zinc and silver and the conductive material was a brine of salt and water (or cardboard soaked in brine).    

Electrons collect on the negative metal surface due to an electrochemical reaction within the battery.
You get a current flowing if you connect a wire ( or a computer :^) between the positive (anode) and negative (cathode) terminals.   

If the voltage generated by a single "voltaic cell" is too small, pile them up!

An improvement on Volta's cell was the Daniel cell.
He used Zinc and Copper with an electrolyte solution of zinc and copper sulphate and each cell delivered 1.1 volts.
Then came ...

>Can we get to the 20th century?
Okay. We got automotive batteries made of lead and lead oxide with an electrolyte of sulphuric acid. You get about 2 volts per cell.

>So a 12 volt battery has a half dozen cells?

  • Then there's the familiar alkaline battery with zinc and carbon/manganese oxide and an alkaline electrolyte (potassium hydroxide). It generates about 1.5 volts per cell.
  • Then the nickel-cadmium (NiCad) battery with nickel-hydroxide and cadmium and potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte.
    It generates about 1.2 volts per cell, is rechargeable but needs to be fully discharged before recharging ... 'cause it has memory.
  • Then the nickel-metal hydride cell (NiMH) which replaces the cadmium in the NiCad with a metal compound.
    It generates about 1.2 volts per cell and is rechargeable.
  • Then latest technology is the lithium-ion (Li-Ion).
    The cathode is generally graphite and the anode a lithium compound. It generates about 3.6 volts per cell and is rechargeable.
    In 2006, laptops PCs were bursting into flames. Sony recalled 5 million PCs. That's the Li-Ion battery ... so ya gotta be careful, eh?
    In fact, modern Li-Ion batteries (for cars or laptops) have special circuitry to (hopefully) prevent this.
  • Then there's Vanadium batteries which "could change the world". **
>Where does the 9 volt battery come in?
It's got a bunch of individual cells

>And lithium mining stocks?
Oh ... almost forgot.

Remember: It's the coming-of-age of the electric car that makes lithium mining companies so attractive, eh?

I might also point out that researchers have been working on a lithium battry using nanowires.
They have the potential to increase the flow of lithium ions tenfold ... so (one-of-these-days?) cars might go 1000 miles on a single charge.

Lithium mining

Lithium is a very light metal ... indeed, it's the lightest metal.
You've heard of hydrogen (the lightest element) and helium (the 2nd lightest).
Then comes (surprise!) a metal: Lithium ... related to Sodium and Potassium.        
See the Periodic Table.

Lithium ingots
And where is it found?

Lots of places in the form of lithium carbonate ... like the one I'm keeping my eye on: Click!
and Click!
where it says: "... Western Lithium, which owns the largest known lithium deposit in North America."   
**   This Canadian company is also buying Vanadium resources in Nevada.

>Just one stock?
Uh ... no, I'm lookin' at others.

>And what have you decided?
Uh ... I'm thinking ...

Lithium: in metric tonnes