The International Lithium Association (ILiA) has been formed by five founding members: SQM, Ganfeng Lithium, AMG Brazil, Orocobre and Pilbara Minerals.
The new association says that these five companies account for well over half of the world’s current lithium production. The association says it aims to provide “a central, global voice for the lithium producers and their stakeholders, and to promote a sustainable and a responsible future for the lithium value chain.” Anand Sheth of Titan International has been appointed chairman of the association saying: “Our vision is to become ‘the voice of the lithium industry.”
Although the chariman Anand Seth is based in Perth in Western Australia, the new organisation will be headquartered in London, UK. The association says its headquarters were placed in London to bridge the time zones between the two key producing regions, Australia and South America in addition to being close to European regulators. Incidentally, in May this year, the mineral processing company Green Lithium, secured a grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre to support the development of what it claims will be Europe’s first large-scale lithium refinery, located in the UK.
Mr Sheth said: “We have created a global lithium professional association for two strong reasons: there wasn’t one before and lithium is key to the current global energy revolution as the world transitions towards ‘net zero carbon’ which will bring unprecedented growth to the market but also intense attention from media, government regulators, civil society, end-user groups and other external stakeholders. The Association will include Members from the entire supply chain: from Resource to the end-users”.
Currently, there are around eight large industrial operators in Australia, Chile, Argentina, China, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Portugal. This number is set to rise as lithium production increases to meet future demand.
In the case of cobalt, the largest deposits of which are found in the fraught country of DR Congo, carmakers and mining companies are using blockchain technology to trace the sourcing of the mineral to prove ethical sourcing. Whether a similar initiative will be used by this association has not been mentioned. In order to create a circular economy for lithium resources, the recycling of batteries is also being undertaken by companies such as Redwood Materials in the USA and Fortum and Stena Recycling in Europe, among others.
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