13 Largest Lithium Producers In The World

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 13 largest lithium producers in the world. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 largest lithium producers in the world.

When considering elements, lithium hardly seems to be on the forefront, with more exotic, precious elements such as gold, silver and platinum taking center stage. And for a long time, the value of lithium has been insignificant, but all that changed once the world realized that lithium-based batteries could store energy generated from renewable resources at a high density, a game changer for advocating the switch from non-renewable resources to renewable resources. This has catapulted the importance of lithium into the stratosphere, as it is the most essential part of lithium-based batteries, and in the near future, could help renewable energy sources to replace fossil fuels as the primary source of fuel. You might think this is an exaggeration but 79% of the consumption of crude oil is to power ships, planes and cars. We already have the technology and ability to replace 50% of this consumption through battery-powered vehicles.

Electric vehicles have hit the ground running, and what once seemed like a side project for most car companies, has become the main priority for most, in what is the biggest shift in transportation in over a century. In 2016, Volkswagen, the biggest automaker in the world with over 10.8 million vehicles sold each year, announced a Strategy 2025 plan which stated its ambition of launching thirty models which would be powered purely by a lithium battery, while also expecting a quarter of all vehicles sold by 2025 to be fully electric. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is already considered a pioneer in terms of building electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries, which has enabled it to become the most valuable automaker in the world. The demand for lithium grew more than 30 times between 2000 and 2015, while it’s expected to increase another 10 times between 2015 and 2025. Despite the pandemic, many companies are still investing heavily in lithium-based batteries.

While all logic points towards moving to lithium, it is easier said than done, because even if a world as connected as the one we live in today, politics dominate, and in the case of lithium, China dominates. Back in 2015, a strategic plan was developed by China to become a global technological powerhouse by 2025, which made the development of the lithium industry a top national priority. Meanwhile, China was also focused on reducing pollution, and imposed stringent emission standards which all companies have to meet. While there is debate on whether companies are actually being held to this standard, but it has to be said that in 2019, Beijing exited the list of 200 most polluted cities in the world. China also ensured that it would not miss out on the race to dominating lithium resources, as it did when hydrocarbon resources were up for grabs, knowing that a similar mistake would cause significant damage to its ambition on being a world leader.

While lithium has other uses, such as being used in cell phones, its overwhelming importance is in the usage of batteries for electric vehicles, which means its importance is dependent upon the demand for electric vehicles. While there is a push from most governments and incentives as well to adapt to electric vehicles, many people are still reluctant, based mainly on the driving range on a single charge, availability of charging stations, psychology and the life of the battery among other reasons. However, it also cannot be denied that this is an important step in ensuring a better world for future generations, even as we see the serious effects of climate change. You can look at the record-breaking heatwave in Europe, to major storms in the United States to catastrophic biblical proportion floods in Pakistan and gain a perspective on how climate change is slowly destroying the world, and that extreme steps are needed very quickly to curtail this.

Despite lithium being heralded as an important component in the fight against climate change, that is not necessarily absolutely true. Lithium mining is having an adverse effect in shallow, saltwater lakes in the Chilean Andes where flamingos reside. Two species of flamingos in the region have already lost more than 10% of their population. This is a result of brine extraction which can negatively impact potable water in surrounding areas as well.

The top lithium producers in the world have enjoyed a major price increase, with lithium carbonate prices rising 58% to average $11,000/tonne, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. Further, production also increased significantly in 2021, by 27% when compared to the previous year. Price in 2022 have soared even more, with a 400% increase in just the first 5 months to $54,000/tonne, a record level. So, who exactly are the biggest lithium producers in the world? We have used Forbes and Investing News to rank the giants in the game, starting with number 15:

12. Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ:PLL)

Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ:PLL) is an American lithium mining company, which aims to develop a world-class integrated lithium business in the United States. Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ:PLL) is positioning itself to be one of the lowest cost producers of lithium hydroxide in the world, with the strategy to become a prime supplier to the fast growing electric vehicle industry in the United States.

Piedmont Lithium Inc. (NASDAQ:PLL) is yet to record revenues, considering it was established only recently and is currently busy establishing operations.

12. Savannah Resources

Savannah Resources is Europe’s leading lithium development company, and aims to help ease the transition to lithium-based batteries in Europe. The company is well-poised to make a major impact, especially considering the fact that Europe’s lithium needs will be 18 times greater in 2030 as compared to 2020, and more than 60 times greater in 2050.

Savannah Resources is sourcing lithium from the Barroso Lithium Project in Portugal.

11. Baconara Lithium

Baconara Lithium is ‘focused on building a 35,000 TPA battery grade lithium operation in Sonara, Mexico..”. The company is partnering with Ganfeng Lithium, which is also in our list. But to find out its position, you have to keep on reading! The company is focused on helping the world transition to a lower carbon footprint, and the Sonara Lithium Project is going to play a major role in the company’s ambitions.

10. Allkem

It makes sense for an Australian company to be among the largest lithium producers in the world, considering Australia has sizable lithium deposits. Allkem was renamed in November 2021, formerly known as Orocobre Limited. It acquired Galaxy Resources Limited in 2021 as well.

9. Pilbara Minerals

One of Australia’s top lithium companies, Pilbara Minerals is also among the largest lithium producers in the world. The company’s Pilangoora Project is one of the largest hard rock lithium deposits in the world. Recording $176 million in 2021, the company posted losses of $51 million.

8. Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE:LAC)

Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE:LAC) has operations in Argentina and the United States, and has raised over $1 billion in debt and equity. Lithium Americas Corp. (NYSE:LAC) has two major projects in Argentina, Cauchari-Olaroz and Pastos Grandes, while also focusing on the Thacker Pass Project in Nevada. The Thacker Project has been advancing towards construction while Cauchari-Olaroz is moving towards initial production.

7. Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM)

Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM) is focused on harnessing lithium technology to lead towards a more sustainable, healthier world. Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM) has a market cap of $5.7 billion and recorded revenues of more than $420 million in 2021.

Livent Corporation (NYSE:LTHM) has been in existence for six decades and is aiming to continue being the leader in lithium technology.

6. Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group Co. Ltd.

Sichuan Yahua Industrial is mainly involved in the manufacture of explosives and is also involved in the manufacture and selling of lithium, being considered one of the leading lithium suppliers in China. Its operations boast a 12,000 ton per year lithium hydroxide refinery, not to mention a 6,000 ton per year lithium carbonate refinery. It has also obtained rights to explore one of the largest lithium quarries in Asia which can result in the production of 180,000 tons of lithium concentrate each year.

 

Please continue to see the 5 Largest Lithium Producers in the World.

 

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Disclosure: None. 15 largest lithium producers in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.