Metals mined 2021 & lithium demand

A great graphic from the team at Visualcapitalist on how much metal was mined in 2021.


Iron ore dominated. And guess what, Australia is king of a heap of iron ore. If you have ever wondered why our economy is so strong compared to some of the basket cases elsewhere, the graphic above should give you a clue.



Metal/Ore 2021 Mine Production (tonnes) % of Total
Iron ore 2,600,000,000 93.4%
Industrial metals 181,579,892 6.5%
Technology and precious metals 1,474,889 0.05%
Total 2,783,054,781 100%


Industrial Metals

Industrial Metals 2021 Mine Production (tonnes) % of Total
Aluminum* 68,000,000 37.4%
Chromium 41,000,000 22.6%
Copper 21,000,000 11.6%
Manganese 20,000,000 11.0%
Zinc 13,000,000 7.2%
Titanium (mineral concentrates) 9,000,000 5.0%
Lead 4,300,000 2.4%
Nickel 2,700,000 1.5%
Zirconium Minerals (Zircon) 1,200,000 0.7%
Magnesium* 950,000 0.5%
Total 181,579,892 100%


Technology and Precious Metals

Technology and Precious Metals 2021 Mine Production (tonnes) % of Total
Tin 300,000 20.3%
Molybdenum 300,000 20.3%
Rare Earth Oxides 280,000 19.0%
Cobalt 170,000 11.5%
Vanadium 110,000 7.5%
Lithium 106,000 7.2%
Tungsten 79,000 5.4%
Niobium 75,000 5.1%
Silver 24,000 1.6%
Cadmium 24,000 1.6%
Total 1,474,889 100%


Lithium Demand

Some interesting facts about lithium demand:

  • A lithium-ion battery pack for a single electric car contains about 8 kilograms (kg) of lithium, according to figures from US Department of Energy science and engineering research centre Argonne National Laboratory.
  • Global lithium production totaled 100,000 tons (90.7m kg) last year, while worldwide reserves stand at about 22m tons (20bn kg), according to the US Geological Survey.
  • Dividing lithium production by the amount needed per battery shows that enough lithium was mined last year to make just under 11.4m EV batteries. This is a level that annual electric vehicle purchases could hit soon, after first-quarter sales roses by 75% on the year to touch 2m, according to IEA figures.



The lithium story has legs. Given the comments above from the World Economic Forum, this white powder fever is set to continue for a while longer.


Source: Snippets from Marcus Today