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Lithium — Li

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Lithium, the lightest of all metals, is used in air treatment, batteries, ceramics, glass, metallurgy, pharmaceuticals, and polymers. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are particularly important in efforts to reduce global warming because they make it possible to power cars and trucks from renewable sources of energy (for example, hydroelectric, solar, or wind) instead of by burning fossil fuels. Today, lithium is extracted from brines that are pumped from beneath arid sedimentary basins and extracted from granitic pegmatite ores. Other potential sources of lithium include clays, geothermal brines, oilfield brines, and zeolites. Worldwide resources of lithium are estimated to be more than 39 million metric tons, which is enough to meet projected demand to the year 2100 (Source: USGS).

Lithium has been listed as one of the critical elements by many countries worldwide. The Biden-Harris Administration of the White House recognized Lithium as Critical Mineral – “…Critical minerals provide the building blocks for many modern technologies and are essential to our national security and economic prosperity. These minerals—such as rare earth elements, lithium, and cobalt—can be found in products from computers to household appliances. They are also key inputs in clean energy technologies like batteries, electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. As the world transitions to a clean energy economy, global demand for these critical minerals is set to skyrocket by 400-600 percent over the next several decades, and, for minerals such as lithium and graphite used in electric vehicle (EV) batteries, demand will increase by even more—as much as 4,000 percent …” (FACT SHEET: Securing a Made in America Supply Chain for Critical Minerals, White House 22.02.2022).

In Brussels on September 14th of 2022 European Commission President von der Leyen has stated that: “Lithium and rare earths will soon be more important than oil and gas. Our demand for rare earths alone will increase fivefold by 2030. […] We will identify strategic projects all along the supply chain, from extraction to refining, from processing to recycling. And we will build up strategic reserves where supply is at risk. Without secure sustainable access to the necessary raw materials, our ambition to become the first climate neutral continent is at risk. In fact, without critical raw materials, we will not lead the digital decade and will not be able to develop our defence capabilities either. This is why today I am announcing a European Critical Raw Materials Act.”

Lithium Market. The global Lithium mining market size was USD 321.36 million in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 18.99 billion by 2030. The market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 12.0% from 2022 to 2030. Rising investments in lithium mining and related technologies are projected to remain a key trend in the market. Lithium mining is witnessing rapid growth as its demand is accelerating owing to its application in batteries.

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