(MENAFN- Asia Times) Lithium-ion batteries, composed of minerals including lithium, nickel and cobalt, have the potential to be game-changers in decarbonization.
However, their efficacy is contingent upon several factors, such as China's predominant role in minerals processing and downstream applications, supply chain complexities and future technologies related to battery minerals supply chains. The stakes in this endeavor are high.
The bulk of reserves of these minerals are concentrated in a few nations. Indonesia accounts for 37% of the world's
nickel production , Australia for 55% of lithium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for 70% of cobalt.
However, China holds a dominant position in the processing of these vital minerals, not only within its own borders but also through the ownership or control of critical mineral resources globally. Specifically, it oversees the refinement of 58% of the world's lithium, 67% of cobalt and 35% of nickel into battery-grade chemicals for cathodes.
The geographic concentration of production and processing of battery minerals, particularly China's predominance in processing capacity, adds volatility to geopolitics , in which energy security has always been a paramount concern.
Just as coal and oil defined past eras, battery minerals are defining the current era, shaping economic, environmental and diplomatic policies globally.
The recent discovery of vast lithium reserves in Iran shows how quickly the geopolitics of critical minerals can change. This development elevates the stakes for a potential strategic alliance between Australia and Indonesia in building an alternative supply chain for battery minerals.
Lithium production in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo: Asia Times Files / Antara Photo via AFP
Geographically proximate and with their complementary resources, these nations are well-positioned to forge a beneficial partnership.
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