Lithium plays a key role in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles.
Because of this, lithium production across the world has been sent to new highs.
The above infographic charts more than 25 years of lithium production by country from 1995 to 2021, based on data from BP.
In the 1990s, the U.S. was the largest producer of lithium, accounting for over one third of global lithium production in 1995.
From then onwards to 2010, Chile took over as the biggest lithium producer with a production boom in the Salar de Atacama, one of the world’s richest lithium brine deposits.
Global lithium production surpassed 100,000 tonnes for the first time in 2021, quadrupling from 2010. What’s more, roughly 90% of it came from just three countries – Australia, Chile, and China.
Australia alone produces 52% of the world’s lithium – extracted from brines, Australian lithium comes from hard-rock mines for the mineral spodumene.
While lithium is best known for its role in rechargeable batteries, but it has other important uses. In 2010, ceramics and glass accounted for the largest share of lithium consumption at 31%. Lithium is also used to make lubricant greases for the transport, steel, and aviation industries.
As the world produces more batteries and EVs, the demand for lithium is projected to reach 1.5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) by 2025 and over 3 million tonnes by 2030.
For context, the world produced 540,000 tonnes of LCE in 2021. Based on the above demand projections, production needs to triple by 2025 and increase nearly six-fold by 2030.
Although supply has been on an exponential growth trajectory, it can take anywhere from six to more than 15 years for new lithium projects to come online. As a result, the lithium market is projected to be in a deficit for the next few years.
Full article: https://elements.visualcapitalist.com/25-years-of-lithium-production-by-country/