Lithium Market Becoming More Reliant on Transportation Batteries for Continued Demand

1 year ago by Mark Kane 4

Roskill Information Services

Roskill Information Services

Roskill Information Services, in a new report on the lithium market, claims that transportation-related battery manufacturers are quickly becoming the largest consumers of lithium.

For now, strong growth in demand is driven by lithium-ion batteries used portable devices, but in couple years’ time, that should change.

Behold Some Beautiful Mounds of Lithium

Behold Some Beautiful Mounds of Lithium

The main driving force for demand of lithium is soon expected to be lithium-ion batteries used for transportation purposes.

The collected data show that the share of consumption for the production of lithium batteries has increased from 8% in 2002. to 15% in 2007. and up to 27% in 2012.

Lithium-ion batteries alone will account for 44% of the net increase in demand for lithium over the next 10 years.

Roskill notes that the production of lithium-ion batteries, particularly lithium-containing electrode materials, is now concentrated in East Asia—Japan, South Korea and China.  In 2012, East Asia was responsible for roughly 60% of the world  lithium production, whereas in Europe and North America, the figures were only 24% and 9%, respectively.

Cost, which is always a factor that’s discussed, is declining for pure lithium, though that won’t drive down battery prices by much as the cost of lithium is likely only a few percent of the total battery costs.

Where’s all this lithium mined?  Most lithium is currently sourced in Australia, Chile, Argentina and China.  The biggest producers are currently Talison Lithium in Australia, SQM and Rockwood Lithium in Chile and FMC in Argentina.  Roskill further says that demand for lithium will not outstrip supply anytime in the foreseeable future.

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4 responses to "Lithium Market Becoming More Reliant on Transportation Batteries for Continued Demand"

  1. David Murray says:

    how was the transportation sector using 8% of lithium in 2002? There were no Lithium based EVs or hybrids on the roads, so what part of the car or manufacturing process uses Lithium?

    1. staff says:

      Sorry, that’s our bad. We had an editing snafu while clearing up the translation. Mark had it correct in the original report he filed.

      Here is how it should (and now does) read:

      “The collected data show that the share of consumption for the production of lithium batteries has increased from 8% in 2002. to 15% in 2007. and up to 27% in 2012.”

      Apologies on that, and to Mark. Thanks for pointing out the error.

    2. Josh says:

      Electric bikes have been popular in China for a long time. I have no idea if they were using lithium back then though.

  2. Ocean Railroader says:

    I think with out EV batteries Lithium demand can only get so high in that after a while you run out of Lithium batteries needed for cell phones in that at after a point everyone has a cell phone. I once had a cell phone that had a battery in it that lasted seven years along with the phone. Also they are saying that lithium is recyclable so it’s quite possible that the battery form this phone might be rebuilt and in another newer phone somewhere.