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What is the News?
Recently, High-grade Lithium has been discovered in Nigeria.
What is Lithium?
What is High-Grade Lithium?
The Geological Agency described lithium as high grade because it is found with 1-13% oxide content. Normally exploration begins at levels as low as 0.4%.
Note: Grade (in %) is a measure of the concentration of lithium in the minerals and or rocks that contain it. Therefore, the higher the grade the more the economic viability. Higher grades are very rare for metals like lithium.
Largest Lithium Mine: Greenbushes mine in Western Australia is the largest hard-rock Lithium mine in the world.
Largest Importers of Lithium: The largest importers of lithium are South Korea, China, Japan, US and Belgium.
What are the uses of Lithium?
Rechargeable Batteries: Lithium is used in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. The different types of batteries are:
– Lithium-cobalt oxide battery: It is used in consumer electronics and is being applied in electric vehicles. It is relatively cheap.
– Lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt: It is a newer, higher-performing range of battery chemistry. It is mainly developed for the electronic vehicle market but is finding a wider use because of its increasing cost-effectiveness.
– Lithium iron phosphate: It is the safest technology with relatively high performance but is relatively expensive. It is very popular in China.
– Lithium-nickel-cobalt-aluminium oxide: It is developed to reduce cobalt consumption and is known as a solid performer and of reasonable cost. It is also becoming popular outside China.
Alloy making: Lithium metal is made into alloys with aluminium and magnesium, improving their strength and making them lighter. A magnesium-lithium alloy is used for armour plating. Aluminium-lithium alloys are used in aircraft, bicycle frames and high-speed trains.
Other uses: Lithium oxide is used in special glasses and glass ceramics. Lithium chloride is also one of the most hygroscopic materials known, and is used in air conditioning and industrial drying systems (as is lithium bromide).
Source: The post is based on the article “Nigeria’s latest lithium find: some key questions answered” published in Down To Earth on 27th June 2022