Top 8 lithium producers in the world by country
Lithium production’s predicted to triple by 2025, due to a surge in electric vehicle (EV) purchases. Discover the world’s top lithium producers and find out how you can add lithium to your trading or investment portfolio with us.
|Country||Share of global production1|
|Rest of the world||0.6%|
Source: Visual Capitalist1
Australia – 55,000 MT
Australia produced 55,000 MT of lithium content last year, a significant increase from the previous year’s 44,000 MT. The country saw a dramatic increase in production in 2018, due to two new spodumene operations that fueled production in 2017, and five additional ones in 2018. However, competitive pricing and costs have led to reduced production.
Australia has more than 2.7 million MT of lithium reserves. Its lithium is taken from hard-rock mines, with China being the market’s biggest importer of the product.2
Chile – 26,000 MT
Chile’s 26,000 MT in 2021 was a substantial increase from its previous 18,000 MT in 2020. The country’s lithium is extracted from lithium brine deposits. The Salar de Atacama salt flat in Chile generates roughly half the revenue for SQM – one of the leading lithium producers.2
Despite growing concern over its negative impact on the environment, the financial benefits have proven impossible to ignore for the world’s second largest producer.
China – 14,000 MT
At 14,000 MT, China’s 2021’s lithium production remained unchanged from the previous year’s. 2020 saw the country’s lithium supply grow significantly from 2019’s 10,800 MT.
China’s the largest consumer of lithium because of its booming electronics and electric vehicle industries. Close to two-thirds of the globes lithium-ion batteries are made in China and it controls most of the world’s lithium-processing plants.2
Argentina – 6200 MT
Argentina produced 6200 MT. Its Salar del Hombre Muerto district has reserves which are enough to last 75 years. Lithium mining in Argentina is currently on the rise as two mines are presently in production and over 60 projects are in the pipelines.2
Brazil – 1900 MT
Brazil’s 1900 MT puts it in 5th place. A sudden surge in lithium production in the last few years, put the country on the map as one of the top global producers. The country’s come a long way from 400 MT in 2011 to a record 2400 MT in 2019.
Industry experts predict a further rise in the country’s production over the coming years as EV producers like Tesla look to secure supply deals with some of the country’s producers.2
Zimbabwe – 1200 MT
Zimbabwe’s production remained flat at 1200 MT. Despite this, country’s managed to increase production considerably over the past few years. Bikita Minerals is the country’s only producer.
It’s alleged that it owns the world’s largest-known lithium deposit at over 11 million tonnes. Zimbabwe believes it has potential to supply 20% of the globe’s lithium once all its resources are in full use.2
Portugal – 900 MT
Portugal also remained flat at 900 MT. Despite its low output, current lithium reserves stand at 60,000 MT.2 Despite growing environmental concerns by residents, lithium mining in the country is poised for growth as global unease over a possible supply shortage starts to set in.
The growing demand for lithium-ion batteries means more lithium is needed to meet demand and Portugal is believed to be sitting on some of Europe’s biggest deposits.3 And, with backing from government, the country’s lithium industry is only growing in dominance.
United States – 900MT
The US produced just 1% of the globe’s total supply in 2021. This comes as no surprise seeing that there’s only one lithium-producing mine in Nevada. Despite this, the country still holds the fifth largest lithium reserves at 750,000 tonnes.2
What is lithium and what is it used for?
Lithium is the lightest know alkali metal. It’s found in small amounts in minerals such as spodumene, petalite, lepidolite and amblygonite, as well as indigenous rocks and waters of some mineral springs. It’s produced through the electric decomposition of molten lithium chloride and potassium chloride.
The substance metal has a wide variety of uses and has long been used for industrial purposes. A growth in demand for electric vehicle (EVs) means the leading use for lithium is in the lithium-ion batteries used to power them. It’s also commonly used in:
- Electronic devices
- Aircraft manufacturing
Overview of the lithium industry
Like most industries, Covid-19 had a drastic effect on lithium production. In 2020, the industry suffered an unprecedented market decline of 10.9% – a complete contrast to the year-on year growth it had experienced from 2017.4
Despite the decline, the industry’s projected to more than double over the next three years, driven by the growing demand for EV batteries. This caused a rapid rise in the markets compound annual growth rate (CAGR), bringing the industry firmly back to its pre-pandemic levels.5 By 2030, global lithium production is expected to exceed two million metric tonnes.6
The increase in demand however, has led to questions about the industry’s long-term sustainability. The fact that the metal’s also found predominantly in less politically stable countries has led to growing calls for the creation of new, more eco-friendly battery technologies.
How to trade or invest in lithium
There are a few ways you can start trading or investing in lithium with us. If you’re looking for leveraged exposure to lithium price movements, you can use CFDs. If you want outright ownership of lithium stocks, you can do so via share trading.
When you trade CFDs, you get to speculate on whether lithium prices will rise or fall.
To start trading CFDs, follow these steps:
- Create a trading account or log in
- Search and select the lithium stock you’re interested in
- Choose your position size
- Click ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ in the deal ticket
- Open and monitor your position
Note that CFDs are leveraged derivatives, which means you need a deposit to open your position. While this lowers the cost of entry, it amplifies your risk. Always take steps to manage your trading risk before opening a position.
Share trading platform enables you to buy and hold lithium stocks, while giving you full ownership of your shares. This means you could benefit from price appreciation and any dividends that may be paid.
Investing in lithium stocks also gives you voting rights – since you own the stocks. Additional fees may apply.
To start investing in shares, you need to:
- Understand how share trading works
- Create a share trading account
- See all our fees and full commission rates
- Decide if you want to buy or sell your stocks at quote or on exchange
- Monitor your investments
Learn more about share trading
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) give you diversified exposure to multiple lithium shares by tracking the performance of the stocks contained withing that ETF.
Like lithium stocks, you can invest in lithium ETFs through a share trading account. You can also speculate on price movements by trading CFD.
Our platform gives you access to a range of ETFs from world-leading providers, including:
- Global X Lithium ETF – invests in the full lithium cycle, from mining and refining the metal, through to battery production
- ETFS Battery Tech and Lithium ETF – gives investors exposure to the energy storage and production industry
- Global X Lithium & Battery Tech UCITS ETF – tracks the index of global lithium miners and battery producers
Learn more about investing in ETFs with us
Lithium trading and investing summed up
- Lithium production’s predicted to triple by 2025
- Electric vehicles are the main drivers of the growing demand for lithium
- In 2020, the industry suffered an unprecedented market decline of 10.9% due to Covid-19
- By 2030, global lithium production is expected to exceed two million metric tons
- You can speculate on lithium prices with us, using CFDs
- Share trading gives you full ownership of lithium shares
1 Visualcapitalist.com, 2022
2 Investing News, 2021
3 The Portugal News, 2022
4 Statista, 2022
5 Fortune Business Insights, 2022
6 Statista, 2022
This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Australia Pty Ltd. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients.
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