There is a global power crisis and a growing shift away from fossil fuel reliance. As a result, experts and analysts at the 2022 Fastmakers Lithium Supply and Raw Materials Conference in Phoenix, AZ, all expressed their views regarding the geopolitical implications that the growing demand for lithium now has and will have on the world.
According to House Mountain Partners president Chris Berry, recent events have exposed key vulnerabilities in the global power sector, particularly concerning the generation and storage of energy.
Berry added that there is an ongoing paradigm shift regarding the base materials for power generation. It would be one that shuns oil and natural gas in favor of lithium and other metals used in producing clean and rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and other purposes. Indeed, lithium is seen as the determining factor when it comes to new-generation power solutions.
Who’s Who in the World of Lithium
China is currently the top dog in the lithium production sector – but experts warn that it is also the most vulnerable.
Global Lithium’s Joe Lowry opined that China might have the largest conversion capacity compared to other nations active in the lithium trade, but it is highly dependent on others for its raw material. To underscore this, Lowry remarked that most of the lithium processed in China is actually mined from Argentina, Australia, and Chile. New holdings in Africa may also bring in a substantial amount of lithium for processing, but this has yet to be seen.
For his part iLi Markets’ Daniel Jimenez stated that Chinese dominance in the lithium market remains relative to the fact that it is the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles. If the balance shifts to any of the other industry players in Europe or North America, its dominance is expected to dwindle soon enough.
In the United States, the current administration has set in motion its plans to improve its supply chains for key materials used in the production of green energy solutions. Likewise, Europe’s public and private sectors are investing in their own lithium-centric initiatives.
However, experts caution that the progress of these efforts will not be able to catch up with their Asian counterparts, at least for the near future. Berry warned that it might take up to a decade for any of these initiatives to match the output China has churned out in recent years, but the wait will be worth it.