Lithium Mining Market supply is all set to increase three times by 2027 to more than 1.5 million metric tonnes

The Global Lithium Mining Market was valued at US$ 3,271.4 Mn in 2020 and expected to reach US$ 4,655.8 Mn by 2027 and is expanding at a CAGR of 5.2% during the forecast period (2021-2027).

The global demand for lithium has seen a surge in the past few days. Emergence of electric vehicles and the possibility of ending of fossil fuel in the near future means an even more increased demand for lithium. The covid pandemic has forced companies to ask their employees to work from home, schools, colleges and other educational institutions are conducting online classes which is indirectly resulting in the usage of smartphones and laptops. This will also increase the demand for lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium is even used in medications for mental illnesses like Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc and as you have seen the emergence of mental health issues amongst youth and the elderly alike has seen a steep increase in the recent years and more and more people are seeking out professional help so that will also increase the demand for lithium. The two major sources of lithium is brine and hard rock. A large part of the lithium is removed from brine and seawater has very high amounts of lithium carbonate. In the earth's crust, there are brines called continental brines subsurface brine are the main source for the production of lithium (lithium carbonate).

There are many drivers for global lithium market like increased demand for air conditioning. In many humid countries the demand for air conditioning is only increasing and with rapid increase in paying capacities of people it will only increase in the future. Glass is one of the most extensively used items in the world. Used for mirrors and mirror mounts for astronomical telescopes. Grease is very commonly used as a lubricant, it mainly protects metal from rust and reduce friction experienced by machines.

Lithium is also used for aluminium products, polymers, submarines, space vehicles and safety devices. Traditionally submarines have used lead acid batteries in war as well as peace times for their underwater missions and journey’s but lead acid batteries provide power for a very short time whereas the lithium ion batteries improve the underwater endurance of a submarine. They are also light weight and cost effective to maintain. Lithium is also an important element for the defence industry. Polymers are flexible, cost effective and can be transformed into thin films and it is used for carrier bags, shampoo bottles and food wrap.

The reason why Asia Pacific is seeing such a growth in lithium-ion batteries market is because of the increasing trend of electric vehicles and increased sale of consumer electronics. Even developing countries like India have welcomed companies like Tesla and are extensively using electric vehicles from other brands like Audi, Mercedes and BMW even hybrid vehicles are quite popular.  In some parts the government has encouraged to use electric buses instead of regular buses. Many countries in Asia Pacific have a humid environment and hence the demand for air conditioning is also increasing.

Lithium Market Key findings:

  • By source type, production of lithium from hard rock is generally more expensive than extracting lithium from brines. The average cost of operating hard rock producers is expected to be $US2540/t LCE.
  • By type, lithium carbonate is expected to occupy the larger share of the market by 2027 because of the increase in demand for batteries.
  • By region, China is the leader in the Asia Pacific region for lithium-ion batteries with more than 48% revenue share because of their massive population and increased demand for consumer electronics and electric vehicles.

Lithium Market Recent news:

  • In June 2021, Albemarle established battery materials innovation centre in North Carolina. The BMIC is expected to be fully functional in July 2021 and will include Albemarle’s lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate and advanced energy storage materials growth platforms.
  • In February 2020, Orocobre agreed on acquiring advantage lithium corp: Orocobre has announced that it will enter a definitive agreement in acquiring Advantage lithium corp. They will continue to develop the Olaroz/Cauchari basin in a way that will be very cost effective.
  • In May 2020, Lihtium Americas and Ganfeng lithium commence expansion planning at cauchari olaroz: The partners have announced the beginning of the planning for the second stage expansion of 20000 tonnes per annum. The first production is expected to be in mid- 2022.

The Global Lithium Mining Industry Segmentation:

By Source Type

  1. Brines
  2. Hard rock

By Type

  1. Lithium Hydroxide
  2. Lithium Carbonate

By Application

  1. Batteries
  2. Glass
  3. Grease
  4. Air Conditioning Equipment

By Region

  1. North America
  2. Latin America
  3. Europe
  4. Middle East & Africa
  5. Asia Pacific

The key players operating in the market are:

  1. Jiangxi Ganfeng lithium
  2. Albemarle
  3. Tianqi lithium
  4.  Sociedad Quimica y Minera
  5.  Mineral resources limited
  6.  Sichuan Yahua industrial group co limited
  7.  Livent corporation
  8.  Lithium Americas
  9.  Pilbara minerals ltd.
  10. Savannah resources
  11. Bacanora lithium
  12. Piedmont lithium ltd
  13. Galaxy resources ltd
  14. Orocobre ltd
  15. Youngy corporation ltd
  16. Tianqi lithium

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