Socio-environmental impacts of lithium mineral extraction

Towards a research agenda

Buyung Agusdinata, Wenjuan Liu, Hallie Eakin, Hugo Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The production of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) has increased in capacity by almost eight fold in the past ten years due to growing demand for consumer electronics and electric-drive vehicles. The social and environmental implications of increased lithium demand is significant not only in the context of policy initiatives that are incentivizing electric vehicle adoption, but also because electric vehicle adoption is part of the vision of sustainability transitions that are being put forth in a variety of contexts. Any evidence that suggests that the externalities of the technology uptake are not being addressed would directly counter the intent of such initiatives. For LIBs to be fully sustainable, it is imperative that impacts along life cycle stages be adequately addressed, including lithium mineral extraction. This study investigates how the scope and focus of research in this area are changing and what drives their evolution. Based on a bibliometric analysis, we evaluate the state of research on the issues of lithium mineral extraction, use, and their impacts. The article identifies research hotspots and emerging research agendas by mapping the evolution of research focus and themes. Our analysis finds that research on the socio-environmental impacts of lithium extraction at local level has been very limited. We discuss some research directions to address the knowledge gaps in terms of specific research topics, methodologies, and broader system perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number123001
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Volume13
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Fingerprint

lithium
Lithium
Minerals
Environmental impact
environmental impact
Research
electric vehicle
Electric vehicles
Bibliometrics
Ions
Consumer electronics
Electric drives
mineral extraction
ion
Life Cycle Stages
Research Design
Sustainable development
Life cycle
hot spot
life cycle

Keywords

  • bibliometric study
  • lithium
  • lithium ion batteries
  • mining
  • socio-environmental impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Socio-environmental impacts of lithium mineral extraction : Towards a research agenda. / Agusdinata, Buyung; Liu, Wenjuan; Eakin, Hallie; Romero, Hugo.

In: Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 13, No. 12, 123001, 01.12.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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