French research scholar William Tahil conducted a survey of lithium resources around the world in 2008, when his survey was only 3.9 million metric tons of lithium in the world and the Andean salt lakes ) Can be extracted.
This number is too small, so that people began to worry about the lithium car battery raw materials may not be enough to maintain the development of this industry.
But this situation with the exploration of lithium ore has been changed.
The Clarke & Harben team's research on the global reserves of lithium resources in 2009 was more than 10 times that of Tahil's view of 3.9 million tonnes (source: Mohr, Mudd & Giurco), the study of the world's lithium reserves, - Global assets Lithium resources and production)
The Clarke & Harben team is a well-known consultancy team in the global resource industry, and the findings of the survey are likely to apply different survey criteria to Tahire.
They come to the conclusion that the reserves of lithium resources in the world, means that these resources can be more than 100 million global electric vehicles to provide battery raw materials.
There is such a large uncertainty about the global lithium resources, and how much of these vehicles can be used to maintain the normal operation of electric vehicles, governments are more concerned about, because people feel that from the fossil fuel to the power of power is the next industrial revolution The main content.
And this change in the important role of lithium reserves can support the whole industry changes, will be the focus of investment.
China seems ready to do a good job in this area of the global layout of the preparation, recently, investors from China to invest heavily in lithium mine in Chile, while advancing to the African lithium resources.
In fact, not only China has found a degree of control of lithium resources to determine their own future energy demand is subject to other countries, the United States, Australia, Britain and other countries are investing heavily in the exploration of lithium resources.
At the same time, investors also organize various investment institutions to actively participate in the potential of lithium mine resources.
The exploration of global lithium resources cost is extremely high, and largely rely on their own lucky. Geologists have to drill thousands of meters of rock to get ore samples, while drilling costs are several hundred dollars per meter.
The geologists have to analyze the structure of these samples and the grade of the minerals they contain to determine whether this is a mining area worthy of exploitation.
Combining these economic and financial data with geological information can we see the value of a mine resource, which is the basic procedure for obtaining mineral resources from the crust.
But there are a variety of variables in the prospecting process.
For example, the deviation of a can opener in oil drilling may lose the exploitation of 3.5 million barrels of crude oil, which is why people invest in many prospecting companies: because there may be several differences in the data will produce dramatic changes in the results.
For example, in 2007, there was a significant difference in prospecting results for the lithium ore resources of the Salar del Rincon brine lake in Argentina. The first prospecting result was 253,000 tonnes for the salt lake, but in the same year Another prospecting results show that the salt lake of lithium ore resources of 1.4 million tons.
And geologists on the salt lake mineral resources grade also have different exploration results, the difference is very large: where the lithium ore grade between 0.033% to 0.5%.
Differences in such a large prospecting result can make this salt lake mine mining to two distinct directions: increase the amount of mining or cut one-third of the production capacity.
Whether the global lithium resources will be depleted largely because of individual differences and have different conclusions.
The information from Bloomberg Finance is the forecast of how the lithium resources will be depleted when companies such as Citibank and Deutsche Bank are based on the degree of lithium consumption.
Global lithium reserves large inventory
The red dotted line in the upper part of the figure is an optimistic forecast (45 million metric tons) of the reserves of the lithium ore resource. The brown dotted line is a conservative forecast (5 million metric tons) of the reserves of the lithium ore; the blue curve represents the global consumption of lithium resources Degree of curve.
If the global reserves of lithium ore reserves of 5 million tonnes, then we can in the global consumption of lithium resources on the basis of strong forecast in 2031, lithium ore resources will be depleted, and after this global demand for lithium is still very strong.
The current demand for lithium has not yet fully unfolded, but after 2019 lithium demand with the increase in electric vehicles will be more and more.
Let's take a closer look at the demand side.
Lithium battery technology changes rapidly, lithium battery efficiency continues to increase.
By 2015, Citibank predicted that 2 kilograms of lithium carbonate would be required per kilowatt of lithium, and the recent assessment by Deutsche Bank would suggest that the demand for lithium carbonate for high-performance lithium batteries was only one-third of Citibank's forecast.
On top of this, we have to see in the end which kind of electric car will occupy the mainstream of the market. Toyota Motor Prius hybrid lithium battery for the 4.4kWh; Tesla's Model S can be configured up to 85kWh lithium battery.
Most analysts use the battery to determine the amount of lithium consumption is based on Nissan's all-electric vehicle 30kWh-40kW this range. But in fact, we can not decide now on the market which kind of electric car lithium battery will occupy the mainstream and become the dominant model.
There is another problem: most analysts believe that the global demand for lithium will be doubled or even tripled by 2030.
But the strong demand for this industrial raw material on the battery will lead to the exploration of other alternative raw materials. With the rise in lithium prices, will inspire people to find alternative chemicals.
Furthermore, other chemicals that can replace lithium-ion batteries are likely to emerge. Edison had long put forward the idea of a generation-electric car that was driven by nickel-iron cells.
Lithium is only widely used in rechargeable batteries in recent years, before 2015, the glass industry has been the largest consumer of lithium, the current area of lithium consumption is mainly in the field of rechargeable batteries, and then the glass industry, followed by Lubricating oil industry.
The following figure shows the changes in consumption of lithium in the glass industry, rechargeable battery industry, the lubricating oil industry between 2007 and 2017. The brown represents the glass industry, the blue represents the battery industry, the green stands for the oil industry, and the yellow represents the other (Source: US Geological Survey):
Global lithium reserves large inventory
At present, no one can guarantee that lithium will not be in a state of shortage, or the price will not rise in the short term.
If Tasil is right, then the global demand for lithium will be particularly urgent, the market will be so crazy.
But who can not say that other variables do not appear.