Lithium in Europe
Today, although lithium has been added to the European Commission’s list of critical raw materials, Europe is doubly dependent on developing a battery industry essential to the energy transition:
- It is dependent on battery imports;
- It is also dependent on raw materials, including lithium.
While the dependence on battery imports should be reduced with the announced investments and the development of electric vehicle battery production plants in Europe, Europe’s dependency on lithium, which is critical today as there is no production on European soil for batteries, will not diminish in the same way.
With an estimated European demand of approximately 600,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent per year by 2030, ten times more than in 2020, the projects currently envisaged in the region would not be sufficient to meet European demand in the medium term.
Controlling the local supply of raw materials will create a local integrated battery chain, and ensure that these raw materials are traceable and extracted according to European environmental and social standards. In France, environmental and social standards have also recently been strengthened through creation of a new mining code.