Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lithium and REE: BMW Moves Methodically Toward Electric Cars TNR.v, CZX.v, WLC.v, LMR.v, RM.v, LI.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, AVL.to, RES.v, QUC.v, BMW, DAI,


"When Mercedes and BMW are getting serious about Electric Cars we know that we will be able to chose from reliable, stylish and elegant cars with ultimate driving experience. Time will prove that EVs from these top auto brands could deliver it as well in Electric Drive.
"
With Oil price moving above 100 USD/barrel again question about Electric Cars and their adoption rate will move from: "Do we like it?" and into "Where can we get it?" very fast."
Hybrid Cars:




Active E, an electric 1-series, is the next text platform for a BMW electric car.
One step at a time—slowly but surely—BMW is developing the knowledge and capacity to deliver a small all-electric car by 2013. In 2009, the company began leasing an electric two-passenger version of the Mini Cooper to about 600 drivers in California, New York, and New Jersey. That program was designed to help BMW learn about real-world driving and charging experiences.
Beginning in 2011, a similar number of drivers will lease BMW’s next electric test vehicle, the four-passenger ActiveE—essentially an electric-drive version of the BMW 1-series. The ActiveE will allow the company to further refine the requirements for a line of large-volume future electric cars, as part of its “Megacity” project. That name, the current working title for its 2013 small electric car, is based on the idea of targeting urban commuters in, well, megacities. Although the ActiveE will cleverly package the power electronics to allow for a decent sized trunk, the Megacity is expected to be a four-seat, three-door hatchback—similar in size to a Honda Fit.
The ActiveE puts out 125 kilowatts (170 horsepower), a similar amount of power as found on other 1-series Bimmers. The ActiveE’s 32-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack is slightly smaller than the Mini E’s. All of the vehicles apparently are targeting about 100 miles of range on a single charge—although aggressive driving and cold weather conditions have reduced the Mini E’s range by 20 or 30 miles according to multiple reports from drivers. That’s exactly the kind of information that BMW wants to gather from its test drivers. And that’s why the ActiveE will use liquid cooling to control temperature range, as a strategy to maintain driving range despite cold weather.
BMW appears to be very serious and specific about its electric car program. For example, the company yesterday announced it will use its plant in Lepzig to produce the electric vehicles. The inside story is that BMW executives believe that zero-emission electric cars, and fuel cells for that matter, are a must—that is, if the company is going to meet stricter guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s major global auto markets."

Rob McEwen, Copper and Gold in Argentina: Minera Andes sees 2011 Los Azules prefeasibility study TNR.v, MAI.to, CZX.v, GG, AUY, ABX, NGQ.to, BHP, RTP


Chinese are circling the globe in their hunt for resources, Rob McEwen drills Los Azules like a Swiss cheese - we like this combination. Resources of this impressive copper and gold deposit in Argentina will be bigger, question is how much bigger. Small junior TNR Gold squeezed in between all these players on the chess board and reminds about its rights to the part of the property, famous litigators, Xstrata, Lundin family and Chinese Togling - are all in the picture. The outcome is highly leveraged to Copper prices, success in litigation and totally uncertain at the moment, hopefully next move will bring more clarity to all involved parties. Will Rob McEwen be ready to talk to the junior or he will be sided with Xstrata? In any case aggressive exploration program brings project into the spotlight and Rob McEwen is ready to draw a number in prefeasibility as early as next year now.
We are holding a position in the company and, please, do not consider anything as an investment advise on this Blog, as usual.




"We were jealous recently with agressive attitude of Premier Gold to the exploration, now Rob McEwen puts three rigs to drill Los Azules. Objective is to define high grade core in order to further improve economics and step out drilling to increase the deposit size. When you are drilling holes in the the swiss cheese, hopefully you will find cheese. We have a good odds that deposit will be increased further in size and we will have a higher definition of its resource. TNR Gold ("The Company) fully intends on exercising its back-in right to the properties at the appropriate time." - it means that stakes are growing with the Copper price and further drilling results. Deals like Tongling with China Railway Construction Corporation acquaring copper assets in Ecuador will bring Los Azules under the spotlight. Tonling is a shareholder in Canada Zinc Metals and CZX.v is a shareholder of TNR Gold. Boardroom games around this prize promise to be interesting."




Business News Americas:








US-based Minera Andes (TSX: MAI) aims to complete a prefeasibility study for its Los Azules copper project in Argentina roughly in mid-2011, CEO Rob McEwen said.
"It is about a year and a half out. But you will have some drill results probably late [in the northern hemisphere] spring, early summer, and some updated resource numbers," McEwen told BNamericas.
Upcoming work for the study will include 30,000m of drilling, he added.
Minera Andes is looking for ways to extend the drilling season at Los Azules, which runs just December-April due to the project's altitude. Los Azules sits at 3,000m, while the two passes used to access the deposit are in excess of 4,000m.
Tactics for extending the season could include an alternative land route, building an airstrip and having contractors leave the drills on site over the winter, McEwen said.
"All those will probably be executed next year."
Los Azules holds inferred resources of 922Mt grading 0.55% copper at a 0.35% cutoff for 11.2Blb (5.08Mt) contained. At a copper price of US$2.70/lb, a previous preliminary economic assessment estimated capex of US$2.7bn, an IRR of 22% and NPV of US$2.9bn.
Minera Andes secured its 100% stake in the project last October when Xstrata (LSE: XTA) decided not to exercise its 51% back-in right.
ADDITIONAL SANTA CRUZ PROPERTIES
The company is also working on exploration further south in Santa Cruz province, where it has a 49% stake in a JV with Hochschild Mining (LSE: HOC) at the San José silver-gold mine.
"Part of the problem in the past with Minera was that it didn't have 100% of anything that was worked on. So, my objective was to secure as many assets as we could, get 100%, and we could drive our future by exploring," said the CEO.
The plan for this year is to carry out geophysical exploration followed by drilling at three properties - Telken, Martes and Celestina.
"Around Telken, we're just looking for structure and mineralization similar to what we see at San José and what Andean [Resources (TSX, ASX: AND)] has found on their Eureka property. At Celestina and Martes we are looking for something like what Anglo[Gold Ashanti (NYSE: AU)] has at their Cerro Vanguardia property."
McEwen became CEO of Minera Andes in June 2009."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

EVs mass market: Avis To Offer Cars With Cords TNR.v, CZX.v, WLC.v, RM.v, LMR.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, AVL.v, RES.v, QUC.v, HEV, AONE, NSANY, RNO, BYDDY, F,


