RECOVERY OF LITHIUM-RICH MICAS FROM MINERAL WASTE

World Mining Congress
Lithium is a strategically important metal for Europe. This is due to the limited availability of primary deposits of sufficient grade for economic processing. Lithium is a finite resource, thus if processes are not investigated to recover the metal from secondary sources, problems with its availability and price may soon limit the development of its current applications. Current applications include using lithium for technology driven devices such as: lithium ion batteries. This interest has promulgated research to investigate the development of secondary sources of lithium to secure reserves. In one of Europe’s mineral processing industries, during the early stages of their main process a lithium bearing waste product is also formed. After experiments were carried out on these waste samples, significant amounts of the mineral lepidolite were found. Lepidolite is lithium bearing mineral, thus current research is investigating recovery of this mineral on a commercial scale. Currently this waste product is stockpiled on valuable land, until now there has been no application for this waste product hence it is using up valuable land space. Recycling plays a vital role in environmental sustainability and development. By processing this waste product in order to recover lithium, we are not only reducing the rate at which lithium ores are currently being utilized but also helping to sustain the environment. This paper investigates different techniques in order to recycle lepidolite hence extracting lithium via a commercially viable process, thus making lithium a sustainable source for future generations.
Keywords: Lithium; minerals; mineral; minerals; Recovery; Wastes; Waste; Concentrates; Concentrate; Particle size;
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