Within a year or two, lithium mining for the automotive industry could be based on more environmentally friendly technologies. The so-called direct extraction method is less demanding on water consumption and requires less intervention in the landscape at the mining site.
A more environmentally friendly method of lithium mining, which is used in the production of electrically powered vehicles, could provide up to a quarter of global demand for this strategic industrial metal in the near future.
Direct lithium extraction (DLE) is a more efficient way of conquering this metal, as it requires a lower volume of water than is necessary for standard mining and thus places less strain on the environment where lithium is located. Thanks to the higher efficiency of mining, lithium can also be delivered to the market faster.
Global lithium demand reached around 320,000 tonnes last year and is expected to increase to one million within four years. By the end of this decade, it could rise to three million tonnes a year, further increasing the pressure for more efficient extraction. Electric car manufacturers are aware of this, which is why they are starting to invest massively in better mining technologies together with mining companies.