Lithium is produced from either brine-based deposits or from hard-rock mineral deposits. The brine production comes mostly from South America and more precisely from Chile, followed by Argentina. Lithium brine is extracted from salt flats and pumped in ponds where it is stored for up to a year. Lithium is then purified into lithium chemicals.
Lithium can also be produced from rock mining and is mostly called spodumene in this form. Almost 100% of all lithium rock mining takes place in Australia. The lithium, or spodumene, needs then to be processed into lithium chemicals, which mostly takes place in China.
Global Lithium Feedstock Production
~220Kt LCE in 2017
Lithium Production & downstream applications
Who really controls the Lithium-ion batteries supply chain?
Source: IHS Markit
Chinese Companies locking up Lithium Supply