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GlobalData: Global lithium demand to more than double by 2024

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Global Mining Review,

According to GlobalData, with the annual production of electric vehicles (EVs) set to grow from 3.4 million in 2020 to 12.7 million in 2024, and battery production growing from 95.3GWh to 410.5GWh over the same period, demand for lithium is expected to rise from a forecasted 47 300 t in 2020 to 117 400 t at a 25.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

Vinneth Bajaj, Senior Mining Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Lithium metal production is expected to reach 134 700 t vs 58.800 t in 2020. This follows a significant 18.2% decline in 2019 to 78 200 t, resulting from sluggish global EV sales and a steep fall in prices, which, in turn, encouraged reduced production levels.

“Lithium production over the next 4 years will be mainly supported by output from existing Australian mines such as Mount Cattlin and Pilgangoora. Other major mines include Mount Marion, Salar de Atacama and Salar del Hombre Muerto located in Australia, Chile and Argentina, respectively.”

Global demand for lithium will be driven by growth in battery manufacturing facilities, particularly in China – where lithium-ion battery manufacturing capacity is expected to increase from an estimated 388.2 GWh in 2020 to 575.3 GWh in 2024.

Bajaj continued: “According to GlobalData, nearly 12.7 million EVs are expected to be produced across the globe in 2024, increasing from 3.4 million in 2020. China is determined to boost EV sales, targeting a 20% share of the new car sales by 2025, vs just 5% in 2019. The country’s decision to cut subsidies in a phased manner until 2022, rather than eliminating it in 2020, is expected to provide an essential boost to the domestic market, as well as the overall global EV market.”

On its Battery Day, Tesla announced it is working towards achieving 100 GWh of cell production capacity by 2022 and up to 3000 GWh by 2030. This is far greater than other manufacturers such as China’s BYD, which is expected to expand its capacity to 126 GWh in 2024, vs 40 GWh in 2019. Japan’s Panasonic, a key supplier to Tesla itself, is expected to increase its capacity from 40 GWh in 2019 to 63 GWh in 2021, while LG Chem will expand from 65.2 GWh in 2019 to 172.4 GWh in 2024.

Bajaj added: “Tesla also announced a revolutionary 4680 cell design, the production of which has already begun with 10 GWh of annual capacity expected through 2021. It is expected to completely change the cost dynamics of EVs by reducing the overall cost of its long range and high performance battery cells.”

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Lithium mining news