The Lithium Mining Market

Discover the booming lithium market driven by EVs and renewable energy as demand surges and supply chains evolve.

Introduction

The global demand for lithium, the lightest metal on Earth, has experienced significant growth in recent years. As the world shifts towards renewable energy sources and aims to reduce carbon emissions, the demand for lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage systems has skyrocketed. This blog post will provide an overview of the lithium market, exploring its geographical distribution, extraction methods, applications, and market drivers.

Table of contents:

 

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The World is Facing a Lithium Shortage

As we stand at the cusp of a transformative era, the transition to green energy is not merely a trend but a global imperative. Central to this seismic shift is lithium, a critical mineral that is powering the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future. Its role in developing rechargeable batteries has made it the cornerstone of a revolution in energy storage and electric mobility.

The surge in demand for lithium, a testament to its importance, has been nothing short of extraordinary. As nations strive to decarbonize and electrify their economies, the lithium market has become a barometer for the progress of green technology. From powering electric vehicles (EVs) to providing the backbone for renewable energy storage, lithium's significance cannot be overstated.

However, this increasing dependence on lithium has highlighted a stark reality: the demand and supply markets are delicately poised at a crossroads. The demand, which has already doubled between 2019 and 2021, is on a trajectory to quadruple by 2030, propelled by the rising adoption of EVs and the burgeoning need for energy storage systems. Looking further ahead to 2040, the growth is expected to be even more pronounced. The market is predicted to witness a ninefold growth in lithium demand compared to 2022. This is not just about numbers; it's about a paradigm shift in how we generate, store, and use energy.

A fun fact: Between 2015 and 2022, 2,691,000 metric tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) were extracted to meet the demand. Yet, this figure pales in comparison to future requirements: in 2029, it is projected that more lithium will be needed in that single year than was mined over the seven-year span from 2015 to 2022. 

But herein lies the challenge – the supply of this invaluable mineral. With production concentrated in a handful of countries and traditional extraction methods raising environmental concerns, the market faces a potential shortfall. The International Energy Agency's prediction of a lithium shortage by 2025 underscores the urgency for more sustainable and diversified production methods. It is a race against time to balance the scales of supply and demand, to ensure that the wheel of progress continues to turn, powered by the very element that has become synonymous with the future of energy.

Lithium Market Balance For Oil And Gas Industry Partnerships

Geographical Distribution & Extraction Methods

Today, approximately 90% of all lithium is produced in Australia, Chile, China, and Argentina. Australia is the largest lithium producer, contributing over 40% of the total lithium production in 2022 from spodumene. However, the majority of the processing takes place in China. In 2022, 60% of lithium was obtained through spodumene and lepidolite mining, while the remaining 39% was extracted from brine. Simply put, Australia sources its lithium through hard rock mining, whereas Chile and Argentina extract lithium from continental brines, and China produces from both sources. The U.S. lithium production is down from 27% of the global production in 1996 to less than 1%.

The extraction of lithium from brine and spodumene necessitates different technologies. Lithium hard rock mining produces spodumene concentrate, which requires further refinement, including mechanical processing. On the other hand, lithium extraction from brine involves a more chemical process, yielding readily usable lithium chemicals such as carbonate or hydroxide. Traditional lithium extraction methods consume substantial amounts of water and generate high emissions. Moreover, over half of the current production occurs in regions with severe water stress. However, a new method called Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) is emerging as an alternative. DLE surpasses conventional evaporation ponds in several ways: it allows for faster project development, shorter production time, higher production yields, a significantly smaller environmental footprint, and lower operating costs.

Learn more about lithium extraction methods
Lithium Production Concentration And Share By Country

Applications & Market Segments

In recent years, lithium has been applied in a broad spectrum of end markets, including batteries (consumer electronics, energy storage, and EVs), ceramics and glass, lubricating greases, medicine, air treatment, and casting powders. The most significant market segment for lithium is batteries, accounting for almost 85% of total lithium consumption in 2023. There is an expectation for further growth compared to 38% in 2016. Since 2016, lithium consumption has grown almost three times, mainly driven by the growth in the EV market (powered by rechargeable lithium batteries). The combination of low weight and high energy storage density makes lithium the perfect material for batteries.

