Want to know the largest lithium producers on earth? Interest in lithium continues to grow in the market, and the largest lithium producers in the world include countries such as Australia, China, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Portugal, which denotes the abundant presence of the resource on different continents.
Lithium is important because of its role in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles, such as those produced by Tesla. In total, around 74% of the lithium produced today goes to battery production, but other industries also consume the metal. For example, 14% is used in ceramics and glass, and 3% in lubricating greases.
According to the US Geological Survey, lithium consumption in batteries has increased significantly in recent years, due to the use of rechargeable lithium batteries in portable electronic devices, as well as in power tools, electric vehicles, and grid storage applications.
With lithium attracting attention, the countries that produce it also become attractive. Discover the largest lithium producers in the world below.
Largest Lithium Producers
Production: 55,000 metric tons
At the top of the largest lithium producers is Australia. Production in 2023 was more than 55,000 metric tons, a significant increase from the 39,700 produced the previous year. GlobalData's forecast is that Australian production is expected to grow by 30.5% in years to come as miners expand production due to increased demand.
Production: 26,000 metric tons
One of the biggest lithium producers in the world was Chile, which increased from 21,500 metric tons in 2020 to 26,000 last year. Unlike Australia, where lithium is extracted from hard rock mines, in Chile it is found in lithium brine deposits.
Production: 14,000 metric tons
China occupies third place, significantly surpassing Argentina. Lithium production grew from 13,300 metric tons. Even though lithium production is lower compared to the two countries above, this Asian nation is the largest consumer of lithium due to its electronics manufacturing and industries of electric vehicles.
China also produces more than three-quarters of the world's lithium-ion batteries, and controls most of the world's lithium processing facilities. The country gets most of its lithium from Australia.
Production: 6,200 metric tons
With production of 300 metric tons in 2020, Argentina jumped to 6,200 in 2021. Bolivia, Argentina and Chile form the Lithium Triangle, and mining in the neighboring country is expected to grow in the coming years.
Production: 1,500 metric tons
Lithium production in Brazil has taken off in recent years, placing it among the largest lithium producers in the world. After reaching a production of 400 metric tons or less between 2011 and 2018, Brazil reached 2,400 in 2019, a number that was reduced after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government's plan is to invest more than 2 billion dollars by 2030 to expand the country's lithium production capacity.
Production: 1,200 metric tons
Like Brazil, Zimbabwe also saw its lithium production grow. China's Sinomine Resource Group recently acquired the country's only lithium producer, which it claims has the world's largest lithium deposit at more than 11 million metric tons. The company has plans to invest US$200 million in expanding the mine's production capacity.
Production: 900 metric tons
Even though it has lower production compared to other countries, Portugal is also among the largest lithium producers. Most of the country's lithium comes from the Gonçalo aplite-pegmatite field.
8. United States
Production: not disclosed
Closing the list is the United States, whose lithium production is not disclosed, in order to protect company data. Its only production last year came from a Nevada-based brine operation, likely in the Clayton Valley, home to Albemarle's Silver Peak mine.