Lithium producers are growing anxious that staffing shortages, inflation and delays in issuing mine permission may hinder their ability to supply enough of the battery metal to meet the world's aggressive electrification timelines.

Once a niche metal used primarily in ceramics and pharmaceuticals, lithium is now one of the world's most in-demand metals given aggressive EV plans from Stellantis, Ford and other automakers.

At stake is the pace with which electric vehicles could displace internal combustion engines — a key goal of the green energy transition.