The most common lithium compounds in the market are lithium carbonate and hydroxide, followed by spodumene concentrate (used as feedstock for carbonate and hydroxide manufacturing) and lithium chloride. Lithium carbonate is the main compound used in the battery industry for lithium battery material manufacturing. Hydroxide is the second most important lithium compound due to the growing market share of NMC batteries.

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End Use Lithium Market

Different Lithium Battery Types

Various battery chemistries are driving an increasing demand - There are six main types of Li-ion batteries currently commercially available.

Main application

Materials used

Advantages

The Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) EV batteries, consumer electronics, energy storage Lithium hydroxide/Lithium carbonate nickel, manganese, and cobalt Higher energy density and faster charging performance in cold climates
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum oxides (NCA) EV batteries Lithium hydroxide, nickel, cobalt, aluminum Higher energy density
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) EV and mobility batteries, energy storage Lithium carbonate, iron, phosphorus Longer life cycle, less thermal runaway risk and lower cost
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) Smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other handheld devices Lithium carbonate, cobalt High energy density, impressive cycle life, and reliability
Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) Power tools, e-bikes, minimal EV applications Lithium carbonate, manganese Lower internal resistance and improved current handling. High thermal stability and enhanced safety
Lithium titanate (LTO) Energy storage, industrial tools, electrical power trains Lithium carbonate, titanium Good thermal stability under high temperature

Main application

The Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) EV batteries, consumer electronics, energy storage
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum oxides (NCA) EV batteries
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) EV and mobility batteries, energy storage
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) Smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and other handheld devices
Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) Power tools, e-bikes, minimal EV applications
Lithium titanate (LTO) Energy storage, industrial tools, electrical power trains

Materials used

The Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Lithium hydroxide/Lithium carbonate nickel, manganese, and cobalt
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum oxides (NCA) Lithium hydroxide, nickel, cobalt, aluminum
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) Lithium carbonate, iron, phosphorus
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) Lithium carbonate, cobalt
Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) Lithium carbonate, manganese
Lithium titanate (LTO) Lithium carbonate, titanium

Advantages

The Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Higher energy density and faster charging performance in cold climates
Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum oxides (NCA) Higher energy density
Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) Longer life cycle, less thermal runaway risk and lower cost
Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LCO) High energy density, impressive cycle life, and reliability
Lithium Manganese Oxide (LMO) Lower internal resistance and improved current handling. High thermal stability and enhanced safety
Lithium titanate (LTO) Good thermal stability under high temperature

Global Battery Gigafactory Capacity: A New Lithium Deficit?

As the world accelerates towards electrification, the expansion of battery giga-factories is seen as a critical step in meeting the surging demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy storage. However, this rapid growth highlights a pivotal challenge: the looming deficit of lithium, the vital component of lithium-ion batteries.

According to insights from Benchmark's Lithium-ion Battery Database and Lithium Forecast, the current projection for lithium supplies can support the production of just 3,200 GWh of lithium-ion batteries in 2030. This figure becomes even more concerning when we consider the future. If every announced giga-factory is ready for operation by 2030, only 36% of this capacity would be utilized without substantial investments in lithium supply chains.

This scenario underscores a critical bottleneck: Lithium supply is emerging as the primary limiting factor for battery production. The burgeoning gap between giga-factory capacity and available lithium supply signals a potential deficit, which could significantly slow the pace of the global energy transition.

Global Battery Gigafactory Capacity

Rapid Growth of Demand & Battery Manufacturing

The global demand for lithium, a critical component in battery manufacturing, is experiencing an unprecedented surge. This rapid growth is largely driven by the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), propelled forward by significant legislative efforts like the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States and the European Critical Raw Material Act (learn more in the below section of "Government & Regulations"). These Acts have notably accelerated the development of the EV supply chain, marking a pivotal shift in the energy and automotive industries.

