“Prices for the conductive metal, the lightest in the periodic table, have tripled since 2000 in a market now worth $1 billion a year as uses expand in vehicles, ceramics, electronics and lubricants,” Riseborough reports. “Apple Inc. and Toyota Motor Corp., maker of the Prius electric-gasoline car, have few alternatives as they pursue higher performance and mobility, leading Dahlman Rose & Co. analysts to forecast lithium demand will double by 2020.”
Riseborough reports, “Talison Lithium Ltd., whose shares have gained 22 percent in the last month, together with Soc. Quimica & Minera de Chile SA, Rockwood Holdings Inc. and FMC Corp., account for almost 95 percent of world supply. Rio Tinto Group, the third-biggest mining company, may join the largest suppliers if it goes ahead with a mine in Serbia it says is capable of producing 20 percent of global output of the metal… The advantage of lithium-ion over other battery types is that a typical cell can generate more electricity than competing cells like such as lead-acid. There is about 1.7 grams (0.6 ounces) of lithium carbonate equivalent in a mobile phone, 2.1 grams in a smart phone and 20 grams in a tablet, according to Dahlman Rose.”
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