The main deposits of lithium are found in Chile, Argentina and Australia. The two methods of extraction are brine extraction (87%) and hard rock refining (13%). Hard rock refining is expensive in the terms of equipment and logistics that are required. The price of brine extraction can be half the cost; however, it requires an evaporation process that can take up to 3 years to complete.
In the past few years, the price of lithium has only been excelling. Since there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand, it is expected that the prices will continue to rise. Chart 3 indicates how lithium prices have surged since 2015.
Recently, the popularity of electric vehicles has led to explosive growth in global demand for lithium energy storage. According to Roskill statistics, in the downstream consumption of lithium, batter demand was accounted for less than 30% in 2013. This proportion has exceeded 55% in 2019, seen in Chart 2.
In Chart 4, based on the expert’s model, the statistic depicts a projection of the total available lithium supply worldwide from 2015 to 2025. In 2025, the total global supply of lithium is expected to reach 38,893 metric tones of lithium carbonate equivalent.
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