As we approach 2025, the total U.S. battery manufacturing capacity is poised to reach a staggering 750 GWh, signifying a dramatic increase from the current production capacity of nearly 100 GWh. This trajectory is not just a leap; it's a quantum jump in battery manufacturing, reflecting a broader commitment to clean energy and sustainable practices. The growth continues its upward trend, with expectations exceeding 1300 GWh by 2030, a more than a 13x increase from today's production levels. 

This expansion is underscored by the planned construction of around 45 giga-factories across the United States. By 2030, their combined capacity is anticipated to surpass 1300 GWh. To support this colossal production growth, an estimated 1.2 million tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) will be required in the U.S. alone, highlighting the critical role of lithium in powering the future of transportation and energy storage.

Europe mirrors this trend, with over 50 giga-factories planned to produce nearly 1500 GWh by 2030. This expansion marks a significant increase from the current production capacity of around 100 GWh. Europe's ambitious target will necessitate almost 1.4 million tons of LCE, underscoring the continent's commitment to transitioning to greener energy sources and reducing its carbon footprint.

Market Drivers

Powering the green energy revolution, lithium emerges as the essential element for batteries, driving the demand surge in electric vehicles and energy storage.

The global demand for lithium is experiencing a seismic shift driven by the current green energy transition. As renewable energy technologies gain momentum, efficient energy storage solutions become paramount. With its vital role in battery production, lithium emerges as a crucial resource in this transformative journey. The market drivers for lithium extraction are compelling and multifaceted. The lithium market is poised for exponential growth, from the surging demand for batteries and transportation electrification to environmental considerations and the increasing adoption of energy storage technologies. However, this growth also presents challenges, such as supply shortages and price surges. Understanding these market drivers is essential for comprehending the significance of lithium in the sustainable energy landscape.

  • Increasing Demand

    The demand for lithium has already doubled between 2019 and 2021, and it is projected to quadruple between 2022 and 2030. The phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles in many countries and major car manufacturers' transition towards electric vehicles (EVs) contribute to the surging demand for lithium. Market leaders such as Norway, the EU, the US, and various automotive companies have set ambitious goals to shift towards EVs within the next decade, driving the need for lithium.

  • Supply-Demand Imbalance

    The forecasted lithium demand of approximately 1.5 million tons of Lithium Carbonate Equivalent (LCE) by 2025 and 3.5 million tons of LCE by 2030 highlights a significant supply-demand deficit. The current supply of LCE is around 700,000 tons (2022), indicating the need for substantial expansion in lithium production to bridge the gap. This supply-demand dynamic has already led to a surge in lithium prices and market tensions, which are expected to intensify as economies continue their decarbonization and electrification efforts.

     

  • Lithium Shortage

    The International Energy Agency predicts a shortage of lithium as early as 2025. The growing demand for lithium and the accelerated transition to EVs presents a challenge for the supply chain. The adoption of EVs by many countries and automakers is expected to reach annual sales of 22 million units by 2025 and nearly 50 million units by 2030. This rapid growth in EV sales exacerbates the need for a reliable and sufficient lithium supply.

  • Green Energy Transition

    The current shift towards green energy technologies is a major driver for the lithium market. The deployment of renewable energy sources requires energy storage solutions, making batteries essential. As global battery consumption rapidly grows, it is expected to increase from 185 GWh in 2020 to almost 4.7 TWh by 2030. This growing demand for batteries necessitates a significant increase in lithium production.

  • Rapid Growth of U.S. Battery Manufacturing

    The Inflation Reduction Act is set to rapidly advance the development of the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain within the United States. By 2025, the United States' capability for battery production will hit a benchmark of 750 gigawatt-hours (GWh), and by 2030, it is expected to surge to around 1300 GWh. This marks an exponential growth - 13-fold - from the current production levels of just over 100 GWh.

