Lithium is an industrial metal best known for being part of lithium-ion batteries that power most of our mobile devices these days. However, lithium can do a lot more than that. It can be used in many applications starting with lubrication to glazing ceramics.
However, it can be quite confusing. For example, lithium demand is still going up but market forces are actually pulling down the price of a spodumene gemstone, one of the sources of lithium because the market is getting new sources of lithium.
If you’re interested in becoming part of the market, here’s a quick look at what the market looks like and what you can do to take part in it:
One of the things you need to know is who exactly needs all this lithium. Surprisingly, back in 2015, 60 percent of the lithium market is dominated by the non-battery uses of lithium, but the battery and renewable resources are catching up. It is projected that by 2025, only 30 percent of the market will be non-battery.
What are the non-battery uses of lithium? The most well-known use of lithium in non-batteries is as a medicine. In small amounts, usually just 0.170 mg, people take it as part of their medication for bipolar disorder or depression. A major piece of the market is the use of lithium-based greases. Thanks to lithium’s properties, these greases have high-temperature thresholds and are very stable. Glasses and ceramics are also a favored choice for lithium buyers.
Lithium-ion batteries are popular across a wide range of industries. The biggest battery market right now is for traditional batteries, which can be found in mobile phones and other devices. The next market portion for lithium-ion batteries is that of electric vehicles. Power storage batteries for solar and wind energy is another market for lithium-ion batteries.
Where Lithium is Coming From
In the 1980s, The United States dominated the lithium market with its hard rock mining of spodumene gemstones. However, lithium production has branched out from there into South America and China. Besides new locations, there are new sources where lithium can be extracted from.
The traditional extraction involves pegmatite processing. Granite pegmatites such as spodumene are rich in lithium and are processed to get the lithium inside. However, more modern brine processing has overtaken it. Thanks to lithium-rich saline groundwater found in some areas, lithium can be extracted from them in larger amounts and much more easily. This is the reason for the drop in many pegmatite prices.
Getting Into the Action
With the lithium market shifting and changing, it is very tempting to make money off of the boom. The easiest way is to use the market to invest in the market. There are two ways to gain profit. First, you can buy stock in companies that focus on lithium production or lithium battery production. Second, there are exchange-traded funds that invest in the lithium market. This is a more comprehensive approach since your investment will be automatically diversified and will need less management.
Lithium is one of the metals of the future. Thanks to all of its interesting applications, the metal is becoming an integral part of the world’s economy. However, if you want to profit from it, you’ll need accurate information on the current market and the forces influencing it.