Top 10: Lithium Mining Companies

Top 10 lithium mining companies globally include Albermarle, SQM, Tianqi Lithium, Ganfeng Lithium, Mineral Resources, Pilbara Minerals, Allkem & Livent

The demand for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, storage systems and electronic devices is the main driver of lithium mining globally.

Worldwide lithium production in 2022 increased year on year by 23%, to approximately 130,000 tonnes. Every 100,000 metric tonnes of lithium is enough to manufacture an estimated 12,500,000 EV batteries. 

Lithium is also a key component of alloys, being combined both with aluminium and magnesium for strength and lightness. 

It is mined in multiple ways. Because lithium is highly soluble, it’s present in sea water, which is why it is commonly obtained from brines. The traditional way to extract lithium from brine is through evaporation ponds.

However, there are environmental concerns over this method, because it can harm the soil and cause air contamination. 

Lithium is also extracted from minerals found in crystalline igneous rocks known as pegmatite. This method extracts lithium directly from pegmatites, using surface mining techniques. It is then processed into lithium hydroxide, the compound preferred by EV battery manufacturers.

The biggest lithium producers in the world are Australia (55,000 metric tons), Chile (26,000) and China (14,000).

The following are the biggest lithium mining companies, rated by market capitalisation.  

10 Lithium Americas

Market capitalisation: $4.2bn
Country: Canada
Lithium Americas’ flagship project is Cauchari-Olaroz in Argentina, which produces high-purity lithium carbonate for use in EV batteries and other energy storage uses. The company holds interests in other lithium exploration projects, including the Thacker Pass project in Nevada, USA. 

09 Sichuan Yahua Industrial

Market capitalisation: $4.8bn
Country: China
Sichuan Yahua Industrial is a major Chinese producer of lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, and other lithium-related products. With a vertically integrated supply chain, the company extracts lithium resources, and processes them into battery-grade materials. 

08 Livent Corporation

Market capitalisation: $6.2bn
Country: US
Livent Corporation – formerly known as FMC Lithium – has operations in North and South America, and employs around 800 people worldwide. Its primary lithium production facilities are based in Argentina and the US. It specialises in extracting lithium from brine and processing it into high-quality lithium products for various applications, including pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and specialty polymers.

07 Allkem

Market capitalisation: $6.5bn
Country: Argentina
Allkem is a prominent lithium mining company with its HQ in Argentina.. Employing 1,500 people, it mainly extracts lithium from brine resources. Its primary mining operations are situated in the Salar de Atacama in Chile, one of the largest salt flats globally and a key source of lithium-rich brines. 

06 Pilbara Minerals

Market capitalisation: $8.6bn
Country: Australia
Pilbara Minerals is based in Perth, Western Australia, and operates the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project, one of the world's largest lithium-tantalum mines. Tantalum is a very hard metal that is highly corrosion-resistant. The mine extracts and processes lithium spodumene ore. 

05 Mineral Resources

Market capitalisation: $9.4bn
Country: Australia
Based in Perth, Mineral Resources employs 6,000 people and its major lithium operations include the Mount Marion Lithium Mine in Western Australia and the Wodgina Lithium Project. These extract lithium spodumene ore, and supply markets including ceramics, glass, and lubricants. Its lithium is also used in other sectors, including iron ore mining.

04 Ganfeng Lithium

Market capitalisation: $22.9bn
Country: China
China-based Ganfeng Lithium has operations spanning exploration, production, and distribution. A huge venture, employing over 10,000 people, its main mining assets include the Jiangxi Lithium Mine in China and Argentina’s Sal de los Angeles Lithium Project. It caters to markets including ceramics, glass, and pharmaceuticals.

03 Tianqi Lithium 

Market capitalisation: $25bn
Country: China
Tianqi Lithium is a major player in the lithium mining industry. With 3,000 employees, its key assets include the Greenbushes Lithium Mine in Australia – one of the world's largest lithium reserves. The company uses open-pit mining methods to extract lithium spodumene ore, and its lithium products cater to markets such as ceramics, glass, and industrial lubricants.

02 SQM

Market capitalisation: $29.6bn
Country: Chile
SQM, headquartered in Santiago, Chile employs 5,000 people, and its main operation is the Salar de Atacama in Chile, which is one of the world's richest lithium reserves. Using brine extraction methods, SQM produces lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide, and its products serve markets including ceramics, glass and pharmaceuticals. It also serves the chemicals sector, including potassium and iodine production.

01 Albemarle 

Market capitalisation: $33.9bn
Country: US
Albemarle Corporation is an American specialty chemicals manufacturing company based in North Carolina. It operates three divisions: lithium, bromine specialties and catalysts. It runs lithium mines globally, with its most important mining assets being Salar de Atacama in Chile, which relies on brine extraction methods. The company’s lithium products cater to ceramics, glass, and pharmaceutical markets, supporting various industrial applications.


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