Lithium is a soft silvery-white metal which is highly reactive and does not occur in nature in its elemental form. In nature it occurs as compounds within salt brines and hard rock deposits.
Lithium and its chemical compounds are used in applications such as batteries, glass, pharmaceuticals and ceramics. A key property of lithium is that it has the highest electrochemical potential of all metals, an important feature for lithium-ion batteries.
Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries typically weigh less than traditional batteries, making them an ideal solution for high-performance products, including electric cars, smartphones, tablets and e-rideables.
Given the long lead time for the development and roll-out of new battery technologies, it is forecast that lithium-ion batteries will be the dominant battery type for the applications listed above for at least a decade or more.
Global EV Lithium-ion cell Manufacturing Capacity
With increasing demand being led by electric cars, which in turn is being encouraged by decarbonisation mandates by Governments around the world, the supply/demand fundamentals of lithium has resulted in strong price growth over recent years.
Annual Sales of Passenger EVs (Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)
According to Fastmarkets, the underlying market fundamentals for lithium are straightforward. Increasing and sustained demand will strain supply through 2030. Between now and 2025, supplies from current and planned projects are expected to come online to meet demand; and from 2025 to 2030 new supply sources must come online to support demand.
In the US, the Aurora Project is perfectly located to become a lithium supplier of choice to a range of battery and car makers that are seeking supply from within tier one economies.