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How to Extract Lithium from Rocks

2023-04-19 Xinhai (278)

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Lithium is primarily extracted from two types of minerals: spodumene and lithium-rich clays. The extraction process varies depending on the source material.

Extraction from Spodumene Ore:

Crushing and Grinding: The ore is crushed and ground to reduce its size.

Roasting: The spodumene concentrate is roasted in a furnace to convert the lithium-bearing minerals to lithium carbonate.

Leaching: The roasted concentrate is mixed with water and then subjected to acid leaching, which dissolves the lithium carbonate.

Purification: The lithium carbonate solution is purified using a series of chemical and physical processes, including filtration, precipitation, and ion exchange.

Conversion: The purified lithium carbonate is converted to lithium hydroxide or other lithium compounds depending on the final product requirements.

Extraction from Lithium-rich Clays:

Acid Leaching: The lithium-rich clays are crushed and mixed with sulfuric acid to produce a slurry. The slurry is then heated to produce a solid mixture of lithium sulfate and other impurities.

Purification: The solid mixture is dissolved in water, and impurities are removed through filtration, ion exchange, and precipitation.

Conversion: The purified lithium sulfate is converted to lithium carbonate or other lithium compounds depending on the final product requirements.

Overall, the extraction of lithium from rocks involves several complex and energy-intensive processes. The exact process used depends on the specific properties of the ore and the desired end product.