According to preliminary data released by the US Geological Survey (USGS), global production of mined lithium hit a record high of 100,000 tons (excluding the US) in 2021, up 21% from 2020 (82,500 tons) .
The USGS said production increased in response to strong demand in the lithium-ion battery market and rising lithium prices.
Global lithium consumption in 2021 is estimated at 93,000 tons, up 33% from 70,000 tons in 2020.
“Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in Asia, Europe and the US,” says the latest USGS report
Four mining operations in Australia, two brine operations each in Argentina and Chile, and two brine operations and one mining operation in China account for most of the world's lithium production.p>
In addition, small businesses in Brazil, China, Portugal, the US and Zimbabwe have also contributed to global lithium production.
Lithium carbonate prices in China, tracked by Asian Metal Inc., rose to a new record last month as data showed a 35 percent jump in December EV registrations from the previous month.
According to the China Center for Automotive Technology and Research, about 400,000 electric vehicles were registered within a month. Tesla supplied about 18% of the total.
Ganfeng Lithium, which signed a long-term supply agreement with Tesla in November, said its profits will rise 437% in 2021 thanks to the "rapid development" of the electric vehicle industry.