Commercial fleets will be the way to mass market of EVs - with volume cost of lithium batteries will go down and it will lead to mass adoption.
"Ideal market situation for the new disruptive technology to create a life time investing opportunity is when Demand for product or service is already there and you are able to deliver it in a new way, which will be more appealing to Existing consumers of this product or service. You have a dramatic shift in consumer preference and are gaining a market share in a tidal wave fashion by shifting consumers from existing providers to the new product or service place. You do not have to teach the market and prove that they need this product - you just need to prove that the new technology you are putting in place is viable to deliver the Better Experience."
Autopia:



Avis is following Hertz into the EV arena, promising to offer Renault electric cars to customers in Europe next year. The deal announced today means Renault-Nissan will have cars with cords in rental fleets on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Avis is an important long-term partner for Renault, so we are thrilled to be able to expand our offering with the company to include electric vehicles,” Uwe Hochgeschurtz, senior VP of corporate sales at Renault, said in a statement. “We are confident that the partnership will play an important role in enabling customers to experience the new technology and learn about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, which are sure to become a significant alternative for car travel in the future.”
Earlier this month Hertz said it would add the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle to selected fleets in the United States and Europe next year. Renault owns Nissan, and company CEO Carlos Ghosn is among the loudest EV advocates. Renault will roll out four EV models in the coming years beginning in 2011 with the Fluence Z.E. (”Zero Emission”) sedan (pictured) and the Kangoo Express Z.E., a small delivery vehicle.
Those cars are conversions of existing internal combustion cars. Renault also is designing to EV-specific vehicles, one based upon the Twizy Z.E. concept and the other a riff on the Zoe concept that has so many French parents in a lather."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lithium and REE: Ministers spark electric car revolution in London TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.v, RM.v, WLC.v, LI.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, AONE, HEV, VLNC, PC, SNE,


Is it the response we are waiting for from the West to Chinese expansion in Electric Cars space? Will action in the market place for strategic commodities like Lithium and REE to follow? Will Chinese and Japanese companies finance the Green Mobility revolution for the West or will they hold the keys to the technologies of the future?
"While U.S. spend billions to protect oil communication lines all over the world, China is moving fast into post oil environment dramatically cutting cost of it manufacturing base. China understands that low wage cost advantage will have to give up with time - they need to keep work force happy, but transition in Energy Space will bring China Energy Security, undermine U.S. military machine focused on Oil routes ocean domination and will bring another economic advantage in the form of much lower transportation cost. Nuclear Power developments in China support our point of view. What will be the response from Obama? We all have counted on the banks Too Big to Fail - they have failed and financial system is still in rubbles, now some are counting on "they will lose more if they sell" - is it another Big If in the making? Who can be sure?"


London Evening Standard:
25.02.10

Ministers today committed millions of pounds to bringing about an electric car revolution in London.
Motorists will get grants of up to £5,000 to buy electric, hybrid or other ultra-clean vehicles.
Nearly 7,500 recharging points will also be installed around the capital over three years — 1,600 within 12 months.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said: “Decarbonising transport isn't an aspiration — it's a reality. By this time next year, cutting-edge motorists will be on the roads with these next generation cars they've purchased because of our help.”
Mayor Boris Johnson said he wanted London to become the motoring “electric capital of Europe”, with 25,000 recharging points by 2015. This would mean all Londoners would be within a mile of a recharging station.
The Government today allocated nearly £5.5 million for 2010/11 towards a three-year £29 million project led by Transport for London to get people in the capital to opt for electric cars.
Mr Johnson said: “I am absolutely thrilled the Government has recognised the collective commitment to electric vehicle use in the capital.
“We will now be able to speed up plans for the introduction of electric vehicle infrastructure, sealing London's status as the electric capital of Europe.”
Motorists will be able to apply for the grants of up to £5,000 from next year, from a national £230 million fund, to subsidise a quarter of the cost of an electric car, a hybrid with CO2 emissions of below 75g/km or a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. They will be paid to the manufacturer."

Gold and Copper in Africa: Sunridge Gold Expands Mineralization at the Debarwa Deposit, Asmara Project, Eritrea SGC.v, NGQ.to, NSU.to, GG, ABX, FCX,


Stock now is building the base still under fear over UN sanctions.

"Nevsun Resources Ltd. ("Nevsun") is pleased to advise that it has arranged a non-brokered private placement financing of 52,000,000 common shares at Cdn $2.25 per share for Cdn$117 million (US$110 million).
It is a very encouraging news for Eritrea - after UN sanctions all Juniors involved in the counter were under pressure. In a long perspective it will be very positive development for Sunridge Gold SGC.v and new parent company of former Sanu Resources SNU.v - Lukas Lunding global exploration play NGeX Resources NGQ.to which is now trading below recent financing, when Lukas Lundin has increased his holding in the company."




