Lithium: Sources, production, uses, and recovery outlook

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The demand for lithium has increased significantly during the last decade as it has become key for the development of industrial products, especially batteries for electronic devices and electric vehicles. This article reviews sources, extraction and production, uses, and recovery and recycling, all of which are important aspects when evaluating lithium as a key resource. First, it describes the estimated reserves and lithium production from brine and pegmatites, including the material and energy requirements. Then, it continues with a description about the current uses of lithium focusing on its application in batteries and concludes with a description of the opportunities for recovery and recycling and the future demand forecast. The article concludes that the demand of lithium for electronic vehicles will increase from 30% to almost 60% by 2020. Thus, in the next years, the recovery and recycling of lithium from batteries is decisive to ensure the long-term viability of the metal. © 2013 TMS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-996
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


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