    As the EV battery manufacturing sector expands, the scramble for locally sourced raw materials is becoming increasingly intense. This burgeoning market dynamics present a lucrative opportunity for strategic partnerships through offtake agreements and a heightened demand for lithium compounds produced within the country. Such domestically produced lithium is not only vital for meeting the growing needs of the EV industry but also supports the overarching goals of energy independence and sustainability.

  • Rapid Growth EU Battery Manufacturing

    The European Critical Raw Material Act and other sustainability-focused initiatives are set to significantly accelerate the development of the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain within the European Union. By 2025, the EU's capacity for battery production is anticipated to reach an impressive 500 gigawatt-hours (GWh), with projections indicating a further increase to approximately 1500 GWh by 2030. This represents a substantial growth, nearly fifteenfold, from the current levels of around 100 GWh.

    As Europe's EV battery manufacturing industry expands, the demand for critical raw materials intensifies rapidly. This evolving market dynamic opens up considerable opportunities for strategic alliances, mainly through offtake agreements, and amplifies the need for domestically produced lithium compounds.

  • Energy Storage Roadmap

    The increasing adoption of energy storage technologies also drives the demand for lithium. It is estimated that from 2022 to 2030, approximately 1,143 GWh of new energy storage capacity will be added globally. This further reinforces the need for a robust lithium supply chain to meet the growing demand for energy storage solutions.

    Learn more about lithium and renewable energy sources.

  • Environmental Considerations

    While the green energy transition is focused on reducing carbon emissions, it is important to address the environmental impact of raw material extraction for EVs. The emissions generated during the mining and manufacturing processes of EVs can be significant. Therefore, it is crucial to extract raw materials, such as lithium, in an environmentally sustainable manner to ensure the overall sustainability of the green energy transition.

    Learn how sustainable lithium mining can cut EV green house gas emissions breakeven point threefold.

  • Governmental Regulations

    Government policies and regulations play a crucial role in driving the demand for lithium. Many countries have implemented supportive regulations and incentives to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and promote renewable energy. These regulations include subsidies, tax credits, and emissions targets encouraging the transition from fossil fuels. Government support creates a favorable market environment for EV manufacturers and increases the demand for lithium as a critical component in electric vehicle batteries. Additionally, regulations related to energy storage, grid modernization, and renewable energy integration further contribute to the growing demand for lithium. As governments worldwide prioritize sustainability and carbon reduction, these regulations are expected to continue driving the demand for lithium in the foreseeable future.

Governments & Regulations

As the lithium supply chain is currently heavily concentrated in several countries and the demand is seen rapidly growing, the U.S. and E.U. are starting to work on securing their domestic supply chains for successful electrification. U.S. lithium production is down from 27% of the global output in 1996 to less than 1% in 2021. As the Inflation Reduction Act highlights, the U.S. must become self-sufficient in lithium.

Here, the U.S. was taking decisive action on domestic battery supply chain building and released the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021-2030, which outlines guidelines for establishing secure battery materials and technology supply chains within the country. The Inflation Reduction Act followed this, pushing EV makers to produce more vehicles in North America and secure critical minerals outside China in nations with free-trade agreements with the U.S.

Such government decisions affect geographical supply chain distribution. The U.S. seems to target extending its supply chain development into the block (it started negotiating a U.S. tax credit extension to the E.U.) as the E.U. seeks reliable partnerships for raw materials supply, possibly resulting in a separate EV ¨ecosystem¨ joint between the U.S. and the E.U.

  • Around 45 giga-factories are planned in the U.S., with an expected capacity of over 1300GWh by 2030, compared to current near 100GWh production. Such planned production would require nearly 1.2 million tons of LCE in the U.S. alone by 2030.
  • Over 50 giga-factories planned across Europe will total nearly 1500GWh by 2030, where current production is near 100GWh. Such planned production would require almost 1.4 million tons of LCE in Europe alone by 2030. 

However, the current European LCE supply is close to zero, and the U.S. is way below 100,000 mt of LCE a year. The market is reshaping in an apparent effort to focus on securing lithium and other critical materials for the green energy transition.

