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Top 5 lithium producers in the world

The world’s leading lithium producers are Albermale, SQM, Ganfeng, Tianqi and Livent, which account for approximately 75% of the world’s lithium supply.

Thus, the global lithium industry is dominated by a few large mining companies.

According to Critical Metals Corp, most of the conversion/refining and battery cell capacity is currently located in China, while battery assembly is mostly carried out in Japan and South Korea.

However, the company added, with the expected strong demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicle and storage applications, lithium supply, chemical conversion and battery manufacturing capacity issues loom, as well as increasing pressure for supply chains to become more ESG compliant.

As a result, many manufacturers are looking at expanding capacity in the United States and Europe (closer to OEMs and automakers), as well as in traditional hubs in China, Japan and South Korea.

As a result of anticipated increased demand, explorers and miners have moved beyond traditional lithium geographies, focusing lithium exploration in North America, Africa and Europe.

Lithium producers

Critical Metals also reports that more attention has been paid to non-traditional mineral types, such as amblygonite/montebrasite and lepidolite, and to deposits such as evaporite in sediments (e.g., Rio Tinto’s Jadar project) and geothermal and oilfield brines.

At the same time, interest in battery recycling has increased.

In addition, many electric vehicle manufacturers are looking to vertically integrate their supply chains and become directly involved in the exploration and extraction process to secure supply (e.g. Tesla).

Another significant trend on the rise in lithium mining (and all mining in general) is the importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects.

Lithium ores are priced and sold based on the Li2O content of the mineral concentrate, as well as end-user-specified deleterious elements, including iron, phosphorus or fluorine.

 

Redacción Opportimes

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