Fact of the Week #1225

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Vehicle Technologies Office

Transportation Analysis Fact of the Week #1225

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February 14, 2020

From 2016-2019, over 90% of U.S. Lithium Imports Came from Argentina and Chile

The United States imports many of the minerals used in EV batteries, such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese, and nickel, with lithium being the predominant mineral. Although use of these minerals is not restricted to battery production for EVs, they are nonetheless important for meeting the increasing demand for EV production. From 2016-2019, over 90% of the lithium imported to the United States came from Argentina (55%) and Chile (36%). During this same time period, Gabon produced 69% of the manganese imported to the United States, while imports of cobalt, graphite and nickel were not as heavily dependent on a single country. In terms of U.S. net import reliance, 100% of graphite and manganese was imported, 76% of cobalt was imported, and about 50% of lithium and nickel was imported in 2020.

Selected U.S. Mineral Imports by Country, 2016-2019

Source: U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries 2021.

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