When I was approached to lead 5E Advanced Materials, Inc., I was intrigued by the market opportunity that comes with boron. I specifically joined 5E because they are strategically positioned to become a global leader of this critical material given they own the largest known new conventional source of boron in the world, which is advantageously located in Southern California.
Boron is a key element to enable decarbonization of the planet. It is a required element in EV’s, wind turbines, solar panels, and major insulation applications. It is also a key element in many other emerging applications, such as semiconductors, cell phones and space applications. Growth of these future facing applications is forecasted to accelerate the growth curve in boron with demand expected to double by 2030. On the supply side, the market is extremely constrained. Upstream, there are currently just two companies that supply 85% of the global supply of boron. This is the result of geophysical constraints.
To find a meaningful deposit of boron, you need a volcano, an evaporated waterbody, and a fault line. Downstream, is not much better and like lithium and rare earth minerals, most of the downstream processing occurs in China. Boron carbide, whose use case includes military applications such as Kevlar vests and ballistic shields, is a good example as 80% of global boron carbide supply is produced in China.
In summary, boron supply and demand fundamentals are extremely compelling and aligned with key mega growth trends around critical materials, establishing US based supply chains and decarbonization of the planet.