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 Lithium Extraction Companies

The demand for Lithium metal has increased much-accelerated rate because of the faster adoption of Electric vehicles. On average an electric vehicle requires approximately 12 Kg of pure Lithium metal. Li-ion battery is most widely used in EVs because of its high energy density, good cycle life, and support for fast charging. So it is popularly known as ‘White Gold’ because of its importance in the battery -domain. The principal raw materials source for lithium is either ores in the form of pegmatites (Li-Al-Si containing spodumene) or salt lake brines and the brine deposit is known as ‘Salars’. The spodumene mine in Greenbushes, Western Australia is the largest active lithium mine in the world, Pilbara, Western Australia has the second, and, Kings Mountain, North Carolina has the third large spodumene resource. At present, the Salar de Atacama in Northern Chile and the Salars del Hombre Muerto and de Olaroz in Northwestern Argentina are the only actively producing salars on a commercial scale.

Chile, Australia, Argentina, and China are the top countries for Lithium production. Now in India, 5.9 million tonnes of Lithium metal reserve is found at Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir which is likely to be auctioned by June by the Central government. In India, PSUs like NALCO, Hindustan Copper Ltd are involved in lithium extraction to some extent. Here is the list of Lithium Extraction Companies Around the World

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Top Lithium Extraction Companies Around World

ALBEMARLE CORPORATION

Albemarle Corporation is the largest industry in Lithium and bromine derivatives transforming into essential ingredients for mobility, energy, connectivity, and health and employs approximately 5600 and has customer services in 100 countries. It has approximately 1.2 million tonnes of lithium chemicals in annual production.

Albemarle has two world-class raw material resources based on brine one is located in the Salar de Atacama (Chile), and the other one is in Clayton Valley near Silver Peak, Nevada (USA).  The company also holds a 49% share in the spodumene mine of Talison Lithium in Australia. Albemarle owns a spodumene mine in Kings Mountain, NC, USA which is not in operation today.

Albemarle has production plants in Chile, the USA, Germany (for Lithium chloride), Australia (plant under construction), and China.

HQ – North Carolina, USA

Total Annual Revenue (in 2022)- $ 7.32 B USD

Major Customer – Tesla Inc, Panasonic

Some of the highlights of this agreement are:

  • Albemarle will increase its interest in the first two conversion trains of the Kemerton processing plant from 60% to 85%.
  • MinRes (an Australian public mining company) will increase its interest in the Wodgina Lithium Mine Project from 40% to 50%. MinRes will operate the Wodgina mine as part of the joint venture.
  • MinRes will acquire a 50% interest in Albemarle’s 100%-owned Qinzhou and Meishan plants in China

Sociedad Quimica y Minera SQM

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SQM is a global mining company from northern Chile and is present in strategic industries for sustainable development. It has 5 lines of business in Plant Nutrition of Specialty, Iodine and derivatives, Lithium and derivatives, Potassium and Solar Salts. SQM has 2.5 million tonnes of lithium carbonate annual production. SQM produces lithium chloride solutions from the brine in Salar de Atacama through a completely natural process and it has a processing plant at Salar del Carmen, Antofagasta. SQM has a stake in the Dorchap Lithium Project in Victoria, Australia and it has the right to explore, mine, and treat lithium and related minerals within the project.

HQ – Santiago, Chile

Total Annual Revenue (in 2022) – $ 8.66 B USD

Major Customer- LG Energy Solution, SK Innovation

Recent Activity

  • SQM contracts supply of supply lithium hydroxide to Johnson Matthey. The contract is in place from 2021 to 2028, and it will be used in the production of eLNO® in the plants that Johnson Matthey is developing in Poland and Finland.
  • SQM announced spending $ 1.5 billion on desalinated seawater, direct lithium extraction (DLE), and other technologies to improve lithium production in Chile.
  • SQM Board has approved the investment in the Mount Holland lithium project in Western Australia, which is a joint venture with our partner Wesfarmers Limited.