  • Global Alliances

    A growing coalition of countries, cities, businesses, and other institutions are pledging to get to net-zero emissions. More than 70 countries, including the biggest polluters – China, the United States, and the European Union – have set a net-zero target, covering about 76% of global emissions. More than 3,000 businesses and financial institutions are working with the Science-Based Targets Initiative to reduce their emissions in line with climate science. Over 1000 cities, over 1000 educational institutions, and over 400 financial institutions have joined the Race to Zero, pledging to take rigorous, immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030.

    The energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions today and holds the key to averting the worst effects of climate change. Replacing polluting coal, gas, and oil-fired power with energy from renewable sources, such as wind or solar, would dramatically reduce carbon emissions. This transition can only be achieved by increasing the use of energy storage solutions, such as Lithium-ion batteries, and electrifying transportation.

  • Banning of ICE Vehicles

    Vehicles powered by fossil fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, are set to be phased out by several countries. 

    Many countries and cities worldwide have already stated they will ban the sales of passenger vehicles (primarily cars and buses) powered by fossil fuels at some time in the future.

    A few places have also set dates for banning other types of vehicles, such as fossil-fueled ships and lorries.

    In addition to these national bans, more than 100 countries, cities, 
    financial institutions, and multinationals, including Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Volvo Cars, and other automakers, signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero-Emission Cars and Vans to end the sale of internal combustion engines by 2035 in leading markets, and by 2040 worldwide.

  • The Inflation Reduction Act

    The two most relevant Inflation Reduction Act points for the lithium industry:

    • Clean Vehicle Credit…
      • to qualify for the maximum $7,500 credit.
      • the battery's components must meet certain standards.
      • for sourcing or processing in the United States or from trusted trade partners.
    • Three programs to grow the domestic supply chain for clean vehicles. …
      • $3 billion to the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program for loans to manufacture clean vehicles and their components in the United States.
      • $2 billion to the Department of Energy for Domestic Manufacturing Conversion Grants, which will fund manufacturers' retooling of production lines for clean vehicles.
      • Advanced manufacturing Production Credit for the domestic production and sale of qualified components for clean energy projects, including batteries and critical minerals.

     

    Since, companies have invested nearly $85 billion in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, batteries, and EV chargers, and sales of EVs have tripled in the U.S., according to The White House, which creates a favorable environment for lithium extraction enterprises' development and drives demand for locally sourced raw materials. The Inflation Reduction Act has made a favorable opportunity to plan and develop U.S. battery manufacturing capacity to 750GWh in 2025 and nearly 1300GWh by 2030, up 13x compared to current near 100GWh production. The growing number of E.V. battery manufacturers tightens competition for local raw materials supply. There is great potential for offtake agreements and high demand for domestically produced lithium compounds.

    Learn more about the Inflation Reduction Act.

  • The European Critical Raw Material Act

    European Union announced the Critical Raw Materials action plan in March 2023.

    The Regulation sets clear benchmarks for domestic capacities along the strategic raw material supply chain and to diversify E.U. supply by 2030:

    • At least 10% of the E.U.'s annual consumption for extraction, At least 40% of the E.U.'s yearly consumption for processing,
    • At least 15% of the E.U.'s annual consumption is for recycling,
    • Not more than 65% of the Union's annual consumption of each strategic raw material at any relevant processing stage from a single third country.

     

    The Act will reduce the administrative burden and simplify permitting procedures for critical raw materials projects in the E.U., Strengthening the uptake and deployment of breakthrough technologies in critical raw materials. However, as the E.U. accepts to never be self-sufficient in supplying such raw materials, it has focused on supporting global production and ensuring supply diversification.

    The E.U. must strengthen its global engagement with reliable partners to develop and diversify investment, promote stability in international trade, and strengthen legal certainty for investors. Additionally, to ensure the resilience of the supply chains, the Act provides for monitoring critical raw materials supply chains.

