African Lithium Production to Surge to 10% of Global Output in 2024 (Benchmark)


(Ecofin Agency) – UBS expects the world’s lithium production to leap 40% this year. Thanks to new production capacities in Zimbabwe and Mali, Africa could play a major role in the surge.

By 2024, Africa is projected to account for 10% of global lithium production, up from 4% in 2023, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. This substantial progress can be largely attributed to China’s increasing investments in the continent.

Zimbabwe, where Chinese groups have invested over $1 billion between 2021 and 2023, is expected to contribute significantly to the increased supply. Also, Mali’s first two lithium mines should commence production in 2024. The projects are co-financed by Chinese companies Ganfeng Lithium and Hainan Mining. 

Benchmark estimates that over 90% of Africa’s planned lithium supply for this decade will come from projects partially owned by Chinese entities.

Besides China, Australian companies are also present in the lithium sector, such as Atlantic Lithium, which is developing the Ewoyaa project in Ghana. This marks Ghana’s first lithium mine, with construction co-financed by American Piedmont Lithium.

Lithium is key to making electric vehicles. In recent months, global prices fell but the direct impact of this drop on ongoing lithium projects in Africa is yet to be apparent, according to a March report by Ecofin Pro. The report notes that countries with lithium resources have not fully benefited from the price surge observed a few years ago and must now develop strategies to expedite the potential of their projects.

Emiliano Tossou


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