LITHIUM ON THE MOVE
Australia produces 50% of the world’s mined lithium. With lithium prices having
increased four-fold in the past year, the project outlook is encouraging for
Australian companies, at home and overseas.
Australia, early construction is underway at two major lithium projects:
Mt Holland in Western Australia and Finnis near Darwin in the Northern
addition, Pilbara Minerals is expanding capacity at its Pilgangoora lithium
mine in Western Australia
Africa, Australian company, AVZ Minerals, expects to commence construction
in mid-2022 at its Manono lithium project in the Democratic Republic
of Congo, “the largest and highest grade undeveloped hard-rock lithium
project in the world” in the view of the company.
Africa, Australian company, Firefinch, expects to commence construction in
mid-2022 at its Goulamina lithium project in Mali.
America, Australian company, Orocobre, is a major player in lithium
in South America, with its operating Olaroz mine in Argentina and
plans for further developments in the region.
production is based on hard-rock mining in Australia and many other countries
(in Chile, Argentina and China, it is based mainly on the extraction of brines at high
mining and initial processing lead to a concentrate, which is typically sent
overseas for refining into higher-grade products (e.g lithium hydroxide,
suitable for lithium-ion batteries).
dominated by China, the two leading companies being Ganfeng Lithium
and Tianqi Lithium.
is beginning to play a role in this field. A refinery in Perth, involving
Tianqi Lithium and the US company, Albermerle, was commissioned in August
Holland project includes a similar refinery in Perth, with construction to
commence in early 2022.
Australian lithium companies are looking at ways of processing concentrates
into high-grade lithium products.
At the same
time, Chinese companies are likely to continue playing an important part in
Australian lithium mining and refining, both as investors and offtake partners.
Greenbushes, Western Australia - the world's largest lithium mine