Major world resources of lithium are described in this summary report of information in the International Strategic Minerals Inventory (ISMI). ISMI is a cooperative data-collection effort of earth-science and mineral-resource agencies in Australia, Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Part I of this report presents an overview of the resources and potential supply of lithium on the basis of inventory information; Part II contains tables of some of the geologic information and mineral-resource information and production data collected by ISMI participants.
In terms of lithium-resource availability, present economically viable resources are more than sufficient to meet likely demand in the foreseeable future. In times of excess capacity such as currently exist, some pegmatite operations cannot compete with brine operations, which are less costly. A further production shift from pegmatites to brines will result in the concentration of supply in a few countries such as Chile and the United States. This shift would lead to the dependence of industrialized countries on deliveries from these sources.
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International strategic minerals inventory summary report; lithium