    The E.U. will focus on improving the circularity and sustainability of critical raw materials. A partnership on critical raw materials and a Raw Materials Academy will promote skills relevant to the workforce in critical raw materials supply chains. It will further develop strategic alliances: The E.U. will work with reliable partners to promote their economic development sustainably through value chain creation in their own countries while also promoting secure, resilient, affordable, and sufficiently diversified value chains for the E.U.

    Learn more about the European Critical Raw Material Act.

  • The European Batteries Regulation

    The European Union has initiated a significant regulatory change by introducing the new EU Battery Regulation, which began to apply on 18 February 2024. This regulation represents a landmark move towards more sustainable, circular, and safe battery production and use within the EU. However, it's important to note that the regulation's provisions are not all applied immediately but are introduced in phases over the coming years. This phased approach allows for some aspects of the regulation to become stricter over time, with certain areas of implementation still to be defined.

    One of the regulation's critical requirements is that manufacturers and importers of batteries intending to enter the European market must comply with these new standards. Non-compliance could lead to significant penalties, including restricting or withdrawing non-compliant batteries from the market, depending on the enforcement policies of individual EU countries.

    Carbon Footprint Disclosure

    A cornerstone of the regulation is the requirement for all batteries to have their carbon footprint disclosed by 18 February 2025. This disclosure must encompass the entire life cycle of the battery, from the extraction of raw materials and processing to manufacturing and, finally, to the recycling stage. Notably, the use phase of the battery is currently excluded from this requirement. This measure aims to increase transparency and encourage the production of batteries with a lower environmental impact.

    Supporting the Green Transition

    Batteries are recognized as a crucial technology in driving the green transition, supporting sustainable mobility, and contributing towards the EU's goal of climate neutrality by 2050. In alignment with these objectives, the regulation will gradually introduce declaration requirements, performance classes, and maximum limits on the carbon footprint for various types of batteries. This includes batteries used in electric vehicles, light means of transport such as e-bikes and scooters, and rechargeable industrial batteries, starting from 2025.

    The EU Battery Regulation is a significant step forward in ensuring that batteries contribute positively to the green transition and sustainable mobility. By setting stringent requirements for the production, use, and recycling of batteries, the EU aims to minimize the environmental impact of batteries and pave the way for a climate-neutral future.

     

    Learn more about the EU Battery Regulation.

Industry Outlook & Predictions

As we look towards the future of the lithium market, several key trends and predictions emerge, painting a dynamic and promising landscape. The demand for lithium, primarily driven by the electric vehicle (EV) and battery sectors, is expected to continue its upward trajectory. The global shift towards clean energy and the increasing adoption of EVs in response to environmental concerns and government incentives fuels this surge.

The Future of Lithium: Trends and Forecast
Lithium Industry Outlook And Predictions

Diverse Technologies for Lithium Extraction

The world of lithium extraction is evolving rapidly, with technologies advancing to meet the growing demand for this critical element. Here's a brief overview of the different lithium extraction technologies currently in use:

  1. Traditional Hard Rock Mining: This method involves mining spodumene, a lithium-bearing mineral. The ore is then crushed and processed to extract lithium. It's a time-tested method but can have significant environmental impacts.
  2. Brine Evaporation Ponds: Used primarily in South America, this process involves pumping lithium-rich brine from beneath the earth's surface into large evaporation ponds. It's more cost-effective than hard rock mining but requires vast land areas and slower production time.
  3. Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE): DLE is an innovative approach that offers a more environmentally friendly and efficient way to extract lithium from brine resources. This technology can extract lithium more quickly and with a smaller environmental footprint than evaporation ponds.
  4. Lithium Extraction from Oilfield Wastewater: Companies like Lithium Harvest are pioneering the extraction of lithium from produced water in oilfields. This method is revolutionary in turning waste into a valuable resource, showcasing a sustainable and cost-effective approach to lithium extraction.

Each technology has its advantages and challenges. As the demand for lithium continues to rise, developing more sustainable and efficient extraction methods will be crucial in shaping the industry's future.

