Australia has become the world’s biggest supplier of lithium. The latest data from the U.S. Geological Survey reveals that production in Australia surpassed Chile in 2017.
The latest lithium production data shows that, in 2017, lithium production in Australia reached 18,700 tons, compared to 14,100 tons in Chile. Global lithium production share for Chile fell from 37.6% registered in 2016 to 32.8% in 2017; and Australia, from 36.8% to 43.5% in the same period.
According to Chilean newspaper Pulso, the commencement of production from the Mt Marion and Mt Cattlin projects in Australia during 2017 was behind its rise.
The Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco) had warned of this possibility for 2017 or 2018 in its report International Market of lithium and its potential in Chile. The report indicates that Chile has significant advantages in the exploitation of lithium: “since it has the largest proportion of world reserves with 52% of the total, to which the competitiveness of the Atacama salt is added due to the high concentrations of lithium, low level of impurities and exploitation of byproducts such as potassium.”