Tianqi Lithium

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Tianqi Lithium is a global new energy materials company, with lithium at its core. Tianqi Lithium has world-leading positions in its major businesses of lithium resource investment, lithium concentrate extraction, and the production of advanced lithium specialty compounds. Talison Lithium, a subsidiary of Tianqi Lithium (51%), possesses large-scale and high-quality lithium ore reserves in Greenbushes, Western Australia. The installed production capacity is 1.62 million tonnes of lithium concentrate per year.  Tianqi Lithium has a mining license at Cuola Mine in Yajiang County, Western Asia, and has reserves of 0.63 Mtpa of lithium carbonate equivalent. Tianqi Lithium has three chemical plants in Jiangsu (producing battery-grade lithium carbonate and has an annual production of 20,000 tonnes), Sichuan (has an annual capacity of 24,000 tonnes), Chongqing (manufactures lithium metal products) and two upcoming plants in Sichuan and Kwinana, Western Australia

Recent Activity- Tianqi Lithium exploring battery minerals processing options in Australia. Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA) has made a A$136m ($94.07m) offer to acquire Australian lithium exploration company essential Metals, via a Scheme of Arrangement

HQ – Chengdu, China

Total Annual Revenue (in 2022) – $ 11.79 B USD

Major Customer- CATL


Gangfeng Lithium

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Ganfeng Lithium Group covers a wide swath of the lithium battery supply chain, from lithium resource development, refining, and processing to battery manufacturing to battery recycling.

The Group’s lithium resources are located across the globe and it is the only Company in the lithium industry that has commercial-scale technologies to extract lithium from brine, ore, and recycled materials. Ganfeng has a global distribution of resources, holding high-quality mineral resources in Australia, Argentina, Mexico, and in China.

Recent Activity– Ganfeng lithium has signed with the government of Yichun for joint development for encompassing lithium resources. Ganfeng aims to produce 7,000 tonnes of Lithium metal per year.

projects – 

  • Mount Marion, Australia

It is the world’s second-largest high-quality spodumene mine in production. The project was put into production in February 2017, with an annual output of about 450-480 thousand tons of lithium concentrate.        The Marion lithium mine project has a mineral resource of approximately 77.8 million tons. The company holds a 50% stake in Mount Marion’s parent company RIM.

  • Pilbara, Australia

This is one of the largest spodumene deposits in the world. The project’s mineral resources are approximately 8.71 million tons of LCE. The company has a 6.15% stake in Pilbara.

  • Cauchari-Olaroz, Argentina

The Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project is located in Jujuy Province in northwestern Argentina and uses clean solar energy as the main source of lithium energy. It has approximately 24.58 million tons of LCE and the company has a 46.67% share in Minera Exar which owns this project.

  • Mariana, Argentina

The Mariana lithium-potassium brine project is located in the Andes region in the western part of Salta Province, Argentina. It has 8.12 million tons of LCE. Ganfeng has 100% stake in this project.

  • Sonora, Mexico

The Sonora Lithium Clay Project is located in Sonora, Mexico and is currently one of the largest lithium resource projects in the world. It has approximately 8.82 million tons of lithium carbonate equivalent. The company holds 100% of the Sonora Project through its holdings in Bacanora lithium Plc and Sonora Lithium Ltd.

  • Qinghai, Tibet

The company has three resource mining at Qinghai (Lithium extraction from the salt lake), and two resource mining at Jianxi (Spodumene mining). The company has three compound processing plants in Jianxi (Battery grade lithium carbonate). Ganfeng Lithium has battery manufacturing subsidiary companies like Ganfeng LiEnergy (Lithium-ion power battery and energy storage battery), Ganfeng Electronic (Consumer electronics lithium-ion battery, TWS battery). The company has a recycling batteries plant at Jianxi.

HQ – Jiangxi Province, China

Total Revenue (in 2022) -$ 4.69 B USD

Major Customers- Tesla Inc, LG Chem, Samsung, Volkswagen


Mineral Resource Ltd

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Mineral Resources Ltd is an Australian-based mining services company. It owns a portfolio of mining operations across multiple commodities including iron ore and lithium. It has two world’s largest hard rock lithium mines at Mt Marion and Wodgina in the Pilbara region.

Projects

  • Mt Marion

Mt Marion Mineral Resource Ltd is in a joint venture with Jianxi Ganfeng Lithium with a share of 50:50 and aims to produce 900,000 tonnes per annum of mixed spodumene (a compound of Al & Li and is the source of lithium) product by early 2023.