"Sunridge Gold Corp. (SGC-TSX-V) is a junior company that has successfully defined four independently estimated 43-101 mineral deposits on the Asmara Project, Eritrea in East Africa. A positive scoping study on the large Emba Derho copper-zinc-gold deposit was completed in June 2009.The four deposits have total indicated 43-101-resources containing:
1.28 billion pounds. of copper,
2.5 billion pounds of zinc,
1.05 million ounces of gold, and
31.2 million ounces of silver Sunridge recently entered into a strategic partnership with Antofagasta Minerals S.A. whereby Antofagasta has agreed to fund US $10,000,000.in exploration work on areas of the Asmara Project and has become the Company's largest shareholder through a US $5.0 million private placement.
Management: Sunridge is managed by an experienced team with a successful track record of discovery and development of precious and base metals projects with companies such as Bema Gold and Nevsun Resources.
"
We have not seen these kind of Copper grades for a while from our time with Tenke Mining in Congo. Results are very encouraging and stock is trading still on fears about UN sanctions. Nevsun Resources proceeds with its project and now is fully financed - it will be the catalyst to Sunridge Gold reavaluation. Here we have an another example of political risk vs technical one.
Thu Feb 25, 2010
Sunridge Gold Corp. (SGC/TSX.V) is pleased to report that results from the recently completed thirty-five drill holes at the 100% Sunridge owned Debarwa copper-gold-zinc volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) project has expanded the envelope of mineralization both down dip and along strike to the south. Additionally, a new eastern limb to the Debarwa deposit has been discovered and the drilling has demonstrated that the Debarwa deposit remains open in several areas. Debarwa Highlights:
Results from drill holes DEBD-092, DEBD-095 and DEBD-113 show the high-grade copper supergene intercept to be significantly wider than predicted and drill hole DEBD-095 extended this zone about 20 metres further down-dip.
Drill holes DEBD-093, DEBD-094 and DEBD-121 successfully intercepted high-grade copper supergene mineralization in the Debarwa South zone located approximately 400 metres south of the main Debarwa zone.
Drill holes DEBD-098 and DEBD-103 intercepted a previously unknown limb located 100 to 200 metres to the east of the main Debarwa deposit.
Drill holes DEBD-100, 108, 110, 111, 112, 118, and 119 expanded the primary mineralization to depth which remains open to depth.
Drill holes DEBD-122 and DEBD-123 extended the strike length of the Debarwa deposit by approximately 200 metres beyond any previous drilling to the south and the zone remains open to the south. See map at the end of this document. Debarwa Assay Highlights:
DEBD-092: 36.75 metres grading 4.82% copper and 1.12 g/t gold, including 15.67 metres grading 10.21% copper and 2.01 g/t gold
DEBD-093: 24.00 metres grading 1.13% copper
DEBD-094: 26.15 metres grading 3.77% copper including 14.15 metres grading 6.26% copper
DEBD-095: 7.62 metres grading 4.62% copper
DEBD-111: 4 metres grading 1.09% copper, 9.33% zinc and 2.72 g/t gold
DEBD-112: 11.16 metres grading 1.15% copper, 2.82% zinc and 2.48 g/t gold.
DEBD-113: 6.7 metres grading 13.42% copper, 2.63 g/t gold, and 49.21 g/t silver.
DEBD-114: 9.40 metres grading 2.11% copper, 1.91 g/t gold, and 142.77 g/t silver.
DEBD-121: 7.50 metres grading 3.33% copper.
Michael Hopley, President and CEO of Sunridge comments that "The drilling results from Debarwa are very encouraging and they will undoubtedly increase the existing resources which should have a very positive influence on the scoping study that we plan to start next month".
In the existing resource at Debarwa the copper supergene zone has an average grade of 5.36% copper using a 1% copper cut-off, and is estimated to contain 158 million pounds of copper in the Indicated category. The primary zone at Debarwa has not had significant delineation drilling in previous programs and is open for expansion at depth and along strike. The primary zone has an average grade of 2.53% copper with 3.23% zinc in the Indicated category using a 1% copper cut-off. (see the resource statement below).
DAERO PAULUS UPDATE:The drill program at Daero Paulus copper target funded by Antofagasta Minerals S.A. is continuing and the current phase is expected to be completed in a few weeks. To date, approximately 2,000 metres in 6 drill holes have been completed and results are expected in 6 weeks.
NOTES:
A Quality Assurance/Quality Control program was part of the drilling program on the Debarwa deposit. This program includes chain of custody protocols as well as systematic submittals of standards, duplicates and blank samples into the flow of samples produced by the drilling.
Samples from the drilling were prepared at African Horn Testing Services (Eritrea) and analyzed at Genalysis Laboratories (a NATA registered laboratory) in Perth, Western Australia and also at ALS Chemex Laboratories in Romania.
True thickness is estimated at approximately 90% of the drill intervals reported in the table above.
The assay results from the Debarwa drilling have been reviewed by Michael J. Hopley the Qualified Person for Sunridge. Mr. Hopley is also the person responsible for preparation of the technical information contained in this news release and is President and Chief Executive Officer of Sunridge.
ABOUT SUNRIDGE:
Sunridge is a mineral exploration and development company focused on the acquisition, exploration, discovery and development of base and precious metal projects on the Asmara Project in Eritrea and exploration properties in Madagascar. Sunridge has approximately 76 million shares outstanding and approximately $6.5 million in cash. Sunridge trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol SGC. For additional information on the Company and its projects please view the slide show on our website at www.sunridgegold.com or call Don Halliday or Greg Davis at the numbers listed below.SUNRIDGE GOLD CORP."Michael Hopley" Michael Hopley, President and Chief Executive Officer

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lithium the Next Big Thing for China Investments TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.v, RM.v, WLC.v, LI.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, FXI, BYDDY, NSANY, F, DAI, BMW, RNO, HEV, AONE

Chinese oil consumption.



"While U.S. spend billions to protect oil communication lines all over the world, China is moving fast into post oil environment dramatically cutting cost of it manufacturing base. China understands that low wage cost advantage will have to give up with time - they need to keep work force happy, but transition in Energy Space will bring China Energy Security, undermine U.S. military machine focused on Oil routes ocean domination and will bring another economic advantage in the form of much lower transportation cost. Nuclear Power developments in China support our point of view. What will be the response from Obama? We all have counted on the banks Too Big to Fail - they have failed and financial system is still in rubbles, now some are counting on "they will lose more if they sell" - is it another Big If in the making? Who can be sure?"



Chinese oil consumption growth from 1965



"Now we have few deals in place showing that automakers will go to secure their own supply chain of strategic commodities: Lithium and REE.
Canada Lithium - off take option with Mitsui.
Lithium Americas - investment from Magna.
Orocobre - J/V deal with Toyota Tsusho.
Galaxy - off take deal with Mitsubishi.
From the investment point of view, ability to pinpoint new Junior candidate for strategic J/V with one the End Users will be a game changer for Lithium portfolio performance.
"


So far Chinese companies were very active in Australia and Japanese are leading the pack in South Americas with a number of announced J/V deals in the last couple of months. We can hardly call it an expansion in case of Chinese Tongling investment in Canada Zinc Metals and that company holds a strategic stake in TNR Gold with International Lithium.


TNR Gold is apparently actively seeking strategic partners and in talks with a number of potential players in Lithium sector according to CEO interview. It will be interesting to see whether it will be again Japanese companies or Chinese will use their advance in this case.


Report highlights new opportunities for Lithium sector with Chinese expansion to follow after decision to concentrate on development of Electric Cars in China on a mass industrial scale.



China Briefing:




Feb 24 – China’s long had a relationship with Latin America, and with the South American continent holding 75 percent of the global lithium reserves, global players are piling in to negotiate supplies of the metal.
With China positioned as the global manufacturing hub for computers, and starting to pull away in the technology race to find viable light weight batteries, lithium – used in batteries and in hybrid vehicles – is poised to become the next oil as a commodity. Usage is expected to double by 2020.



from SinoLatin Capital outlines why lithium is important and its future trends and how they relate to Chinese manufacturers and the government’s positioning to source this material for the 21st century."

