The biggest topics in international mining in 2017 included battery minerals such as lithium and cobalt, with key players of the size of Glencore talking about the upside to profits in battery-related minerals. Glencore, an enormous resources trader and miner, has a large chunk of the world’s cobalt production, a key component in rechargeable batteries that use lithium, and its CEO Ivan Glasenberg, a tough-talking South African, sees electric vehicles as "disruptive to the world". While his sentiments are not new given the growing move away from fossil fuels as a source of electricity because of pollution, his sentiments echo those of many diversified mining company executives that are keeping close tabs on battery technology and what it means for their businesses. Obvious beneficiaries would include those that produce copper to transmit electricity. Others will have exposure to lithium, and there is a veritable explosion in companies with "lithium" in their names that are raising c...

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