  • Wodgina

Wodgina the Lithium extraction process is under the joint venture of MinRes (40%) and Albemarle (60%) and 750,000 tonnes per annum of spodumene is produced.

Spodumene produced at the Wodgina project will be sold on the spot market and shipped through Port Hedland until MinRes and Albemarle.

  • Kemerton

Kemerton lithium hydroxide plant in the South West region of Western Australia. This plant forms part of the MARBL JV with ownership shared between Mineral Resources (40%) and Albemarle (60%). The first product from the Kemerton plant was delivered in May 2022, converting a portion of Albemarle’s spodumene offtake from the Greenbushes mine into battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

Recent Activity– MinRes has partnered with Hexagon for an automated road train platoon.

HQ- Perth, Australia

Total Revenue – $ 2.96 B USD

Major Customers- Panasonic, Samsung


Allkem Limited 

Its portfolio includes a Lithium brine solution in Argentina, a hard rock lithium operation in Australia, and a lithium hydroxide facility in Japan. It will produce 7,542 tonnes of Lithium Carbonate in the first half of 2023.

Recent Activity – Allkem has cut its annual production at Mt Cattlin, Australia because of lower-grade ore of lithium.

HQ- Buenos Aires, Argentina

Total Revenue – $ 770 M USD

Major Customer-Toyota

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Allkem Lithium Project at Olaroz Jujuy Province, Argentina

projects:

  • Olaroz, Jujuy Proviance,Argentina

Allkem Limited has 66.5 % ownership in it and main product is lithium carbonate and total annual production is about 13,000 tonnes per annum and it has a total reserve of 16.2 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent

  • Mt Cattlin, Western Australia

Mt Cattlin is a low-cost spodumene producer by utilising conventional techniques to extract and process the lithium ores. It is 100 % in the ownership of Allkem Limited and total annual production is 1,94,000 tonnes and total reserve is 13.2 million tonnes.

  • Naraha, Japan

It is a production plant of lithium hydroxide presently under construction/commissioning and the company has 75 % share in it. The lithium carbonate feedstock of 9,500 tonnes per annum will be shipped from Olaroz.

  • Sal de Vida, Argentina

It is a mining site of lithium hydroxide and the total estimated reserve is 6.85 million tonnes of LCE. The company has 100 % share in this project for 40 years and is presently under development.

  • James Bay, Canada

 Its construction is planned to commence in early current year 2023. The main raw product is Spodumene concentrate and is expected to mine 3,21,000 tonnes of spodumene per annum. The company has 100 % stake in this project for 19 years.

  • Cauchari, Argentina

It is in the pre-development stage and is 100 % in the ownership of the company. The main product is lithium carbonate and the total measured and indicated resource is 4.8 million tonnes of LCE.


Livent Corporation

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Livent Corporation formerly FMC Lithium manufactures energy storage and battery systems, polymers, and industrial products. It extracts lithium ore from the Hombre Muerto salt flat in Argentina. The company has its manufacturing and sales operations in the US, China, Argentina, the UK, India, Japan, and Singapore.

Livent corporation is in a joint venture with E3 Metals to develop a process to produce battery-quality lithium products from the lithium-rich brines in the Leduc Formation in Alberta. It has the following projects for lithium

Projects

  • Bessemer City, USA –

Lithium hydroxide, butyllithium, specialty organics, high purity metal, and several other inorganic products are produced here.

  • Fenix, Argentina-

The Salar del Hombre Muerto is the source of the purest lithium brine. The salar is located in the high Andes (4000 meters above sea level) about 1300 km northwest of Buenos Aires.

  • Guemes Salta, Argentina

Here, lithium chloride from Salar brine.

  • Rugao, China

The Rugao facility produces lithium hydroxide for high-performance grease and lithium-ion battery.

Recent Activity- Received $198 M from GM to supply pure Lithium for the next six years.