Jay Taylor: In our Sights - Interview with CEO of TNR Gold and International Lithium TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.v, RM.v, WLC.v, LI.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, NSANY,


"TNR Gold Corp. is employing the project generator model. For those of you who may not know what a project generator model is, a word of explanation is in order. “Project generators” are companies that pick up early stage exploration ground when there are historical or scientific reasons to believe a property is prospective for a given mineral. Because these properties are obtained at an early stage of development, the cost of obtaining them is very low.As a project generator, TNR then uses its intellectual capital rather than hard currency capital to add value to its shareholders. By carrying out relatively low cost early exploration work, it demonstrates with greater confidence, the potential for a given property to host an economically viable mineral deposit. At that point in time, TNR hopes to bring in other companies that are willing and able to spend considerably more money to explore and advance those prospects toward production. TNR will generally retain a carried interest in those prospects into the future or at least a Net Smelter Return on any future production from the property. The prospect generator model is in theory a less risky model because, if other companies are spending considerable amounts of money, they can reduce the number of shares issued to raise capital."





JAY's Watch List has issued a News Letter with update and Interview with CEO of TNR Gold and International Lithium.


Gary Schellenberg has stressed out one more time TNR Gold business model as a project generation company and that it is actively positioning itself for potential strategic partnerships:

"From the conference and our own efforts we are aware of several groups worldwide with significant interests in lithium and have engaged in discussions."

With recent developments in Argentina we have a confirmation for desire of automakers and their trading partners to secure lithium supply on their own and developments in Australia has brought a new potential to Lithium hard rock mining in Canada and Ireland for International Lithium.
We can expect aggressive development in Argentina on Mariana after few rounds of sampling with drilling to follow soon.


We have a position in this company, please, do not consider anything as an investment advise as usual on this blog.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Investors rush into rare earth element mining TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.v, RM.v, WLC.v, LI.v, AVL.to, RES.v, QUC.v, HAO.v, ABN.v, TGE.v, HEV, AONE, NSANY,


"BERLIN, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The next resource conflict could be about minerals and rare earth elements needed to fuel the green economy, as China, which supplies most of the minerals, is considering limiting exports."

CBC NEWS:
Mining
Rare earth elements




Quebec, Ontario have most to gain from entering booming industry
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 3:49 PM ET By Dave Simms, CBC News
Investors are scrambling to cash in on a new mining boom, one that might end up creating a new industry in Canada.
The rush is on to find deposits of rare earth elements (REEs), critical components of materials used in the defence, electronics and other key industries.

REEs comprise 16 chemical elements uniquely able to retain their physical properties at high temperatures. China is by far the world's dominant producer but has served notice it plans to conserve supplies for its own use.
"There are absolutely no substitutes for the rare metals that are used in (the missile) guidance systems and hybrid batteries that are used in defence applications," Quest Uranium Corporation CEO Peter Cashin told CBC News.
REEs are used for everything from nickel metal hydride batteries in hybrid cars to fibre-optic telecom cables, military hardware, solar panels, wind turbines, compact fluorescent lighting, mobile phones, computers, the manufacturing of super conductors and high energy magnets and petroleum refining.
Demand to soar
Demand in the West for REEs is set to explode, not only because of China's move but also as demand grows for these products. The Industrial Minerals Company of Australia has predicted global demand will grow from about 112,000 tonnes in 2008 to approximately 180,000 tonnes by 2015, a 60 per cent increase.
"I think [the demand growth prospects are] very promising," said Glen Jones, Intierra.com's executive director responsible for the Western Hemisphere.
Intierra monitors global exploration and mining on a daily basis and offers online subscriptions to its detailed data bases to clients like Barrick, Newmont, Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Cameco and Standard Bank.
Currently, China controls between 95 and 97 per cent of world REEs production. But its announcement in September, Jones said, "caused a bit of panic" for customers outside China, who now question where the supply will come from.Toronto-based mining company Quest Uranium Corporation is exploring for REEs at Strange Lake, Que. (Quest Uranium Corporation)
That's one reason why Toronto-based Quest Uranium's share price has soared recently to almost $3 from five cents when it first listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in January 2008. Quest is exploring two deposits in northeast Quebec near the border with Labrador. The site is 125 kilometers west of the Voiseys Bay nickel-copper-cobalt deposit currently being mined by Vale.
REEs aren't actually that rare and, in fact, are as common as nickel or tin. The name refers to the fact they aren't often concentrated in deposits that are profitable to develop.
Canada is three decades behind China in developing the rare earth industry, Jones said, because 30 years ago, China saw the potential and dramatically increased production.
"This caused a steep decline in commodity price and effectively killed off any competition," he explained. "So that's why they've had this monopoly. It hasn't been economical for anybody else to explore."



African Aura Mining Inc., Altius Minerals Corporation, Argus Metals Corp., Arianne Resources Inc., Aurizon Mines Ltd., Avalon Rare Metals Inc., Azimut Exploration Inc., Benton Resources Corp., Big Red Diamond Corporation, Canadian Orebodies Inc., CanAlaska Uranium Ltd., Capella Resources Ltd., Commerce Resources Corp., Consolidated Abaddon Resources Inc., Cornerstone Capital Resources Inc., Cream Minerals Limited , Eagle Plains Resources Ltd., Etruscan Resources Inc., Fieldex Exploration Inc., First Lithium Resources Inc., Forum Uranium Corp., Galahad Metals Inc., Globex Mining Enterprises Inc., Gold Canyon Resources Inc., Golden Dory Resources Corp., Goldstake Explorations Inc., Great Western Minerals Group Limited, Hinterland Metals Inc., Hudson Resources Inc., International Montoro Resources Inc., JNR Resources Inc., Jourdan Resources Inc., Kings Bay Gold Corporation, Kirrin Resources Inc., Mainstream Minerals Corporation, Matamec Explorations Inc., Mawson Resources Limited, Medallion Resources Ltd., Midland Exploration Inc., Niogold Mining Corp., Nortec Minerals Corp., Nuinsco Resources Limited, Otish Energy Inc., Paget Minerals Corporation, Pele Mountain Resources Inc., Playfair Mining Ltd., Pure Nickel Inc., Quest Uranium Corporation, Rare Earth Metals Inc., Rare Element Resources Limited, Red Hill Energy Inc., Rock Tech Resources Inc., Rubicon Minerals Corporation, Silver Fields Resources Inc., Slam Exploration Ltd., Sparton Resources Inc., Stans Energy Corp., Stelmine Canada Ltd., Stratabound Minerals Corp., Strategic Resources Inc., Tasman Metals Ltd., Threegold Resources Inc., TNR Gold Corp., Torch River Resources Ltd., True North Gems Inc., Ucore Uranium Inc., URSA Major Minerals Incorporated, Victoria Gold Corp., VMS Ventures Inc., Waterloo Resources Ltd., Western Troy Capital Resources Inc., and Yankee Hat Minerals Ltd.


