Lithium for the EU’s green transition: can Ukraine provide the EU’s needs for this critical raw material?

By 2050, the EU must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero. To achieve this indicator, the European Commission adopted the European Green Deal – a comprehensive strategy designed to transform the economy of the European Union into a resource-efficient one, create sustainable industry and transport, and cut pollution.

One of the ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the transition to less harmful fuels in the transport sector, as well as the development of renewable energy. In recent years, the production and sale of electric cars have been growing, and the transition to renewable energy sources requires an increase in the production of energy storage devices – batteries.

Batteries are a strategic part of Europe’s green transition and a key technology for the competitiveness of the automotive and energy sectors. Batteries contribute to the decarbonisation of the transport and energy sectors through electrification and ensure energy conservation, in particular for renewable energy facilities.

Lithium is critical for battery production. This element is included in the EU’s list of critical raw materials. In addition, it also belongs to the list of strategic raw materials, which is critical for ensuring the green and digital transition of the EU.

According to the US Geological Survey, the explored world lithium reserves are estimated at 22 million tons, and the resources are about 89 million tons. Bolivia (21 million tons), Argentina (19 million tons), Chile (9.8 million tons), Australia (7.3 million tons), and China (5.1 million tons) are the leaders in estimated lithium deposits in the world.

The largest lithium production in 2022 is recorded in Australia (about 61 thousand tons), Chile (about 39 thousand tons), and China (about 19 thousand tons). At the same time, production in Portugal, the only country in the EU where this resource is produced, is only 600 tons.

There are several deposits of this most important metal for battery production in Ukraine. In terms of prospective and forecast lithium resources, Ukraine is one of the richest countries in Europe and can not only fully satisfy the needs of domestic production, but also the demand of the European raw materials market.

Lithium reserves in Ukrainian deposits lie at a depth of more than 300 m, therefore ore extraction will be carried out by the mine method. Due to this, the economic indicators of Ukrainian lithium deposits are inferior to those of South America, where mining is conducted in an open-pit way. Still, from an environmental point of view, mining is safer.

Experts of the EU Project “New Code of Ukraine on the Subsoil” are preparing an analytical review of advanced battery technologies in Ukraine, which will also explore the connections and potential value chains between the needs of battery manufacturers in the EU and the corresponding raw materials in Ukraine. To ensure you don’t miss a research publication, follow the information resources of the BRDO or subscribe to the monthly digest.

In addition, next week, on May 15-17, the Raw Materials Summit, Europe’s leading raw materials conference, will take place in Brussels. The annual event attracts more than 80 speakers and hundreds of attendees from the raw materials sector and beyond, plus for the first time, an Innovation Village showcasing 20 booths featuring breakthrough technology and big thinking from the most exciting entrepreneurs and start-ups. One of the discussions will focus on the European supply chains of lithium – and how exactly this critical material can be used in innovation. Learn more:


The project is financed by the European Union and implemented by the Consortium consisting of experts from Projekt-Consult (Germany), MinPol (Austria) and the Better Regulation Delivery Office (Ukraine). This publication reflects the position of the Project and does not necessarily coincide with the position of the European Commission.