The lithium triangle in South America has long been a global leader in lithium production; however, with groundwater levels dropping, miners are facing pressure. The lithium sector as a whole is in a period of intense change. Rising supply and falling demand in China have lowered lithium prices from above $80,000 per ton to about $30,000 per ton in 2023. Bank of America came out in March forecasting a lithium surplus in 2023. Its head of Asia Pacific basic materials, Matty Zhao, stated,
“We see a lot of supply coming out of lithium mines… we are expecting a 38% lithium supply growth this year. That’s why 2023 is likely to turn into a surplus year for lithium.”
Zhao made these statements to CNBC in an article titled Bank of America sees lithium surplus in 2023 as demand eases by
Lee Ying Shan.
The other astounding stat is that China’s electric vehicle demand growth is forecast to slow from 95% in 2022 to just 22% this year. If that happens, a surplus is all but guaranteed as nations from Australia to Canada bring on mines and new supplies.
Insider News’ The True Cost Of The Lithium Mining Boom Powering Electric Cars looks at a region already one of the driest places on earth and in a severe drought that will rely on massive amounts of fresh water to extract and ultimately produce lithium from brine.
The Lithium Triangle in Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina Are Ramping Up Production
The lithium triangle consists of the high-altitude salt flats of Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. It is estimated that about half of the world’s known lithium exists there. The documentary examines the concerns over freshwater contamination in a region rapidly running out of this vital resource.
North Americans Can Learn from the South American Lithium Sector
As the North American lithium industry comes alive with some projects advancing rapidly, it would be wise to study these more advanced regions. Furthermore, to understand their pitfalls and complications. With the protection of the environment and sustainability more critical than ever, only the best projects that check all the boxes will advance. Finally, with demand for lithium batteries expected to surge after stabilizing in 2023, miners will be tested to deliver battery-grade products in the most effective and environmentally friendly way possible.