Westford, U.S., Nov. 17, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Global demand for lithium market is coming. This mineral is essential for the manufacture of batteries, solar panels, and organic chemicals. The Lithium Industry Association (LIA) forecasts that global demand for lithium will increase from 292,000 tons in 2020 to 2.5 million tons in 2030. This increase in demand is due to the increasing use of lithium-based batteries in electronics and vehicles.
The growing demand for lithium is linked to the growth of electric vehicles. Electric cars require large numbers of lithium-ion batteries made from a compound called lithium hexaferrous oxide. In fact, since 2010, demand for the lithium market has increased by 3000% thanks to the increase in electric vehicle production. There are several factors contributing to the increasing demand for lithium, including more efficient and affordable batteries that can store more energy, regulations encouraging the development of green technologies, and growing concerns about climate change.
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China, Australia and Chile currently dominate the global lithium market and account for 90% of global production. However, the concentration in China has led to price volatility and shortages. This has prompted Indian companies to set up manufacturing plants, and Japan, South Korea and Australia to invest in new mines or significantly expand capacity. In an attempt to remedy these shortcomings, a group of 31 world leaders signed the Marrakesh Declaration earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, committing $10 billion over 10 years to research new mining methods and technologies that would enable more sustainable production of lithium.
South America is bridging the gap between demand and supply in the lithium market
After years of research and development, South America is poised to become a major global player in lithium supply. The region has the resources to meet lithium battery demand and a population already familiar with the use of battery technologies. This could help close the demand-supply gap, which would be crucial to ensure an adequate supply of lithium for technology applications.
Lithium is an essential mineral for batteries and other electronics. However, it is difficult to find and expensive to mine in the global lithium market. Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico are working to close the gap between lithium demand and supply. Brazil iis the sixth largest lithium producer in the world but has a small supply chain due to its isolated location. The country’s government is working with companies like Samsung and Renault to develop new technologies to extract lithium from minerals.
Argentina has the second largest lithium reserves in the world, but is currently unable to produce enough battery cells or laptops with the mineral due to a lack of processing facilities. The country’s government is investing in renewable energy projects that could help produce more battery cells in the global lithium market. In 2021, the country produced over 2 million tons of lithium.
Chile produces more than half of the world’s lithium carbonate production, but faces bottlenecks in refining capacity and transportation infrastructure. The country has the world’s largest reserves of 8 million tons. This has slowed the development of new mining projects. The country’s government aims to increase production by 1 million tons by 2025. As of 2022, it produces around 1 million tons, mainly through extraction from mines in the Andes.
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Mexico has one-seventh of the world’s reserves in the global lithium market, but accounts for nearly 5% of world production due to large reserves in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Nuevo León. Mining companies have expanded into previously undeveloped areas such as salt flats in the state of Tamaulipas.
Sodium ion batteries could pose a potential threat to the lithium market
Automotive companies are researching new battery materials that rely on sodium ions as an energy source. Research continues on a replacement for lithium-ion batteries, which are currently the most common type in electric vehicles. Sodium-ion batteries have many potential advantages over lithium-ion batteries, including being cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
However, sodium-ion batteries have some disadvantages. They are less efficient than lithium-ion batteries and take longer to charge. Also, they are not compatible with current car production lines. These issues need to be addressed if sodium ion batteries are to be more widely used in the automotive industry.
Less energy-intensive extraction technology offers lucrative opportunities for the lithium market
The potential for lithium minerals and the lithium industry is enormous. Lithium is the 31stSt the most abundant element on earth and has multiple uses including in batteries and electronics. This mineral is becoming increasingly important as electric vehicles become more popular. Lithium carbonate is the main form of lithium on Earth, but there are also deposits of lithium oxychloride, lithium hydroxide, and lithium oxide, among others. Few mine production resources are currently available in the global lithium market, with most coming from Chile and Argentina. However, global demand for batteries continues to grow, making new discoveries imperative.
Several companies are working to find new sources of lithium for use in batteries. Element 14 recently announced a €3 million ($3.5 million) deal with Anglo American Minerals to explore an underground lithium project in Argentina. While not yet a major discovery, these deals underscore the growing interest in this mineral.
Some companies in the global lithium market are also looking at new ways to extract lithium from its resource base using a less energy-intensive process than traditional mining methods such as open pit mining or acid leaching. Several companies have begun testing this technology, including Berkeley Mineral Resources Corporation (BMRC), which announced it has successfully mined 602 pounds (269 kg) of pure lithium from an old battery clay quarry in New Mexico using one of their proprietary ionic liquid extraction process developed by subsidiary Almaden Minerals Incorporated (AMI).
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Top Players in the Global Lithium Market
- FMC Corporation (India)
- SQM SA (CHILE)
- Tianqi Lithium (Australia)
- International Lithium Corp. (China)
- LSC Lithium Corporation (Canada)
- American Lithium Corp. (Canada)
- Livent (USA)
- BYD Company (China)
- LG Chem (South Korea)
- Samsung SDI (South Korea)
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