That has created an exploration rush that could become an opportunity for Canadian mining companies.
"Canada's definitely going to benefit," predicted Jones.
"Canada has really been blessed with great geology," he said. Canada has 109 — or 56 per cent — of the potential deposits outside of China. Quebec, with 41 exploration projects, and Ontario, with 28, have the best potential, but there are possible targets in other provinces and territories, too.
There's no production in Canada yet, but three exploration projects have been able to identify reserves at Nechalacho Lake in N.W.T., Strange Lake in Quebec, and Hoidas Lake in Saskatchewan. Alberta and P.E.I. are the only provinces where companies are not yet active.
Investor interest growing
"There's a huge amount of investor interest given the opportunity to invest in the early stages when the rewards can be substantial," said Jones.
Quest has two projects at Strange Lake. Initial results from its exploration hold promise, but there are still challenges. Among them is negotiating a partnership with a larger company with a facility to process the ore into concentrate. Cashin said Quest has "just started" trying to find a potential partner.
Jones has watched investor interest in REEs grow. To address that, he used Intierra's database in advance of a speech he was to give at a mining investment conference in Vancouver in January to come up with a list of 72 Canadian companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture market with potential REE properties. (See sidebar.)
Jones said his aim was to compile a list for investors, but he's not recommending any of them. He emphasized investors must do their own due diligence.
Small resource companies are high risk. Their projects might turn out not to be profitable, and in times of market turmoil, investors might find they can't sell their shares at any price. Also, because they are small, they may be less able to weather downturns in their industry or the wider economy.
Jones put together the list because "without a database like ours, it would take weeks or months" for small investors to put their own together.
When researching companies, Jones suggests investors ask themselves whether firms have:
Enough cash to carry out their exploration and development programs.
Management with the necessary skills and experience with rare earth elements.
A coherent plan to develop reserves should they find them.
Despite all the risks, Cashin, who has been in the resources business for more than 30 years, says "it's very exciting" to be in on the first stages of what is essentially a new industry.
"I've never seen this kind of development in the resource area before," he said."

Lithium and REE: The world's next resource conflict TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.V, RM.v, WLC.v, LI.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, AVL.v, RES.v, QUC.v, HEV, AONE, NSANY, BYDD




"James Dines called it "The One Best Area to Buy Now", John Kaiser worried about "Security of Supply in a Changing World" and Jack Lifton reported on "In 2010 What will be the Best Plays in Rare Earths for Small Investors As Well As Large". Reasons sighted are the same as we have discussed before here:
China controls more then 97% of the market now.
By 2014 China will consume
everything that will be produced in REE space.
All other REE metrics like 36 kg of REE in every Prius and 300kg of Rare Earth magnets per 1 mW of Wind Tubines"





The world's next resource conflict
Published: Feb. 22, 2010 at 4:05 PM



By STEFAN NICOLA, UPI Europe Correspondent




BERLIN, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The next resource conflict could be about minerals and rare earth elements needed to fuel the green economy, as China, which supplies most of the minerals, is considering limiting exports.
There is great hope for a green boom to transform the CO2-heavy world economy into one that is less dependent on fossil fuels and more sustainable. Experts envision solar panels and wind turbines to produce clean power and heat and electric cars to cruise tomorrow's roads.
The problem with these technologies is that they rely on minerals and rare earth elements, or REEs, which are produced by politically unpredictable countries, including China.
The market for REEs -- needed for hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar panels and defense industry products such as missiles and radar systems -- has tripled in size over the past decade. Experts say the market will further grow, from 125,000 tons produced per year today to 200,000 tons in 2014.
When it comes to REEs, China is the new kid on the block. In charge of more than half the global reservoirs, China supplies around 95 percent of the world's REEs.
This worries experts: A single mine in Mongolia accounts for 80 percent of China's production, so an earthquake or a flood in that region could severely disrupt global supplies.
And don't forget a political earthquake. Recently, Beijing indicated it plans to reduce exports of its minerals in a bid to save supplies for domestic use.
China has a quickly growing green technology industry and its solar panels and wind turbines are already competing with products from Europe and the United States, so they increasingly need the REEs themselves.
The situation is similarly dire for lithium, which forms the basis of the batteries intended to power the electric car boom. According to the Hyundai Research Institute, 80 percent of the world's lithium reserves are buried under just three countries.
Gal Luft, the executive director of Washington's Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, said politicians in the United States and Europe need to diversify mineral imports and make sure that lithium and REEs are recycled and stockpiled.
"If ignored, this issue could lead to significant energy security problems down the road," he told United Press International in a telephone interview Monday.
Most of the lithium is mined in Chile, Argentina and China and sold by only a handful of companies. Bolivia, led by the Anti-American President Evo Morales, recently discovered that one of its decommissioned salt mines harbored giant reserves of lithium and is using this find to attract huge foreign investments. South Korea has already bought into the mine, and China, France and Japan are trying to grab a piece of the pie.
The United States used to produce its own lithium and REEs, but most of the domestic mines have closed because mines in Latin America and China are able to operate much cheaper.
Luft said Washington needed to provide incentives for the mines to start digging again.
"When you factor in energy security, it's clear that you have to accept a premium to become more resource independent," he said. When it comes to REEs, it's key to increase output of the right kind, Luft said.
A boom element is neodymium, of which between 1 ton and 2 tons are included in a large-size wind turbine.
The global production stands at 17,000 tons per year, and many other industries also use neodymium -- so it's clear that much more of the element is needed in the future.
"It's a crucial and urgent issue, and politicians need to act quickly," Luft said. "Because it will take 10 years with for project to get the material out of the ground and into the market."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Electric Cars: BMW Megacity Vehicle, Built in Leipzig from 2013 TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.v, LI.v, RM.v, WLC.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, AVL.v, RES.v, HEV, BMW, AONE, F


When Mercedes and BMW are getting serious about Electric Cars we know that we will be able to chose from reliable, stylish and elegant cars with ultimate driving experience. Time will prove that EVs from these top auto brands could deliver it as well in Electric Drive.
"With Oil price moving above 100 USD/barrel again question about Electric Cars and their adoption rate will move from: "Do we like it?" and into "Where can we get it?" very fast."

autoevolution:



