13 Best Lithium Stocks To Buy In 2021

Most electric cars are powered by lithium-ion batteries. Driven by surging demand for electric vehicle batteries, lithium prices have more than doubled in 2021. Learn which lithium stocks you can buy to benefit from the transition to electric cars.

SustainFi November 21, 2021

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Why invest in lithium?

Most EVs are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries: the lithium-ion battery is the priciest component of an EV, accounting for 30-40% of the cost. Lithium – a soft, silvery metal – is lightweight, rechargeable, and can store a lot of energy, which makes it an ideal battery material. Though lithium-ion batteries are also used in laptops and cell phones, in the future most lithium will likely be used for electric car batteries.

While not very scarce, lithium is expensive to extract from hard rock minerals or salt brine. Chile – the Saudi Arabia of lithium – is home to over 50% of the world’s reserves. Australia is another big producer. After lithium is extracted, manufacturers ship products like lithium carbonate or hydroxide to EV battery-makers like CATL.

Lithium mines take a long time to reach capacity, which is why supply can remain limited for a while. Lithium carbonate prices have more than doubled in 2021 as carmakers speed EV production. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a lithium-focused research firm, expects a deficit of lithium in 2022. And IHS Markit, another research provider, expects the market to more than double between 2021 and 2025.

What are the best lithium stocks?

Lithium stocks list

Here is a list of 13 lithium stocks:

  • Albemarle Corp (ALB)
  • Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM)
  • Livent Corporation (LTHM)
  • Ganfeng Lithium (OTCMKTS: GNENF)
  • Tianqi Lithium (SHE: 002466)
  • Orocobre Limited (OTCMKTS: OROCF)
  • Piedmont Lithium Limited (PLL)
  • Lithium Americas Corporation (LAC)
  • Standard Lithium (SLI)
  • Sigma Lithium (SGML)
  • Ioneer Ltd (OTCMKTS: GSCCF)
  • Pilbara Minerals (OTCMKTS: PILBF)
  • Mineral Resources Ltd (OTCMKTS: MALRF)

Here is the list of the top 13 (mostly pure-play) lithium stocks:

1. Albemarle Corp (ALB)

  • Market capitalization: $33 billion
  • 1-year return: 110%

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Albemarle Corp is one of the world’s largest lithium producers, with mines in Chile and Australia. However, ALB is not a pure-play lithium company, though lithium is the largest segment at about 40% of revenue. Rather, ALB is a global specialty chemicals business that is also involved in bromine (used to make fire retardants), catalysts used in oil refining, and applied surface treatments. But, unlike lithium upstarts, ALB has over $3.2 billion in revenue, and it is solidly profitable.

2. Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM)

  • Market capitalization: $16 billion
  • 1-year return: 36%

SQM is another major lithium producer, with around a 20% market share. SQM hails from Chile and has some of the best lithium deposits in South America. SQM’s access to brine deposits in the salt flats of the Atacama Desert is a key advantage due to low lithium manufacturing costs. Besides lithium, SQM produces fertilizer, iodine, potassium, and industrial chemicals. With about $2 billion in revenues, the company has strong profit margins and pays a dividend.

3. Livent Corporation (LTHM)

  • Market capitalization: $5 billion
  • 1-year return: 87%

Based in Philadelphia, Livent Corp is an American, pure-play lithium company that manufactures lithium for batteries and industrial applications. It is one of Tesla’s lithium suppliers. About half of revenue is from energy storage, including EV batteries. To extract lithium, Livent mines deposits in Argentina and Canada. Given the strength of the lithium market, Livent expects revenue to increase from $288 million in 2020 to $370-$390 million in 2021. And, unlike many lithium startups, Livent is profitable.

4. Ganfeng Lithium (OTCMKTS: GNENF)

  • Market capitalization: 217 billion CNY
  • 1-year return: 95%

Chinese producer Ganfeng Lithium is the world’s largest lithium producer. Most of the lithium comes from the Mount Marion Project in Australia. In addition to producing and processing lithium, Ganfeng Lithium has a battery business: it makes lithium-ion batteries used in EVs, battery storage, and electronic devices. The company generated nearly $860 million in 2020 revenue, and it is profitable. Ganfeng Lithium is listed on Shenzhen and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges, but it also trades over the counter (OTC) in the U.S.

5. Tianqi Lithium (SHE: 002466)

  • Market capitalization: 161 billion CNY
  • 1-year return: 339%

Chengdu, China-based Tianqi Lithium is another large lithium producer with mines in Australia, Chile, and China. The company is seeing a big rebound in profitability in 2021 as lithium prices have soared. However, Tianqi Lithium is only listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, making it hard to access for most U.S. investors.

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6. Orocobre Limited (OTCMKTS: OROCF)

  • Market capitalization: 6 billion AUD
  • 1-year return: -142%

Australian lithium producer Orocobre Limited extracts lithium and boron in Argentina. The company has just merged with Galaxy Resources, another Australian lithium miner with operations in Australia, Argentina, and Canada. However, Orocobre is a relatively small business with only $85 million in revenue; it is barely profitable even on an adjusted basis.

