Global mined lithium production hit a record high in 2021 of 100,000 tonnes (excluding the US), a 21% increase over 2020 (82,500 tonnes), according to preliminary data released by the US Geological Survey (USGS).
USGS said that production increased in response to strong demand from the lithium-ion battery market and increased prices of lithium.
Global consumption of lithium in 2021 was estimated to be 93,000 tonnes, a 33% increase from 70,000 tonnes in 2020.
“Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in Asia, Europe, and the United States,” the USGS said in its latest report.
Four mineral operations in Australia, two brine operations each in Argentina and Chile, and two brine and one mineral operation in China accounted for the majority of world lithium production.
Additionally, smaller operations in Brazil, China, Portugal, the United States, and Zimbabwe also contributed to world lithium production.
Chinese lithium carbonate prices tracked by Asian Metal Inc. rose to a fresh record last month, as data showed a 35% month-on-month jump in electric-vehicle registrations in December.
Nearly 400,000 EVs were registered during the month, according to the China Automotive Technology and Research Center. Tesla supplied about 18% of the total.
Ganfeng Lithium, which signed a long-term supply deal with Tesla in November, said its profits for 2021 will be up as much as 437%, fueled by the “fast development” of the EV industry.
(With files from Bloomberg)