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What is Lithium Worth?

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The following content is sponsored by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

What is Lithium Worth?

What is Lithium Worth?

Different generations find different uses for raw materials, changing the value of these inputs over time.

Lithium is not a new discovery, but its applications are. Scientists first discovered lithium as an element in 1817, but it was not until the 1970s that studies into lithium-ion batteries began.

It was a British chemist working for Exxon that first proposed the idea of lithium-ion battery. However, after some initial testing, Exxon abandoned the project.

Nonetheless, lithium-ion battery technology has evolved into regular use through cell phones and electric vehicles. It offers an alternative to fossil fuels that global industry can run on.

Just as the world currently watches the prices of oil to determine the trade winds, lithium could become just as important for the worldwide movement to clean energy.

Pricing the New Oil

Traditionally, buyers and sellers have priced lithium through long-term contracts. However, in recent times, there has been a push from major end-users, especially automotive OEMs, to have more price transparency and to use third-party independent contract references in negotiations.

Benchmark Mineral Intelligence has created a standard for pricing the special lithium chemistry for the battery supply chain that the industry can rely on.

Supply & Demand: Miners, Manufacturers and End Users

Lithium is a hot commodity in the mining, manufacturing, energy storage, and automobile industries today. The current size of the market is small, but the potential is huge.

In 2016, the world’s leading lithium battery companies produced 29GWh of batteries. This production is forecast to grow to 1049GWh by 2028, an increase of 3516%.

Data Collection and Price Reporting

There are three cornerstone factors Benchmark uses to set the lithium industry’s reference price.

  1. Quality and grade of lithium
  2. Shipping costs and volumes
  3. Quality and reliability of information

Let’s look in deeper at each one:

1. Quality and Grade of Lithium

Most of the world’s lithium comes from two sources: mined from hard rock deposits of pegmatites, or pumped from lithium brine salars.

Grade and impurity of extracted lithium have unique profiles which will affect its price. Lithium is converted into different compounds: spodumene concentrate, lithium carbonate, and lithium hydroxide.

These different varieties suit manufacturers’ exact specifications with different cost profiles.

2. Shipping Costs and Volumes

The origin and destination of lithium is an important choke point for pricing information. At these locations, “incoterms” are set rules that represent the destination and origin of the material, which in turn affects the cost of lithium.

3. Quality and Reliability of Information

In order to generate a lithium price, Benchmark embarks on the industry’s most rigorous price data collection process that relies on constant contact through email, phone calls, and in-person meetings.

Benchmark analysts evaluate the information received against volumes traded, the position of a company in the market, and reliability of the source of information.

The Results

Independent and accurate prices will be key as the lithium market grows, providing a solid foundation for contract negotiations and a level of transparency that will help attract capital to the market.

The varying nature of lithium chemicals makes it difficult to manage risk, but Benchmark Mineral Intelligence is building a standard for pricing lithium to help manage this, and set us off on a new era of energy.

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Why Telcos Must Get in the Game for the Rise of Esports

Telcos failed to capitalize on the ‘Netflix’ opportunity — however, the birth of a new multi-billion dollar industry (esports) could change the game.

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Why Telcos Must Get in the Game for the Rise of Esports

Over the last century, the world’s telecommunications companies have built out the complex infrastructure that makes the information age possible.

Hundreds of billions of dollars has been invested into phone lines, submarine cables, wireless towers, and fiber optics to connect the world. And with 5G innovations in the pipeline, the world has never been able to communicate faster and more effectively.

Despite this impressive accomplishment, telcos find themselves in an awkward situation: their revenue growth is stagnating and margins continue to shrink, all while companies like Netflix are monetizing internet bandwidth around the world.

Today’s infographic is from Swarmio Media, and it highlights challenges faced by telcos — and how they can potentially capitalize on the emergence of esports and a massive gaming market.

A Missed Opportunity

Habits around content consumption can change abruptly, and fast-moving technology companies have been able to capitalize on these changes.

That’s why, in recent years, there’s been a boom in over-the-top (OTT) media services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Skype, etc.) that have found effective ways to operate on top of the telco infrastructure, streaming content or providing VoIP services to end consumers.

 TelevisionVoice & MessagingAudio
Example OTT services- Netflix
- Disney+
- Amazon Prime
- YouTube
- HBO
- Skype
- WhatsApp
- Messenger
- WeChat
- Viber
- Spotify
- Apple Music
- Podcasts
- Internet Radio
- YouTube
Global market size (2018)$68.7 billion$26.7 billion$8.9 billion
Growth rate (2017-2018):28%15%33%

Although telcos arguably missed the boat on video streaming, voice, and messaging, there is now an emerging segment that could help fill the gap.

The rising popularity of esports could be the multi-billion dollar industry that provides telcos a much-needed growth area to better monetize their infrastructure.

The Esports Boom

In recent years, the growth in professional gaming has been explosive.

Already worth over $1 billion, the market is projected by experts to triple by 2025. Esports is regularly packing stadiums with avid fans, spawning new professional teams, and selling massive sponsorship deals.

