Lithium resources and production: Critical assessment and global projections

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Minerals, 2012, 2 (1), pp. 65 - 84
Issue Date:
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© 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This paper critically assesses if accessible lithium resources are sufficient for expanded demand due to lithium battery electric vehicles. The ultimately recoverable resources (URR) of lithium globally were estimated at between 19.3 (Case 1) and 55.0 (Case 3) Mt Li; Best Estimate (BE) was 23.6 Mt Li. The Mohr 2010 model was modified to project lithium supply. The Case 1 URR scenario indicates sufficient lithium for a 77% maximum penetration of lithium battery electric vehicles in 2080 whereas supply is adequate to beyond 2200 in the Case 3 URR scenario. Global lithium demand approached a maximum of 857 kt Li/y, with a 100% penetration of lithium vehicles, 3.5 people per car and 10 billion population.
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