Is Lithium Mining a Sustainable Business?

Is Lithium Mining a Sustainable Business?

Lithium is a useful alkali metal utilized to make batteries for vehicles, wind turbines, and smart grids that reduces global carbon emission.

Fremont, CA: Minerals and ores when extracted, applied, consumed, and recycled carefully, it can lead to sustainability achievements. One useful mineral would be lithium, otherwise known as white metal, which is a common geological commodity and is difficult to extract due to its density. This alkali metal can be used in chemical synthesis, production of alloys and glass, and in rechargeable storage batteries used in everything from portable electronics to military and aerospace applications. Although mining for lithium is a dirty business from the uses mentioned above, they have many useful applications.

It is still a matter of discussion that where do lithium mineral fall when one looks into its negative environmental impacts. Should an investment manager focus on the adverse effects or positive output? According to a study made in late 2016, the largest mining companies were responsible for 211.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions in that year alone. On the other hand, the metals these companies extract may be used for sustainable activities like lithium used to make batteries of vehicles (EVs), wind turbines, and electronic (smart) grids that lower global carbon emissions. Also, as per the study conducted by the International Energy Agency (IEA), li-ion batteries have led to significant cost reduction and improved performance for its increased production and investment.

Many argue that li-ion battery is the future battery technology platform that will see the most development and deployment for their improved performance and lower production costs. Improving efficiencies through innovation is seen across the lithium industry. Meanwhile, many argue that there is no guarantee that li-ion batteries will be the choice of the future. Instead, they experiment with other metals, by including or substituting that can reduce or eliminate the disadvantages of lithium.

In a nutshell, instead of stopping mining for minerals and ores, industries should focus on advancing its sustainable efforts and conduct more research and development towards a cleaner and safer operation. Thus, companies will be viewed as sustainable investments by both institutional and retail investors.

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