Skip to main content

Review of the European Lithium resources

In the last decade, lithium has become a European strategic metal due to its extensive consumption in electromobility and green technologies. Consequently, global demand has increased substantially encouraging European interest in assessing its own resources, identifying a potential Li-industry and securing its own supply. In this context, a geographically-based compilation of the European lithium from both: 1) hard-rock, and 2) deep fluids occurrences and ore deposits, with their corresponding features (e.g., deposit types, Li-bearing minerals, Li content, host-rocks) have been assessed. Accordingly, it appears that lithium is not particularly rare and is relatively well represented and distributed within Europe. Indeed, regarding lithium hard-rock resources, about 527 occurrences including 30 deposits have been identified mostly related to endogenous processes such as lithium-cesium-tantalum (LCT) pegmatites, rare-metal granites and greisen mineralization. Wheareas, about 182 occurrences of Li-bearing geothermal fluids from which Li content is above 15 mg/l has also been identified. It appears that Li is significantly enriched in two distinct geodynamical contexts: 1) late orogenic process, related to a continent-continent collision for endogenous processes; and 2) local crustal thickening, as well as post-orogenic extensional setting for the exogenous processes. Thus, the complementarity of these two studies has been demonstrated that Li-bearing geothermal brines are coeval with emplacement of Li-magmatic bodies (LCT pegmatites and granites) as well as emplacement of large sedimentary basins in Europe suggesting an extensional setting as observed for Li-rock hard-rock deposits.


Blandine Gourcerol, Eric Gloaguen, Romain Millot, Jérémie Melleton, Bernard Sanjuan
BRGM, France
GeoKarlsruhe 2021