See our lithium extraction solution

Technological Benchmark

Lithium Harvest Lithium Extraction Technology

Lithium Harvest Solution

Direct Lithium Extraction Plant

DLE from Brine

Solar Evaporation Brine Extraction

Solar Evaporation Brine Extraction

Hard Rock Mining

Hard Rock Mining

Feedstock Produced water Continental brine / geothermal Continental brine Rock / spodumene
Project implementation time 12-15 months 5-7 years 13-15 years 8-10 years
Lithium carbonate production time 2 hours 2 hours 2-3 years 3-6 months
Lithium yield >95% 80-95% 20-40% 6-7%
Average footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 1.4 acres 1.4 acres 65 acres 115 acres
System design Modular and mobile Mobile / stationary Stationary Stationary
Environmental impact Minimal Minimal Soil- and water contamination Soil- and water contamination
Water consumption per 1,000 mt LCE 20 million gallons 80 million gallons 550 million gallons 250 million gallons
CO₂ footprint per 1,000 mt LCE Neutral 1.5 million kg 5 million kg 15 million kg
Lithium Harvest Lithium Extraction Technology

Lithium Harvest Solution

Feedstock Produced water
Project implementation time 12-15 months
Lithium carbonate production time 2 hours
Lithium yield >95%
Average footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 1.4 acres
System design Modular and mobile
Environmental impact Minimal
Water consumption per 1,000 mt LCE 20 million gallons
CO₂ footprint per 1,000 mt LCE Neutral
Direct Lithium Extraction Plant

DLE from Brine

Feedstock Continental brine / geothermal
Project implementation time 5-7 years
Lithium carbonate production time 2 hours
Lithium yield 80-95%
Average footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 1.4 acres
System design Mobile / stationary
Environmental impact Minimal
Water consumption per 1,000 mt LCE 80 million gallons
CO₂ footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 1.5 million kg
Solar Evaporation Brine Extraction

Solar Evaporation Brine Extraction

Feedstock Continental brine
Project implementation time 13-15 years
Lithium carbonate production time 2-3 years
Lithium yield 20-40%
Average footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 65 acres
System design Stationary
Environmental impact Soil- and water contamination
Water consumption per 1,000 mt LCE 550 million gallons
CO₂ footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 5 million kg
Hard Rock Mining

Hard Rock Mining

Feedstock Rock / spodumene
Project implementation time 8-10 years
Lithium carbonate production time 3-6 months
Lithium yield 6-7%
Average footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 115 acres
System design Stationary
Environmental impact Soil- and water contamination
Water consumption per 1,000 mt LCE 250 million gallons
CO₂ footprint per 1,000 mt LCE 15 million kg

The World Needs More Sustainable Lithium

In the face of an accelerating global shift towards renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs), the demand for lithium – a critical component in rechargeable batteries – is soaring. However, this surge has spotlighted a pressing need: the transition to more sustainable lithium extraction methods.

Traditional lithium mining, primarily through open-pit mines or brine evaporation ponds, raises significant environmental concerns. These methods can lead to water depletion, soil degradation, and extensive carbon emissions. Recognizing these challenges, industries and governments worldwide are turning their focus towards sustainable lithium extraction methods. Companies like Lithium Harvest are at the forefront, pioneering techniques that minimize environmental impact. For instance, extracting lithium from oilfield wastewater, as Lithium Harvest does, presents a dual benefit: it reduces waste and mitigates the environmental footprint traditionally associated with lithium mining.

The push for sustainable lithium is not just an environmental imperative but also a business one. Major players in the EV and tech industries, conscious of their carbon footprint and eager to appeal to environmentally aware consumers, are increasingly seeking responsibly sourced lithium. This shift is driving innovation and investment in sustainable lithium extraction technologies.

In summary, the world's growing appetite for lithium and an urgent need to protect our planet is creating a strong demand for more sustainable lithium sources. Companies that can meet this demand contribute to a greener future and position themselves advantageously in a rapidly evolving market.

Learn more about our solution for lithium extraction
Sustainable Lithium Supply And Demand Forecast