Published on March 4, 2014
August 14 2013 Lithium Industry A Strategic Energy Metal Significant Increase in Demand Ahead Luisa Moreno, PhD, MEng 416-933-3352 email@example.com www.epccm.ca SPECIALTY / INDUSTRIAL METALS
Euro Pacific Canada is an IIROC registered brokerage headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Montreal and Vancouver, specializing in foreign markets, precious and strategic metals investing. The firm offers an integrated platform of investment banking, institutional sales and trading, research, and private client services following the advice laid out by Euro Pacific Capital’s Chief Global Strategist Peter Schiff, an internationally recognized market strategist. Additional information is available at www.europac.ca. THE EURO PACIFIC ADVANTAGE The Euro Pacific Advantage: Despite the growing relative size and importance of non-North American capital markets, most domestic brokerage firms continue to offer clients scant exposure to foreign securities. Worse yet, access is typically limited to trading through ADR stocks or via over the counter with US based market makers. Informed by the hard money ideals so clearly and consistently articulated by Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Canada looks to prepare investors for a future in which North American financial leadership is likely to wane. As the developed world continues to be mired in debt, we see promising opportunities in developing markets. We have a particular focus on value based and commodity-focused investments and concentrate on those countries that show greater respect for economic fundamentals such as savings, production, and monetary discipline. It is precisely these differences in outlook that make Euro Pacific so unique. Toronto 130 King Street West Exchange Tower, Suite 2820 Box 20, Toronto ON, M5X 1A9 416-649-4273 888-216-9779 Montreal 1501 McGill College Avenue Suite 1450 Montréal, QC, H3A 3M8 Vancouver 1111 Melville Street, Suite 480 Vancouver BC V6E 3V6 Tokyo Holland Hills Mori Tower RoP #603 5-11-1 Toranomon, Minato-Ku, Tokyo, 105-0001 As a full-service broker/dealer, we are constantly expanding our offerings to allow clients access to global markets that adhere to their personal investment goals. In addition to foreign stocks, we also offer foreign bonds, mutual funds, and precious metal investment strategies. For accredited investors, we offer private placements. If you are concerned about the future of the North American economy, Euro Pacific Canada may be the only domestic brokerage firm that speaks your language. www.europac.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Table of Contents Lithium Properties Mineralogy and Resources United States Canada Brazil Australia Africa Europe Commonwealth of Independent States China South America 3 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 Lithium Global Reserve Life Analysis 10 Lithium Processes and Compounds Brine Processing Hard-Rock Processing Other Processes Applications Glass Ceramics Lubricant Grease Metallurgy Lithium Metal Air Conditioners Energy Storage Other Applications 11 11 14 16 Recycling 23 Lithium Outlook 24 Supply 25 Demand 27 Price Outlook 29 Appendix A: Selected Companies 31 Investment Risks 2 3 53 17 17 17 17 18 18 19 19 22 www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report LITHIUM PROPERTIES Lithium (symbol Li) is an alkali metal element, with atomic number 3 and 6.94 atomic weight (Figure 1). Unlike some alkali metals, lithium was discovered in rocks. In 1980, José Bonifácio de Andrade e Silva, a Brazilian scientist, discovered the first lithium mineral, petalite. The element lithium was only discovered in 1817 by Johan August Arfvedson together with Jöns Jakob Berzelius, and isolated in 1855 by Robert Bunsen and Augusts Matthiessen. The name lithium is derived from the Greek word lithos, which means stone, to reflect its discovery in a mineral. Lithium metal is produced through the electrolysis of fused lithium chloride, which results in a soft silvery-white lustrous metal. The metal is so soft that it can be cut easily with a knife. Lithium Figure 1: Lithium Metal; Source: periodictable.com is the least reactive of all the alkali metals, but is still highly reactive, thus it must be stored under liquid paraffin, which contains no oxygen, to prevent oxidation. Lithium is highly reactive when in contact with water, forming hydrogen gas and lithium hydroxide (LiOH) in an aqueous solution. When in contact with air, the lithium metal is also highly reactive, forming a layer of lithium hydroxide. Lithium volume (e.g., resource, reserves, production, tonnage or sales) can be presented in different units, thus when comparing two deposits it’s important to note whether the volume is, for example, presented in terms of lithium carbonate (Li2CO3), lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE), lithium hydroxide, etc. Likewise, lithium grades may be presented as lithium oxide (Li2O) or lithium (Li) content; for example, if a company has a 2% Li2O grade, it is equivalent to a 0.93% Li grade. In this report, lithium volumes or grades may be presented in different units depending on the context. Figure 2 shows the conversion factor between the most common forms of lithium compounds that may be referred to in this report. To convert Li LiOH LiOH-H20 Li2O Li2CO3 LiAlSi2O6 To Li 1.000 0.290 0.165 0.465 0.188 0.038 To LiOH 3.448 1.000 0.571 1.603 0.648 0.129 To LiOH-H20 6.061 1.751 1.000 2.809 1.136 0.225 To Li2O 2.153 0.624 0.356 1.000 0.404 0.080 To Li2CO3 5.324 1.543 0.880 2.476 1.000 0.199 To LiAlSi2O6 26.455 7.770 4.435 12.500 5.025 1.000 Figure 2: Conversion Factors for Lithium Compounds; Source: Nemaska Lithium MINERALOGY AND RESOURCES Lithium occurs throughout nature at different concentrations (Figure 3). It is found in sea water at concentrations of 180 ppb and in much higher concentrations in salt lakes (in this report, interchangeably: salares or brines) around the world, allowing for the commercial production of lithium. Lithium is found in many minerals (Figure 4), some of which are used in commercial applications. Spodumene (Figure 5) is the most widely used lithium mineral because of its high lithium content and occurrence. Other minerals, such as lepidolite and petalite (Figure 6) are also used commercially but are less common and have lower lithium content. www.epccm.ca Location Universe Sun Meteorite (carbonaceous) Crustal rocks Sea water Stream Human ppb by weight 6 0.06 1700 17000 180 3000 30 ppb by atoms 1 0.01 4600 50000 160 430 27 Figure 3: Conversion Factors for Lithium Compounds; Source: Nemaska Lithium 3
August 2013 Most of the world’s lithium supplies are extracted from pegmatites or brines. Granitic pegmatites are an important source of rare metals. Although pegmatites are widely spread and relatively common, lithium-rich pegmatites are only a small (<1%) fraction of the world’s pegmatite resources. Currently, most of the lithium supply is from brines. Brines are widespread and usually contain larger Li resources compared to hard-rock lithium deposits; however, most brines are not economic for the production of lithium using conventional methods. Lithium is also found in geothermal brines, such as those found in the Salton Sea of Southern California. It Lithium Industry Report Mineral Spodumene Amblygonite Lepidolite (lithium, mica) Zinnwaldite (lithium, iron, mica) Petalite Triphylite Eucryptite Jadarite Elbaite Zabuyelite Nambulite Neptunite Pezzottaite Saliotite Lithiophilite Sugilite Zektzerite can also be found in oilfield brines and hectorite Formula LiAl(SiO3)2 LiAl(F,OH)PO4 KliAl (OH,F)2Al(SiO4)3 or K2Li4Al2F4Si8O22 Le2K2Fe2Al4Si7O24 LiAl(Si2O5)2 Li(Fe,Mn)PO4 LiAl(SiO4) LiNaB3SiO7(OH) Na(Li,Al)3Al6(BO3)3Si6O18(OH)4 Li2CO3 (Li,Na)Mn4Si5O14(OH)] KNa2Li(Fe2+,Mn2+)2Ti2Si8O24 Cs(Be2Li)Al2Si6O18 (Li,Na)Al3(AlSi3O10)(OH)5 Li(Mn,Fe)PO4 KNa2(Fe,Mn,Al)2Li3Si12O30 NaLiZrSi6O15 %Li2O 8.03% 7.40% 7.70% 3.42% 4.50% 9.47% 11.86% 7.28% 4.07% 40.44 % 1.83% 1.65% 2.13% 1.65% 9.53% 3.04% 2.82% Figure 4: Lithium Minerals; Source: Webmineral.com clay, as a magnesium lithium smectite. Below, we discus some of the known lithium deposits around the world. United States The Kings Mountain pegmatite belt has the most significant lithium pegmatite deposit in the U.S. The belt is 0.5–3 kilometres wide and