Lithium. China is among the five top countries with the most lithium resources and it has been buying stakes in mining operations in Australia and South America where most of the world’s lithium reserves are found. China’s Tianqi Lithium owns 51 percent of the world’s largest lithium reserve in Australia, giving it a controlling interest. In 2018, the company became the second-largest shareholder in Sociedad Química y Minera—the largest lithium producer in Chile. Another Chinese company, Ganfeng Lithium, has a long-term agreement to underwrite all lithium raw materials produced by Australia’s Mount Marion mine—the world’s second-biggest, high-grade lithium reserve.
A Tesla Model S container 12Kg of Lithium.
Cobalt is found in huge quantities in the Democratic Republic of Congo and central Africa where it is extracted from the ground by hand, using child labor, without protective equipment. China owns eight of the 14 largest cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and they account for about half of the country’s output. While China has only 1 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves, it dominates in the processing of raw cobalt. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the source of over two-thirds of global cobalt production, but China has over 80 percent control of the cobalt refining industry, where raw material is turned into commercial-grade cobalt metal.
A Tesla Model S contains 36Kg of cobalt.
Like lithium, the price of cobalt has quadrupled in the last two years.
source: Institute for Energy Research