The Saudi Arabia of lithium

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by omegapoint, Aug 16, 2009.



    "Down there is a great reserve of brine, and contained in the salty liquid, the largest deposits in the world of the lightest metal, lithium."

    "It is estimated that the United States has approximately 760,000 tons of lithium. The resources in the rest of the world are estimated to be 12 million tons. The United States is the world’s leading consumer of lithium and lithium compounds. The leading producers and exporters of lithium ore materials are Chile and Argentina. China and Russia have lithium ore resources, but it is presently cheaper for these countries to import this material from Chile than to mine their own."

    "In 1855, larger quantities of the metal were produced through electrolysis of lithium chloride by Robert Bunsen and Augustus Matthiessen. The discovery of this procedure eventually led to commercial production of lithium metal, begun in 1923 by the German company Metallgesellschaft AG through the electrolysis of a liquid mixture of lithium chloride and potassium chloride."
  2. Lithium can be recycled fairly easily and is not the limiting factor in battery production. Oil on the other hand can't be easily recycled because it is usually burnt and turned into greenhouse gases which are hard to recapture.

    The analogy therefore is flawed because the world would not be as dependent on any one lithium ore producer as it is now dependent on a few oil producers in the middle east.