Top 10 lithium mining companies
The lithium gold rush is among us, and its proliferation is not slowing down anytime soon - annual lithium demand is projected to reach roughly 1.5 million metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2025 and over 3 million tonnes by 2030.
Record revenues are due to the centrality of lithium in an array of industries and products - the metal is needed to produce virtually all traction batteries currently used in EVs as well as consumer electronics
We take a look at the top 10 lithium mining companies.
10. Lithium Americas
Americas focuses on exploring and evaluating mineral resources, including lithium and potassium, in South America. Its main emphasis is on developing two lithium projects, namely, the Lithium Nevada project situated in northwestern Nevada and the Cauchari-Olaroz project located in Argentina's Jujuy province.
The Thacker Pass deposit in northern Nevada is the largest and highest-quality sedimentary lithium deposit in the US, with the potential to meet the entire lithium demand in the country. This would significantly reduce the nation's reliance on foreign sources of lithium.
9. Sechuan Yahua Group
Recently securing a five-year deal to supply Tesla with lithium, Yahua Group operates various subsidiaries that manufacture lithium hydroxide, lithium carbonate, and other lithium salt products. Additionally, they are involved in the research and development of military ignition powder and military priming materials.
8. Allkem Limited
Allkem Limited is a specialised corporation that deals with lithium chemicals, which came into existence as a result of the merger between Galaxy Resources and Orocobre Limited. Its range of operations includes lithium brine and borax operations situated in Argentina, a lithium hydroxide conversion facility based in Japan, a high-grade lithium operation located in Australia, and a hard-rock project situated in Canada.
Livent utilises the potential of lithium to transform the energy sector. Its primary focus is on producing lithium hydroxide monohydrate, lithium carbonate, and high-purity lithium metal to facilitate the development of longer-lasting and high-capacity batteries.
Livent has also pioneered a distinctive lithium metal product known as LIOVIX - this exclusive printable formula of lithium metal, combined with other substances, effectively improves the performance of lithium-ion batteries while simultaneously lowering manufacturing expenses.
6. Mineral Resources Limited
The firm, based in Western Australia, engages in open-pit mining of both iron ore and lithium, as well as the processing of lithium hydroxide. Its lithium production in Australia is sourced from Mt Marion, situated in the Goldfields region, and Wodgina, located in the Pilbara area. Originally designed to yield 206,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate annually, the Mt Marion mine is presently undergoing an upgrade project that aims to boost production to 450,000 tonnes of 6% all-in spodumene concentrate per year.
5. Pilbara Minerals
Pilbara Minerals is a mining firm situated in Western Australia that focuses on extracting lithium and tantalite. The company has two processing plants, namely the Pilgan Plant and the Ngungaju Plant. The Pilgan Plant produces spodumene concentrate and tantalite concentrate, generating around 330,000 tons of spodumene concentrate and 321,000 tons of tantalite concentrate annually. This facility utilises dense media separation and flotation and gravity circuit methods to create both coarse and fines concentrate, which are combined to produce high-quality spodumene concentrate.
In line with its growth and diversification strategy, Pilbara Minerals aims to become an economical, sustainable producer and an integrated supplier of raw materials and chemicals in the future. Pilbara Minerals has garnered investments from various global partners, including Yibin Tianyi, Great Wall Motor Company, and Ganfeng Lithium, owing to its high-quality operations and substantial scale.
4. Tianqi Lithium Corporation
Tianqi Lithium Corporation is involved in the extraction of lithium concentrate, production of advanced lithium compounds, and investment in lithium resources. The company has established mineral and chemical operations worldwide, including in China (Chongqing, Jiangsu, and Sichuan), Chile, and Australia, to offer its services to customers across Asia, Europe, America, and Oceania.
The company has a significant stake in Greenbushes, the world's largest hard-rock lithium mine.
3. Sociedad Química y Minera
Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) is a Chilean multinational corporation that operates in the chemical and mining industries. The company was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Santiago, Chile.
SQM is one of the world's largest producers of lithium, iodine, and potassium nitrate. In the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile, the company makes lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate from brine.
SQM has the capacity to produce 70,000 metric tons of lithium carbon every year. The company has plans to expand its capacity to 150,000 metric tons per year in the near future.
2. Albemarle Corporation
Albemarle, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, has a market capitalisation of $26.8 billion and operates in three divisions: lithium, bromine specialties, and catalysts. Established in 1994, it has emerged as the world's second-largest lithium miner, generating $3.128 billion in revenue in 2020. With a global presence of over 5,000 employees in 100 countries, Albemarle has become the largest supplier of lithium for electric vehicle batteries as of 2020.
Albemarle's notable projects include owning lithium brine operations in Clayton Valley, located near Silver Peak in the US, and the Salar de Atacama in Chile. Additionally, it owns a 49% share in the vast hard-rock Greenbushes mine.
1. Ganfeng Lithium
Ganfeng Lithium Co Ltd has a broad presence in the lithium battery supply chain, encompassing lithium development and processing, battery manufacturing, and recycling. Its products find applications in energy storage, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electric vehicles, and 3C products.
Ganfeng Lithium is unique in possessing commercial-scale techniques for extracting lithium from brine, ore, and recycled materials. It is the world's largest producer of lithium metal and ranks third in terms of lithium compound capacity.
The company is committed to minimising resource consumption and has initiated various projects to extract resources from natural solar radiation. It also consistently optimises technical means to improve product yields and reduce resource waste. The lithium extracted as a byproduct is delivered to industries such as glass, cement, and others to ensure maximum utilisation.
Although the company's resources are spread worldwide, a majority of its revenue is derived from China, North America, the European Union, and Hong Kong.
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