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mining |  Four projects around the world

mining | Four projects around the world

Around the world, lithium mines are emerging to meet the needs of the transition to electric cars. If Australia accumulates immense mineral reserves, other continents will not leave America, Africa and Asia.

Greenbushs Mine (Australia)

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Australia supplied half of the world’s lithium in 2021. The Greenbushes mine alone produced one in five batteries that year. The operator, Talison Lithium, has received approval to double the size of the mine located in Western Australia. With reserves of 70 million tonnes, the Greenbush mine is poised to meet global demand for lithium, mostly for powering cars with electric motors. Demand for lithium will increase 40-fold by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Atacama Salar Mine (Chile)

Photo by Ivan Alvarado, Reuters Archives

The Salar de Atacama mine is located in the desert of northern Chile.

Chile’s subsoil has the largest lithium reserves, accounting for 40% of the world’s. This South American country has 9.2 million metric tons of metal needed to make electric car batteries. The Albemarle Corporation has big ambitions to mine the Salar d’Atacama, for which it has acquired exploitation rights until 2043. The mining company aims to secure groundwater in the Atacama Desert by 2028 with its Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology. Arid regions of the world. A water desalination plant may be constructed to supply the mine.

Jiajica Mine (China)

The Jiajiga mine is Asia’s largest spodumene deposit from which lithium is extracted. The site represents about half of China’s reserves. The open-pit mine is operated in Sichuan province by Chinese company Gansiso Rongda Lithium. The mine, which was shut down for five years for polluting rivers, resumed operations in 2019, with operations expected to last for 29 years. Annual production can reach 1 million tons of spodumene, while China’s lithium consumption surpasses all that supplied by Australia.

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Catamarca Mine (Argentina)

Photo courtesy of Livent

Livent is expanding its mine in Catamarca, Argentina.

Argentina uses relatively little of its lithium-rich soil. But things keep changing. According to a report by the Chilean Copper Commission (Cochilco), the country will overtake Chile by 2030. One promising project is led by US miner Livent, which is preparing to merge with Alchem ​​to become the world’s third-largest lithium operator. The company will invest US$1.1 billion to triple its operations at its Catamarca mine, which will increase from 20,000 to 60,000 tonnes by the end of 2025.