HQ- Pennsylvania, USA

Total Revenue$ 813 M USD

Major Customer- Tesla Inc, General Motors


Lithium Americas

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Lithium America Corp. is focused on the Lithium project in Argentina and USA. It has two projects in Argentina at Cauchari-Olaroz, and Pastos Grandes and one project in the USA the Thacker Pass project, in Nevada. Thacker Pass has 80,000 tonnes per annum production capacity of Lithium carbonate. (also, check out the list of Top 10 Lithium Mining Companies in the USA)

projects

  • Cauchari-Olaroz, Argentina:

It is a low-cost brine lithium carbonate project in Argentina. The company has 44.8% and Genfeng Lithium’s 46.7 % share in this project for 40 years. It has 40,000 tonnes of annual production of lithium carbonate.

  • Pastos Grandes, Argentina

It is 100 % owned by Lithium America for 40 years costing $ 448.2 million. The annual production is 24,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate. It is acquired in 2021 by Lithium America and covers over 12,619 hectares of the Salar de Pastos Grandes. It has measured and indicated a reserve of 4.12 million tonnes of LCE.

Recent Activity- Lithium America received a $ 650 M investment from General Motors to accelerate its Thacker pass project.

HQVancouver, Canada

Total Annual Income- $ 38 M USD

Major Customer- General Motors


Global Lithium

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Global Lithium is a Lithium exploration company with a focus on two highly prospective 100 % owned Western Australian projects – the Marble Bar Lithium Project in the Pilbara region and the Manna Lithium Project in the Goldfields region. Both projects have approximately 7 million tonnes of mineral resources @ 1.00% Li2O and 46 Ta2O5 ppm.

Projects

  • Manna Lithium Project

It is 100 % owned by Global Lithium, last 20 % is acquired in October 2022 for $ 60 million. It has a total of 32.7 million tonnes of mineral resources containing 1 % Li2.O

  • Marble Bar Lithium Project (MBLP)

It is located 150 km southeast of Port Hedland and 15km northwest of Marble Bar in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The MBLP exhibits spodumene-bearing pegmatite intrusives within the project area greenstone compared 3km by 1 km zone area. It has a total of 18 million tonnes of mineral resources containing only 1% of Li2.O.

Recent Activity- Global Lithium Resources has reached a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with South Korea-based battery manufacturer SK Innovation for a stable supply of lithium.

HQ- West Perth, Australia

Net Assets (in 2022) – $ 50.8 M

Major Customer- SK Innovation


Lake Resources

https://e-vehicleinfo.com/global/top-10-lithium-extraction-companies-around-the-world/Lake Resources is a clean lithium developer utilizing clean and direct extraction technology. It has lithium extraction projects in Argentina within the Lithium Triangle where 40% of the world’s lithium is produced at the lowest cost. It has four projects encompassing 2,200 sq km in Argentina with Kachi Project (705 sq km) as its flagship project.

Projects

  • Kachi

It is the Lake Resources flagship project located in Argentina and accounts for 40 % world’s lithium production. It can have 8-17 million tonnes of LCE. It has the potential to produce 25,500 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate using direct extraction technology.

  • Cauchari

Lake’s Cauchari Project is neighboured by Ganfeng/Lithium America’s Cauchari Project, which holds the world’s largest defined lithium brine resource (23Mt LCE) and has an annual production target of 40,000 tonnes. It is 100% owned by Lake Resouces and covers around 480 sq km in Argentina’s Jujuy Province.

  • Olaroz

Lake’s Olaroz Project is located in Argentina’s Jujuy Province. It is 100% owned by Lake Resources and has an annual production target of 40,000 tonnes.

  • Paso

The company has a 100% owned Paso project which covers 290 sq km and is adjacent to Orocbre’s Caucari-Olaroz lease holding, which holds a defined resource of 6.4Mt lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE).

  • Catamarca

This Pegmatite project is 100% owned by Lake Resouces and covers 720 sq km.

Recent Activity- Lake Resources signed an agreement with Korean battery manufacturer SK Innovation for supplying Lithium for 10 years by selling its 10 % share to SK Innovation.

HQ- New South Wales, Australia

Cash Reserve- $ 102 M USD (as of 30 Sept 2022) with no dept

Major Customer – SK Innovation

Read More:- Top Lithium-Ion Battery Manufacturers in India 2023

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