Upstart Could Overthrow Multibillion-Dollar Boron Oligopoly

Tesla CEO (NASDAQ: TSLA) Elon Musk called hydrogen cars “dumb dumb,” a criticism that iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest stems from Musk’s fear of technology, adding that the Musk’s perspective is suitable for someone who “treads a battery technology is also green when it runs on fossil fuels.”

Forrest sees no future in lithium-ion powered electric vehicles and has put his money where it is, betting to make its Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., the world’s fourth largest importer of iron ore, a clean energy giant with hydrogen vehicles as the focal point.

Indeed, Li-ion electric vehicles are much more advanced and cheaper than their hydrogen counterparts, but it is the “now” of the green vehicle industry. New technology using a combination of hydrogen and boron could pose a serious threat to Li-ion which allows hydrogen to bridge the gap at lighting speed.

Both hydrogen and boron are readily available, and research from the University of Cambridge suggests that a combination of just one gram of hydrogen-boron fuel could potentially power a car 80,000 miles.

Forget the anxiety of reach. Forget about tens of billions of dollars in charging station infrastructure.

“The boron market is already ripe for disruption and if hydrogen-boron fuel cells become a reality underscored by the brilliant work of Gérard Mourou, Donna Strickland and others, decades of growing demand will be cemented,” said Tim Daniels, CEO of Erin Ventures Inc. (TSX-Venture: EV) in a phone conversation with “This is a really exciting time for what is generally a overlooked market opportunity.”

Daniels was referring to hydrogen-boron fusion with the Chirped Pulse Amplification laser that won Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018. Applications abound for technology from vehicles to cheaper, radiation-free nuclear reactors.

Boron is an irreplaceable mineral today used in everything from healthcare and fertilizers to fighter jets (and electric vehicles powered by Li-ion). Supply is an oligopoly with Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO) and Turkish state-owned company Eti Mine Works now controlling about $ 4.0 billion in the $ 4.9 billion market.

Daniels and Erin Ventures are ready to change this dynamic. Erin controls the Piskanja boron project in Serbia, one of only three high-quality, world-class boron projects in existence today. Located south of Belgrade, Serbia, in a historic mining region, Piskanja has all the necessary infrastructure including paved roads, railroads, electricity, seasoned miners, water, and more.

An NI 43-101 report amended in February 2019 shows that the project harbors an indicated mineral resource of 7.8 million tonnes (on average 31% B2O3 (boron trioxide)) and an inferred resource of 3.4 million tonnes (on average 28.6% of B2O3).

According to the company’s historical PEA drafted by SRK in September 2014, the mine has a lifespan of several decades, with the potential to generate well over $ 100 million per year in revenue. That’s billions of dollars in revenue that should come with high margins with an estimated cost per tonne sold estimated at around $ 166 (compared to Statista’s estimate for $ 762 / tonne of boric acid in the coming years).

Erin is pushing the project forward as Serbia seeks to enter a post-covid economy, bringing in a partner to speed up the process and shoulder some of the financial burden. On April 13, the company announced that it was finalizing an agreement for the joint development of Erin’s Piskanja boron project with Temas Resource Corp. (CSE: TMAS) (OTCQB: TMASF) in which Temas has the possibility to acquire a 50% stake in Balkan Gold, the Erin unit holding the Piskanja license, by spending 10.5 million euros ( $ 12.85 million) for the development of Piskanja over a period of 36 months.

A lot can happen in three years when it comes to the hydrogen-boron fuel cell market, developments that could perfectly match the exploration work at Piskanja. Advancing the project to better demonstrate the economy and resources should attract the attention of not only investors, but also industry majors looking to carve out a slice of the oligopoly market.

About Jimmie T.

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