extends about 50 kilometres northeast from Figure 5: Spodumene; Source: USGS photo North Carolina to South Carolina. Resource estimates include 45.6Mt with an average of 0.7% Li. Rockwood Lithium (NYSE:ROC) (also referred to as Chemetall, as it is a Chemetall Group Company) owns a pegmatite deposit in Kings Mountain that was originally exploited for its tin content, but is being Figure 6: Pegmatite with Large Petalite (pink) Crystals, Namibia; Source: The Giant Crystal Project Site mined for lithium. Also, in North Carolina is the Hallman-Beam pegmatite in Long Creek, operated by Lithium Corporation of America (purchased by FMC Corp. [NYSE:FMC]), which is estimated to have 62.3Mt of resources at an average 0.67% Li. The only other U.S. area with significant historic lithium production is the Harney Peak Granite Batholith in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Western Lithium’s (TSX:WLC) Kings Valley lithium project is located in Humboldt County in Northern Nevada. Lithium pegmatites can also be found in the Pala district of California and in the White Picacho district in Arizona; New Mexico has the Harding and Pidlite deposits. There are also some small pegmatite deposits in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New England. One of the first North American brine operations for the recovery of lithium was the Clayton Valley (Silver Peak) brine in Nevada. The production of lithium from Clayton Valley started in 1966 and was originally owned by Foote Mineral Company (acquired by Cyprus Minerals Company in 1988 and then by Chemetall in 1998). Over the years, the brines have been pumped at various depths and at an average concentration level that started at ~650 ppm but has since declined to ~200 ppm. Resources at Clayton Valley are estimated to be about 0.3Mt Li contained. The Searles Lake brines in California produced lithium as a by-product for a number of years; the brines have a low (>100 ppm) lithium concentration. Lithium can also be found in many other salt lakes in the U.S., including the Great Salt Lake, and in some oilfield brines, including the Smackover Formation in the northern Gulf Coast basin. Lithium might also be recovered as a by-product from geothermal power plants, as steam increases the concentration of elements in the waste waters. Simbol Materials LLC is considering extracting lithium from its Salton Sea geothermal project in California. 4 www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Canada The Tanco deposit in the Bernic Lake area of Manitoba, Canada, is a source of lithium, tantalum and cesium; lithium resources in the area have been estimated at 22.3Mt with an average of 0.64% Li. Other important lithium pegmatites are found in Quebec. The Pressiac-Lamotte pegmatite is enriched in beryllium and lithium, the largest of which is the Quebec Lithium deposit with reserves of 17.1Mt averaging 0.44% Li; the project has been developed by Canada Lithium Corp. (TSX:CLQ) and is currently in commissioning. In James Bay in Northern Quebec, Nemaska Lithium (TSXV:NMX) is developing the Whabouchi deposit with an estimated resource of 29.5Mt averaging 0.71% Li. Critical Elements (TSXV:CRE) is developing the Rose lithium-tantalum project located in the southern part of the Middle and Lower Eastmain Greenstone Belt; project resources have been estimated at 26.5Mt with a 0.44% Li grade, excluding inferred resources. Galaxy Resources Ltd.’s (ASX:GXY) James Bay deposit has an estimated 22.2Mt of resources at 0.59% Li. Glen Eagle Resources (TSXV:GER) owns the Authier pegmatite deposit with 8.0Mt of resources at 0.46% Li. Perilya Ltd.’s (ASX:PEM) Moblan West deposit is estimated to have 14.25Mt at 0.65% Li. Elsewhere in Canada, the FI, Thor, Violet, Nama Creek and Lac la Croix deposits have an estimated combined in-situ resources of ~0.6Mt Li. In Ontario, Houston Lake Mining (TSXV:HLM) is exploring the Pakeagama Lake pegmatite, which was found to contain highly anomalous lithium, tantalum and cesium concentrations. Avalon Rare Metals (TSX:AVL) is developing the Separation Rapids deposit (near Kenora), which hosts a large rare metal pegmatite deposit; reserves have been estimated at 7.8Mt grading 0.65% Li. Lithium is also found in some oilfield brines, including the Beaverhill Lake Formation (Leduc Aquifer) in Alberta. Brazil Lithium-bearing pegmatites have been found in Araçuaí, São João del Rei and the Governador Valadores districts of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. The Araçuaí district contains more than 300 pegmatite deposits, including the Itinga field, which hosts the lithium-bearing pegmatites at the Cachoeira mine. Lithium-bearing pegmatites are also present in large areas of Rio Grande do Norte and Ceara states in Northeastern Brazil. Australia The Greenbushes pegmatite, operated by Talison Lithium (acquired by Tianqi Group [CH:002466]), is in the southwest region of Australia and is the country’s largest lithium deposit. Greenbushes has been mined for tantalum and lithium. The mineable pegmatite zone extends about 2 kilometres in length and total mineral resources have been estimated at 120.6Mt with an average grade of 1.3% Li. Other lithium pegmatite deposits include the Mount Cattlin deposit (Galaxy Resources), 200 kilometres east of Greenbushes, with estimated lithium resources of 17.2Mt at 0.49% Li; and the Mount Marion lithium project, which is located ~40 kilometres southwest of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia (jointly owned by Reed Resources [ASX:RDR] and Mineral Resources Ltd. [ASX:MIN]). Africa Zimbabwe The Bikita pegmatite in Zimbabwe (owned by Bikita Minerals Inc.) was originally exploited for its tantalum, tin, beryllium and cesium minerals, and is currently producing lithium. The mine has been in operation for over 60 years. The original resource was estimated at 10.8Mt averaging 1.4% Li. Also in Zimbabwe, the 20-kilometre long Kamativi belt hosts tourmaline pegmatites and pegmatites rich in tin and lithium. Other lithium-bearing pegmatites are present in the Benson region near Mtoko. Namibia A number a pegmatite deposits in the Karibib district of Namibia, including Rubicon and Helikon, have been mined for lithium, as well as beryllium, tantalum and cesium. Estimated resources in the district are about 1.1Mt averaging 1.4% Li. www.epccm.ca 5
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Democratic Republic of the Congo The renowned rare metals-rich Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), hosts the Manono-Kitolo pegmatite system, which consists of two complex pegmatite zones with lithium. Resource estimates in the area are 120.0Mt averaging 0.6%Li. Mozambique In Mozambique, the Alto Ligonha pegmatite belt has been extensively explored for tantalum and more recently for lithium. Historical drilling work has yielded grades of 1.23% Li. Europe The most recent lithium production in Europe has come from the Fregeneda-Almendra region in Portugal near the Spanish border. The Ullava-Länttä pegmatite system in Finland has been shown to comprise 32 separate pegmatite bodies 450 metres long and 40 metres wide, with a preliminary resource of 2.95Mt, an averaging 0.43% Li. Other sources of lithium are the jadarite-rich deposits with large boron resources found in the Balkans region of Serbia and Bosnia. Companies exploring for boron and lithium in the area include Ultra Lithium (TSXV:ULI) and Pan Global (TSXV:PGZ). Rio Tinto’s (NYSE:RIO) Jadar deposit has an estimated resource of ~125.3Mt averaging 0.84% Li and 12.9% boron trioxide (B2O3). Commonwealth of Independent States The Altai–Sayan belt in Russia contains several large lithium-bearing pegmatite deposits. Lithium resources are found at Goltzovoe, an area rich in a variety of rare metals, including tantalum, with an estimated average grade of 0.37% Li. The Vishnyakovskoe deposit has been found to have a resource estimate of 42Mt averaging 0.49% Li. The Tastyq deposit consists of a group of spodumene-bearing pegmatites, 1-kilometre long and 20-metres thick, with an estimated average grade of 1.86% Li. Other lithium-bearing pegmatite deposits in Russia include the Belovechenskoye, Urikskoe and Zavitskoye deposits. Lithium is also present in tin- and tantalum-enriched, lepidolite-bearing peraluminous granite bodies at Orloskoe (Orlovka), Etykinskoe (Etyka) and Alakha. The Ukraine hosts pegmatites, including the spodumene-bearing deposits at Galetsky, Zaritsky and Knyazev. China The largest reported lithium-bearing pegmatite in China is Jiajika in the eastern part of the Tibet plateau. The spodumene-bearing pegmatite is reported to contain lithium reserves of 0.48Mt. Another pegmatite in the area, Barkam, is reported to contain 0.22Mt. The Altai pegmatite field in Northwestern China extends for about 150 kilometres in a northwest–southeast direction and contains thousands of pegmatites, some of which are reported to have outcrop lengths as high as ~0.7 kilometres. The producing site with the largest pegmatite is the Koktokay No. 3 pegmatite, which has an oblate outcrop measuring about 120 x 220 metres. The Nanping district in Southeastern China contains at least 500 pegmatite bodies, which have been mined for tin, lithium, cesium, beryllium and tantalum. Lithium-bearing brines in China are found in the Qinghai–Tibet plateau. Lithium is produced from two areas along the QuighaiTibet plateau: a zone of magnesium-sulphate lakes in the Quidan Basin in the northern part of the plateau, which covers a 100,000-square-kilometre area and contains 30 brines; and a zone of carbonate-rich brines in the southwestern part of the plateau in Tibet, which is highly favourable for lithium production because of its very low magnesium concentrations. In the Qaidam Basin in China, lithium is produced from both the East Taijnar and West Taijnar brines; other lithium-bearing brines in Qaidam basin are Yiliping in the northern part of the basin and in the Qarhan (Chaerhan) region to the east. Lithium-contained resources in the Qaidam brines have been estimated at 3.3Mt. 6 www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Also in Tibet, the Zabuye brine, from which the lithium carbonate mineral zabuleyite (Li2CO3) is named after, is considered the most significant lithium-bearing carbonate-type saline lake. Lithium content as high as 1,500 ppm and contained reserves of about 0.2–1.5Mt have been reported for Zabuye. Another lithium-bearing deposit in the region is in the Dangxiongcuo (Damxung, DXC) brine. According to the Sterling Group Ventures, which evaluated commercial production in the area, the Damxung deposit has an average depth of 7.6 metres and average lithium concentration of 430 ppm. The Tibetan brines of Dong, Cam and Nyer to the north of Zabuye and Damxung also have elevated levels of lithium but contain higher concentrations of magnesium. South America Lithium-bearing lacustrine evaporite basins, or salares, in South America are mostly found in the Puna Plateau, a ~400,000 squarekilometre area that includes the producing salares of Atacama in Northern Chile and the Hombre Muerto in Northwestern Argentina (Figure 7). The plateau extends to the west into Bolivia. Chile The Salar de Atacama in Chile is currently the world’s largest lithium-producing brine and is located in the Antofagasta region (Figure 8). The Salar de Atacama has a surface area of about 3,000 square kilometres and a contained resource estimate of 6.8Mt Li. In 1982, Foote Mineral (now Chemetall) and CORFO formed a joint venture, Sociedad Chilena del Litio (SCL), to produce lithium and potash from the Salar de Atacama. Chemetall later acquired SCL outright. The only other company operating at Atacama is SQM, which used to purchase potash from Chemetall but in the 1990s started its own production at Salar de Atacama by acquiring an interest in the only other lithium potash corporation in the area. As potash has been SQM’s main product, it stockpiled lithium salts at first, but later decided to enter the market by selling the lithium at close to cost. This strategy forced the higher cost producers out of the market, which was then dominated by hard-rock producers. It seems that SQM and Chemetall hold exclusive exploitation rights in the Atacama brine. It should be noted that there is also a region called Atacama, which is immediately south of Antofagasta region. The Atacama region also has a number of brines, the Salar of Maricunga, for instance, is being explored by Li3 Energy Inc. (OTCQB:LIEG), and the Salares de Piedra parada, Grande, Aguilar, Agua Amarga and La Isla are being explored by Talison Lithium. The geothermal area of the El Tatio may also contain good lithium concentrations. 0.18% 0.16% Salar de Atacama (RCK), 0.140% 0.14% Grade (% Li) 0.12% 0.10% 0.08% 0.06% Salar de Diablillos (RM), 0.056% 0.04% Salar de Hombre Muerto (FMC), 0.052% 0.02% Salar de Atacama (SQM), 0.140% Salar de Olaroz (ORE), 0.069% Cauchari-Olaroz (LAC), 0.067% 0.00% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 LCE Resources / Reserves (Mt) Figure 7: Location of Puna Plateau Brines; Source: Modified from Ericksen and Salar (1987), Geological Survey Open File Rep.88-210, 51 Figure 8: LCE Resources and Li Grades of Selected South American Brines; Source: Euro Pacific Canada www.epccm.ca 7
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Argentina The Salar de Hombre Muerto in Northwestern Argentina, operated by FMC, is the only lithium-producing brine in the country and the only other South American-producing brine other than the Salar de Atacama. The producing area of the Salar de Hombre Muerto is shallow and grades have been found to vary from 220 to 1,000 ppm Li, with an average of 520 ppm and low magnesium grades. North of the brine Hombre Muerto, Orocobre (ASX:ORE) is developing the relatively smaller Salar de Olaroz, currently in the construction phase. Orocobre estimates total resources for the Salar of Olaroz at 1.21Mt of Li. Lithium Americas (TSX:LAC) is exploring the eastern part of the Salar de Olaroz. Both Orocobre and Lithium Americas also have exploration rights at the Salar de Cauchari, which is immediately south of Olaroz. Lithium America’s contained lithium reserves at Cauchari are estimate at 0.51Mt Li at an average of 655 ppm, and contained lithium resources of ~2.2Mt; the company reported grades of 630 ppm for the measured resources and 570 ppm for the indicated resources. The Salar de Rincon, with a small surface area of ~250 square-kilometers, is being explored by Sentient Group. It has been reported that Rincon contains brines with relatively lower lithium content and higher magnesium:lithium ratios. Rodinia Lithium’s (TSXV:RM) main project is at the Salar de Diablillos, where it defined an estimated contained inferred brine resource of ~530,000 tonnes of lithium metal. Rodinia and other companies also have exploration rights in a number of brines in Northwestern Argentina, including the Salar de Salinas Grandes, Salar de Ratones and Salar de Centenario, to name a few. Bolivia The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is potentially the largest undeveloped lithium brine in the world. Lithium concentrations vary, with high concentration areas of more than 1,000 ppm, but it has also been reported to have a high magnesium:lithium ratio, which is not good when using conventional processing methods. Resource estimates for Salar of Uyuni include contained resources of 10.2Mt but higher estimates have also been reported. Given its resource potential, Uyuni has attracted significant attention. Bolivia’s state-owned mining corporation Comibol and a South Korean consortium, which includes POSCO (NYSE:PKS; KRX:005490) and Korea Resources Corp. (KORES), have formed a joint venture for the development of the Salar de Uyuni. Most of the brine deposits are located in South America and China. Hard-Rock deposits are found in all five continents (Figure 9). Figure 10 shows the locations of some of the main lithium deposits and occurrences in the world. 9.0 Contained Resources (Million Tonnes) 8.0 7.0 6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 Figure 9: Contained Resources of Selected Pegmatite Deposits; Source: Euro Pacific Canada 8 www.epccm.ca
