Lithium is one of the most important raw materials used in top-notch battery technology. It will become even more important once the e-mobility revolution gets into full swing. While smartphone batteries use some 3 grams of the light metal, 30 grams are built in to laptop batteries, but standard e-car batteries can use 10 kilos of lithium. Some car models by U.S. maker Tesla have 40 kilos in their battery packs.
As our infographic shows, Chile has reserves of around 7.5 million metric tons slumbering under its surface. This could make the South American country on of the most important players of the nascent e-age, something like the new Saudi Arabia. However, most Lithium still comes from Down Under where mines produced some 14,300 metric tons last year, according to data compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
In the U.S. itself, 870 metric tons were produced in 2013. Because the USGS wants or needs "to avoid disclosing company proprietary data" there aren't more recent figures. There could be up to 38,000 tons in reserve. In general, reserves data are dynamic, as they may be reduced as ore is mined, the feasibility of extraction diminishes, or they even continue to increase as additional deposits are developed.