Soaring commodity prices are bringing a Chinese lithium giant back from the brink – by Mary Hui ( – May 28, 2021)

The global climate economy’s transition to clean energy will drive a huge increase in demand for a number of critical minerals. Among those, lithium is expected to see the fastest growth.

Lithium is crucial to the clean energy transition because it’s widely used in lithium-ion batteries, including those powering electric vehicles.

China currently dominates worldwide production of lithium chemicals used in batteries, accounting for nearly 60% of worldwide processing of lithium in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.

That presents a supply chain risk. Even though Chile, Argentina, and Australia are key miners and extractors of lithium, China has a monopoly over the processing of the concentrates into lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.

Meanwhile, Chinese companies have made strategic investments in upstream producers around the world, growing their portfolio of overseas mineral assets and expanding their influence up and down the industrial chain.

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