Dwindling lithium could drive up price of portable electronics

Mobile phones, laptops and electronic games will be much more expensive in the future if lithium stocks continue to dwindle, according to the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Dr Richard Pike said that the demand for lithium is expected to outstrip supply in 10 years time due to ever-increasing consumption rates, which could lead to a rise in cost of consumer goods. Dr Pike said the world needed to look at new ways of conserving and developing scarce natural resources to prevent this from happening.

Lithium-ion batteries are currently estimated to power 90 per cent of laptops and more than 60 per cent of mobile phones. According to recent data, total lithium demand has almost doubled in the past decade and is expected to rise steadily to 55,000 metric tons by 2020.

’Forecasters are saying that demand will begin to drive lithium prices up in the next 10 to 15 years. But the signs are clear: lithium, which now costs less than a dollar per kilogram, will not stay cheap for long,’ warned Dr Pike.