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The Economic Impact of a New Gold Mine

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The Economic Impact of a New Gold Mine

The Economic Impact of a New Gold Mine

From the perspective of economists, the impact of a new mine is truly an interesting opportunity. It is the rare situation where we are able to take something from nature, and turn it into new wealth for a variety of stakeholders including the community and regional economies.

The University of Toronto, in association with the Ontario Mining Association, recently completed a study on the economic impact of a new gold mine in Northern Ontario. The full study can be found here.

Specifically, the study looks at the conservative economic impact of building and operating an underground mine with $600 million CAPEX and an open pit mine with $750 million CAPEX.

Perhaps a good comparable project would be Gold Canyon’s Springpole Project, located near Red Lake, Ontario. The project’s Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) from 2013 has the CAPEX at $544 million for an open pit mine with 4.4 Moz of Au at a grade of 1.07 g/t.

There are risks with each new mine and it is clear that the practice of mining must be treated with respect for nature, aboriginal communities, and people in the region. However, Ontario is a jurisdiction that has a great track record in this respect.

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Ranked: The World’s Largest Lithium Producers in 2023

Three countries account for almost 90% of the lithium produced in the world.

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Voronoi graphic showing the top lithium producers in 2023.

The World’s Largest Lithium Producers in 2023

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Three countries—Australia, Chile, and China—accounted for 88% of lithium production in 2023.

In this graphic, we list the world’s leading countries in terms of lithium production. These figures come from the latest USGS publication on lithium statistics (published Jan 2024).

Australia Leads, China Approaches Chile

Australia, the world’s leading producer, extracts lithium directly from hard-rock mines, specifically from the mineral spodumene.

The country saw a big jump in output over the last decade. In 2013, Australia produced 13,000 metric tons of lithium, compared to 86,000 metric tons in 2023.

RankCountryLithium production 2023E (metric tons)
1🇦🇺 Australia86,000
2🇨🇱 Chile44,000
3🇨🇳 China33,000
4🇦🇷 Argentina9,600
5🇧🇷 Brazil4,900
6🇨🇦 Canada3,400
7🇿🇼 Zimbabwe3,400
8🇵🇹 Portugal380
🌍 World Total184,680

Chile is second in rank but with more modest growth. Chilean production rose from 13,500 tonnes in 2013 to 44,000 metric tons in 2023. Contrary to Australia, the South American country extracts lithium from brine.

China, which also produces lithium from brine, has been approaching Chile over the years. The country increased its domestic production from 4,000 metric tons in 2013 to 33,000 last year.

Chinese companies have also increased their ownership shares in lithium producers around the globe; three Chinese companies are also among the top lithium mining companies. The biggest, Tianqi Lithium, has a significant stake in Greenbushes, the world’s biggest hard-rock lithium mine in Australia.

Argentina, the fourth country on our list, more than tripled its production over the last decade and has received investments from other countries to increase its output.

With all the top producers increasing output to cover the demand from the clean energy industry, especially for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, the lithium market has seen a surplus recently, which caused prices to collapse by more than 80% from a late-2022 record high.

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