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Lithium Market Driven by Demand for Portable Electronics and Electric Vehicles

NEW YORK, February 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

Lithium has become a major component of the battery manufacturing industry. Lithium ion batteries are rechargeable, capable of a longer lifecycle, higher storage capacity and better efficiency than conventional batteries. The demand for these batteries is driven by the increasing adoption of portable electronic devices and the growing adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). In addition, favorable regulations including subsidies and tax rebate are also expected to stimulate lithium ion battery market share. The global Lithium Ion Battery Market size is projected to reach $53 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights Inc. With over $23 billion in 2015, the market is set to grow at a 9% CAGR during the forecasted period of 2016 to 2024. Scientific Metals Corp. (OTC: SCTFD) (TSX-V: STM), Ecobalt Solutions Inc. (OTCQB: ECSIF) (TSX: ECS), General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), Honda (NYSE: HMC), Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM)

Chemistry, performance, cost and safety characteristics vary across Lithium ion battery types. Lithium cobalt oxide based batteries provide high energy density, but could present safety risks if damaged. Lithium iron phosphate, lithium ion manganese oxide and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide batteries offer lower energy density, but last longer and are safer. A report by MarketsandMarkets (published by ReportLinker) indicates that lithium cobalt oxide batteries type is expected to hold a major share of the market by 2022. The growing use of consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptops has resulted in the greater demand for energy-efficient batteries. Owing to a special attribute of high energy density of lithium cobalt oxide, it is mainly used as a power source for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and digital cameras, among others.

Just earlier this morning Scientific Metals Corp. (OTCQB: SCTFD) (TSX-V: STM.V) announced that the Company plans to take full advantage of the advanced stage of exploration at Iron Creek as a result of significant work completed by previous workers. All work will be conducted on the patented lode mining claims which cover the previously identified historic estimates (see the Company's news release dated September 7, 2016). Investigating these claims significantly reduces permitting requirements for exploration programs.

First, the Company plans to rehabilitate the portals leading to three underground tunnels which currently have a combined length of 1,500 feet and access the mineralized zones. Second, during the course of 2017, the Company plans to conduct surface core drilling on the patented lode mining claims, targeting the known mineralized zones. The objective of this drilling will be to confirm the previously identified historic estimates of cobalt mineralization, and to explore for extensions to these zones. The Company also plans to conduct geophysical surveys over the known mineralized zones to select the most appropriate method to assist in locating drill targets in previously unexplored areas. As previously announced, these historic estimates (which do not do not use categories that conform to current CIM Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves as outlined in National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), contain 1,279,000 tons grading an average of 0.59% cobalt (see the Company's news release dated September 7, 2016). The Company has the advantage of utilizing the results of the 30,000 feet of drilling that identified the historic estimates.

Wayne Tisdale, CEO of the Company commented: "We look forward to confirming and expanding upon the historical workings on this project. With cobalt currently reaching new 52 week highs along with mounting demand for a safe, secure and ethical supply of cobalt, we feel it is the opportune time to aggressively explore our flagship Iron Creek Cobalt project."

Tisdale added, "With the Trump administration's emphasis on providing raw materials for electric batteries sourced in the USA, there will be an ever-increasing emphasis on developing projects such as the Iron Creek Cobalt. We expect that companies such as Tesla, GM, Apple and others will be forced to disclose the ethical shortcomings in their supply chain and source safe, secure and home grown materials for their phone, car and home batteries."

The Company is treating the cobalt tonnage and grade estimates above as historical estimates. The historical estimates do not use categories that conform to current CIM Definition Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves as outlined in NI 43-101 and have not been redefined to conform to current CIM Definition Standards. Mr. Garry Clark, P. Geo., of Clark Exploration Consulting, is the 'qualified person' as defined in NI 43-101, who has reviewed and approved the technical content in this press release.

Ecobalt Solutions Inc. (OTCQB: ECSIF) (TSX: ECS) eCobalt Solutions is a company committed to providing ethically sourced and environmentally sound battery grade cobalt salts, essential for the rapidly growing rechargeable battery and renewable energy sectors, made safely, responsibly, and transparently in the United States. "As we move the ICP through Feasibility Study and ultimately into production, the flexibility provided by the Shelf Prospectus will provide the Company access to the capital required to increase value for all our shareholders", commented in the company's latest news release by Paul Farquharson, President & CEO of eCobalt Solutions Inc.

The latest 2017 plug-in Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM) Prius has an 8.8kW/h lithium-ion battery pack and dual motor drive system. This marks a turning point for Toyota which for years had not used the technology frequently in its battery electric vehicles, due to cost, size and safety. Recently, the cumulative global sales for its hybrid vehicle, including plug-in hybrids, had crossed the 10 million units. "When we launched Prius, no one even knew what a hybrid was. Those who drove it were called geeks or other names. Today, thanks to those early adopters who gave Prius a chance, hybrids have grown in popularity, and have ridden a wave of success out of the unknown and into the mainstream," said Chairman of Toyota's Board of Directors, Takeshi Uchiyamada.

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) had announced a mutual agreement of the auto industry's first manufacturing joint venture to mass produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be used in future products from each company. Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC will operate within GM's existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Michigan. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs. The companies are putting equal investments of $85 million in the joint venture. "Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-generation fuel cell system," said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, Chief Operating Officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and President & CEO of American Honda Co., Inc. and Honda North America, Inc. "This foundation of outstanding teamwork will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future."

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