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The global lithium mining market size was USD 321.36 million in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unmatched and staggering, with mining witnessing a negative demand across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a slow growth of almost 1% in 2020 compared to the average year-on-year growth during 2017-2019. The market is projected to grow from USD 343.22 million in 2021 to USD 516.22 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 6% in the 2021-2028 period. The rise in CAGR is attributable to this market's demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.
The remarkable development in lithium production has led to the growth of its demand all over the world. Revolution in various fields, such as automobile, glass and ceramics, medical, air treatment, and polymer production, has led to industrialization and urbanization, making metal a vital development element. Mining supplies are used for batteries for electric vehicles.
Blockades in Mining and Exploration Harmed the Lithium Mining Market Growth amid COVID-19
The global health crisis caused by the sudden spread of the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has had a damaging impact on every industry. They had to suffer significant losses in the operational time due to strict rules, such as nationwide lockdowns, to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Accordingly, the outbreak of the virus has altered the demand for the product. As the market is majorly dependent on mining activities, the biggest collapse faced by the mining industry in a long time has also impacted the investment in mining. The low supply and demand for metals have forced leading mining companies to temporarily stop production activities, which ultimately led to a fluctuation in metal and mineral prices. This has directly impacted the work in the lithium mining industry.
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Increasing Demand for Electric Vehicles is a Crucial Trend
According to the International Energy Agency's Global EV Outlook 2020, sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million worldwide in 2019, surpassing 2018 to boost the stock to 7.2 million EV. Electric cars, which accounted for 2.6% of the total car sales and about 1% of the total car stock in 2019, registered a 40% year-on-year increase. As technological progress in the electrification of two/three-wheelers, buses, and trucks advances and the market for them grows, electric vehicles are expanding significantly.
Ambitious policy announcements, such as the one in 2019, and indications of a continuing shift from direct subsidies to policy approaches that rely more on regulatory measures such as zero-emission vehicles mandates and fuel economy standards were visible. This has helped the auto industry and consumers that support the transition by making it economically sustainable. With the rise in EVs, there has been a greater demand for Li-based batteries, as they are the most reliable and long-lasting EV batteries. This has ultimately augmented the market growth.
Increased Utilization of Li-ion Batteries in Grid Storage is a Vital Trend
The growing industrialization and urbanization have given rise to the demand for power in the world. The rising functions of the digitized world require a lot of electrical power. The dependence on process automation and round-the-clock network usage has given rise to the high demand for a consistent power supply, a key driving factor for the energy storage sector. Non-renewable sources are fast depleting and are being substituted by renewable energy sources. This growing inclination towards renewable energy has given rise to the demand for energy storage. The surging demand for storing grid-based energy is one of the key factors that is expected to further drive the demand for Lithium ion batteries and, hence, propel the metal's requirement.
Growing Technological Advancements in Mining to Aid Market Dynamics
Growing technological investments in metallurgy and mining would accelerate the metal’s production through mining. New technological studies have led to developing such mining techniques, which are more energy and resource-efficient. New techniques, such as direct extraction technologies, use organic sieves instead of vast evaporation ponds, making mining and extraction a sustainable practice. Hence, growing advancements and technological development of such mining practices would propel the market growth during the projected period.
Increasing Demand for Lithium in Glass and Ceramic Manufacturing to Drive Market
The utilization of lithium compounds, namely, carbonate and spodumene in glass and ceramics for the manufacturing of enamels and glazes, have found growing usage to lower firing temperatures and thermal expansion, increasing strength of ceramic bodies and improvement in viscosity for coating, and enhancing the glaze's color, strength, and luster. The best-known application of the metal is in the manufacturing of glass-ceramic cooktops, where thermal expansion and thermal resistance are not essential. The growing demand for Li-based ceramics and glasses is anticipated to drive the market in the forecast period.
