Connecting Industries Worldwide

A call to action for lithium opportunity

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies on behalf of its members launched the report “A lithium industry in Australia: A value chain analysis for downstreaming Australia’s lithium resources” by Future Smart Strategies.

This report would not have been possible without the support of Neometals, Lithium Australia, Altura, SinoSteel, Coogee Chemicals and Pilbara Minerals.

The report outlines the opportunity Australia has to expand the estimated $2 trillion lithium value chain in the next two years.

The lithium in the batteries of smartphones and electrical vehicles represent one of Australia’s great opportunities. With projects at Greenbushes, Mt Cattlin, Mt Marion and Pilgangoora all ramping up production, Australia will dominate the front of the lithium value chain for the foreseeable future.

The genesis of this lithium surge can be traced back to 1991 when Sony commercialised the lithium-ion rechargeable battery. As lithium battery production costs fell, and mobile phone and electric car uptake has boomed, the global demand for lithium has grown exponentially.

Warren Pearce, CEO, AMEC commented: “This report is a call to action; there is a unique opportunity for Australia to undertake greater lithium downstream processing. Australia produces over 60% of the world’s lithium, dominating one end of the value chain. Australia also produces all of the minerals (other than soda ash) that are needed to manufacture lithium rechargeable batteries.

“Australia has a series of comparative advantages that we can capitalise on if Government and industry collaborate to achieve greater downstream processing. It is important that all levels of Government engage with industry to grasp this opportunity. We need Government to support industry to create new jobs and revenues for local communities.

“We have a window of roughly two years before it is set where battery components and batteries will be manufactured and by whom. If we work collaboratively Australia could take a leading role in one of the breakthrough energy technologies. The time to act is now.”