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Lithium’s critical mineral status to be elevated?

Due to its relevance in battery technology — with Lithium Carbonate being a key component of Lithium-ion batteries — Lithium has received increased attention (though not always positive) in recent years.

While the mineral presently only makes the “Watch List” of the American Resources Policy Network’s Risk Pyramid, InvestorIntel’s Robin Bromby sees the Lithium story getting “stronger as China and Japan nail down suppliers.” In his latest piece, he gives a great glimpse into the global scramble:

  • While the Lithium-ion battery has become indispensable for hybrid vehicles, there is also surging demand from other technologies, including electrical grid storage, tablets, power tools, cell phones, and computers.
  • A new series of U.S. Navy mini-submarines designed to transport troops approaching to mission areas by sea will be equipped with these batteries, which are also already in use for unmanned aircraft.
  • China, already the world’s largest consumer with large reserves of its own is tying up foreign supply through deals with international mining companies, most recently Canadian ones.
  • Electronics powerhouse Japan is also looking to secure supplies for its domestic industries, and Toyota Tsusho has entered into a partnership with an Argentinian company.
  • South America, which has also seen increased interest from European nations, with an agreement having been inked between the Netherlands and Bolivia, will remain a key player in the Lithium sphere, as it is considered to be the home to more than half of the world’s Lithium resources.

Conspicuously absent from this impressive lineup of international players involved is the United States. Our degree of import dependence may have dropped since 2011, but it is still greater than 70 percent. For the sake of our domestic manufacturers relying on Lithium for their products, we would be advised to keep a close eye on developments in this sphere.