www.epccm.ca 29. 22. 23.‐ 28. 21. 9.‐ 10. 31. 30. 11.‐ 13. 33. 57. 55. 35. 58. 27. Salar de Diablillos, Argentina Salar de Diablillos, Argentina 56. 34. 22. Salar de Atacama, Chile 26. Mariana Lithium, Argentina 13. James Bay, Quebec 39. Tastyq, Russia 38. Vishnyakovskoe, Russia 37. Altai, China 36. Alakha, Russia 35. Jadar, Serbia 34. Koralpa, Austria 31. Araçuai (Cachoeira), Brazil Figure 10: Location of Major Lithium Deposits; Source: Euro Pacific Canada 24. Salar de Olaroz, Argentina 25. Salar de Hombre Muerto, Argentina 11. Whabouchi, Quebec 12. Rose ,Quebec 23. Salar de Cauchari, Argentina 10. Authier, Quebec 9. Quebec Lithium, Quebec 33. Fregeneda‐Almendra, Portugal 20. Sonora, Mexico 21. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia 7. Pakaegama, Ontario 19. Kings Mountain, N. Carolina 8. Nama Creek, Ontario 32. Ullava Länttä, Finland 18. Hallman‐Beam (Bessemer), N. Carolina 6. Separation Rapids, Ontario 30. São João del Rei, Brazil 5. Tanco, Manitoba 29. Maricunga, Chile 16. Brawley (Salton Sea), California 17. Smackover, Texas 3. Thor, NWT 15. Silver Peak (Clayton Valley), Nevada 2. Beaverhill, Alberta 4. Violet, Manitoba 28. Sal de Vida, Argentina 14. Kings Valley, Nevada Kings Valley, Nevada 18.‐ 19. 4. 7. 8. 5. 6. 32. 1. Fox Creek, Alberta Fox Creek, Alberta Major Deposits Sedimentary Rock Hectorite Clay Pegmatite Brine 2. 16. 17. 20. 14. `15. 1. 3. World Lithium Resources (deposits greater than 100,000 tonnes Li) 38. 42. 43. 47. 52. Nanping, China 51. Barkam, China 50. Gajika, China 49. Maerkang, China 48. Jiajika, China 47. Taijnar, China 46. Damxung, China 45. Dangxiongcuo, China 44. Zabuye, China 43. Zavitskoye, Russia 42. Goltsovoe, Russia 41. Urikskoe, Russia 63. Mount Cattlin, Western Australia 62. Mount Marion, Western Australia 61. East Kirup, Western Australia 60. Greenbushes, Western Australia 59. Pilgangoora, Western Australia 58. Bikita, Zimbabwe 57. Kamativi, Zimbabwe 56. Karibib, Namibia 55. Manono–Kitolo, DR Congo 54. Daoxian, China 53. Yichun, China Yichun, China 63. 62. 59. 60.‐ 61. 49. 40. Ulug‐Tanzek, Russia Ulug Tanzek, Russia . 49. ` 53. 54. 50. 51. 52. 48. 39.‐ 41. 44. 45. 46 37. 36. August 2013 Lithium Industry Report 9
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Lithium Global Reserve Life Analysis Global estimates suggest there is more than 30Mt of lithium resources, however it is important to note that most deposits are not economically viable. For instance, some of the deposits (brines and hard-rock) may have high levels of impurities that make processing very costly, while others are in isolated parts of the world and would require high infrastructure expenditures, deeming them uneconomic. In the case of brines, the weather in some regions is not appropriate for the solar evaporation process. There are also many other factors, thus it is necessary to spend a significant amount of time and resources to determine the feasibility of these projects before considering them as available resources. According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) estimates, global lithium reserves are ~13Mt (Figure 11). These estimates exclude lithium occurrences and resources than have not been proven economic. Reserves 38,000 50,000 1,000,000 46,000 7,500,000 3,500,000 10,000 23,000 80,000 13,047,000 Figure 11: Global Lithium Reserves; Source: USGS (2011), Euro Pacific Canada 85 Sales of New Vehicles, Millions Country United States Argentina Australia Brazil Chile China Portugal Zimbabwe Canada Total 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Figure 12: Annual Sales of New Vehicles; Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicles Manufacturers Based on this reserve estimate, if we were to fully adopt electric vehicles starting next year, how many years of lithium supplies would we have? Car sales have increased in the last few years, and as China and other emerging markets continue to develop, sales are likely to increase. Last year, new vehicles sales totalled 82M (Figure 12). The amount of lithium in batteries depends on different factors, including vehicle range and type (i.e., hybrid electric vehicles [HEVs], plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEVs] or “pure” electric vehicles [EVs]). Electric vehicles use more lithium per battery as they lack a conventional combustion engine, and a low-range electric vehicle may use ~5 kilograms of lithium; in contrast, an HEV may use >0.5 kilograms of lithium. If we were to adopt pure electric vehicles with an average of 5 kilograms Li/vehicle, and sell 82M vehicles each year going forward, we estimate there is only 30 years of reserve life, assuming 100% recoveries and no growth in current lithium demand in other applications/ sectors (Figure 13). However, given that processing recovering rates for the production of battery-grade lithium are on average 50% using conventional methods, the likely reserve life would be closer to 15 years. If we were to adopt a combination of vehicle types and consume an average of 2 kg Li/vehicle this 10 Annual Car Sales Avg. Li / Car (kg) Lithium Required for Cars (tonnes) Other Li Consumption (Excl. Cars) Total Li Consumption Lithium Reserves Years 82,000,000 0.5 82,000,000 1.0 82,000,000 2.0 82,000,000 5.0 41,000 82,000 164,000 410,000 28,659 28,659 28,659 28,659 69,659 13,047,000 187 110,659 13,047,000 118 192,659 13,047,000 68 438,659 13,047,000 30 Figure 13: Simplified Analysis of Lithium Reserve Life; Source: Euro Pacific Canada www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report would yield a 35-year reserve life, adjusted to recovery rates. Our analysis is an extreme case as the 100% adoption of electric vehicles in 2014 is not realistic, but it gives us an idea of the reserves required in the future if lithium is to become our energy storage medium of choice. The solution to adding more lithium reserves is to continue to invest in and develop lithium projects around the world. The largest producers of lithium in South America (brine producers) may have the ability to expand reserves and production but a diversified and reliable supply of lithium will have to include lithium from different regions of the world and sources (i.e., hard rock, geothermal and clay). LITHIUM PROCESSES AND COMPOUNDS Brine Processing Brine Concentration The lithium concentration in the brines is usually measured in parts per million (ppm), milligrams per litre (mg/L) and weight percentage. The recovery process usually involves solar evaporation of the brine in ponds (Figure 14). The brine evaporation is a necessary step because of the dilutive concentration of the lithium in the brines (0.010–0.125% in brines, compared to 0.2–1.5% in pegmatites). Direct chemical processing of the brines without pre-concentration could be extremely expensive. Solar evaporation is a relatively inexpensive operation that allows the lithium to concentrate into more economic grades for later processing at chemical plants. The main brines in the world for the production of lithium are Clayton Valley in the United States, the Atacama desert brine in Chile and the Figure 14: Evaporation Pond; Source: lithiummine.com Hombre Muerto brine in Argentina. The Clayton Valley brine operations started in 1966 and were one of the first lithium operations from brines. Example of Brine Salt Crystallization Sequence From the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, Corporation de Fomento de la Production (CORFO, a Chilean government-owned firm) and Saline Processors (a U.S. company) conducted extensive tests at Salar de Atacama to estimate its brine resources and economic development potential. During the testwork, they observed the following sequence of salt crystallization in the ponds: 1. halite (or salt, NaCl); 2. halite and sylvite (or potassium chloride in mineral form); 3. halite, sylvite and potassium lithium sulphate (LiKSO4); 4. halite and kainite (a mineral salt that consists of potassium chloride and magnesium sulphate) and lithium sulphate (Li2SO4); 5. halite, carnallite (a potassium magnesium chloride salt, KMgCl3•6[H2O]) and lithium sulphate; 6. mostly bischoffite (a hydrous magnesium chloride mineral, MgCl2•6H2O); and 7. bischoffite and lithium carnallite (or lithium magnesium chloride heptahydrate, LiCl•MgCl2•7H2O). Carnallite is usually the last mineral to form, which is the case in Clayton Valley; however, given the low humidity levels and weather characteristics at the Salar de Atacama, bischoffite is allowed to form at commercial scale. Bischoffite formation means that a significant amount of magnesium could be removed from the brine during solar evaporation. www.epccm.ca 11
