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 portfolio with us.
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|Country||Share of global production1|
|Rest of the world||0.6%|
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 it’s 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
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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 and 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.
Learn more about how the lithium industry’s performed over the years
How to trade lithium
There are a few ways you can start trading lithium with us. If you’re looking for leveraged exposure to lithium price movements, you can use CFDs.
When you trade CFDs, you get to speculate on whether lithium prices will rise or fall.
To start trading wheat CFDs, follow these steps:
1. Create a trading account or log in
2. Search and select the lithium stock you’re interested in
3. Choose your position size
4. Click ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ in the deal ticket
5. Open and monitor your position
Learn more about trading CFDs
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.
Lithium trading 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 and 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
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