In this article we are going to list the 15 biggest lithium mining companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest lithium mining companies in the world.
One of the most sought-after elements of today’s world, lithium is a metal that is taking the world by storm. Having the lowest density of all metals, lithium is light and soft and floats on water. The lithium ion is also generally lighter, more efficient, and more durable than other battery chemicals, making it the go-to-choice for energy storage. The versatility of lithium and its compounds has made it one of the used metals in many industries. From being used in the batteries of laptops and cell phones to being a core component of heat-resistant glass and ceramics, the applications of lithium also include electric and hybrid vehicles, power tools and cameras. These applications have turned the lithium mining industry into a powerhouse.
In recent times, there has clean energy transition and increased manufacturing of electric battery-powered vehicles. Many countries, including France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Canada have all announced a phase-out of conventional gasoline cars. Electric vehicles consume significantly more lithium, with the average electric car using over 5,000 times more lithium than a smartphone. Vehicles with a higher range consume even more, for example the Tesla Model S, developed by Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), which can use as much lithium as 10,000 smartphones. This shift, along with already sky-high production of laptops and mobile phones has turned lithium mining companies into global giants. Between 2008 and 2018 alone, the annual production of lithium in major producing countries has more than tripled, producing an output of 85,000 tons from the initial 24,500.
Lithium is mainly sourced from hard-rock mines or underground brine reservoirs. The former is usually in Australia, while the latter are found in South American countries Argentina and Chile. Hard rock mining is when minerals are extracted from open pit mines, which requires geological surveys and drilling through rock. Extraction of lithium through brine reservoirs is done in large salt flats, where it is extracted through an evaporation process. Hard rock projects usually require an average of 3-4 years of capital expenditures prior to production and hold an average mine life of 16 years. Brine projects usually require an average of 5 or more years of capital expenditures prior to production but have a longer life of 30 years.
The leading countries with lithium reserves are Chile, Australia, Argentina, and China. Portugal also has quantities of lithium, but they are less in number as compared to the other countries. The total global reserves are an estimated 14 million tons. However, based on predictions by producers, a shortfall of lithium supply is expected in the coming decade, as the time taken for a new project to be in operation is higher than the rate of consumption.
Here we have a list of 15 biggest lithium mining companies in the world. The list has been compiled with reference to Wall Street Journal, Mining Global, and Investing News. So let’s take a look at the companies which will only grow as the demand and requirement for electric cars increases, starting with number 15:
15. Savannah Resources
Market Cap: $91.8 Million
Based in the United Kingdom, Savannah Resources is a mineral resource development company which builds and manages mining operations. The company owns several assets producing lithium, ilmenite, and copper in Portugal, Mozambique, and Oman, respectively. The company’s lithium project, known as Mina do Barroso, is located in northern Portugal about 145 km northeast of the city of Porto. This mine is a high grade, low iron lithium project producing lithium spodumene concentrates for international markets and is the first lithium producer in Europe.