A stuttering recovery in lithium prices is providing a fresh reminder of why the dramatic rally of recent years was followed by an even more breathtaking collapse: a fast-expanding industry that is more prepared than ever to keep pumping out supplies.

Prices have bottomed out but have struggled to meaningfully rebound, partly because miners, refiners and carmakers are still working through a mound of surplus stock clogging up the supply chain. And while some projects and mines were hurt by the pricing plunge, several of the biggest producers insist they’ll keep expanding into the glut, further clouding the outlook for an eventual recovery in prices.

A vital component in rechargeable batteries, lithium has been thrust into the global spotlight as one of the world’s most important commodities. The boom and bust of the past three years has exposed a once-niche and tiny market that is evolving and adjusting in real time to the unprecedented rollout of electric vehicles across the globe.