Current and Future Global Lithium Production Till 2025
Daniel Calisaya-Azpilcueta1, *, Sebastián Herrera-Leon2, 3, Luis A. Cisternas1, *
1 Departamento de Ingeniería Química y Procesos de Minerales, Universidad de Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile
2 School of Engineering Science, LUT University, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851 Lappeenranta, Finland
3 Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad Católica del Norte, Avenida Angamos 0610, Antofagasta, Chile.
The production of lithium is growing continuously, and ensuring its stable supply is crucial for the growth of global economy. Therefore, to avoid a potential supply risk, it is necessary to determine the requirements for the implementation of current and planned lithium mining projects in order to meet the forecasted demand of lithium.
In this paper, the capability of global lithium production to meet the uncertain, high or low level, demand by 2025, is analyzed.
The global lithium supply is simulated considering three alternatives: no new projects in the portfolio, committed projects, and uncommitted projects. Two scenarios for estimating the growth rate of lithium production in the future are analyzed: a regular growth rate and a growth rate assuming the use in full capacity of lithium production by major suppliers.
The results show that the total capacity of production covers the low-level demand. However, it is not enough to cover the high-level demand for lithium. Therefore, new projects are necessary. On the other hand, results considering all the possible projects show that the demand is exceeded, which suggests that intermediate scenarios could cover the demand by 100%.
It is expected that a low-carbon economy may be projected soon, and assuming the high-level demand of lithium, then a combination of committed projects and uncommitted projects should be considered.
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