High growth in demand for lithium batteries is spurring three-fold growth in mine production of lithium over the next four years, with 86kt of new lithium metal capacity coming on stream, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Sameer Chakravarthy, Mining Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “After moderate growth in lithium supply between 2010 and 2017 of 6.4% per annum, global output is expected to triple between 2018 and 2022 to reach 154kt (metal content), as 86kt of new metal capacity comes on stream to meet the increasing demand for the metal for use in batteries in electric vehicles and smartphones.”
Currently, highest production is in Australia with 18.3kt, followed by Chile and Argentina with 14.1kt and 5.5kt respectively. Among the largest global producers are SQM, which is market leader with a 25% share of global production, followed by Talison with 24%, Albemarle with 17% and FMC with 9%.
Over the next four years, Australia will account for the largest share of the additional capacity with 37%, with mine openings at Pilgangoora, Wodgina, Bald Hill and Mt Holland. It will be followed by Argentina with 29%, Canada with 16%, Chile with 9%, the US with 6%, and Mexico with 4%.