STORY HIGHLIGHTS:
BMW's Megacity vehicle to be built in Leipzig
Production will start in 2013
The EV drive train of the car was previewed on the ActivE

Following several months of absence from the public eye, German carmaker's BMW Megacity Vehicle is again under the spotlight. A report in German magazine Automobile Woche, cited by BMWblog, says the new car, created by the infamous Project i branch, will be built starting 2013 in BMW's facility in Leipzig.The vehicle, part of a new, third sub-brand owned by BMW (probably named i-Setta), will be offered by the carmaker with a choice of several engines, ranging from regular, yet small displacement gasoline engines to all electric choices. A preview of the electric powertrain to be featured on the Megacity is the current ActivE vehicle. Powered by a new synchronous electric motor, the car develops 170 bhp and a maximum torque of 250 Nm of torque from a standstill. The manufacturer estimates a naught to 62 acceleration time of 9 seconds or less and an electronically limited top speed of around 145 km/h (90 mph). The most important feature of the EV, its range, is estimated to sit at around 160 km / 100 miles on a single charge.The electricity is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack developed together with SB LiMotive, whose performances are optimized by the use of a new stable temperature regulation function."The drive components used in the BMW Concept ActiveE have been developed as part of project i. The objectives on which this is based are derived from the requirements for the serial production development of a Megacity Vehicle," BMW said when the ActivE was presented last December."

Canada Zinc Metals - Chinese Infrastructure Play on development of Zinc resources in Canada CZX.v, TNR.v, HUD.to, LUN.to, FCX, BHP, RTP, FXI,


Stock is building the base with a Double Bottom reversal from recent downtrend. FED's discount rate hike is a serious blow to Deflationist camp, ones Inflation will be on investment agenda again, plays like CZX.v will be in fashion. Recent buying opportunity must be another Chinese trick to buy assets on the cheap side. This stock represents an opportunity to invest in Chinese Infrastructure via Zinc resource development in Canada. Who will be the final suitor of Akie Chinese Tongling or Lundin Mining? "Strategic investment" in TNR Gold with its upcoming focused Lithium play - International Lithium Corp. adds some spice to the picture with solid resource base in the stable mining environment.
"Canada Zinc Metals CZX.v will be another example of Chinese expansion into Canada.Canadian Juniors will be the most exited public with all recent developments, interesting to note, that sector is building reversal which is more aggressive than USD and Gold pace of changing direction - we have a bullish candle and Free White Soldiers, bullish reversal will be confirmed with crossing MA50."



We are not alone in our thinking:


"CZX highlighted by Salman Partners
Please find below, for your information, excerpts from the February 18, 2010 “Metals Morning Note” issued by Salman Partners of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

"...the Western world’s demand for zinc is recovering nicely from recent lows."
"...the market is taking account of the following:
(a) zinc consumption has been growing in the Western world (and, we believe, is set to grow at about 1.9% per annum);
(b) zinc consumption has been growing at 24% per annum in China and is set to continue to grow, even if at lower rates;
(c) a long-term shortage of zinc-mining capacity in the Western world should begin in 2011;
(d) China may be bumping up against a ceiling in terms of its ability to smelt and refine zinc;"
The commentary goes on to highlight Canada Zinc Metals Corp., with its properties in British Columbia, Canada, as a play on the development of zinc resources.
TSX.V: CZX; Frankfurt: A0F7E1
About Canada Zinc Metals Corp.

Canada Zinc Metals is a mineral exploration company focused on unlocking the potential of a future long life mining district in British Columbia, Canada. The Company is the dominant land holder in a world class mineral belt called the Kechika Trough which hosts in excess of 80 million tonnes of base metal resources. Canada Zinc Metals owns a total of 78,526 hectares in 233 claims which extend northwestward from the Akie property for a distance of 125 km.

The Company has filed a NI 43-101 report supporting the estimated inferred resource of 23.6 million tonnes grading 7.6% Zn, 1.5% Pb and 13.0 g/t Ag (at a 5% Zn cut off grade) at its flagship Akie property. Using this estimate, the deposit contains 3.95 billion pounds of zinc, 780 million pounds of lead and 8.95 million ounces of silver. The deposit remains open in all directions.

Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group and Lundin Mining are significant shareholders of the Company."








Vancouver, British Columbia CANADA, Feb 22, 2010 (Filing Services Canada via COMTEX) --
Canada Zinc Metals Corp. ( CZX Quote Chart News PowerRating - TSX Venture), (the "Company") is pleased to announce that it is currently in the midst of planning the 2010 exploration program for its flagship 100% owned Akie Property, located in northeastern British Columbia. In general terms, the work being planned will comprise up to 5,000 meters of diamond drilling to test the possible extension of the Cardiac Creek Deposit to the northwest and to further explore the highly prospective North Lead Anomaly; and to continue environmental, geotechnical and archaeological studies which will elevate the project towards advanced exploration status (that may include advanced underground drilling and sampling activities) in 2011.
Additional details of the exploration plan, including estimated budget, will be announced once the program is finalized.
"We are very excited to be putting together plans for the 2010 exploration program at Akie," stated Mr. Peeyush Varshney, President and CEO of Canada Zinc Metals. "We look forward to once again aggressively moving the project forward."
Significant shareholders of the Company include Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holdings Co. Ltd and Lundin Mining Corporation.
About the Akie and Kechika Regional Properties
The Akie zinc-lead property is situated within the southern-most part (Kechika Trough) of the regionally extensive Paleozoic Selwyn Basin, one of the most prolific sedimentary basins in the world for the occurrence of SEDEX zinc-lead-silver and stratiform barite deposits.
Drilling on the Akie property by Inmet Mining Corporation during the period 1994 to 1996 and by Canada Zinc Metals since 2005 has identified a significant body of baritic zinc-lead SEDEX mineralization (Cardiac Creek deposit). The deposit is hosted by variably siliceous, fine grained clastic rocks of the Middle to Late Devonian 'Gunsteel' formation. The Company has outlined a NI 43-101 compliant inferred resource of 23.6 million tonnes grading 7.6% zinc, 1.5% lead and 13.0 g/t silver (at a 5% zinc cut off grade).
Two similar deposits, Cirque and Cirque South Cirque, located some 20 km northwest of Akie and owned under a joint venture by Teck Resources and Korea Zinc, are also hosted by Gunsteel rocks and have a combined geologic inventory in excess of 50 million tonnes (not 43-101 compliant) grading approximately 10% combined zinc + lead.
In addition to the Akie property, Canada Zinc Metals Corp. controls a large contiguous group of claims which comprise the Kechika Regional project. These claims are underlain by geology identical to that on the Akie property (Cardiac Creek deposit) and Cirque. This project includes the 100% owned Mt. Alcock property, which has yielded a historic drill intercept of 8.8 metres grading 9.3% zinc+lead, numerous zinc-lead-barite occurrences, and several regional base metal anomalies.
All of the company's claims (77,889 Ha), with the exception of a small isolated block (2,293 Ha), are in good standing, under the provisions of the Mineral Tenure Act of British Columbia, until December 8, 2018.
The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this press release.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CANADA ZINC METALS CORP.
"PEEYUSH VARSHNEY"

