Lithium production is concentrated in Chile and Australia, with Chile holding the majority of proved reserves. For cobalt, the Democratic Republic of Congo accounts for the vast majority of both production (66%) and proved reserves (49%)
Cobalt production has grown by only 0.9% per annum since 2010, while lithium production has increased by 6.8% p.a. over the same period. Cobalt prices more than doubled in 2017, while lithium carbonate prices increased by 37%.
Lithium carbonate prices (thousands of $ per tonne†)
† 2000-2008 unit value, data series 140, source US Geological Survey. 2009-2017 FOB South America, source Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.
Cobalt prices (thousands of $ per tonne*)
* 2000-2012 spot grade for cathodes, source US Geological Survey. 2013-2017 min purity 99.8%, source London Metal Exchange