Lithium is one of the most essential minerals that is needed all across the world. From powering electric vehicles (EVs) to shaping the new greener energy transition, lithium demand has increased every year. But which countries are pioneering the way and how will this change over the coming years? In this article, we see who the biggest influencers are on the lithium mining world and emerging players in the quest for the essential mineral.
According to Statistica, in 2020, Australia was the world leader in lithium mine production with an output of 40,000 metric tons. In 2013, Australia produced 13,700 metric tons of lithium but had seen production levels spike in recent years. The Western Australian territory is responsible for a considerable portion of their output. It is home to Australia’s largest lithium mine – Greenbushes lithium mine, the world’s largest hard-rock lithium mine.
South America is a hotspot for lithium mining, particularly lithium brining. Chile is a lithium hub in South America and produced around 18,000 metric tons by itself in 2020. The primary global source of lithium production derives from Chilean and Argentinean continental brine deposits. The Salar de Atacama is the location of the world’s largest lithium brine mine to date.
China was in third place, just behind Chile, which produced 14,000 metric tons. However, China is one of the biggest makers of lithium batteries globally. The market for lithium-ion EV batteries is now a $27 billion per year business. The top 10 EV battery manufacturers by market share are all concentrated in China, Japan, and South Korea. Chinese company CATL currently holds a 32% market share, over 10% more than its nearest competitor.
Canada – A new beginning
Electric vehicles are a growing market across North America. It is expected that American EV sales will grow from around 500,000 vehicles in 2021 to over 4 million in 2030. This means a demand for lithium needs to come from closer to home to make it more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
Lomiko Metals is preparing to lead the way in Canada. Lomiko is actively developing two main projects in the province of Quebec: La Loutre, which is held 100% by Lomiko and is being explored for high-grade large flake graphite, and Bourier, which has been optioned by Lomiko and is being explored for lithium. Both graphite and lithium are essential to supply North America’s rapidly expanding electric battery and green energy industries.