According to a recent report, the world’s lithium’s supplies are running dry, and tech giants are upset about it. The price of the mineral, which is critical for many electronic devices, has soared and manufacturers are looking for new lithium deposits.
In the last two years, the mineral’s price doubled, with one ton selling for $16,500. The price surge is mainly tied to a booming demand for Li-Ion batteries. The batteries are critical for smartphones and electric vehicles (EVs).
Lithium miners are now looking for new deposits, turning the hunt for the mineral in a modern-day gold rush. What’s more, the current supplies are threatened by the Chinese domination, which U.S. and European companies are now trying to bypass.
A ‘Lithium War’ in the Making
Over the last decade, the commodities market has focused on the price war between OPEC and U.S. Analysts believe that the next decade will be dominated by a lithium war. The mineral is also known as the “white petroleum.”
Early this year, a report showed that the sales of Li-Ion batteries would grow by more than 13% every year, with the peak expected to be reached in 2022. In 2015, a ton of lithium cost $6,500. Three years later, it costs more than $20,000.
China, which is the top Li-Ion battery maker in the world, has been pushing for a steady supply for years. Many South American miners are partially owned by Chinese companies. The bulk of the lithium production happens in Latin America.
China too expects the demand for the mineral to jump over the next few years due to an increasing demand for EVs. According to a report, the demand for EVs will be greater than the demand for diesel cars in the 2030s.
U.S. and European companies are now trying to shatter the Chinese monopoly by looking for new lithium deposits in Germany, Sweden, Portugal, the U.K., and the Czech Republic.
Image Source: Wikimedia
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