Gold in Canada: Goldstone Reports Best Intercept To-Date From Deep Drilling at Hardrock Project GRC.to, PG.to, GG, ABX, GDX, HUI, XAU, NEM, AUY, FCX,


With this kind of interceptions 5.37 g/t (0.16 oz/t) gold across 57.1m (187.3 feet), even management's games around the new shaping Gold Deposit at Hardrock can not ruin the development - they can provide only buying opportunity, like we had couple of weeks ago. It even looked at one point that Premier Gold will be able to snap both newly combined companies for the price of Roxmark Mines last Fall alone. Management of Roxmark Mines was never the strong hand in the game...apart the fact that they brought Premier Gold as an operator. Game has changed overnight, Roxmark Mines was one of the top stocks with its performance last year and will, hopefully, do the same trick this season with resource estimations scheduled in the Q1 2010.










"We are interested in Hardrock property shaping into a gold deposit with very impressive intersections. We wish our Lithium plays have a partner like Premier Gold. 43-101 resource estimation was promised before by the end 2009, now we have another indication of Q1 2010. We are expecting deposit to be larger then 2 mil OZ Gold inferred resources. Any surprise to the upside will provide further revaluation in Goldstone Resources Inc. GRC.to holding 30% of the property."









Goldstone Reports Best Intercept To-Date From Deep Drilling at Hardrock Project
5.37 g/t (0.16 oz/t) gold across 57.1m (187.3 feet)


Press Release Source: Goldstone Resources Inc. On Monday February 22, 2010, 11:33 am EST
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2010) - Goldstone Resources Inc. (TSX:GRC - News; PINK SHEETS:GRSZF - News) today announced that deep step-out drilling at the Hardrock Project, including the deepest hole ever drilled to test the North Zone horizon, has returned multiple zones of gold mineralization including the best intercept drilled to date.
The Hardrock Project is a joint venture with Premier Gold Mines Limited (TSX:PG - News) as operator in which Goldstone holds a 30% carried interest. Drilling there continues to define high-grade gold within several sub-zones within the main North Zone below the bottom level which was historically mined.
Drill Hole MM092, representing the initial hole from which additional wedge holes will be drilled, and hole MM092A (the first wedge hole) have intersected multiple lenses of gold mineralization. Combined the three zones assayed 5.37 grams per tonne gold (g/t Au) across 57.1 metres (m) or 0.16 oz/ton across 187.3 feet, with sub-zone intervals that include 7.79 g/t Au (0.23 oz/ton) across 13.9 m (45.6 feet), 8.92 g/t Au (0.26 oz/ton) across 6.0 m (19.7 feet) and 7.56 g/t Au (0.22 oz/ton) across 16.0 m (52.5 feet). MM092A intersected multiple zones including 7.59 g/t Au (0.22 oz/ton) across 23.3 m (76.4 feet) with a higher grade interval of 11.36 g/t Au (0.33 oz/ton) across 9.4 m (30.8 feet). This drilling tested the North Zone deeper and along strike from initial deep drilling that returned multiple high-grade intersections that include 39.20 g/t Au across 4.8 m, 8.41 g/t Au across 22.9 m and 10.05 g/t Au across 24.2 m, further confirming that the North Zone is wide open for expansion at depth.
"We are pleased with continuing excellent results at the Hardrock Project," said J. Patrick Sheridan, Goldstone Chief Executive Officer. "They are a strong evidence to support our longstanding belief that the Beardmore-Geraldton camp is underexplored."
The first seven holes drilled by Premier to test the down-dip potential of the mined portion of the North Zone have all intersected multiple zones of gold mineralization up to 125 metres below the bottom mine level and are profiled on longitudinal section in Figure 1.
To view Figure 1, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/hardrockprojectFig1.pdf
The North Zone was previously mined to a depth of 616 metres (2,022 feet) with production of three (3) million tons at a recovered grade of 0.22 oz/ton (7.54g/t Au). The North Zone had been mined along a total plunge length of one kilometre (km) and mineralization has now been extended another 250 m along that plunge below the bottom of the McLeod Mine. For comparison, the F Zone is also open at depth and is indicated in mining and historic underground drilling for over 3.5 km along its plunge
Table 1 summarizes the gold intercepts in holes MM092 and 92A in addition to previously announced results from the first section drilled some 50 metres to the east:















Four drills are currently active at Hardrock, testing both open pit and underground type targets. Several potential open pit zones have been delineated and will be included into a NI43-101 compliant resource estimate that is expected to be completed in the near future (initial open pit resource). Drilling will continue to expand the open pit zones and delineate underground-style zones of mineralization that will be included in an updated resource at the end of the 2010 drill program.
At Hardrock, significant potential exists for developing resources in several areas including:
-- Open pit-style mineralization in the main areas, the Tenacity, EP (includes NN) and Kailey Zones. Significant results to-date include 15.97g/t Au across 32.1 m and 4.13g/t Au across 18.9 m in the Tenacity Zone, 5.2g/t Au across 37.0 m and 19.0g/t Au across 11.3 m in the EP Zone, 6.4g/t Au across 22.4 m and 52.9g/t Au across 7.9 m in the NN Zone, and 1.47 g/t Au across 162.0 m and 2.16g/t Au across 92.2 m in the Kailey Zone;



-- Underground-style mineralization in the SP Zone where drilling has returned numerous significant intercepts including 6.6g/t Au across 32.6 m and 9.7g/t Au across 11.8 m;



-- New high-grade, narrow-vein targets, including the HGN discovery where recent drilling has intersected significant visible gold with intercepts that include 1,141.5g/t Au (33.3 oz/ton) across 2.0 m and 49.8g/t Au across 6.0 m, and potentially three new recently intersected zones where assays are pending;



-- Historical (non NI 43-101 compliant) resource blocks that reside within the mine workings; and



