The world has entered the “lithium century” almost without noticing it, but until now this critical industry lacked a central voice. Of the many applications for lithium batteries, electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage solutions (ESS) stand out as by far the largest and fastest growing sectors, driven by the world-wide shift from traditional fossil-fueled vehicles towards cleaner forms of transport and energy use.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that the growth in EVs could see lithium demand increase by more than 40 times by the year 2030.
Against this background of exceptional growth, the International Lithium Association (ILiA) has been formed to provide a central, global voice for the lithium producers and their stakeholders, and to promote a sustainable and a responsible future for the lithium value chain.
The five founding members of ILiA are SQM; Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd; AMG Brazil S.A.; Orocobre Ltd; and Pilbara Minerals, which between them account for well more than half of global lithium production. ILiA’s primary goals are to become a trusted source of information about lithium, to promote a greater awareness of ILiA members’ ESG credentials, and to address key challenges faced by the industry efficiently and effectively.
The new organization will have its HQ and secretariat in London, although its first Chairman—international lithium expert Anand Sheth of Titan International Pty Ltd—will continue to be based in Perth, WA, Australia. ILiA was co-founded by Anand Sheth and Roland Chavasse, an experienced industry association manager, with the support of leading lithium producers to be a not-for-profit professional body run by and for its members.
We have created a global lithium professional association for two strong reasons: there wasn’t one before and lithium is key to the current global energy revolution as the world transitions towards ‘net zero carbon’ which will bring unprecedented growth to the market but also intense attention from media, government regulators, civil society, end-user groups and other external stakeholders. The Association will include Members from the entire supply chain: from resource to the end-users.
The element lithium (Li) is the lightest of all the metallic atoms and is the 33rd most common element on Earth. However, due to lithium’s high reactivity, metallic lithium is not found as such in nature. Traces of this element are present in nearly all minerals, brines, clays and sea water. The crust of earth contains an average of about 60 parts per million (ppm) or 0.006% while sea water typically contains 0.18 ppm Li (0.0018%).
Currently there are around eight large industrial operators in Australia, Chile, Argentina, China, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Portugal that produce lithium raw materials at significant scale, although this number is set to rise as lithium production increases to meet future demand.