The Resources and Energy Quarterly contains the Office of the Chief Economist’s forecasts for the value, volume and price of Australia’s major resources and energy commodity exports. A ‘medium term’ (five year) outlook for Australia’s major resource and energy commodity exports is published in the March quarter edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly. The June, September and December editions contain a ‘short term’ (two year) outlook.
The prospect of a rapid rise to prominence of electric vehicles has created a lot of interest in lithium, which was a relatively minor commodity for decades.
Electric vehicles require large batteries, and rising sales are expected to create huge markets for battery-grade lithium over the coming years. This edition of the Resources and Energy Quarterly includes a special chapter on lithium, covering its growing global market, new mines opening in Western Australia and the emergence of refining infrastructure that will lift Australia up the supply chain, and future prospects for the lithium industry in Australia.
Future editions of the Resources and Energy Quarterly will include a regular lithium chapter, reflecting its growing importance as an Australian mineral export.
Lithium is an increasingly important commodity in Australia – and could become far more valuable if Australia can progress into high-grade refining.
- Lithium has recently begun to draw significant global interest, with demand rising sharply, and prices tripling since 2010.
- Global lithium use has risen from around 149,000 tonnes in 2012 to 211,000 tonnes in 2017 (in lithium carbonate equivalent [LCE] terms). Global use is expected to reach more than 1.2 million tonnes by 2027, driven by rising demand for lithium batteries in electric vehicles.
- Australian exports of spodumene ore (the precursor material for lithium) have risen from around $117 million in 2012 to $780 million in 2017, and are expected to rise to around $1.1 billion by 2020.