|Title:||China share of lithium hydroxide consumption by industrial segment in percentages as reported October 21, 2011|
|Source:||China Chemical Reporter|
Start of full article - but without data
Consumption of lithium hydroxide in various areas in China
Organic synthesis XX%
Regents and others XX%
Lubricating grease XX%
Note: Table made from pie chart.
Lithium (Li) is the lightest metallic element in nature and has many applications in lithiumion batteries, aerospace, nuclear fusion power generation and other areas. In recent years, lithium has increasingly attracted the world's attention due to its prominent strategic significance. Now, China's lithium industry is developing rapidly.
X. Characteristics of lithium resources in China
In nature, lithium mainly exists in spodumene, lepidolite and brine. China is rich in lithium resources. Its proven lithium reserve is about XXX XXX tons (pure lithium), accounting for XX% of the world total. China's lithium resources mainly have the following characteristics:
(X) Deposits of lithium-bearing minerals and brine are very concentrated geographically. In China, spodumene is mainly distributed in Xinjiang region's Keketuohai and Altai areas and Sichuan province's Kangding area; lepidolite is mainly distributed in Jiangxi province's Yichun area; and brine lithium resources are mainly distributed in salt lakes in Qinghai province and Tibet, especially in salt lakes in Qaidam Basin in Qinghai.
(X) Brine lithium resources have a pre dominant position in industry. Worldwide, brine lithium resources account for about one third of the total lithium resources in nature. But in China, this proportion reaches as high as XX%, so brine lithium resources are an important source of the country's lithium resources.
(X) There are many other associated elements in the brine. Although there is a wealth of lithium itself in the brine, a number of other associated elements are also in the brine, such as boron, potassium, magnesium and sodium. Especially, the presence of magnesium can increase the difficulty of extracting lithium from the brine.
[FIGURE X OMITTED]
X. Framework of the lithium in dustry
After lithium resources are exploited, they will undergo a series of processing steps and be turned into lithium products, which can be divided into primary products and deep-processed products. Common primary lithium products include lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, and lithium chloride; and common deep-processed products include lithium metal, lithium alloys, lithium bromide, lithium fluoride, high-purity lithium carbonate, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium manganese oxide, lithium sulfate, etc. And major consumer areas of the lithium products include lithiumion batteries, metal smelting, aerospace, glass, ceramics, pharmaceuticals and lubrication for cooling equipment. The exploitation of lithium resources, the processing of the lithium resources into primary products and deep-processed products, as well as the consumers areas, together constitute the basic framework of the lithium industry.
X. Exploitation of lithium re sources
In nature, lithium mainly exists in lithium-bearing ores and brine. Therefore, there are two ways to exploit lithium resources: extraction from lithium ores and extraction from brine.
(X) Extracting lithium from lithium ores. Lithium ores are first treated with sulfuric acid or sintered with sulfate salt or lime. The resultant is then dissolved in water and filtered to remove the residue. The filtered solution is then turned into the required products by adding precipitating agents into the solution. Take spodumene for example. After spodumene ore is mined, it is first turned into lithium concentrate through milling and flotation. The lithium concentrate then reacts with sulfuric acid at XXX [degrees] C to form lithium sulfate, which is then dissolved in water and filtered. Sodium bicarbonate is added into the filtered solution to form insoluble lithium carbonate. After filtration, primary product lithium carbonate can be obtained.
(X) Common techniques to extract lithium from brine include precipitation, calcination extraction, solvent extraction, ion exchange (adsorption) and salting-out. Among these, precipitation and calcination extraction have been industrialized, and solvent extraction and ion exchange methods are still in the research stage.
As brine lithium resources are more abundant and have a lower exploitation cost than lithium ores, extracting lithium from brine has become a trend for the exploitation of lithium resources. In general, the magnesium vs. lithium ratio (Mg/Li ratio) in the brine determines the feasibility of producing lithium salts from any particular brine source as well as the production costs and economic benefits of the lithium salts. In other countries, more than XX% of lithium produced is sourced from brine. But in China, due to the high Mg/Li ratio in domestic brines, no very effective extraction technology has been developed yet. Therefore, lithium ores are still an important source to get lithium products.
X. Primary lithium products
After lithium resources are exploited, they can be processed into lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, lithium chloride and other primary products, which can be further processed into lithium metal, lithium fluoride, lithium cobalt oxide, lithium grease and other deep-processed products.
(X) Lithium carbonate
Lithium carbonate is the most important basic product of the lithium industry. Common lithium carbonate is obtained by the simple processing of natural lithium resources. With deep-processing, it can be turned into lithium fluoride, lithium metal, lithium chloride, lithium bromide and high purity lithium carbonate and plays an important role in batteries, nuclear reactors, aerospace and other areas. With the recent rapid growth in the demand for lithium carbonate, especially with the fast development of electric vehicles, China's lithium carbonate output in the past three years has constantly increased. It was about XX XXX tons in 2007, about XX XXX tons in 2008 and about XX XXX tons in 2009. In 2010, it was about XX XXX tons, accounting for about XX% of the global total. Major lithium carbonate producers in China in 2010 are listed in table X.
(X) Lithium hydroxide
Lithium hydroxide is also an important primary lithium product, mainly used for the production of lithium-based grease, electrolyte fluid for alkaline batteries and lithium bromide absorption liquid for chillers. Lithium hydroxide can be produced directly from lithium ores or brine. In addition, it can also be made from lithium carbonate and lithium sulfate. In 2010, the output of lithium hydroxide in China was about XX XXX tons. The consumption of lithium hydroxide in various areas in China is shown in Figure X.
(X) Lithium chloride
Lithium chloride is an important primary lithium product. It is the main raw material for the production of lithium metal. In fact, producing lithium metal by electrolyzing molten lithium chloride is currently the only way for industrial-scale production of lithium metal. In addition to applications in the alloy smelting industry, lithium chloride has also been widely used in biology, medicine and other fields in recent years. In medicine, it is used in the treatment of diabetes and in genetic research. In biology, it is used for the separation and extraction of RNA and a small amount of plasmid DNA. In food (beer), pharmaceutical and environmental protection industries, it is used as a mutagen for breeding high-quality bacteria and developing high-yield strains, and as a synthetic pharmaceutical intermediate.
Manufacturer Capacity Output Raw Remarks (t/a) (tons) material Sichuan XXXX t/a XXXX Spodumene Plan to expand Tianqi battery lithium Lithium grade carbonate Industries Co lithium capacity to XX Ltd carbonate, XXX t/a XXXX t/a industrial grade lithium carbonate, XXXX t/a lithium chloride, XXXX t/a lithium hydroxide and XXX t/a high purity lithium carbonate Qinghai CITIC XX XXX XXXX Brine from Plan to expand Guoan the Jinair lithium Technology Salt Lake carbonate Development in Xitai, capacity to XX Co Ltd Qinghai XXX t/a province Tibet Mineral XXXX XXXX Brine from After the Development Zabuye Salt first-phase Co Ltd Lake in Zabuye Salt Tibet Lake technical transformation project is completed, the company's lithium carbonate capacity will increase from X XXX t/a to X XXX t/a. Xinjiang XXXX XXXX Spodumene Formerly the ...