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Example Brine Evaporation Process Given the sequence of salt formations described above, one possible pond design is the one presented in Figure 15. The process sequence is as follows: 1. Halite crystalizes first. The harvested salt is stockpiled or used to reinforce the walls of the solar ponds. 2. In the following ponds, potassium crystallizes as sylvinite, which is harvested and taken to the potash plant. At the plant, sylvinite is crushed and ground (to about ~6 millimetres), and the potassium chloride is then separated from the mixture in froth floatation cells. The potash product is then thickened, centrifuged and washed to produce a moist ~95% KCl product. The brine leaving the sylvinite ponds can contain as much as 1% Li, which is returned to the lithium ponds. 3. The brine from the sylvinite ponds next goes to carnallite ponds, which is harvested to produce coarse potash. 4. Next, the brine can be mixed with calcium chloride and end-liquor from the processing plant to precipitate gypsum and some of the boron. The remaining boron in the final brine is later removed by solvent extraction at a chemical plant. 5. In the following ponds, magnesium crystallizes as bischofite, which is harvested to remove most of the magnesium. As the evaporation proceeds, bischoffite and lithium carnallite eventually crystallize together. To improve lithium recoveries, the mixed salts could be leached to dissolve the lithium and accumulate bischoffite. Alternatively, bischofite can be sold for road paving applications. 6. At Salar de Atacama, the final brine in the lithium ponds is concentrated to 4–6% Li, with levels of up to 1.8% Mg and 0.8% boron (B), depending on the original lithium, magnesium and boron concentrate in the brine that is pumped from the deposit and respective recovery rates. Economic brine concentration by solar evaporation can take 18–24 months, after which additional processing is required in order to obtain the final products (e.g., lithium carbonate and potash) (See the following section, Brine — Chemical Plant Processing). The process sequence described here is a hypothetical process and may not represent an actual process and may not be in the correct order for any specific brine. Brines processing flowsheets, including the ponds and chemical plant process design, vary with the characteristics of the brine in consideration. Brine Fluid Flow For instance, at Clayton Valley, the magnesium levels are much lower than those Halite Ponds found at Atacama, but the humidity level Sylvite Ponds Carnallite Ponds Carbonate Precipitation Ponds Borate Ponds Lithium Concentration Ponds may not be low enough to favour bischofite formation, thus part of the magnesium maybe removed at the beginning of the Brine Well process by adding slake lime. FMC’s brine Lithium Plant operations at Hombre Muerto in Argentration so the brine is first conditioned to an appropriate pH and temperature then is treated using its proprietary process Solids Flow tina also have a low magnesium concenSalt NaCl (Salt) KCl B KCl KCl (Potash) Plant Mg + Ca Carbonates, Chlorides Borate Plant based on selective lithium adsorption onto is further concentrated and purified. FMC Na2SO4 (Sodium Sulfate) K2SO4 (Potassium Sulphate) KCl (Potash) Borates Boric Acid Figure 15: Hypothetical Brine Flowsheet; Source: Modified from mining.com brine concentration costs were initially es- 12 Lithium Carbonate Lithium Chloride alumina. Only afterward is the brine sent to the solar evaporation ponds where it Lithium Hydroxide www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report timated to be 20% cheaper than the simple solar evaporation approach. Early operations (1930s) at Searles Lake potash-lithium in California originally consisted of brine evaporation by means of triple-effect evaporators; the salts were removed by hydraulic classification and fro-floatation. Brine – Chemical Plant Processing After the solar evaporation, the concentrated brine is first pre-treated (Figure 16). The brine pH is lowered to about 2 and then boron is removed by means of a solvent extraction circuit. Lime is then added to the concentrated brine to precipitate the remaining residual impurities (e.g., magnesium, sulphate and borate). To remove most of the calcium from the lime reactions, a small amount of soda ash is added at this stage. The precipitate is settled then filtered and the overflow brine solution is clarified then heated at about ~90°C and reacted with dry soda ash, hot wash and make-up waters to precipitate the lithium carbonate product. Extra water is usually added to prevent salt crystallization; hence after washing the lithium, carbonate slurry is thickened in a bank of cyclones. As ~50% of the lithium is not recovered, the cyclone overflow is returned to the ponds, and the cyclone underflow with the lithium product is sent to a vacuum belt where it is washed and dewatered. This process usually produces a 99.0% pure lithium carbonate “commercial” grade product, with the main impurities being boron, sulphate, sodium, potassium, and trace amounts of calcium and magnesium. At this grade, the product is usually appropriate for ceramic applications but is not suitable for metal production, batteries (+99.9%), etc. In order to achieve higher-purity levels, the carbonate product has to be further processed. With the demand for higher-quality product, brine processors have been forced to improve the quality of the lithium compounds. Figure 16: Brine Processing Flowsheet; Source: Modified from Outotec www.epccm.ca 13
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Assessing Brine Deposits There a number of brines in the world; however, only a fraction of them have been economically exploited for the recovery of lithium and related materials (e.g., potassium). Some of the most important points to consider when valuing brine projects include: • • Lithium grade: The higher the grade the better. Solar evaporation of brines can yield a final brine with 0.50–6% Li, depending on the initial concentration. Evaporation rate: The rate of evaporation depends on the solar radiation (direct sunlight on the brines), the humidity level, wind and temperature. Evaporation rates in the lab may not be reproduced in the field. If the weather • conditions are not appropriate the evaporation cycle could take several years deeming the project uneconomic. Co or by-products: Boron and potassium products can be recovered from the brines and refined. The sale of these products can make brine operations more economic. Market conditions of these products are also impor- • tant for project economics. Magnesium and sulphate concentration: The magnesium-to-lithium ratio and sulphate-to-lithium ratio are important parameters in the economic assessment of a brine project. High magnesium levels in the brine means that a large amount of lithium may be trapped in the magnesium salts during the initial stages of the evaporation process, reducing recovery rates. Also, a high magnesium-to-lithium ratio means that more soda ash reagent would be required during the chemical processing of the brine, adding to raw material costs. The lower the sulphate (SO4)-to-lithium ratio in the final lithium brine pond the better. Lithium sulphate (Li2SO4) is highly soluble, • thus a high concentration of sulphate would lead to lower lithium recoveries. Amenability to local production: Brines located in remote areas away from infrastructure would require larger initial capex, or higher transportation costs if the hydrometallurgical plant has to be positioned hundreds of kilometres away. Proper design and maintenance of the ponds is also important for the economics of a brine project (Figure 17). The most important aspect of the pond construction is for it to be leak-free. Also important is pond design efficiency, usually the more ponds the better, as multiple ponds allow for each of the salts in the brine to crystallize in separate ponds, improving evaporation Figure 17: Lining a Pond; Source: Orocobre rates and ultimately the recovery of lithium. Hard-Rock Processing Most of the hard-rock lithium processing is from pegmatite-ore bodies. In simple terms, the recovery process consists of concentration by froth floatation, followed by hydrometallurgy and precipitation from an aqueous solution. Ore Concentration The pegmatite ore is first crushed and ground to a fine size (e.g. -0.3 millimetres) and cleared