Charted: Lithium Production by Country (1995-2020)



The following content is sponsored by Scotch Creek Ventures.

Global lithium production by country

Charted: Lithium Production by Country

Lithium is often dubbed as “white gold” for the development of electric vehicles.

With several countries committed to phasing out new gasoline and diesel engine vehicles by 2040, the recent growth in electric vehicle (EV) adoption has fueled a global boom in lithium production.

For that reason, lithium production more than doubled between 2016 and 2020, up from 40,000 tonnes to 86,300 tonnes.

The above infographic from our sponsor Scotch Creek Ventures charts 25 years of lithium production by country from 1995 to 2020.

A Brief History of Lithium Mining

Countries began producing significant amounts of lithium after World War II, with annual production averaging 5,000 tonnes between 1955 and 1980.

The U.S. was by far the largest lithium producer until 1995, followed by Zimbabwe and Australia. From 1995 to 2010, Chile took over as the dominant producer with a lithium mining boom in the Salar de Atacama, the country’s largest salt flat.

Lithium production grew steadily between 1995 and 2010, up from 9,500 tonnes to 28,000 tonnes. But the advent of rechargeable batteries and electric vehicles brought in a new wave of demand, fueling an exponential production surge.

The Largest Lithium Producing Countries

Today, three countries—Australia, Chile, and China—mine roughly 86% of the world’s lithium.

Country2020 Lithium Production* (tonnes)% of World Total
Australia ??40,00046.3%
Chile ??20,60023.9%
China ??14,00016.2%
Argentina ??6,2007.2%
Brazil ??1,9002.2%
Zimbabwe ??1,2001.4%
(Read more...)