Fig. 1: Cumulative availability curve of global Li resources. | Nature Communications

Fig. 1: Cumulative availability curve of global Li resources.

From: Assessment of lithium criticality in the global energy transition and addressing policy gaps in transportation

Fig. 1

The availability curves of this study’s medium (yellow line) and high resource values (green line) are plotted. Both reveal four major plateaus. Beginning with cost leading Salar de Atacama, South America’s second major brine, Salar de Uyuni, accounts for the next horizontal line. The majority of mineral deposits follow at some distance. The date at which society must switch to these more expensive deposits depends on the amount of available resources. This equally applies to the shaping leap to ocean resources, the height of which, in turn, depends on the extraction costs of Li from seawater. Current estimates suggest different values framing a range of 320, 27−3026 times the usual costs of pegmatites and brines (Supplementary Table 6). The red coloured area marks the expected short-term price range for industrial grade lithium carbonate. Nearly all conventional deposits are below. As a consequence, the values for presumed medium and high resource assumptions are economically justified. Note that the extraction cost estimate on y-axis is per lithium bicarbonate equivalent (LCE).

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