In this article we are going to list the 15 biggest lithium mining companies in the world. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest lithium mining companies in the world.
One of the most sought-after elements of today’s world, lithium is a metal that is taking the world by storm. Having the lowest density of all metals, lithium is light and soft and floats on water. The lithium ion is also generally lighter, more efficient, and more durable than other battery chemicals, making it the go-to-choice for energy storage. The versatility of lithium and its compounds has made it one of the used metals in many industries. From being used in the batteries of laptops and cell phones to being a core component of heat-resistant glass and ceramics, the applications of lithium also include electric and hybrid vehicles, power tools and cameras. These applications have turned the lithium mining industry into a powerhouse.
In recent times, there has clean energy transition and increased manufacturing of electric battery-powered vehicles. Many countries, including France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and Canada have all announced a phase-out of conventional gasoline cars. Electric vehicles consume significantly more lithium, with the average electric car using over 5,000 times more lithium than a smartphone. Vehicles with a higher range consume even more, for example the Tesla Model S, developed by Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), which can use as much lithium as 10,000 smartphones. This shift, along with already sky-high production of laptops and mobile phones has turned lithium mining companies into global giants. Between 2008 and 2018 alone, the annual production of lithium in major producing countries has more than tripled, producing an output of 85,000 tons from the initial 24,500.
Lithium is mainly sourced from hard-rock mines or underground brine reservoirs. The former is usually in Australia, while the latter are found in South American countries Argentina and Chile. Hard rock mining is when minerals are extracted from open pit mines, which requires geological surveys and drilling through rock. Extraction of lithium through brine reservoirs is done in large salt flats, where it is extracted through an evaporation process. Hard rock projects usually require an average of 3-4 years of capital expenditures prior to production and hold an average mine life of 16 years. Brine projects usually require an average of 5 or more years of capital expenditures prior to production but have a longer life of 30 years.
The leading countries with lithium reserves are Chile, Australia, Argentina, and China. Portugal also has quantities of lithium, but they are less in number as compared to the other countries. The total global reserves are an estimated 14 million tons. However, based on predictions by producers, a shortfall of lithium supply is expected in the coming decade, as the time taken for a new project to be in operation is higher than the rate of consumption.
Here we have a list of 15 biggest lithium mining companies in the world. The list has been compiled with reference to Wall Street Journal, Mining Global, and Investing News. So let's take a look at the companies which will only grow as the demand and requirement for electric cars increases, starting with number 15:
15. Savannah Resources
Market Cap: $91.8 Million
Based in the United Kingdom, Savannah Resources is a mineral resource development company which builds and manages mining operations. The company owns several assets producing lithium, ilmenite, and copper in Portugal, Mozambique, and Oman, respectively. The company’s lithium project, known as Mina do Barroso, is located in northern Portugal about 145 km northeast of the city of Porto. This mine is a high grade, low iron lithium project producing lithium spodumene concentrates for international markets and is the first lithium producer in Europe.
14. Bacanora Lithium
Market Cap: $209.12 Million
Listed on the Alternative Investment Market, Bacanora Lithium is a lithium development and exploration company. The company’s major shareholder is the lithium producer Ganfeng Lithium, which also makes an appearance on this list. The company’s flagship asset is the Sonora Lithium Project in Sonora, Mexico. This mine is estimated to hold reserves amounting to 243.8 megatons and contains 4.5 megatons of lithium carbonate equivalent. It is a large, scalable, high grade lithium deposit with an estimated 200 years of resource life.
13. Piedmont Lithium Ltd. (NASDAQ: PLL)
Market Cap: $715 Million
American company Piedmont Lithium is a lithium chemicals company which manages and develops its flagship asset Piedmont Lithium Project located in the Carolina Lithium Belt in North Carolina. This region is known historically as a lithium mining and production and site, one of the world's best sites for lithium exploration, due to it geology and easy access to electric and storage resources. The company aims to be a leading domestic supplier of lithium hydroxide to electric vehicle and battery storage markets in the United States. In 2020, Piedmont Lithium signed a five-year raw materials agreement with electric vehicles company Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) whom Piedmont will supply spodumene concentrate (SC6), a necessary component for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
12. Galaxy Resources Ltd.
Market Cap: $910 Million
Revenue in 2019: $77 Million
Founded in 1996, Galaxy Resources Limited is an Australia-based lithium mining company focused on mineral explorations and processing. The company produces lithium, potash, hard rock, and brine assets, and has projects in Australia, Canada, and Argentina. The company’s projects include the Mt. Cattlin spodumene tantalite mine at Ravensthorpe, Western Australia, Sal de Vida lithium brine project in the Salta and Catamarca provinces of Argentina, and the James Bay Lithium Pegmatite Project located in James Bay, Quebec, Canada. The latter project is still in development, with an estimated mine of life 20 years, producing an average of 5,4800 tons of ore a day. In 2019, the company’s production output was 191, 560 tons.
