ANIMATION: Race is on for global lithium mining domination

State-owned copper producer in Mexico, which in April nationalized the industry, last month estimated the vast deposit located in northern Sonora state could be worth as much as 12 trillion pesos, or $600 billion.

In May, Argentina’s government said it expected investments in the sector worth $4.2 billion over the next five years, which could be an underestimate.

Congo-Kinshasa, already the dominant player in cobalt, is now jumping into the lithium market with both feet, while Chinese investors are also investing heavily in Zimbabwean projects.

Mining projects in the US and Europe are still fighting for a social licence to operate. The massive and unique Jadar project in Serbia is stalled due to concerted environmental opposition, while the Thacker Pass project in Nevada is dealing with pushback by a local native American tribe and ranchers.

The animated graph below shows the world’s top lithium producing countries since 2012 and forecasts the winners in the race over the next decade, based on forecasts by Fitch Solutions, a country risk and industry research company.

Note: May include territories, special administrative regions, provinces and autonomous regions. f = Fitch Solutions forecast. Source: Fitch Solutions

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