* estimate cost of building and running a mine and processing plant
* estimate future prices.
* current geological information about the mineral
* estimate of demand. The amount of lithium used per kilowatt-hour of battery power is changing rapidly as manufacturers improve efficiency. One 2015 study by Citigroup Inc. estimated about two kilograms of lithium carbonate equivalent are needed for each kWh; more recent appraisals by Deutsche Bank AG and Advantage Lithium reckon it’s about a third as much.
There will be many more geological discoveries with more effort to find supplies.
By 2030, Tianqi Lithium, SQM, Albemarle, and FMC will have to supply enough lithium to feed the equivalent of 35 plants the size of the Tesla Gigafactory now being built in Nevada. The total investment in new mines, including some for other elements used in lithium ion batteries, will likely range from $350 billion to $750 billion.
A 300% increase in lithium prices would only add 2% to the price of electric vehicles.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
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