The phone you’re reading this on contains it, as does the battery in your touchscreen tablet. And it is essential for the hundreds of thousands of physical hard drives in the cloud where your photos, videos and music are stored. Lithium is everywhere in our daily lives. In 2008, batteries accounted for 20% of the market share of this alkaline metal. By 2030, this figure will have risen to 85%, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). As a direct consequence of this explosion in demand, prices have gone through the roof over the last year. The price of a tonne of lithium, which had reached a peak of €6,400 in January 2021, is now at €65,000.
DRC, Mali, Zimbabwe: The race to become a top lithium producer
The explosion in the price of lithium has opened up new prospects for the mineral on the continent. But for the time being, the transformation of this resource – which has become strategic for technology companies – is mainly carried out outside Africa. Our infographics tell the story.