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Lithium Production by Country (1995-2021)

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Lithium is often dubbed arsenic “white gold” for electrical vehicles.

The lightweight metallic plays a cardinal relation successful the cathodes of each types of lithium-ion batteries that powerfulness EVs. Accordingly, the caller emergence successful EV adoption has sent lithium accumulation to caller highs.

The supra infographic charts much than 25 years of lithium accumulation by state from 1995 to 2021, based connected information from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

The Largest Lithium Producers Over Time

In the 1990s, the U.S. was the largest shaper of lithium, successful stark opposition to the present.

In fact, the U.S. accounted for implicit one-third of planetary lithium accumulation successful 1995. From past onwards until 2010, Chile took implicit arsenic the biggest producer with a accumulation roar successful the Salar de Atacama, 1 of the world’s richest lithium brine deposits.

Global lithium accumulation surpassed 100,000 tonnes for the archetypal clip successful 2021, quadrupling from 2010. What’s more, astir 90% of it came from conscionable 3 countries.

RankCountry2021 Production (tonnes)% of Total Total105,984100%
#1Australia 🇦🇺55,41652%
#2Chile 🇨🇱26,00025%
#3China 🇨🇳14,00013%
#4Argentina 🇦🇷5,9676%
#5Brazil 🇧🇷1,5001%
#6Zimbabwe 🇿🇼1,2001%
#7Portugal 🇵🇹9001%
#8United States 🇺🇸9001%
Rest of World 🌍1020.1%

Australia unsocial produces 52% of the world’s lithium. Unlike Chile, wherever lithium is extracted from brines, Australian lithium comes from hard-rock mines for the mineral spodumene.

China, the third-largest producer, has a beardown foothold successful the lithium proviso chain. Alongside processing home mines, Chinese companies person acquired astir $5.6 billion worthy of lithium assets successful countries similar Chile, Canada, and Australia implicit the past decade. It besides hosts 60% of the world’s lithium refining capableness for batteries.

Batteries person been 1 of the superior drivers of the exponential summation successful lithium production. But however overmuch lithium bash batteries use, and however overmuch goes into different uses?

What is Lithium Used For?

While lithium is champion known for its relation successful rechargeable batteries—and rightly so—it has galore different important uses.

Before EVs and lithium-ion batteries transformed the demand for lithium, the metal’s end-uses looked wholly antithetic arsenic compared to today.

End-useLithium Consumption 2010 (%)Lithium Consumption 2021 (%)
Batteries23%74%
Ceramics and glass31%14%
Lubricating greases10%3%
Air treatment5%1%
Continuous casting4%2%
Other27%6%
Total100%100%

In 2010, ceramics and solid accounted for the largest stock of lithium depletion astatine 31%. In ceramics and glassware, lithium carbonate increases spot and reduces thermal expansion, which is often indispensable for modern glass-ceramic cooktops.

Lithium is besides utilized to marque lubricant greases for the transport, steel, and aviation industries, on with different lesser-known uses.

The Future of Lithium Production

As the satellite produces much batteries and EVs, the request for lithium is projected to scope 1.5 cardinal tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) by 2025 and implicit 3 cardinal tonnes by 2030.

For context, the satellite produced 540,000 tonnes of LCE successful 2021. Based connected the supra request projections, accumulation needs to triple by 2025 and summation astir six-fold by 2030.

Although proviso has been connected an exponential maturation trajectory, it tin instrumentality anyplace from six to much than 15 years for caller lithium projects to travel online. As a result, the lithium marketplace is projected to beryllium successful a shortage for the adjacent fewer years.

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