Australia produces 50% of the world’s mined lithium. With lithium prices having
increased four-fold in the past year, the project outlook is encouraging for
Australian companies, at home and
In Australia, early
construction is underway at two major lithium projects: Mt Holland in Western
Australia and Finnis near Darwin in the Northern Territory.
addition, Pilbara Minerals is expanding capacity at its Pilgangoora lithium mine in Western Australia
In Africa, Australian
company, AVZ Minerals, expects to commence construction in mid-2022 at its Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, “the largest and highest grade undeveloped hard-rock lithium
project in the world” in the view of the company.
Africa, Australian company, Firefinch, expects to commence construction in
mid-2022 at its Goulamina lithium project in Mali.
America, Australian company, Orocobre, is a
major player in lithium in South America, with its operating Olaroz mine in Argentina and plans for further developments
in the region.
production is based on hard-rock mining in Australia and most other countries
(in Chile and Argentina, it is based on the extraction of brines at high
and initial processing lead to a concentrate, which is typically sent overseas
for refining into higher-grade products (e.g lithium
hydroxide, suitable for lithium-ion batteries).
dominated by China, the two leading companies being Ganfeng
Lithium and Tianqi Lithium.
Australia is beginning to play a role in this field. A refinery in Perth,
involving Tianqi Lithium and the US company, Albermerle,
was commissioned in August this year.
Holland project includes a similar refinery in Perth, with construction to
commence in early 2022.
Australian lithium companies are looking at ways of processing concentrates
into high-grade lithium products.
At the same
time, Chinese companies are likely to continue playing an important part in
Australian lithium mining and refining, both as investors and offtake partners.