Do we have enough lithium for the electrification of transport?

Lithium is currently a “must-have” in the production of electric vehicles because it is used in their batteries. However, its use goes beyond that and is found in many everyday devices such as telephones, laptops and vacuum cleaners. Engineers around the world highly value its unique properties, and there is no prospect of it being replaced in the future. Lithium is also used in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, rocket fuel, and even in medicine to treat conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Australia, Chile and China are world leaders in lithium production, accounting for over 90% of the world’s lithium production in 2021. Although lithium mining is evenly spread over several continents, its exports are mainly directed to the Asian market, where South Korea, China and Japan buy several times more than the rest of the world combined.

Unfortunately, lithium mining is currently costly, time-consuming and environmentally unfriendly due to the large amounts of water and electricity used.

Lithium production has increased significantly in recent years, with large-producing countries seeking to maximize their production to meet global demand and make substantial profits. Australia’s Minister for Resources pledged more than $100 million for research and development programs to extract minerals.

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