11. Orocobre Ltd.
Market Cap: $1.3 Billion
Revenue in 2019: $87 Million
Based in Brisbane, Australia, Orocobre Limited is a mineral resource and exploration company, focusing on the development of lithium-potassium brine projects. It claims to be on of the world’s largest and lowest cost lithium chemicals producers. The company’s flagship project is the Salar de Olaroz lithium-potassium brine project located in the province of Jujuy in northwest Argentina. This project is in partnership with Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) and Jujuy Energía y Minería Sociedad del Estado (JEMSE). The project is estimated to have a resource base of 6.4 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent with an estimated 40-year mine life. The company also owns boron chemical and mineral producer, Borax Argentina.
10. Youngy Corporation Ltd.
Market Cap: $1.98 Billion
Revenue in 2019: $41.3 Million
Headquartered in Guangzhou, China, Youngy Co. Ltd is an electronics manufacturer which is involved in the production of lithium batteries. The company also is in the lithium mining business, producing lithium concentrate, industrial grade lithium carbonate, and other lithium products. In January 2010, the firm signed a framework agreement part of an investment of $201,1 million to build a lithium ore processing plant in the Sichuan province. This mine, known as the Jiajika mine is the largest spodumene mine in Asia, producing an estimate of at least 1.05 million tons a year of spodumene.
9. Pilbara Minerals Ltd.
Market Cap: $2.24 Billion
Revenue in 2019: $33 Million
Founded in 2005, Pilbara Minerals is a lithium and tantalum producer based in Australia. The company is involved in the exploration, development, and mining of minerals. The Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum project in Pilbara, Western Australia is owned by Pilbara Minerals. The operation produces 2 million tons of spodumene and tantalite per year.
8. Lithium Americas (NYSE: LAC)
Market Cap: $2.63 Billion
Lithium Americas Corporation is a Canadian company focused on the mining, production, and supply of lithium. The company holds assets in both Argentina and Nevada. The company currently has two lithium development projects in operation, namely the Cauchari-Olaroz project located in Jujuy, Argentina, and the Thacker Pass lithium project, located in northwest Nevada, United States. Thacker Pass project, one completed will be the biggest lithium deposit in the United States, with a mine life of 46 years.
7. Livent Corporation (NYSE: LTHM)
Market Cap: $3.26 Billion
Revenue in 2019:$ 338 Million
Employees: Approximately 800
Based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, Livent Corporation is a lithium technology company that produces and distributes lithium chemicals. The company has over 60 years of experience in the lithium industry, dating back to the 1940s. Livent was formerly known as FMC Lithium, where it was a spinoff of FMC Corporation. In 2018, the company began trading independently. Livent is the preferred partner of major battery producers and automakers, including the electric vehicle company Tesla. The company’s extraction of lithium comes from their brine resource in Argentina, which reported an estimated 6,400 metric tons of lithium carbonate in 2019.
6. Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group Co. Ltd.
Market Cap: $3.57 Billion
Revenue in 2019:$ 492 Million
Headquartered in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group Co. Ltd. is a company involved in the manufacture of civil explosives, as part of the chemical manufacturing industry. The company also is in the manufacturing and selling of lithium salt products through its subsidiaries. It is one of the leading lithium suppliers in China, and its operations include a 12,000 ton per year lithium hydroxide refinery, as well as 6,000 tons per year lithium carbonate refinery. The company has the right to mine the largest explored Lithium quarries in Asia, known as Lijiagou Lithium, which is expected to produce 180000 tons of lithium concentrate per year once in operation. As of now, the company’s lithium mainly comes from Galaxy Resources.
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Disclosure: No position. 15 biggest lithium companies in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.