Abstract for: Lithium Market: a key transition metal with a roller coaster price
Among metals required for the energy transition lithium is by far the most known and used in today electricity storage applications, since Li-ion batteries are a fast-improving technology with huge market growth expectations. Lithium production has increased of more than four times in the last decade, pumping high prices; can the supply side run fast enough to cope with this rate? The market, as the ones of many other transition metals that gained interest only recently, is characterized by a quasi-oligopoly structure, with few companies owning most of the mining city, and by geographically concentrated resources that reside in few strategic countries. The goal of this work is to develop a system dynamic model of the interaction between supply and demand in the lithium market, focusing on the supply side to test its capability of keeping the pace of the increasing demand. The main purpose is to investigate under which investment decisions the suppliers will be able to satisfy the demand, without leading to explosion of prices that may prevent an affordable transition to electric mobility.