-- Main mined zones which are open below the 600m Level as tested by holes MM050, MM079 and MM092.
The Hardrock Project is host to several past-producing mines, which collectively produced nearly 3.0 million ounces of gold primarily from shallow depths within 600 metres of surface between 1938-1968. The area benefits from development advantages with the Trans-Canada Highway, Trans-Canada Pipeline, and major power lines running through the center of the property.
Stephen McGibbon, P. Geo., is the Qualified Person for the information contained in this news release and is a Qualified Person within the meaning of National Instrument 43-101. Assay results are from core samples sent to Activation Laboratories, an accredited mineral analysis laboratory in Ancaster, Ontario, for preparation and analysis utilizing both fire assay and screen metallic methods.
About Goldstone:
Formed by late 2009 merger of Ontex Resources and Roxmark Mines, Goldstone Resources is a well funded gold exploration and development company operating in the historically significant Geraldton-Beardmore area of Northwestern Ontario and focused on gold exploration and deposit delineation at its Brookbank, Northern Empire, Leitch-Sand River and Key Lake gold properties in the Geraldton-Beardmore Camp. The Camp is host to several past producers in a district that has historical production of more than 4.1 million ounces of gold.
At a 3.4 g gold per tonne cut-off grade, with assays uncut, drilling has established 1.33 million tonnes grading 9.8 g gold per tonne containing 418,500 ounces of indicated resource and 1.09 million tonnes grading 8.0 g gold per tonne containing 260,000 ounces of inferred resource at Brookbank. (See National Instrument 43-101 technical report -"Technical Report on the Brookbank Gold Deposit, Beardmore-Geraldton Area, Northern Ontario, Canada" by Scott Wilson RPA Inc. dated May 4, 2009, as filed on SEDAR.)
In addition, Goldstone has a 30% carried interest in the Hardrock Project in the Geraldton area, a joint venture with Premier Gold Limited, with Premier as operator. NI 43-101 resource estimates for both open pit and underground resources at the Hardrock Project are expected in 2010. Both Goldstone and Premier will be mounting aggressive exploration programs over the coming year.
Further information is available on the Company's website at http://www.goldstoneresourcesinc.com/ and on SEDAR under the Company's profile at http://www.sedar.com/."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Electric bikes on a roll in China TNR.v, CZX.v, LMR.v, lI.v, RM.v, WLC.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, HEV, AONE, BYDDY, FXI, NSANY, DAI, BMW, RNO, F, VLNC, SNE, PC



Age of cheap oil is gone forever. Electric bikes are viable alternative to cars in China and India - they are cheaper and allow millions of them to be deployed very fast. Explosive growth could even bring problems with safety as some reports indicated. Every Electric bike has an electric motor and battery, now it is more and more lithium one.




"James Dines has started the fire with REE market last spring as he did with Uranium before:


"Big IF" was in 2003 when James Dines pronounced bull market in Uranium and we made an easy killing on basket of Uranium Junior miners, some of them going from low 0.2 to over 1.0 AUD on Chinese money coming into the sector in less then a year. James Dines is in the picture again and this May he moved the REE market with value doubled and tripled with his announcement of the first Major Bull marketafter 2003 Uranium call in Rare Earth Elements."





"Electric bikes on a roll in China

TIANJIN, China — Chinese commuters in their millions are turning to electric bicycles -- hailed as the environmentally-friendly future of personal transport in the country's teeming cities.

Up to 120 million e-bikes are estimated to be on the roads in China, making them already the top alternative to cars and public transport, according to recent figures published by local media.

"This is the future -- it's practical, it's clean and it's economical," said manufacturer Shi Zhongdong, whose company also exports electric bikes to Asia and Europe.

The bikes have been hailed as an ecologically-sound alternative in a country which is the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases, with their rechargeable batteries leaving a smaller carbon footprint than cars.

But some have expressed concerns about the pollution created by cheaper lead batteries, calling for better recycling and a quick shift to cleaner, though more expensive, lithium-ion battery technology.

More than 1,000 companies are already in the e-bike business in China, with many of them clustered in the eastern coastal provinces such as Jiangsu and Zhejiang, which both border Shanghai.

Another 1,000 firms are producing e-bikes on an ad hoc basis, Shi told AFP during a visit to his Hanma Electric Bicycles factory in the port city of Tianjin, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) north of Beijing.

"The business has exploded since 2006," Shi says, while admitting that the company took a hit last year due to the financial crisis.

Some e-bikes can reach speeds of more than 35 kilometres an hour (21 miles per hour), and a few manufacturers boast their models can last up to 50 kilometres on a single battery charge.

Battery chargers are simply plugged into an electricity socket at home. Most e-bikes also have pedals, except for the bigger, scooter-like models.

Shi was an electrical engineer who worked for a state-owned firm for most of his career, but as he turned 55 and retirement was beckoning he founded Hanma in 1999, investing about 500,000 yuan (75,000 dollars) of his own money.

He is wary of giving exact production figures, but says Hanma is churning out between 50,000 and 100,000 e-bikes a year.

In his company's icy, old-fashioned workshops, several models are lined up: from electric bikes with "green" lithium batteries, made especially for export, to some that look more like mini-scooters.

They are everywhere in the streets of Beijing -- no licence plates, no driver's licences needed. Enthusiasts say they are a godsend in a city where the number of scooter and motorcycle drivers is restricted.

"I get around traffic jams so easily," said one Beijinger before speeding off from an intersection in the capital, where more than four million vehicles are clogging the roads and polluting the already thick air.

But not everyone is on the e-bike bandwagon -- "real" cyclists have complained bitterly that their once peaceful lanes are now clogged with irresponsible, uncontrollable speedsters.

In December, authorities tried to re-impose a maximum speed limit of 20 kilometres (12 miles) per hour on e-bike riders, along with licence rules, but the plan caused such a public and industry uproar that it was suspended.

"The rules will never go through. Hundreds of factories would be forced to shut down. And what would those who already own e-bikes do?" Shi says.

In a report released last June, the Asian Development Bank said e-bikes could become "perhaps the most environmentally sustainable motorised mode available" in China.

But it called for the replacement of lead acid batteries and better regulations on the allowable weight and speed to keep accidents at a minimum.

Shi says nearly a third of his production goes abroad -- to Asia, notably India, to the European Union and even to the United States.

"There is a big future for electric bikes in Europe, where people are very concerned about saving the environment," he said, explaining that the models with safer but more costly lithium batteries are shipped to EU nations.

Shi says he sells the export models for 400 dollars, as opposed to just 240 dollars for those sold in China. But the bikes can sell for a whopping 1,200 dollars in France and Germany."

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