There is “lithium” all over the world, and it is difficult to move without “lithium”. Since the second half of last year, the global competition for lithium resources has intensified. With the acceleration of new energy vehicle production, the situation has become more tense, but most people may not know what this means.
Why is China so active?
The EU lists lithium as one of 14 key raw materials, the United States regards lithium as one of 43 important mineral resources, and China positions lithium as one of 24 national strategic mineral resources. The fundamental reason is that lithium is related to the future of new energy vehicles.
As we all know, the core of electric vehicle is battery, and lithium is the core metal element of power battery. Whether it is ternary lithium battery, lithium iron phosphate battery or solid-state battery representing the future, it is inseparable from lithium. Lithium is to new energy vehicles what oil is to fuel vehicles.
The growth of new energy vehicles has promoted the increase of lithium demand for upstream raw materials. Sqm estimates that the global lithium demand will reach 330000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) in 2020, with a year-on-year increase of about 7.5%. In terms of areas, batteries are the largest downstream, accounting for about 75% of the global lithium demand in 2020. Among them, the proportion of electric vehicles continues to increase, from 46% in 2019 to 54%.
China is the world’s largest lithium battery producer and naturally the world’s largest lithium consumer, but the domestic lithium resource reserves can not significantly keep up with the market demand.
According to the data of USGS, Chile and Australia are the two countries with the largest lithium resources reserves, accounting for 43.8% and 22.4% of the global lithium resources reserves respectively in 2020. In contrast, China’s lithium resources reserves account for only 6%.
On the other hand, the resource endowment of domestic lithium mines is also relatively backward.