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Lithium Production 2022

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Lithium Production by Country 2024

Lithium is a vital mineral used in both medication and battery production. Discovered in the 1790s in Brazil, the element creates a crimson flame when burned. The metal was officially named in 1817, but it was hard to obtain. In 1855, a duo of chemists from Germany and Britain were able to use electrolysis to obtain a larger sample of the element.

Uses of Lithium

Today, lithium is used in rechargeable batteries, such as those found in mobile phones, digital cameras, and electric vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries can hold their charge for much longer than traditional batteries, and they can take a new charge when exposed to electricity.

Lithium is often combined with other elements to perform various jobs. Lithium oxide absorbs moisture well, and it is used to create ceramics and glass. Lithium chloride is used for industrial drying systems.

Lithium is a toxic metal, except for very low doses. However, the lithium carbonate combination is used in medication and may have applications to treat severe mental health concerns like manic depression.

How Lithium Is Produced

Lithium does not occur in its metallic form naturally, but it is found in igneous rocks or brine from salt water, and it can be extracted from those rocks using electrolysis. Today, the metal is primarily produced through electrolysis of a mixture that is 55% lithium chloride and 45% potassium chloride, exposed to temperatures of 450 degrees Celsius.

Where is Most Lithium in the World Produced?

The US Geological Survey estimates that there are around 21 million tonnes of lithium reserves around the globe, though this estimate is hard to make accurately due to the fact that lithium can be found in both solid ore and fluid brine. Australia is currently the largest lithium producer in the world. However, the largest lithium reserves, around 9 million tons, are located in Chile. These are not yet being accessed as they could be, so Australia leads the world in production.

- All data other than percentages are listed in metric tons.
- In addition to the listed countries, the rest of the world produced 102 tons of Lithium in 2021, for 0.1% of the global total.
- Totals for the United States are withheld, but the sole US Lithium mine has an annual production capacity of 5,000 tons.
- 'Resources' is a metric which indicates how much of a given mineral a country possesses that is of a form, grade, and quantity that would be worth extracting, but that may or may not be economically feasible to extract. A related term, reserves, refers to those resources that are economically feasible to extract.

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Country
Lithium Production 2022 (tons)
Lithium Production 2021 (tons)
Lithium Production 2020 (tons)
Lithium Production 2019 (tons)
Lithium Production 2018 (tons)
Lithium Reserves (tons)
Lithium Resources (tons)
% of Total Lithium Production
Australia61,00055,30039,70045,00051,0006,200,0007,900,00052%
Chile39,00028,30021,50019,30016,0009,300,00011,000,00025%
China19,00014,00013,30010,8008,0002,000,0006,800,00013%
Argentina6,2005,9705,9006,3006,2002,700,00020,000,0006%
Brazil2,2001,7001,4202,400600250,000730,0001%
Zimbabwe8007104171,2001,600310,000690,0001%
Portugal60090080090080060,000270,0001%
Canada5002002,400930,0002,900,000
United States5,0001,000,00012,000,0001%
Russia1,000,000
Mexico1,700,000
DR Congo3,000,000
Germany3,200,000
Spain320,000
Ghana180,000
Peru880,000
Mali840,000
Kazakhstan50,000
Bolivia54035035021,000,000
Czech Republic1,300,000
Austria60,000
Serbia1,200,000
Finland68,000
Namibia500230,000
World129,300112,42083,38786,45087,10022,750,00097,318,000
showing: 24 rows

Which country produces the most lithium?

Australia is the world's biggest lithium producer. The metal is extracted from hard rock or brine mines. Chile has the most confirmed lithium reserves, an estimated 9 million tons.

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