with, for example, sodium sulphate, then conditioned with a collector (e.g., oleic acid). After conditioning, the ore is concentrated though floatation. In some less-sophisticated operations, the ore may be concentrated by hand sorting. The flowsheet for the spodumene concentration process is presented in Figure 18. Chemical Plant Processing The hydrometallurgical process could follow an acid or alkaline route. In the acid route, spodumene is first roasted to convert the alpha spodumene mineral into an acid amenable beta spodumene (Figure 19). The material is then ground to a finer gran- 14 www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report ule size, mixed with sulphuric acid then heated to convert the lithium to soluble lithium sulphate. The mixture is then water- Ore leached to dissolve the lithium. The lithium-enriched solution undergoes a number of impurity steps to remove iron, magne- Comminution sium, calcium and aluminum. The lithium is then precipitated with sodium carbonate. Cleaning Conditioning In the alkaline route, the spodumene ore is first heated with limestone, which converts the lithium silicates to lithium aluminates. Rougher Floatation The material is then leached to convert the lithium aluminates into soluble lithium hydroxide, while the calcium forms an insoluble calcium aluminate product. The soluble lithium hydroxide Cleaner Floatation Cl Fl t ti Tailings T ili is passed through evaporators to precipitate lithium hydroxide Concentrated Ore monohydrate. The lepidolite ore has also been treated using the alkaline process. Detailed flowsheet examples of spodumene processing for Final Tailing Figure 18: Pegmatite Ore Concentration; Source: Modified from Energy Vol.3. pp305-313 W. Werill and D. Olson the production of lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide can be found in our Nemaska Lithium and Canada Lithium initiation reports, dated August 13, 2013. Figure 19: Spodumene Processing Flowsheet; Source: Modified from Outotec www.epccm.ca 15
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Assessing Hard-Rock Deposits There are numerous hard-rock lithium deposits; some of the points to consider when accessing the economic viability of these deposits include: • Lithium-Grade and tonnage: The tonnage and grade (or concentration) of an ore mineral has a direct impact on production costs. Higher grades generally mean a higher percentage of elements can be extracted, which normally translates • into lower unit costs and better margins. High tonnage and grades usually favour the success of feasibility studies. Grade of co or by-products: Tantalum, beryllium, caesium rare earths are some of the elements that can be recovered from lithium ore deposits such as LCT pegmatites. The sale of these products could make the operations more econom- • ic. However, the mineral composition of the deposit needs to be favourable to the economic recovery of these products. Impurities: High concentration of impurities (e.g., iron) in lithium ore minerals may limit application in the glass and ceramics industry and increase processing costs. Radioactive impurities, if present, could also lead to longer permitting • times and higher tailings management and disposal costs. Location: Projects in remote locations with limited or no infrastructure generally require more funding. Companies with vast infrastructure needs also tend to be further away from production, as they not only have to raise the funds that could be delayed by poor market conditions but if the project site is in a remote location and difficult to access would also likely limit the speed of the construction process. Other Processes In addition to the commonly used processes described for brines and spodumene, other processes have been developed in the past; for example, the Limestone Leach Process was commercially used by Foote (now Chemetall/Rockwood), American Potash and other companies. The process consisted of an initial roast that included mixing the ore with limestone and then water leaching or a roasting followed by leaching with lime. There has been extensive research and a number of patents related to processing of the Separation Rapids’ Big Whopper Petalite ore in Canada, now owned by Avalon Rare Earths. One of the patents reported the production of 4% Li2O petalite concentrate, and the separation of a number of products, including spodumene and tantalum concentrate. Clay Processing Laboratory tests have shown that it is possible to recover up to 80% lithium from moderately Lithium Clay Limestone Recycle Solution high- Na2CO3 grade lithium clay deposits with Feed Preparation a simple sulphuric acid leach, Pelletized Feed but most advanced studies have Some of the simplest tests includ- Leach Water lowed by a hydrochloric acid leach, which yielded a 70% recovery rate. Other tests included five parts of clay, three parts of gypsum and three parts of limestone roasted at 950°C, followed by water-leach- Evaporator Calcine ed a 750°C roast with two parts of clay for one part of limestone, fol- Crystallizer Li2CO3 Precipitation Roast shown an increased complexity. 16 Gypsum Wash Water Slurry Slurry K2SO4 Na2SO4•10H2O Water Slurry Filter Leach Solution Filter CaCO3 Residue Concentrated Solution Filter Product Filtrate Wash Water Li2CO3 Figure 20: Lithium Carbonate from Clay Process Flowsheet; Source: Handbook of Lithium and Natural Calcium Chloride (2004) www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report ing, which resulted in 80% of lithium being recovered as lithium sulphate. An example of a detailed flowsheet for the recovery of lithium from clay is presented in Figure 20. To our knowledge, lithium has never been recovered from clay on a commercial scale. APPLICATIONS Glass Lithium minerals, most often spodumene, are used for the production of a number of glass products, such as containers, bottles, fiberglass, flaconnage, internally nucleated glass ceramics, glass for pharmaceutical applications, photochromic glass, soda lime glass, thermal (cool or hot) shock-resistant cookware and sealed-beam headlights. The lithium reduces the viscosity and melting temperature of the glass. A lower melting temperature means less energy consumption. It has also been found that lithium increases the life Figure 21: Lithium Glass Ceramic Dental Fixtures; and productivity of the glass furnace, without sacrificing glass quality. Lithium Source: Thayer Dental Laboratory improves the strength of the glass and the thermal shock resistance of finished products. The lithium mineral helps reduce rejection rates and improve the quality of glass by reducing the amount of “bubbles”. Lithium carbonate can also be used in certain applications (e.g., TV tubes). Lithium ore concentrates with high iron content are not suitable for glass production, unless the iron content is appropriately reduced. In fact, some high-grade spodumene ores may also be used without being concentrated as long as the iron content is significantly low. Ceramics Lithium minerals are used in ceramics to produce fritz and glazes, porcelain enamels for bathroom fixtures, shock-resistant ceramics and porcelain tiles. Lithium decreases the melting temperature of ceramics by increasing fluxing power, causing their thermal expansion co-efficient to decrease, thus increasing shock resistance. Lithium also decreases the pyroplastic deformation of ceramic materials improving their glaze adherence, gloss properties and stain resistance. Additionally, lithium is used in applications where improved resistance to sudden temperature changes is required, and in the production of optical glass ceramics and refractories (i.e., brick for furnace linings), where a low co-efficient of expansion is required. Both mineral concentrates and compounds such as lithium carbonate can be used in ceramic applications, but petalite mineral is usually preferred because when it is heated there are limited structure or phase changes. Another highly desirable lithium mineral for ceramic applications is lepidolite, which is the only ore that contains fluorine and rubidium (two good fluxes); however, its availability is limited. Lithium is used in a multitude of ceramic-type applications (Figure 21). Lubricant Grease Most lubricating greases are made of oil and soap, which, when mixed form stable gels called grease. Lithium soaps hold high volumes of oil, have a high resistance to oxidation and hardening and, if liquefied, return to a stable grease consistency once cooled. Lithium greases make excellent lubricants as they adhere particularly well to metal, are highly water soluble and offer consistent properties over a range of temperatures. Most lithium grease uses lithium hydroxide but lithium carbonate can also be used. Lithiumcontaining greases have been in existence since the 1940s and were perhaps the first large-scale commercial application of lithium compounds. Lithium grease is commonly used as lubricant in household Figure 22: products (Figure 22) and in a number of demanding service applications in the automotive, military and Lithium Grease; Source: 3M aerospace industries, and accounts for about 65% of the lubricant market. www.epccm.ca 17
