Canada estimates lithium demand to increase 500% by 2050

Inspenet, April 4, 2023

Piedmont Lithium aims to become one of the largest lithium hydroxide producers in North America, by processing concentrates produced from assets that include an open pit mine in Quebec.

They estimate to capitalize on the bullish forecasts on the prospects of lithium, a key ingredient in the production of batteries for electric vehicles (EV).

On the other hand, Albemarle Corp. it expects China’s electric vehicle market to rise 40% this year, or at least 3.0 million vehicles, boosting demand for the battery metal.

Such forecasts are prompting governments and automakers in the US and Canada to invest heavily in a bid to develop locally grown lithium supply chains in support of their clean energy and climate change goals.

The Canadian government said lithium demand is projected to rise 500% by 2050 due to growing domestic battery manufacturing and a forward-looking transportation ecosystem.

1612 grafico litio demanda Canada
Lithium demand by 2050. Chart: Benchmark

After trading at near-record levels in 2022, the price of lithium is expected to fluctuate this year but remain at levels that support new projects, at least in the short term, analysts said.

However, the US and Canadian governments remain challenged by the fact that by 2022, 79% of global lithium production will come from Australia, Chile and Argentina.

Maximum lithium mining production by country in 2022

(in metric tons)

1612 grafico litio demanda Canada 2
Lithium mining production by country. Graphic: Mining Heading

North American lithium production, by comparison, accounts for less than 2.0% of current global demand.

Against that backdrop, some countries risk that without sufficient supply, critical minerals will become a hindrance rather than an enabler in the energy transition phase, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said. As a result, developing a supply chain for lithium and other critical minerals has become a priority in the US and Canada.

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Photo: ShutterStock

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