Every day, we come across the news that a new electronic device has been released and users are wondering if the battery performance will be sufficient for their daily use. Battery durability has become an important buying motive as users expect the batteries in their devices to offer them optimal performance for all-day use over an extended period of time. Undoubtedly, the need for much lighter and longer-lasting batteries is increasing and meeting this demand is a major challenge for manufacturers.
The batteries we know today derive their energy from liquid lithium and it has been difficult to find materials that match or exceed the conductivity, electrode potential and charging flexibility offered by batteries built from this alkaline element. Now, researchers are also turning to gold for use in high-capacity batteries with better energy density. It might be up to mining companies to fill in the supply gaps to fuel further research, and potentially production for gold use in batteries.
Trillium Gold Mines Inc.(TSXV:TGM) is a mining company engaged in the exclusive exploration and development of high-grade gold. The company has the second largest land holdings in the Red Lake District, one of the world’s most prolific and concentrated gold mining areas. Mines in the region have produced a cumulative total of 29.5 million ounces of gold at an average grade of 15.41 grams of gold per tonne of resource (g/t).
The company recently announced the acquisition of the Willis Property, which consists of thirteen contiguous patented mining concessions covering a total of 229 hectares located southwest, contiguous to Trillium’s flagship property, Newman Todd (NT) in Todd Township, Red Lake Mining District, Ontario.
Trillium Gold acquired a 100% interest in the property, subject to a 2% net smelter return royalty, completing payments totaling $420,000 and a total of 400,000 common shares in the capital of the company.
Trillium Gold CEO, Russell Star commented “The Willis property represents a significant addition to Trillium’s suite of properties in the western Red Lake area. It covers both the southwest extension of the NT Zone and other ground that has proven to be highly prospective for gold with visible gold observed in outcrop sampling. As with the NT Property, the Willis Property shows many similarities to the major gold mines to the east. Despite these attributes, the property has seen very little exploration since the 1930s and is one of the few remaining unexplored properties in the Red Lake greenstone belt.”
Gold Battery Rush?
In the battery industry, gold has not been given prominence as a candidate material for battery construction but now the importance of gold for this purpose has come to the forefront. The gold rush is here to stay.
The University of California, Irvine has been looking for a way to replace liquid lithium in batteries with a more robust and safer alternative. Now, researchers have found a way to create batteries with higher capacities than lithium with the use of gold nanowires to see if they can extend the lifespan of batteries as we know them.
Mya Le Thai, a study leader, as an experiment, added an additional layer of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and charged and discharged it numerous times to test its durability. To their surprise, the researchers found that these batteries withstood more than 200,000 charge cycles. Reginald Penner, an advisor in the chemistry department at the University of California irvine said, “This is incredible because these things typically die dramatically after 5,000 or 6,000 cycles, 7,000 at the most.”
The research results are a strong indication of the importance of gold not only as an essential material for battery construction but also as an indispensable element in being able to take battery performance to the next level.
Although these super batteries require very little gold to build them, it is extremely expensive to meet the enormous demand. The mining industry will be the number one source for this material that might be the key in advanced battery performance for EVs, mobile devices, and more.