7. Piedmont Lithium Limited (PLL)

  • Market capitalization: 1.3 billion AUD
  • 1-year return: 107%

North Carolina-based Piedmont Lithium is an emerging U.S. lithium producer. The company is developing hard rock lithium assets in three locations: Gaston County in North Carolina, Quebec in Canada, and Cape Coast in Ghana. Last year, Piedmont announced a supply agreement with Tesla, though deliveries have been postponed due to North Carolina mining permit application delays. Because the company’s mines are still being developed, Piedmont Lithium doesn’t generate any revenue. It’s one of the more speculative stocks on the list.

8. Lithium Americas Corporation (LAC)

  • Market capitalization: 5.7 billion CAD
  • 1-year return: 261%

Canadian company Lithium Americas Corporation (LAC) is developing lithium mining projects in Jujuy, Argentina and Thacker Pass in Nevada, USA. Thacker Pass is the largest known lithium resource in the U.S., and LAC is continuing to develop the Argentina mine. In a bid to grow market share, in November 2021, LAC acquired Millennial Lithium Corp, a developer of a lithium mine in Argentina, for $400 million. Chinese lithium miner Ganfeng Lithium, mentioned above, is LAC’s largest shareholder with a 12.5% stake. Because projects are still in the development stage, LAC doesn’t generate any revenue. Like Piedmont Limited, it is one of the more speculative lithium plays.

9. Standard Lithium (SLI)

  • Market capitalization: 1.8 billion CAD
  • 1-year return: 312%

Standard Lithium is developing a processing technology to extract lithium from brine. This extraction process, known as “LiSTR,” is supposed to drastically reduce the time it takes to recover lithium from brine; it may also be more environmentally friendly. To test its thesis, SLI is working on a flagship project, called the “Lanxess Project,” in Southern Arkansas. A highly risky stock, SLI doesn’t generate any revenue and has been targeted in a recent short-seller report.

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10. Sigma Lithium (SGML)

  • Market capitalization: 1.1 billion CAD
  • 1-year return: 397%

Canadian company Sigma Lithium is developing a hard rock lithium deposit in its wholly-owned Grota do Cirilo Project in Brazil. SGML believes it can become one of the world’s lowest-cost lithium producers, and it aims to produce battery-grade lithium concentrate specifically designed for EV customer specifications. Although SGML has been running a pilot project in Brazil since 2018, the mine is still under development, and SGML doesn’t generate revenue.

11. Ioneer Ltd (OTCMKTS: GSCCF)

  • Market capitalization: 1.4 billion AUD
  • 1-year return: 152%

Sydney, Australia-headquartered Ioneer Ltd is developing a lithium mine in Nevada, USA. Once the mine is developed, INR hopes to become one of the largest low-cost lithium and boron producers in the U.S. However, they still have a long way to go – the first shipments (and corresponding revenue) are expected in the second half of 2024.

12. Pilbara Minerals (OTCMKTS: PILBF)

  • Market capitalization: 7.0 billion AUD
  • 1-year return: 269%

Pilbara Minerals is an Australian lithium and tantalite mining company. It owns 100% of the Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project, located in Western Australia. Mined lithium is sold to a global network of customers, including Ganfeng Lithium and EV battery manufacturer CATL. With $176 million in revenue, Pilbara is already generating sales.

13. Mineral Resources Ltd (OTCMKTS: MALRF)

  • Market capitalization: 7.8 billion AUD
  • 1-year return: 33%

An Australian mining company, MIN produces iron ore, lithium, and manganese. Although MIN is not a lithium pure-play, the company is diversified, has over $3.7 billion in revenue, and is highly profitable.

Lithium stocks ETFs

What if you don’t want to pick individual stocks? You can still invest in lithium through two ETFs, Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT) and Amplify Lithium and Battery Tech ETF (BATT). Read our review of lithium ETFs.

How to invest in lithium stocks

We recommend Public, a social investing app that lets you invest in stocks with any amount of money and see what others invest in.


NO INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is lithium a good investment?

Lithium carbonate prices have more than doubled in 2021 as carmakers speed up the production of electric vehicles. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a lithium-focused research firm, expects a deficit of lithium in 2022. And IHS Markit, another research provider, expects the market to more than double between 2021 and 2025. However, lithium remains a volatile commodity.

Who is Tesla buying lithium from?

Tesla has several lithium suppliers, including Ganfeng Lithium, Livent, Sichuan Yahua Industrial Group. Tesla has also signed an agreement with Piedmont Lithium, though it’s unclear when shipments will begin.

Who is the largest producer of lithium?

China’s Ganfeng Lithium is the world’s largest producer of battery-grade lithium.

What country has the most lithium?

Chile is home to over 50% of the world’s reserves. Other large lithium reserve-owners are Australia, Argentina, and China.

Is there lithium in the U.S.?

Even though the U.S. has large lithium reserves and several U.S. lithium projects are under development, at the moment, only one U.S. lithium mine – Silver Peak in Nevada – is operational.