The Lithium mining FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) created by some paid media organizations and random YouTube channels is so bad, that many people read headlines of such articles and assume that Lithium mining is the worst thing in the world and is worse than extracting and refining 10,000 liters of oil used by an average ICE car.
In this article, we will document some important facts that debunk this narrative with facts and sources.
Social Media Lithium FUD
- When it comes to Lithium Mining, The FUD - Fear Uncertainty and Doubt propagated by Random Youtubers, WhatsApp university and Oil funded media is so easy to debunk, it’s not even funny. The FUD spreaders show you images of gigantic holes dug by large mines and label it as Lithium mines. The reality is these mines are not even in use by the battery industry and they are not Lithium Mines. The photos shown are photos from the Diavik diamond mine in Canada, which is owned and operated by the Anglo-Australian mining group Rio Tinto.
- Unfortunately the FUD is so bad that many people assume Lithium mining is the worst thing in the world and is worse than extracting and refining 10,000 liters of oil used by an average ICE car. That is unfortunately the reality of the world where social media nonsense takes precedence over scientific research. 
Let’s talk about the emissions that are generated during the one time process of manufacturing a battery of a electric car that will last for 10+ years and compare that to the emissions 10,000 liters of petrol consumed by a petrol car over a period of 8 years:
The biggest source of emissions when manufacturing EV’s are
- Vehicle Assembly
- Cell Manufacturing
- Lithium Processing
- Lithium Extraction/Mining
- The biggest source of emissions when manufacturing EV’s are
- According to The World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining Initiative , On average extraction and processing is approximately 2% of emissions, LFP cell manufacturing is 38% of emissions and vehicle assembly 53%, with shipping only 2% of emissions.
Considering a use case with the following supply chain,
The total emissions for lithium extraction in Chile, which then stays in Chile for lithium processing and proceeds to Korea for cell manufacturing and vehicle assembly will be 1.5 tons of GHG (greenhouse gasses) per electric car . Using low-carbon fuels or biofuels as the source of heat energy to process lithium and manufacture li-ion batteries would cut carbon emissions by half as per world banks study. 
- An electric car emits about 3,000 pounds or 1.36 tons of GHG each year assuming 50% energy generation from renewable energy [3,6]. So an electric car running on electricity generated from mixed sources over a period of 8 years, will emit 10.88 tons.
- A typical petrol-powered ICE car emits about 4.6 metric tons (5.07 tons) of greenhouse gasses while driving 18,500 km per year . So an ICE car running on petrol over a period of 8 years, a petrol car will emit 40.56 tons.
- Here is another research paper from a traditional ICE car manufacturer - Volkswagen. Thier technical development unit has examined how the carbon footprint of electric cars in compares with that of internal combustion engines. With a clear result. And the clear result is EV’s are way better . From the graph it shows how the VW ID.3 clearly wins despite having more embedded carbon during manufacturing, but wins out clearly during the ownership.
- So as you can see there is absolutely no comparison, an ICE car emits insane amounts of GHG’s compared to EV’s and we have not even featured ICE car manufacturing emissions in the discussion. Also EV’s have another advantage, as the grid gets cleaner your EV will emit less and less emissions. Something the EV FUD Creators will never tell you!
Sustainable Extraction & Local Manufacturing
- Despite EV’s having a clear advantage over ICE cars, we are seeing that more can be done. The Lithium extraction industry is open to more sustainable raw-material extraction. According to PV Magazine’s early 2020 report, Various strategy papers for a green mining sector have been prepared. For example - the process of obtaining lithium from brines can be more sustainable by condensing evaporated water so it can later be returned to the ground. Another approach is to pump the brine back into the groundwater after lithium has been extracted. A completely new method is to filter lithium directly out of the brine using membranes, thus avoiding water-intensive evaporation . So there are lots of sustainable methods of extracting Lithium, the EV FUD creators will not tell you this.
- Being able to source and refine more effectively within India is paramount. Work is being done to bring the battery refinement processes to India by companies such as OLA Electric. China currently dominates the midstream processing of lithium. Multiple startups are manufacturing battery packs in India right now in 2023. By focusing on localizing the midstream processing of lithium and partnering with Australia, Chile, and Argentina, India can build an alternate supply chain for herself. [9,10,11,12]
- LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) and Sodium-Ion battery packs will not use Cobalt and Nickel. In LFP packs, Iron, Lithium and Phosphate is used in the Cathode of the cell. Graphite and Silicon are used in the Anode. So Indian battery cell manufacturers can easily procure Iron, Phosphate, Silicon and Sodium from the Indian Mining industry or from recycling centers. They will only need to import Lithium and Graphite. So when cell manufacturing for LFP and Sodium-Ion packs ramp up, the amount of carbon emissions from making battery packs will be lowered dramatically.
- The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has for the first time established 5.9 million tonnes of inferred resources of lithium in the Salal-Haimana area of Jammu & Kashmir. Once this project takes off, India wont even need to import Lithium.
- Diamond Mine shown as Lithium Mines!
- Social Media post create anti EV FUD
- The World Bank’s Climate-Smart Mining Initiative showing Lithium Battery Production
- Using low-carbon hydrogen or biofuels as the source of heat energy to process lithium and manufacture li-ion batteries would cut carbon emissions by half. https://blogs.worldbank.org/energy/how-secure-sustainable-lithium-supply-chain-electric-vehicles
- A typical passenger vehicle emits about 5.07 tons of carbon dioxide while driving 18,500 km per year
- An electric vehicle emits about 3000 pounds or 1.36 tons of GHG each year assuming 50% energy generation from renewable energy
- Volkswagen's report - EV’s Win
- Sustainable Lithium Mining
- Cell Manufacturing in India
- Oben EV Makes their own battery pack and motors
- Tata AutoComp systems makes battery packs for Tata Motors
- OLA electric makes their own battery packs
Here is why Electric Vehicles ARE the Future - Lithium, Manufacturing Emissions | #2 | हिंदी