International Lithium Association to be the voice of the global lithium industry
The world has entered the “lithium century” almost without noticing it, but until now this critical industry lacked a central voice.
Rechargeable lithium batteries are everywhere, providing safe, reliable power wherever and whenever it is needed. Of the many applications for lithium batteries, electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage solutions (ESS) stand out as by far the largest and fastest growing sectors, driven by the world-wide shift from traditional fossil-fuelled vehicles towards cleaner forms of transport and energy use. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that the growth in EVs could see lithium demand increase by over 40 times by the year 2030.
Against this background of exceptional growth, the International Lithium Association (ILiA) has been formed to provide a central, global voice for the lithium producers and their stakeholders, and to promote a sustainable and a responsible future for the lithium value chain.
The five founding members of ILiA are SQM, Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd, AMG Brazil S.A., Orocobre Ltd and Pilbara Minerals, who between them account for well over half of global lithium production. ILiA’s primary goals are to become a trusted source of information about lithium, to promote a greater awareness of ILiA members’ ESG credentials, and to efficiently and effectively address key challenges faced by the industry.
The new organisation will have its HQ and secretariat in London, UK, though its first Chairman – acclaimed international lithium expert Anand Sheth of Titan International Pty Ltd – will continue to be based in Perth, WA, Australia. ILiA was co-founded by Anand Sheth and Roland Chavasse, a highly experienced industry association manager, with the support of leading lithium producers to be a not-for-profit professional body run by and for its members.
In his role as Founding Chairman, Mr Sheth, said: “We have created a global lithium professional association for two strong reasons: there wasn’t one before and lithium is key to the current global energy revolution as the world transitions towards ‘net zero carbon’ which will bring unprecedented growth to the market but also intense attention from media, government regulators, civil society, end-user groups and other external stakeholders. The Association will include Members from the entire supply chain: from Resource to the end-users”.
Speaking from his base in London, Mr Chavasse, who will be the Secretary General of ILiA, explained that: “London was chosen to host ILiA as its time-zone bridges between the two key producing regions, Australia and South America, as well as being home to world-class professional services and close to European regulators”. ILiA’s legal counsel is London-based Mishcon de Reya, a firm with long experience of both associations and of antitrust and compliance law.
The element lithium (Li) is the lightest of all the metallic atoms and is the 33rd most common element on Earth. Natural lithium minerals are relatively abundant and found in many countries. Currently there are around eight large industrial operators in Australia, Chile, Argentina, China, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Portugal that produce lithium raw materials at significant scale, although this number is set to rise as lithium production increases to meet future demand.
Our vision is to become ‘the voice of the lithium industry’, Mr Sheth noted.
The Founding Core Members
- Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd
- Pilbara Minerals
- AMG Brazil S.A.
- Orocobre Ltd
Ricardo Ramos, Chief Executive Officer, SQM, said: “For the last 25 years SQM has been producing lithium in a sustainable way while significantly improving its production process. Sustainability is one of the four core values at SQM, and the company is strongly committed to protecting the environment and ensuring the well-being of its neighbouring communities. SQM is proud to be a founding member of the International Lithium Association and believes that this is a major step towards a sustainable battery supply chain.”
Fabiano Costa, CEO, AMG Brazil S.A., said: “AMG has been built to be a global leader in “critical” materials which are essential building blocks for containing and eventually reversing the growth of atmospheric CO2 levels. In line with this core value, AMG look forward to working with the International Lithium Association in order to promote these values through the entire lithium value chain. Establishing a trade association for the lithium industry is also a building block to safeguard human rights and economic development consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Xiaoshen Wang, Vice Chairman, Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd, said: “By working together with diverse stakeholders from across the lithium industry the International Lithium Association will promote the sustainable and responsible sourcing of lithium, which will become increasingly important for the transition to low carbon economies.”
Ken Brinsden, Managing Director & CEO, Pilbara Minerals, said: “As a founding member of the International Lithium Association, Pilbara Minerals welcomes the development of a global trade body focussed on lithium raw materials, its applications and working to promote a better understanding of the lithium industry’s proactive engagement addressing sustainability and the important part lithium will play in decarbonisation of the global economy.”
Christian Cortes, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Orocobre, said: “Our company’s vision to power a sustainable future supports the International Lithium Association’s goal to promote the reliable supply of lithium necessary for a global transition towards clean energy.”
Ms Wu Yanhua, Secretary General, China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), Lithium Branch, said: “At the Chinese Lithium Association, we believe lithium battery technology is one of the greatest platforms for achieving change towards a low carbon economy. Establishing the International Lithium Association to promote reliable, responsible and sustainable international lithium supply is an important step towards achieving a low carbon economy for the benefit of all citizens of the world.”
Guy Thiran, Director General, Eurometaux, said: “The collaboration of the lithium value chain to promote sustainable production, use and recycling will supply the European battery industry with the raw materials it needs to accelerate the energy transition and achieve the European Green Deal. Eurometaux is proud to support the establishment of the International Lithium Association to further this objective.”
Rob Lederer, Chief Executive Officer, Responsible Business Alliance, said: “The world is going to need many more rechargeable lithium batteries as demand for clean and affordable energy increases going forward. The Responsible Minerals Initiative supports the intentions of the International Lithium Association to promote the development of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable lithium value chain.”
Rohitesh Dhawan, CEO, International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), said: “We are delighted to welcome ILiA as an ICMM Association Member. Lithium is critical to the energy transition, and ILiA’s focus on the highest standards of Environmental, Social and Governance practices strongly resonates with ICMM’s long-standing commitment to responsible mining.”
Dr. Daniel Persico, President, T.I.C., said: “Sustainable and responsible supply chains are an essential feature for critical materials such as tantalum, niobium and lithium. The Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.) has been a leader in this area for over a decade. We welcome and strongly support the creation of the much anticipated International Lithium Association in support of the lithium industry’s efforts in this regard, not least because lithium hard-rock mining has the potential to deliver significant tantalum units as a by-product in due course.”
Anand Sheth, co-founder and Founding Chairman of ILiA, has a career spanning 35 years. His various roles include manufacturing, R&D, project consultancy including 21 years in the sales and marketing of lithium minerals and chemicals with Talison Lithium, Galaxy Resources, Pilbara Minerals, Wesfarmers and others. He has represented local and multinational companies based in India, Italy and Australia. He assisted Galaxy Resources and Pilbara Minerals to transform from Juniors to a Mining Operations through strategic offtakes, partners and investments. He is a member of Australian Institute of Company Directors and is based in Perth, WA, Australia.
Roland Chavasse, co-founder & Secretary General of ILiA, has a wealth of experience with rare and critical elements, both commercially and at trade associations. He is a specialist in proactive association set-up and management with 20 years in the metals industry, with experience in the commercial sector, running conferences worldwide, marketing and communications. He previously ran the Tantalum-Niobium International Study Center (T.I.C.) and the Minor Metals Trade Association (MMTA). He is based in London, UK.