Australia’s $2 trillion lithium opportunity

The Pilgangoora site. Image Pilbara Minerals

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) has urged Australia to expand along the estimated $2 trillion lithium value chain in the next two years.

Lithium used in the batteries of smartphones and electrical vehicles (EV) represents one of Australia’s great opportunities, according to AMEC, which released a report on the country’s lithium prospects this week.

The association anticipates that Australia will dominate the front of the lithium value chain for the foreseeable future, with projects at Greenbushes, Mt Cattlin, Mt Marion and Pilgangoora all ramping up production.

AMEC chief executive officer Warren Pearce said there was a unique opportunity for Australia to undertake greater lithium downstream processing.

“Australia produces over 60 per cent of the world’s lithium, dominating one end of the value chain.  Australia also produces all of the minerals (other than soda ash) that are needed to manufacture lithium rechargeable batteries,” Pearce said.

“Australia has a series of comparative advantages that we can capitalise on, if government and industry collaborate to achieve greater downstream processing.”

Pearce said it was important for all levels of government to engage with industry to grasp the lithium opportunity.

“We need government to support industry to create new jobs and revenues for local communities,” he said.

“We have a window of roughly two years before it is set where battery components and batteries will be manufactured and by whom.

“If we work collaboratively Australia could take a leading role in one of the breakthrough energy technologies. The time to act is now,”

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