With the impending advent of the widespread use of electric cars, trucks plus the millions of rechargeable consumer electronic devices that utilize lithium ion batteries, it is no wonder that numerous exploration companies have turned their attention to the vast Lithium Triangle in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. It has been estimated that South America’s Lithium Triangle hosts about 54% of the world’s lithium resources.
Most of the world’s lithium has been produced by an oligopoly of producers – often referred to as the Big Three – Albermarle Corp. [ALB-NYSE], private Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), and FMC Corp.
There are two sources of lithium – hardrock (the mineral spodumene) and lithium brines that formed in desert climates where there is a slow inflow of lithium and other metals and salts but no outflow. Gradual evaporation over thousands of years slowly increases lithium grades to an economic level.
A recent report by Global Market Insights, Inc. concluded that the global lithium ion battery market is set to surpass US $60 billion by 2024 with a global market of 534,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate by 2025.
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