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  • John Wisbey

About Lithium

Symbol : Li

Atomic Number : 3

Lithium Oxide Density : 2.013g/cm3


Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical

elements. Under standard conditions, it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid

element.


Lithium is a critical component of modern batteries. There are several different battery

chemistries involving lithium compounds that include in different proportions cobalt,

manganese, nickel, graphene, titanium or sulphur. In the 2020s Lithium-based batteries are

experiencing very high demand growth owing to their use in electric vehicles and electric

battery storage as well as handheld devices. Lithium salts have also for many years proved

to be useful as a mood-stabilizing drug due to neurological effects of the ion in the human

body. As well as their primary use in batteries, Lithium and its compounds have several

other industrial applications, including heat-resistant glass and ceramics, high strength-to-

weight alloys used in aircraft.


Lithium is produced from either hard rock pegmatite (spodumene or lepidolite or petalite) or

from salar brines (salt lakes). The two processes for extraction are drastically different with

one being the traditional mining and ore processing with rare metals credits, while the other

is more concentration through solar evaporation ponds followed by other processes such as

membrane technology or solvent extraction. There have also been discoveries of lithium in

clay hectorite.


International Lithium Corp. currently has lithium properties in Canada, Zimbabwe and

Ireland.


Worldwide the leading producers of lithium in 2022 were Australia, Chile, China, Argentina,

Brazil, Zimbabwe, Portugal and USA. Other countries such as Bolivia, Canada, Afghanistan,

Mexico, Germany, Ireland and Iran have large deposits.

The market price of lithium carbonate, the most widely traded price benchmark, was

around US$ 65,700 per metric tonne in January 2023. While slightly off the peak of US$

80,000 reached at the end of 2022, this still represents a very large increase from US$

10,000 in 2020 reflecting the expectation of sharply increasing demand from the battery

revolution.

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