Most importantly, lithium ion batteries are critical components in electric vehicles and hybrid automobiles. The demand for lithium is increasing, and is presently outpacing supply sources. The battery market is expected to grow at over 6% annually between 2015 and 2025, with transportation batteries accounting for 35% of this growth, according to CRU International.
Over the same period, the electric transportation vehicles sub-market alone is expected to experience a 23 percent compounded annual growth rate. Global lithium supplies are derived from “hard rock” (pegmatite-hosted) deposits and from lithium-enriched brines from the Australia, Chile, China, Argentina, Zimbabwe, Portugal and Brazil. Of these two major types of lithium deposits, lithium-enriched brines are the lowest cost source of the metal in terms of both capital expenditure and operating cost.