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Metallurgy Lithium compounds are used as brazing and welding fluxes and as welding rod coatings, as they reduce the flux melting temperature and surface tension of steel alloys. Lithium compounds such as lithium carbonate, chloride and fluoride, and lithium metal are used to degasify and clean a number of metals, including aluminum, copper and bronze (improving their electrical conductivity), and also less common metals such as germanium and thorium. Lithium carbonate is used in the aluminum industry, 1.5–4% kilograms of Li2CO3 per tonne of aluminum produced, during metal processing. The Figure 23: Lithium Metal; Source: Google Images lithium lowers the melting temperature of the molten electrolyte and increases the cell’s electrical conductivity, which in turn decreases processing costs, particularly energy costs. Lithium carbonate also reacts with cryolite to form lithium fluoride, which has high electrical conductivity and fluxing properties, and also reduces the consumption of anode carbons. The use of lithium in the aluminum industry has been declining, however, and is most commonly used in older plants. Lithium may also be used to produce an aluminum/lithium alloy improving the mechanical properties of aluminum. For example, it can increase stiffness up to 7% and increase strength up to 30%, while offering weight savings of about 5% relative to non-alloyed aluminum. Lithium can also be alloyed to silicon and a number of metals, including copper, silver and magnesium. Lithium Metal Lithium metal is used in the production of organic chemicals, batteries, alloys and in numerous other applications (Figure 23). For example, it is used in the synthesis of organometallic compounds in medical applications and in the production of polymers and rubbers. It is also used as breeding blanket material and heat transfer medium in nuclear fusion reactors in the nuclear power industry. As well, it is used in some lithium batteries for military and commercial applications and in metallurgy applications as a degasifier in the production of certain high-conductivity metals. Processing Lithium metal is generally produced by the electrolysis of a highly pure molten lithium chloride and potassium chloride mixture. The schematic of the electrolytic cell used to produce lithium metal is presented in Figure 24. The electrolyte (e.g., 45% LiCl/ 55% KCl) solution is usually contained in a large plain-carbon steel box positioned in a refractory-lined fire box. The cathodes are usually vertical steel shafts and the anodes are graphite shafts. Electrolysis is conducted at reported temperatures of 420–500°C, with lithium metal reduction occurring at the steel cathodes (Li+ + e- → Li0) and chlorine oxidation occurring at the graphite anodes. The metal accumulates on the surface of the cell, and is then poured into ingots and cooled at ambient temperatures. Others have devised alternative processes using direct electrolysis of lithium carbonate and spodumene, with alleged material cost processing gains compared to the conventional method. 18 www.epccm.ca Figure 24: Schematic of an Electrolytic Cell for the Production of Lithium Metal; Source: Handbook of Lithium and Natural Calcium Chloride (2004)
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Air Conditioners Lithium compounds, more specifically lithium bromide and lithium chloride, are used in air conditioners (Figure 25). Both compounds have high hygroscopic capacity (i.e., high water absorbing ability), and thus can reduce the moisture of the air and other gases to very low levels. As water is removed from the air, it cools, offering a refrigeration effect. Lithium-based solutions used in air conditioning applications exhibit low vapor pressure, low viscosity, high stability and non-toxic properties. Lithium bromide and lithium chloride can also be used as desiccants (humidity absorbing material) in dehumidification applications. Figure 25: Lithium Bromide Absorption Refrigerator and Process Schematic; Source: National Climate Data Centre (NCDC NOAA) Energy Storage Lithium is an important element in energy storage. Energy storage technologies fall under the category of non-stationary, as in the case of Li-ion batteries used in electronic devices such as iPads or hybrid vehicles, or stationary, like those used in electric grid applications. Battery Batteries are comprised of electrochemical cells with electrically conductive materials that react to produce electric energy. There are two main classes of bat- Figure 26: Lithium Batteries AAA and Coin Shaped; Source: KyloDee, Wikimedia, Uline teries: primary and secondary. In primary batteries or cells, the electrochemical reaction is usually not reversible and the battery cannot be recharged. These batteries need to be constantly replaced with new ones. Primary batteries include the round alkaline cells used in watches and calculators and non-rechargeable AAA and AA batteries (Figure 26), which are used in TV remote controls, flashlights, etc. Secondary cells or batteries are rechargeable, which means that when a charging current is supplied to the cell the electric energy is transformed into chemical energy that can be stored. The lifespan of secondary batteries is proportional to the number of discharge/charge cycles, and they may last for thousands of Figure 27: Lithium Ion Battery Inside an iPad Device; Source: AppleInsider cycles depending on their chemistry and application. Examples of secondary batteries are lithium-cobalt oxide (LCO) batteries commonly used in consumer applications, such as mobile phones, cameras, electric tools and medical equipment. Demand for secondary batteries has grown exponentially in the last decade, driven by the increasing adoption of portable data storage devices such as smartphones and tablets (Figure 27). www.epccm.ca 19
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report The current issues surrounding global warming, peak oil prices and petro-dictatorship have driven policies in many industrialized nations that support the development of low carbon and renewable energy technologies. At the centre of the discussion is the role of the automotive industry and its impact on the environment and resource preservation. Thus, there have been significant efforts to bring back the electric car (Figure 28). Electric cars were first introduced in 1900s and then again in the 1990s with no success. Currently, there are three main types of electric cars: 1) Hy- Figure 28: Location of Battery Pack in a HEV; Source: Audi brid electric vehicles (HEV) with both a conventional internal combustion engine and an electric motor, a start/stop sys- tem and a regenerating braking energy system to charge the battery; in some hybrid models the combustion engine is used to charge the electric motors that drive the vehicles; 2) Plug-in hybrids (PHEV), i.e. hybrid vehicles with a rechargeable battery charged using electricity from the grid; and 3) “pure” electric vehicles (EV) with battery-powered electric propulsion systems whose battery is charged with electricity from the grid. Electric buses, trucks and bicycles are also available. The re-emerging interest in electric cars has driven significant innovation in the battery sector, thus there are a variety of batteries available for electric cars. Toyota is the world’s largest producer of lightweight electric vehicles. Up until now, the company has used nickel-metal hydrate