Growth in Li-ion batteries depends on a number of imponderables, such as how rapidly the world converts to electric vehicles, how quickly battery manufacturing capacity can be ramped up and where the electricity to power millions of EVs will come from. This post ignores these issues, concentrating instead on the question of whether the mining sector can increase production of the metals and minerals needed to support a high-battery-growth scenario without running out of reserves. The data are not good enough to reach a firm conclusion, but the main uncertainty seems to be whether cobalt production from the Congo, which presently supplies over half of global demand, can be relied on. Lithium and cobalt reserves will not be exhausted in the time frame considered (out to 2030) but will be close to it if no additional reserves are discovered. (Inset, lithium mine in Chile).
Unless otherwise specified the data used in this post are from the following three sources:
The 2018 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which provides annual production and price data for lithium, cobalt, graphite and rare earths since 1995 but reserve data for 2017 only.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) annual Mineral Commodity Surveys, which provide annual production and reserve data for cobalt since 1990 but incomplete data for lithium (US production is excluded) and no price data.
The British Geological Survey (BGS), which provides annual production data for all metals since 1970 but no data on reserves or prices.
Opinion is pretty much unanimous in projecting rapid growth in Li-ion batteries in coming years:
The Apricum Group predicts a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22% through 2025: Global battery demand will increase fivefold from ~100 GWh today to ~500 GWh by 2025.
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…