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Battery manufacturers are confronting a severe lithium shortage. Western governments have failed to build adequate means for lithium mining, refining, and production. The boom in electric vehicles (still somewhat of a whisper), and the massive predictions for growth are clearly unsustainable. “There isn’t going to be enough lithium on the face of the planet” a key Australian producer commented. Carmakers are just now beginning to sense that battery makers will not be able to deliver.

A noted mining analyst said it would be impossible for carmaker and government EV production targets to be met. Worse yet, China dominates 75% of lithium carbonate and final product. Australian producer Lake Resources’ plant in Argentina has yet to produce any lithium carbonate, despite having been set up in 2015, a result of the time it takes to develop lithium projects.


Lithium mines that started operations between 2010 and 2019 took or will take an average of 16.5 years to develop, according to the IEA. McKinsey estimates that over 80% of mining projects are completed late. The IEA says the world could face lithium shortages within three years. Additionally, lithium extraction requires very high volumes of water. More than 50% of current and projected lithium production/projects are in high water stress areas, which are highly prone to drought.

While the US wants half of all car sales to be EVs by 2030, the EU has proposed banning internal combustion engine car sales altogether by 2035.

Mining group Rio Tinto ($145 Billion market cap) predicts lithium production needed to meet stated government goals would have to rise by 30% / year over the next decade. Even half that rise is impossible.

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