Skip to content


Tatiana Ángeles

What are the 10 countries with the largest lithium reserves?

- Lithium is considered the "mineral of the future". Do you know which countries have the largest reserves of this mineral?

What are the 10 countries with the largest lithium reserves?

Today lithium is known as white gold. It is a highly reactive material, it exists combined in the form of lithium minerals in pegmatite rocks, sedimentary rocks and in natural continental brines. It has unique physical and chemical properties that have made it an essential element in technological applications and the energy-industry, for example, it is a component of high-energy-density rechargeable batteries, it is used in accumulators used in devices daily electricity and is a key raw material for the technological transition towards mobility systems and energy production with low CO2 emissions, it is a new strategic resource for the "green economy" (Velásquez & Jorge, 2021).

The importance of this element lies in the fact that it will be the one that replaces oil as another non-renewable natural resource and a new strategic factor, since the application of lithium is focused on energy storage at a lower cost and in a sustainable manner. In addition, lithium is a metal that is becoming increasingly important in the world, which is why the countries with the largest amount of reserves have begun to pay more attention, due to demand and its international influence.

This has led to various issues: securing lithium deposits, developing new technologies with better financial cost sense, forging new industries, and establishing a comprehensive policy for the energy transition. In other words, these issues have ensured a change in the energy paradigm worldwide, where lithium became one of the most demanded elements and with the highest production between 2015 and 2021, since it reached 100,000 tons last year. , is on its way to becoming one of the most demanded commodities in the world (Merino, 2021).

Lithium deposits can be understood according to their size, a small deposit goes from a few hundred tons to about 5,000 tons while an industrial phase already contemplates more than 5,000 tons and the ten largest mines exceed 25,000 tons. There are two types of extraction for said element, the first by solar evaporation from large brine pools and the second, by means of mining extraction. Both forms must be evaluated by the countries to grant extraction permits or to investigate and search for other reserve areas.

Given this, world lithium production is too concentrated, the largest lithium deposits in the world were concentrated in the Salar de Atacama (Chile), in the Hombre Muerto salt flat (Argentina), in the Uyuni salt flat (Bolivia ), in Silver Peak (Nevada, United States), in Lake Taijinaier (Qinghai, China), and in Lake Zhabuye (Tibet), a few months ago the discovery of a deposit in Bacadéhuachi (high Sierra of Sonora) was confirmed ( Aguilar & Laura, 2012). The first three (Chile, Argentina and Bolivia) are called the "lithium triangle" and make up 85% of the discovered lithium reserves in the world, in addition to having greater benefits in obtaining lithium and national interest by other countries. .

Today, the 10 countries with the largest lithium reserves in the world, according to the US Geological Survey, are:

First place is Bolivia with 24.6% of world reserves, followed by Argentina with 22.6%, Chile with 11.2% (they lead the Lithium Triangle), later United States with 9.2%, Australia with 7.5%, China with 6% of world lithium reserves, Congo with 3.5%, **Canada ** with 3.4%, Germany with 3.2% and finally Mexico with 2%![]( cMUWxwF0tVyBJfJD7yHpgzXxLftVISPiz_EDXvcSeRR6-AtjoYPJfHgEmHbFSSIe30sw)

In the case of Bolivia, Argentina and Chile, countries that form the Lithium Triangle, are positioned in the first three places, Bolivia has a third of all reserves in this area, it is estimated that it has 21 million tons of lithium, while Argentina 17 million tons of lithium and Chile approximately 9 million. However, the Bolivian reserves have not been able to be extracted due to technical, geographical and political factors, but Argentina and Chile have been able to take advantage of said resource through evaporative extraction (Tiempo Minero J.V., 2021).

The United States occupies the fourth position regarding the world's largest lithium reserves, its Geological Survey affirms that production activity in the country is minimal and most of the country's lithium consumption is supplied by imports from Argentina and Chile. On the other hand, Australia, in addition to being the fifth country with the largest reserves, is also positioned as the first lithium-producing country, where its extraction is mainly through hard rock mining of spodumene, which has high levels of lithium and aluminum. .

China also has a high percentage of lithium reserves that are used in the world's lithium-ion battery production and controls most of the world's lithium processing facilities. However, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country quite rich in natural resources and it is no exception that lithium leads to large amounts of exploitation and smuggling due to the enormous international demand for electronic products, products that require the presence of of components built from lithium.

In the case of Canada, different projects have been consolidated, one of them was the extraction of lithium from the mine located in Manitoba (Canada), intended to meet the needs of the North American automotive industry. An industry that has begun its particular transition process towards fully electric mobility and brands such as Tesla and Ford (Fernández, 2021). In Germany, lithium was found in Oberrheingraben, in the southwest of Germany, in this region there are hot springs where lithium was found, it uses geothermal infrastructure for its extraction, reducing CO2 emotions, and German technology becomes an important factor. in the extraction of said mineral. (Ulrich, 2020)

Finally, Mexico uses lithium to manufacture batteries and some medical supplies such as thermometers that are used to measure the temperature of people and even animals. Likewise, in the electrical reform presented by President Andrés Manuel, he proposes this strategic mineral for exclusive exploitation by the state, considered by several politicians as an important means for the formation of an integral development and that strengthens the wealth of the country.


    Fuentes: Aguilar, F., & L. Z. (2012). Litio: El nuevo horizonte minero. Dimensiones sociales, económicas y ambientales. Córdoba (Argentina): Centro de Derechos Humanos y Ambiente. Recuperado el 04 de abril de 2022.

    Fernández, A. (2021). Recuperado el 05 de abril de 2022, de La primera mina de litio totalmente eléctrica del mundo estará en Canadá:

    Merino, Á. (16 de diciembre de 2021). El Orden Mundial. Recuperado el 04 de abril de 2022, de El mapa de la producción de litio en el mundo:

    Tiempo Minero J.V. (22 de marzo de 2021). Reservas de litio en el mundo, países con mayor cantidad. (T. M. J.V., Ed.) Tiempo Minero. Recuperado el 05 de abril de 2022, de

    Ulrich, K. (28 de julio de 2020). DW. Recuperado el 05 de abril de 2022, de Alemania: nueva tecnología para la extracción sostenible de litio:

    Velásquez, W., & J. A. (2021). Derecho minero. (Segunda ed.). (R. Márquez, Ed.) México: Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas. Recuperado el 2 de abril de 2022, de

The best content in your inbox

Join our newsletter with the best of CEMERI

Related articles

Ángeles, Tatiana. “¿Cuáles son los 10 países con las mayores reservas de Litio?.” CEMERI, 27 sept. 2022,