Jump to content

Lithium discovery in US volcano could be biggest deposit ever found


IronFilm

Recommended Posts

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/lithium-discovery-in-us-volcano-could-be-biggest-deposit-ever-found/4018032.article

 

Quote

A world-beating deposit of lithium along the Nevada–Oregon border could meet surging demand for this metal, according to a new analysis.

An estimated 20 to 40 million tonnes of lithium metal lie within a volcanic crater formed around 16 million years ago. This is notably larger than the lithium deposits found beneath a Bolivian salt flat, previously considered the largest deposit in the world.

‘If you believe their back-of-the-envelope estimation, this is a very, very significant deposit of lithium,’ says Anouk Borst, a geologist at KU Leuven University and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium. ‘It could change the dynamics of lithium globally, in terms of price, security of supply and geopolitics.’

New in situ analysis reveals that an unusual claystone, composed of the mineral illite, contains 1.3% to 2.4% of lithium in the volcanic crater. This is almost double the lithium present in the main lithium-bearing clay mineral, magnesium smectite, which is more common than illite.

 

Quote

The material could be best described as looking ‘a bit like brown potter’s clay’, says Christopher Henry, emeritus professor of geology at the University of Nevada in Reno. ‘It is extremely uninteresting, except that it has so much lithium in it.’

‘There’s been a lot of searching for additional [lithium] deposits,’ Henry adds. ‘The United States has just one small lithium-producing brine operation in Nevada.’

 

Quote

Benson says his company expects to begin mining in 2026. It will remove clay with water and then separate out the small lithium-bearing grains from larger minerals by centrifuging. The clay will then be leached in vats of sulfuric acid to extract lithium.

‘If they can extract the lithium in a very low energy intensive way, or in a process that does not consume much acid, then this can be economically very significant,’ says Borst. ‘The US would have its own supply of lithium and industries would be less scared about supply shortages.’

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...