* Neometals considers splitting technology from mining
* Shares down nearly 20 percent in 2017
* GRAPHIC: Global electric vehicle market - tmsnrt.rs/2ppiLi3
By Zandi Shabalala
LONDON, June 15 Australian lithium miner
Neometals plans to list in New York and may spin off
its processing technology in an attempt to boost its share
value, Chief Executive Chris Reed said.
The share prices of lithium producers are volatile because
of uncertainty surrounding supply, demand and pricing as
analysts disagree over the potential size of the market for
electric vehicles, many of which use lithium batteries.
Neometals stands out from the crowd, Reed said, because it
uses a combination of chemicals to accelerate the process of
creating lithium, cutting costs.
He predicted the U.S. market, with its large contingent of
institutional investors, would value his firm's technical
"Mining is well understood in Australia. Our plan to process
our mineral concentrates into lithium battery materials and
development of new processing technologies is not," Reed told
He said Neometals was eyeing a listing under the Nasdaq
International Designation - an upgrade of its over-the-counter
offering - within the next two years.
Most operators in the lithium triangle of high-altitude
lakes and salt flats that straddles Chile, Argentina and Bolivia
rely on salt pools.
These take many months to produce lithium, although some
operators say that once the process has begun, its duration
becomes irrelevant because it creates a steady stream of lithium
Rechargeable batteries containing lithium are used in mobile
phones and electric cars, whose sales are forecast to rise
fourfold from 2015 levels to 2.5 percent of the global car
market by 2020, Wood Mackenzie consultant James Whiteside said.
Consulting group CRU expects lithium demand to grow by
around 20,000 tonnes per year over the next few years, from just
over 200,000 tonnes in 2016.
Many companies have been seeking to get into lithium,
although not all projects are delivering. Lithium bulls say it
would take only a slightly bigger takeup in electric vehicles
than many predict to result in a shortfall.
Lithium-based equities rallied over the previous two years,
but have fallen this year because of a combination of
profit-taking and fears of a supply bubble.
Neometals shares are down nearly 20 percent since the start
of the year, in line with the wider trend.
Apart from a lithium and a titanium mine, Neometals has two
processing plants and recycles batteries to recover cobalt in
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Dale Hudson)