Use of innovative techniques to ensure Lithium brine supply for the low-cost battery market

Abstract

"The aim of this feasibility study is to develop a series of tools enshrined in a workflow that enables the identification of how Lithium (Li) brines can be properly exploited for the low-cost battery market. Using remotely sensed data to support basin-scale geological understanding, hydrology and salar characterisation this will enable hydrogeological conceptual models to be created and then developed into numerical models. Thus, enabling an optimised wellfield development to abstract Li-rich brines. This workflow will be general for any salar, but will be developed in Uyuni, Bolivia (largest deposit of Li brines in the world). The workflow and tools within it will provide the basis for repeating this anywhere in the world where liquid brines exist and include those elements required for low-cost battery manufacture.

The Earth's crust has a relatively high quantity of Lithium, being the 27th most abundant element on earth. Lithium is found in nature in a number of mineral forms and compounds with different lithium metal content. Although South America has the world's largest lithium sources mainly in the Lithium Triangle (Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and the recent incorporation of Peru), Australia, US, and China are also major producers. The last big player of the Latin American Lithium Triangle is Bolivia. It is estimated to possess around 50-70% of the world's Lithium resources (largely unexplored, so this figure is speculative) but does not yet produce any significant volumes of Lithium. The outcomes of this project will help Bolivia to speed up this process supporting the economic development of the country but maintaining a responsible and sustainable growth of lithium extraction."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

British Geological Survey (NERC), Nottingham £149,962 £ 149,962
 

Participant

Satellite Applications Catapult Services Limited £149,987 £ 104,991

Publications

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