The auto world needs 54 synthetic graphite plants and 74 lithium, 72 nickel, 62 cobalt, and 97 natural graphite mines If the goal is to reach zero emission by 2035.
This is not pleasant news for people who hoped recycled metals would capitulate close to the materials needed on the whole. Instead, an average low at 336 mines and high at 384 mines would be required.
As the demand is high, millions of tons of raw materials will have to be extracted. According to analysts, the global lithium supply in 2022 will be 747,000 tons, but by 2035, it will go up to 4.4 million tons. In a Volkswagen estimation, international lithium reserves max out at 14 million tons.
The construction of lithium mines at full speed immediately would help as it takes five years for them to grow to their total capacity while the demand accrues to 4.4 million tons in ten years. However, lithium mining projects are dangerous for the environment. The mines are unprepared for the spike in demand over the decade.
Chile and Australia are the largest suppliers for lithium mines from ore harvested from spodumene rocks, currently at 13 mines or more. According to Benchmark, Australia will lead the world in lithium production in the coming years. But China dominates lithium processing and refining by almost 75% of the supply.
The US plans on starting its mining and processing units as it no longer wants to depend on China. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act encourages new investments and domestic sourcing requirements.
The US may likely open some lithium mines given the requirements, but the exact numbers are unclear. The world needs many of these if the plan is to go wholly fuel-free and adopt only EVs.