Article published in the magazine CFI.CO, edition 125.000 pieces., https://cfi.co/magazine/, Winter Issue 2018/19, published February 2019.
Blackstone Resources AG (SWX: BLS; STU: 4BR, FRA: 4BR, BEB: 4BR) ("Blackstone")
The advantages of using electric motors to propel vehicles was recognised very early on by automotive innovators. In 1900 the dawn of the automotive era nearly a third of all cars on US roads were electric but wind forward to 2017 and just a little more than one percent of all cars sold were plug-in.
In the first era of the automotive age, the internal combustion engine was the clear winner and helped support the growth of the oil industry. But now it is obvious that the electric motor with all its advantages over the combustion engine is going to become the primary power source over the coming decades.
This change has been made possible because of improvements in battery technology. These improvements have already helped transform mobile computing and communications devices, but to do likewise in the automotive sector is going to require a many-orders-of-magnitude increase in global battery storage.
Potential demand for large scale battery energy storage does not stop with cars but is also set to transform our electrical power distribution both on the large and small scales. To meet this demand, existing companies and newcomers alike are racing to increase production capacity and improve and revolutionise battery technology. As with any rapidly changing market, there will be companies that prosper and others that fall by the wayside. What is no doubt is that even with major improvements in efficiency in terms of raw material used, when it comes producing better batteries, demand for the elements required is going to increase dramatically.
Ulrich Ernst is the President of the Board and the Chief Operating Executive of Blackstone Resources AG. The company's mining routes were established in 1995 and, since 2014, the company has been operated as Blackstone Resources AG, Baar, Switzerland. (HP www.blackstoneresources.ch) In July 2018 Blackstone Resources became public at the Swiss Stock Exchange SIX Zürich symbol BLS, at STU, FR, BEB with the symbol 4BR. Ernst has created a company that is not dependent on the battery technology that wins out. The mix of metals used in batteries may well change in the years ahead, but with the growth in demand as the world electrifies it is certainly the case that provided the portfolio of battery metal is diversified, the final mix doesn't matter.
Ernst believes that investing in the raw materials required to deliver electrification matters more than investing in manufactures producing the cars. Blackstone resources are investing in the whole cycle of metals (cobalt, lithium, nickel, manganese and molybdenum) and graphite, the exploration and extraction, refining and electrode manufacture. To Ernst, it is all about the batteries: he shares the vision that one day in the none-to-distant future all cars will run in electricity and renewable energy will become sustainable and available in abundance.
However, the company Ernst leads also realises that part of the solution is to encourage and nurture technological advances in rechargeable batteries and ensure that batteries can be cost-effectively recycled. Developing new battery technology has become part of Blackstone Resource's portfolio along with efforts to create an international standard. Through its technology research, Blackstone Resources has developed an international battery code system that identifies battery metal-mix, the chemistry and technology used within various rechargeable batteries. This system is known as the Blackstone Battery Codes (BBC) system. Although initially developed for internal use to improve efficiency, in 2018 the company took the decision to make the coding system open source.
Batteries are going to be at the very core of the changes that will take place over the next few decades and as with the early automotive industry dependence on the oil industry's ability to extract oil the battery industry will depend on the extraction of the metals required to produce the batteries. It looks likely that global car production of electric cars a decade from now will be back to the levels in 1900, with a third of new cars being electric. And no one should be surprised if in just 20 years, the ratio of combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicle production has completely reversed with just one or two percent of the global total having combustion engines. Ernst is working hard to ensure that this company is set to take advantage of all such developments.
Blackstone Resources AG
Blackstone Resources is a Swiss Holding Company, with its legal domicile in Baar, Kanton Zug and is concentrating on the battery metals market as primary metals. In addition, it sets up, develops and manages refineries used for gold and battery metals. It offers direct exposure to the battery metal revolution that is being driven by the demand of electric vehicles that need vast quantities of these metals. These include cobalt, manganese, molybdenum, graphite and lithium. In addition, Blackstone Resources has started a research programme on new battery technologies and has developed the international recognized Blackstone battery code system BBC.
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