Lithium has several uses, including in lithium-ion batteries, which accounted for more than half of its consumption worldwide in 2016, and its use for this application continues to grow. Other uses include lubricating greases, glass and ceramics, metallurgy, nuclear fusion applications, among others. Additionally, lithium has medical applications in the form of lithium carbonate, which is used in medication for bipolar disorder as a mood stabilizer.
There are five main lithium producing companies in the world. The Chilean company, Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. (SQM), and the United States-based Albemarle (which acquired Rockwood Lithium in 2015) are the two leading lithium producers in the world: Albemarle had a 20 percent lithium market share based on sales of lithium chemicals stated in lithium carbonate equivalents (LCEs) in 2015, while SQM had a 26 percent market share that year.