Understanding the greatest economic and social costs of becoming a lithium miner

In this video interview with Daniel Jimenez from iLiMarkets, he shares his views on the greatest social and economic costs of lithium mining and explains the key geopolitical drivers in the market

In this video interview with the founding partner of iLiMarkets, Daniel Jimenez, he shares his views on the greatest social and economic costs of becoming a lithium miner today. He also explains the key geopolitical drivers of the lithium market.

You can watch the full interview and read the key takeaways below.

What is the greatest cost to a lithium miner today?

Economically, the greatest cost today is to find a resource and develop it so you can bring it into production. In 2019 and 202, there was almost no investment made into exploration and project development – we’re paying the price for that today. We have a very limited number of advanced exploration projects, which could be in production over the next four or five years.

What about the greatest social cost of becoming a lithium miner?

The greatest social cost is to get the acceptance of the community – particularly the indigenous communities, but people in general. Mining is not seen as a friendly activity. There are many places in the world where mining projects are really delayed because of permitting and because of the opposition of local groups to the mines being developed.

The geopolitical events impacting the lithium industry

More than an event, it’s about the permanent conditions we have today in the lithium and battery industry – they are so heavily concentrated in China. Today, China is the battery capital of the world. Therefore, nearly everything in the electric vehicle (EV) supply chain passes through China. This is a perceived risk for non-Chinese countries, especially European countries and North America.

This is something these countries need to overcome, and it will naturally happen as more EVs are developed and sold in these other regions. First the EVs will come, then cell manufacturing, then cathode manufacturing and finally lithium chemical production out of mining.

Full independence for Europe and North America in terms of lithium is not likely to be possible, because they will continue to rely on good resources of lithium from around the world including Australia and South America.

Understand more about the risks and opportunities to the market

Take a deep dive into some of the other factors at play in the lithium and battery raw materials market with three of our most recent reports. Simply click the link to each one below to read more:

  1. The risky road ahead for electric vehicles
  2. Why unconventional lithium resources shouldn’t divert focus of the market to address supply shortages
  3. The EV battery chemistry debate just got more complicated

Visit our dedicated battery raw materials page to discover more insights on the factors at play in the industry in 2022 and beyond.

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