The anode of the cell is manufactured using carbon while the anode is a lithium-metal oxide. These two compounds come in powder form for further processing to begin. The metal electrode foils are incorporated into the cells in large reels of about 500mm wide. Copper is used to coating the anode, while aluminum is used for the cathode. The thickness of the layers must be configured to match the energy storage per unit area for the cathode and anode.
What country produces the most lithium battery?
Lithium can be described as a soft, silver-like metal which is technically the lightest metal in the world. However, don't let this lightweight material fool you; it can pack a punch when it comes to its highly reactive nature and flammable properties. Its vigorous reactivity prevents it from occurring in the original or free state in the environment, which means that it can only be found in the form of various compounds. Due to technological advancements after the second world war, the demand for lithium increased by a significant percentage as it was useful for the creation of nuclear fusion.
The latest data shows the world's top lithium producers are trying their best to cope up with the rising demand for this metal. With its vast application in the industry from energy storage to electric planes and cars, lithium metal has seen its need increase as people tend to find new reasons to increase its amount in their inventions for a more effective and efficient outcome. The following is a list of the top 9 world's lithium producers.
This country is the leading producer of lithium with about 51,000 MT in mineral production in 2018. This was an impressive as well as an astonishing increase of over 21 percent which was indicated by the 11,000 MT produced in the previous year, 2017. The rise was caused by two new spodumene operations that boosted production levels in 2017together with an additional five extra spodumene operations in 2018. The primary mining area is Greenbushes, located in Western Australia with over 25 years of service. The country has over 2.5 million MT of known lithium reserves with most of the country's lithium exported to China in the form of spodumene.
Chile comes in at number two with a mine production of about 16,000 MT which was a significant increase from the previous 14,200 MT in 2017. While Australia mines its lithium from hard rock mines, Chile lithium production is done using lithium brine deposits. The biggest salt flat is found in Salar de Atacama and generates about the revenue for SQM. SQM is the leading mining company for lithium metal in Chile and while operations had been halted before due to disputed royalties, a new deal was struck leading to the expansion of production to cater to the expected 20% increase in demand in 2019.
China took the second runners up with a stunning mine production of 8000MT in 2018 from a value of about 6,800 MT. The production of lithium in China may be deficient but due to t the fact that the country is well known to be the largest lithium consumer due to its numerous industries of electrical and vehicles. This is the reason why most of the lithium content produced in Australia is exported to China. China makes over two-thirds of the worldwide lithium-ion batteries and tends to have power over most of the world's lithium processing facilities.
Argentina gave out a mine production of 6,200 MT in 2018 which was an improvement from the previous year whose value stood at 5,700 MT. The Salar del Hombre Muerto district is famous for its many brine reserves that are adequate to last for a whole 75 years. Argentina is a fast-paced lithium mining state which shows increased progress and rapid development of the production of lithium metal. Currently, only two mines are being exploited with over 60 other projects in development.
Zimbabwe miners gave a mine production of 1,600 MT, which was a significant improvement from the previous 800 MT in 2017. Bikita Minerals is a privately owned mining production company by the country and has the world's largest lithium deposit standing at over 11 million tonnes. The country has a significant potential to be one of the world's major lithium contributors once all the reserves are exploited.
Portugal only produces about 800 MT which is much less than any of the other five countries ahead of it in this list. However, in 2017, the mine production stood at about 200 MT which signifies a significant improvement of about 3 times to the current amount. Gon?alo aplite-pegmatite field is the leading lithium production area in the country.
The mine production for this country stands at 600 MT which is also three times the value produced in 2017. The reserves hold a total of about 54,000 MT, which is quite impressive as compared to its output for extraction.
With a mine production of 500 MT, Namibia has made the top list with most of its lithium concentrates exported from Desert Lion Energy to other countries.
The USA has an unknown mine production value as it withheld the information from the public for privacy purposes of the production company data. There are a few undergoing lithium projects in the USA that are aimed at contributing or raising the bar to accommodate for the rising lithium demand.
Where do we get lithium?
Because it is highly reactive, the metal is not found in its elemental state and therefore only appears as compounds in need for further processing for the metal to be accessed. Lithium can be extracted from several sources, including lithium minerals found in hard rock also referred to as spodumene. It can also be obtained from lithium chloride salts present in various brine pools. The metal can also be gotten from lithium salts found in sea water, but because of the low concentrations of lithium in the sea, it is not considered a viable option.