Australia’s Spodumene: Advances in Lithium Extraction Technologies, Decarbonization, and Circular Economy

Abdul Hannan Asif, Chao Li, Hazel Lim, Hongqi Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Among all of the lithium-bearing minerals, spodumene possesses the highest theoretical lithium abundance. Since the 1990s, Australia, with the world’s largest spodumene (LiAl(SiO3)2) reserves, has been producing lithium as a mineral concentrate rather than a refined product. Nevertheless, the country is now moving forward to fortify its processing facilities, aligning with the vision for greener energy. This review provides a comprehensive outlook on the current status of spodumene reserves and their processing facilities along with potential expansion in the future. Spodumene processing requires several metallurgical processes ranging from salt roasting to acid leaching. However, the conventional industrial practices for Li-extraction from ores result in excessive pressure on resources, energy, and waste management. Considering these factors as an indicator of a circular economy, the process of lithium extraction should be simplified. In such a context, different practices for Li-extraction from spodumene are exemplified by recent technological advancements. Afterward, strategies for decarbonization, waste management, and environmental aspects were provided, with a perspective of circular economy. This review is expected to serve as a reference for research and development for potential industrial applications in ore processing especially for spodumene. © 2024 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2073-2086
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial & Engineering Chemistry Research
Volume63
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2024

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