batteries but has started to move toward lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries because of their high density and durability. Lithium batteries are comprised of a variety of materials and chemistries (Figure 29). The most promising Li-ion batteries for automotive applications include lithium-nickel-cobaltaluminium (NCA), lithium-iron phosphate (LFP), lithium-manganese spinel (LMO) and lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC), all with lithium in the cathode and electrolyte, and lithium-titanate (LTO), which also uses lithium in the anode. Other important materials used in Li-ion batteries include nickel, cobalt, aluminium, manganese and titanium. Graphite is often used as an anode in many of Cathode Anode these metals and a ratio of lithium to graphite content 1:4 is not uncommon. NCA LiNi0.8Co0.15Al0.05O2 Graphite Battery Type LFP LMO LiFePO4 LiMn2O4 Graphite Graphite LTO LiMn2O4 Li4Ti5O12 Figure 29: Selected Battery Composition Types; Source: Argonne National Laboratory There are trade-offs with each of the different Li-ion batteries, as shown in Figure 30. Safety is the most important criterion, also relevant are the cost and lifespan (i.e., overall battery age and ability to fully charge over the years). Good performance relates to how different temperatures affect the operation and degradation rate of the battery; specific energy refers to the capacity to store energy per kilogram of weight, which is still a fraction of that of gasoline; and specific power is the power per kilogram that batteries can deliver. Given that lithium iron phosphate appears to offer the best safety, lifespan and cost balance at a reasonable performance, we believe the FLP battery may be more widely adopted. These batteries require higher amounts of lithium than the NCA and LMO-type batteries. As part of our global lithium demand forecast, we have also forecast demand for electric vehicles (see Demand section). 20 www.epccm.ca
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report In the U.S. and most industrialized nations, the emergence of electric vehicles has been driven by government policies. The number of hybrid electric vehicle models in the United States has grown despite slow sales post the 2008 recession and all major car makers now have multiple HEV models (Figure 31). We believe that as vehicle prices fall and performance improves, demand is likely to increase. In 2012, more than 360,000 HEVs were sold, a 42% increase over 2011. Figure 30: Main Lithium-ion Battery Technologies Ranking; Source: BCG Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid Toyota Prius C 400 Buick Regal Buick Lacrosse Hyundai Sonata Lexus CT 200h 350 Porsche Cayenne Mercedes S400 Mercedes ML450 Mazda Tribute 300 Honda CR‐Z Ford Lincoln MKZ BMW X6 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 Thousand HEVs 250 Chevrolet Sierra/Silverado Lexus HS 250h Mercury Milan Ford Fusion 200 Dodge Durango Chrysler Aspen Cadillac Escalade Chevy Malibu GMC Yukon 150 y Chevy Tahoe Saturn Aura Lexus LS600hL Saturn Vue 100 Nissan Altima Toyota Camry Lexus GS 450h Mercury Mariner 50 Toyota Highlander Lexus RX400h Honda Accord Ford Escape 0 1999 2000 www.afdc.energy.gov/data/ 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Honda Civic Toyota Prius Honda Insight Figure 31: Sales of HEV in the United States; Source: EERE AFDC www.epccm.ca 21
August 2013 Lithium Industry Report Stationary Energy Storage Energy storage technologies for stationary applications, such as grid energy management, are expected to be important tools for the development of future reliable and economic electricity supply. Stationary energy storage is expected to support better integration of renewable energies (e.g., solar and wind) by storing, regulating and managing the flow of energy. Electrochemical stationary energy storage systems include large Li-ion batteries (Figure 32), lead-carbon and lead-acid batteries, electrochemical capacitor batteries, sodium-based batteries and flow batteries (e.g., iron-chromium, and vanadium). Other solutions include kinetic-based energy storage systems such as compressed-air energy storage and high-speed flywheels. In addition, emerging technologies for energy storage include the metal-air batteries in which different metals can be used, including aluminium, zinc and lithium, and liquid metal batteries that use magnesium and antimony-based liquids as electrodes. Currently, the most used method to store energy is pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH), where excess generated energy is used to pump water into a reservoir at an elevated level and then released to a lower reservoir through a turbine to generate electricity during periods of high demand. However, no new PSH locations have been identified and new alternatives are desperately needed. Despite their success in mobile applications, Li-ion technologies are not yet the preferred technology in stationary applications where size and weight are not major considerations, but instead cost, charge/discharge time and battery life are more important. Currently, the best alternatives for energy management applications include advanced lead-acid batteries with carbon-enhanced electrodes, vanadium redox batteries (flow-type batteries), sodium-based batteries and emerging compressed air batteries. It should be noted, however, that the broader energy management plan, which includes the vehicle to grid (V2G) concept, involves the use of energy not only from stationary energy storage systems, but also from the batteries of electric vehicles, bringing together stationary and non-stationary energy storage sources to achieve a balanced distribution and optimal utilization of energy. Thus, as the global energy management plan advances, lithium is likely to have a critical role. Other Applications Figure 32: Li-ion Energy Storage System; Source: Saft Lithium is also an important ingredient in many organic compounds, where lithium is usually bonded to carbon atoms, forming liquids or low melting point solids. These compounds are soluble in hydrocarbon and polar organic solvents but are highly reactive with oxygen and some may ignite spontaneously when in contact with air. An important organic lithium is butyl, which is used in the production of polymers and elastomers. Some lithium organics have applications in pharmaceuticals; for instance, in the preparation of vitamin A, steroids, tranquilizers, etc. In medicine, lithium carbonate or lithium acetate has been used in the treatment of manic depression. Lithium is also used as an additive for quick-setting of ce
Presentación que realice en el Evento Nacional de Gobierno Abierto, realizado los ...
In this presentation we will describe our experience developing with a highly dyna...
Presentation to the LITA Forum 7th November 2014 Albuquerque, NM
Un recorrido por los cambios que nos generará el wearabletech en el futuro
Um paralelo entre as novidades & mercado em Wearable Computing e Tecnologias Assis...
Lithium Industry A Strategic Energy Metal. ... Lithium Metal 18 Air Conditioners 19 Energy ... Euro Pacific Canada lItHIuM globAl ReseRve lIfe ...
The Lithium Market Outlook 2017, by ... ever advancing technology markets with cleaner energy, where the need for lithium is ... Global Strategic Metals ...
LITHIUM, A STRATEGIC ELEMENT FOR ENERGY IN THE WORLD ... STRUCTURE OF THE LITHIUM INDUSTRY ... producing lithium metal.39 Another spodumene bearing ...
Lithium Industry: Outlook and ... • Lithium in energy storage/ batteries is strategic: ... Lithium: A metal with unique characteristics 13
Euro Pacificin raportissa on esitetty arvio litiumin kysynnän kasvusta ja hintakehityksestä. Raportti tarjoaa perustietoa maailman litiumvarannoista ...
Home › Our Story. ... Lithium is considered a key, strategic energy metal in the clean ... while helping to build a home-grown lithium industry.
Mining Equipment Maintenance; ... Energy Sources. Uranium; ... Home Mining Services for Industry Challenges Strategic MetalsLithium.
Rare Earth/Strategic Metals; Lithium ; ... the growing demand for energy efficient technologies. Lithium ... the performance of the lithium industry.
Provides market projections and company strategies for the Lithium industry ... Metal Bulletin Research / Global Lithium ... Industry Go to the Strategic ...