Environmental Impacts of Mining to Restrain Market Growth
Lithium mining involves mining from the rocks, as well as brines. Processing of the mined metal is done by evaporating brine and washing with sodium carbonate in PVC-lined shallow ponds, which is responsible for water pollution. It also affects groundwater quality and further escalates the problem of water scarcity. This type of mining also leads to dust pollution wherein small Li-particles are suspended in the air. Prolonged exposure to Li-dust can cause serious respiratory tract disorders. There is also a lack of recycling setups for usage in Li-ion batteries, making recycling a costly affair. This ecological factor is considered to be adversely affecting the growth rate of the market.
Hard Rock Segment Holds a Significant Portion Owing to its Maximum Availability
Based on the source, the global market for lithium mining is segmented into brine and hard rock.
Owing to the maximum amount of reserves in the world in the form of hard rocks, the market is dominated by the hard rock segment. The brine reserves are also present in a large volume on the earth but are not utilized to their full potential. The Bolivian salt flats are an example of the same.
The huge potential, combined with the massive technological advancements in brine manufacturing, is anticipated to propel the growth of the brine segment in the market.
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Rising Hard Rock and Brine Activities Will Drive the Carbonate Segment's Growth
Based on type, the market can be primarily split into chloride, lithium hydroxide, carbonate, and concentrate.
Currently, the maximum portion of mining derives lithium carbonate due to its massive production through brines and hard rock mining. It is easy to produce and hence, contributes to the majority of the metal produced. It is massively used in the glass and ceramic industry and in the medical sector to treat mental-health-related concerns. With the rising hard rock mining activities all over the globe, the concentrate segment is also indirectly expected to grow. With new technological advancements in the brine manufacturing, a rise in the production of chloride is expected at a very high growth rate.
Australia Lithium Mining Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)
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The market has been analyzed across major countries, including the United States, Canada, Portugal, China, Australia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, Namibia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe.
The market is dominated by Australia due to a high amount of lithium reserves, coupled with massive mining projects in the country. The growing awareness of utilizing environment-friendly electric vehicles would also drive the market growth in the country.
Chile holds the second-largest lithium mining market share due to the increasing brine mining activities in the region, leading to this growth.
In South America, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil possess vast reserves that can be used to their full potential by greater investments in mining activities.
In Europe, currently, Portugal is the only major Li-producing country with huge deposits of hard rocks. Many upcoming mining projects are expected to increase such mining activities in the country.
China is a massively growing producer in the world with deposits in the form of brines and hard rocks. The country is seeing fast growth in mining owing to a decent number of key players in the region.
Namibia is another country that has deposits in the form of brines, as well as hard rocks. Zimbabwe and Nigeria are countries that viably produce the metal.
The United States and Canada are the two countries in the North American region that indulge in production. While the United States has major brine production, Canada has hard rock production.
SQM, Albemarle Corporation, and Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium to Focus on Investments in Mining Activities and Expanding Customer Reach
Amongst the present companies, very few of them have invested widely in new mining technologies. The fragmented market has seen manufacturers. Considering all the scenarios, Sociedad Química y Minera, Albemarle Corporation, and Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium are the leading producers. They are investing in the study and development of mining technology. They are expected to lead the market in the upcoming years.
An Infographic Representation of Lithium Mining Market
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The global lithium mining market research report highlights leading regions worldwide to offer a better understanding of the user. Furthermore, it provides insights into the latest industry trends and analyzes technologies that are being deployed at a rapid pace worldwide. It further highlights some of the growth-stimulating factors and restraints, helping the reader to gain in-depth knowledge about the industry.
Value (USD Million) and Volume (Metric Tons)
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 321.36 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 516.22 million by 2028.
In 2020, the market in Australia stood at USD 110.40 million.
The market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 6% during the forecast period (2021-2028).
By type, the carbonate segment is anticipated to dominate this market during the forecast period.
The increasing demand for electric vehicles, which use the metal in their batteries, is the key factor driving the market.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera, Albemarle Corporation, and Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium are some of the key participants in this market.
Australia dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.
The utilization of the metal in electric vehicle batteries, coupled with the surging number of electric vehicles, has augmented the demand for mining.
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