This boom in esports – and in online multiplayer gaming in general — has created a commercial audience of digital natives that is both young and affluent. It’s a growing segment that sees gaming as a lifestyle, and they see professional esports gamers and personalities as their heroes.

The Need For Speed

Any multiplayer gamer will tell you that there is one surefire way to ruin the gaming experience: high latencies (or as they call it, “lag”). This is an area telecoms are uniquely positioned to help with, especially with the advent of edge computing technology and 5G.

When it comes to online gaming, a sophisticated edge computing system will be able to detect where each player is located, while creating a server in an optimal location that provides all the players with the same high bandwidth, low latency, and experience.

By leveraging technology that enables edge computing at scale, forward-looking telcos can take gamers to where they want to go – and with plenty of value-adds.

Living on the Edge

To compete against growing outside threats like Netflix and Google, telcos must make bold investments in enabling technologies that bring edge computing to their customers at scale.

Beyond acting as the gatekeeper to lightning fast connections, telcos can take advantage of esports and gaming by building internal online communities, delivering tailored esports content, and enabling and promoting esports tournaments.

If done right, this can help telcos engage with digital natives, create meaningful experiences, win lifelong customers and advocates, and maximize average revenue per user (ARPU).

For many of the 2.5 billion gamers globally, there is little reason to be loyal to a telco – until now.

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Brace for Impact: Industries on the Verge of CBD Disruption

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Brace for Impact: Industries on the Verge of CBD Disruption

It seems as though cannabis is on everyone’s lips these days.

More specifically, the conversation centers around a major chemical compound found inside the plant—cannabidiol, or more widely known as CBD.

CBD’s far-reaching therapeutic benefits are propelling the global CBD market, which could hit $20 billion by 2024. However, industries like alcohol and pharmaceuticals are being directly threatened by this rapid rise.

Today’s infographic from CannaInsider explores how CBD is disrupting these industries, and the latter’s strategies to curb this effect.

Who will emerge unscathed?

CBD Market Spreading like Wildfire

A growing stream of robust research highlights CBD’s benefits in combating certain health conditions, such as:

  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
    • Nearly every product segment, from pet health to beverages, is experiencing a CBD infusion to take advantage of these therapeutic effects.

      This surge in popularity presents significant opportunities to create an entirely new consumer base. Emerging consumers seek CBD products for various applications, such as self-care, socializing, and fitness.

      Going Head to Head with Big Players

      The alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical industries are bracing for impact, as the new variety in CBD products and formats threaten their market share.

      Alcohol

      The percentage of alcohol consumers has dropped by 4.6% since 2000, with changing tastes at the center of this cultural shift.

      New research that tracked behavioural change from 2018 to 2019 found similar results. The percentage of alcohol consumers consuming cannabis has increased from 36% to 45%, while the percentage of cannabis consumers who consume alcohol has decreased from 72% to 65%.

      These behavioural shifts have influenced a significant number of alcohol industry titans to partner with cannabis companies. For example, Molson Coors is entering the cannabis space with HEXO Corp to launch CBD-infused beverages.

      Tobacco

      Similarly, declining smoking rates continue to negatively impact tobacco sales. As many tobacco giants pivot to reduced-risk-products (RRPs) such as vapes, cannabis is also catching their eye.

      Most notably, Altria invested $1.8 billion for a 45% stake in global cannabis company Cronos, potentially signalling the start of many partnerships between the two industries.

      Pharmaceuticals

      The pharma industry is particularly interested in CBD’s therapeutic properties. Medical cannabis sales for 2019 will reach $5.9 billion—poaching $4 billion from Big Pharma’s bottom line.

      This is triggering multinational companies to collaborate with cannabis companies at a furious pace. Partnerships—such as Novartis and Tilray—could unlock more international distribution of medical cannabis, and new pharmaceutical growth opportunities.

      Continuous CBD innovations will not only impact these industries—they could enhance human capabilities and unleash our full potential.

      Civilization 2.0

      A tsunami is unlocking new CBD sub-segments all over the world, with many offering solutions for mood and performance enhancement for both people and animals.

      • CBD for fitness: Incorporating CBD into a workout routine can boost performance, endurance, and recovery. Product types include pre-workout coffee, supplements, and post-workout smoothies.
      • CBD for pets: Proven benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties are driving sales of CBD treatments for pet health. By 2022, this market could be worth over $1 billion.
        • The Unknown Potential

          Applications that will allow a personalized cannabis experience are also on the horizon:

          • DNA-specific strains: Companies are testing people’s saliva to recommend specific strains that are tailored to their specific needs.
          • Odorless cannabis: More pure, less harsh odorless cannabis will soon be available, allowing consumers to smoke in stealth mode.
          • Grow your own: Cannabis consumers can cultivate their own plants at home, and even control the process from their smartphone.
            • As CBD consumption grows, many industries will need to decide to disrupt, or be disrupted.

              Several other cannabinoids have also been discovered, but they have yet to be researched in depth—which means the investment potential of CBD could be just the beginning.

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