Lithium is the lightest metal in nature. Lithium with extremely high strategic value is widely applied in such traditional industries as battery, ceramics, glass, aluminum, lubricant and refrigerating agent, as well as in emerging application domain like nuclear and photoelectric industry. Lithium carbonate as the basic material for the production of lithium metal and other lithium salts is the most important lithium product. Other industrial lithium products basically are its downstream products.
China is one of the countries with the largest lithium reserves in the world. China's proven lithium reserves (converted into pure lithium) have reached 3.35 million tons, meaning China ranks the third in terms of salt lake brine lithium reserves and ranks the fourth in terms of lithium ore resources. China's prospective reserves of lithium resources will be more substantial.
From a global perspective, the most important application of lithium carbonate products in 2007 covered the four major industries of battery, glass, ceramics and lubricant, taking up the proportions of 25%, 12%, 10% and 8% respectively, of which the application in lithium battery sector had the fastest growth. In terms of the demand of downstream industries for lithium carbonate, the demand proportions of such traditional industries as glass, ceramics, lubricant and pharmacy to the total tended downward, although their absolute value still grew. In addition, the demand ratios of emerging industries increased rapidly.
Structure of Downstream Demand for Lithium Carbonate, 2007
In 2007, the global lithium carbonate demand was 93,000 tons, up 7.4% year on year. The CAGR in the recent ten years is over 7%, showing a robust growth. Chile, China and Argentina are the top three countries in terms of production capacity of lithium carbonate. In 2007, the three countries met 94% of the world's total demand of lithium carbonate. Of the three countries, China saw the fastest growth in its lithium carbonate production capacity and its share in the global lithium carbonate market increased to 26% in 2007 from 21% in 2006.
China's demand for lithium carbonate has grown rapidly. Starting from 2008, China's production capacity of lithium carbonate has entered a releasing period. It is expected that China's lithium carbonate output will amount to 45,000 tons and its designed production capacity will surpass 60,000 tons by 2010, when China will become a net exporter of lithium carbonate.
This report, composed of seven parts, makes analysis and forecast of the following aspects: overview of lithium carbonate industry, supply and demand of global & China lithium carbonate market, China lithium carbonate import and export, price trend of lithium carbonate products, competition pattern of lithium carbonate industry, major lithium carbonate manufacturers, and opportunities and risks in lithium carbonate industry.