Lithium, and Coal, in Perspective

August 18, 2022

To scale, from my friend the brilliant Kevin Pluck:

The big mine supplies single coal plant in Victoria, Australia.

The smaller one, inset, supplies 30 percent of the world’s Lithium, for batteries in all our electronic devices.

Greenbushes Mine:

Loy Yang Mine:

Another visual comparison – 70 percent of the world’s Lithium vs one coal mine:


In 2021, 277 million laptops are forecast to be shipped, with nearly 160 million tablet units shipped in the same year too. In 2025, laptop shipments are forecast to fall slightly to 272 million units. 

All of them have lithium batteries

Fun Fact: Globally, for every one ton of lithium mined, we mine 100,000 tons of coal (0.08 vs 8000 Mtonnes/year)

Add to that all the earth, overburden, and literal mountaintops blown up just to get to that coal, also add in the millions of oil wells, frack wells, offshore rigs, etc. The difference is staggering.

AND, AND, AND – Lithium can be recycled infinitely. So at some point we literally won’t have to pull any more out of the earth.

We are making a huge leap forward in environmental progress by going electric.


One Response to “Lithium, and Coal, in Perspective”

  1. John Oneill Says:

    In 2021 Lithium production worldwide was 100,000 tonnes. Uranium production was 48,000t, down from 63,000t five years ago. The comparison is a little deceptive, because Uranium is 35 times heavier than Lithium, so the actual volume mined is much smaller. Yet Uranium still produced 10% of the world’s electricity. The percentage that went through a Lithium battery is miniscule – 99% of the world’s electricity storage capacity is pumped hydro, and even that would supply far less than 1% of the power we use.

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