Europe is seeking to expand its lithium mining and refining capacity and wean itself off imports as the “white gold” becomes a vital resource in the fight against climate change.
Alongside nickel and cobalt, lithium allows electricity to be stored and transported, making them essential in electric battery production as car manufacturers move away from polluting fossil fuels.
But Europe mostly depends on external sources for the strategically important and increasingly coveted metals. Australia is the world’s biggest lithium producer, while China is home to 60% of global lithium refining, transforming the metal into carbonate or lithium hydroxide.
The increasingly urgent subject was on the agenda of EU ministers and officials at a conference in Paris on Thursday. It will also be the menu when EU industry ministers gather in the northern French city of Lens on 31 January 31 and 1 February.
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