Interesting article. I was also surprised to see that Lithium batteries have the same market share as Lead Acid batteries. You wouldn't know that from reading forums like this.
The article is from May 2018.I think the Congo controls a lot of Cobalt which is also an important ingredient in Lithium batteries. I would not be surprised if China has not already tied up that source. China has a big investment in much of Africa.
Cobalt is a pretty expensive mineral. Currently selling for $39,000/ton. That is ~50% more than molybdenum which is also a pretty expensive metal. Molybdenum is used in high end mountaineering equipment among other applications like armor that resists large shells.
Estragon said:..............The "market share" thing strikes me as apples and oranges. LA is mainly low value utility type use (eg car starting batteries), vs lithium in high value (eg phone/laptop batteries) applications. My 9yr old car battery is still doing ok. Phones and laptops tend to be replaced every 2-3 yrs, and a new battery goes with it. A new OEM laptop battery ran ~2x the car battery cost last time I checked. EV batteries look to be ~5yr replacement depending on climate etc at many times the start battery cost. A better compare might be mwh sold, rather than $ value.