Center for Natural Resources and the Environment

Portugal

Center for Natural Resources and the Environment

Portugal
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Margarido F.,University of Lisbon | Margarido F.,Center for Innovation | Vieceli N.,University of Lisbon | Vieceli N.,Center for Innovation | And 5 more authors.
Comunicacoes Geologicas | Year: 2014

With the expected increase of lithium demand in the forthcoming years, an efficient management of all the available resources is necessary. Rock minerals like pegmatites are important primary sources of lithium that shall be valorized. Minero-metallurgical processes have been developed for lithium recovery from pegmatitic ore deposits, involving physical concentration, thermal treatment, digestion and/or leaching in order to obtain a lithium soluble species adequate to produce lithium carbonate by precipitation. Physical concentration by froth flotation or by optical sorting are the two main alternative operations to produce a Li concentrate. Metallurgical treatment starts by calcination where the silicate structure is transformed to a more reactive solid phase (β-spodumene). Afterwards digestion with sulfuric acid and water leaching allows the dissolution of lithium sulfate. Carbonate pressure leaching is an alternative technology for treating pegmatites and production of lithium carbonate. Energy and chemicals savings is crucial in order to reduce the high costs associated with metallurgical processing of Li rock minerals. © 2014, LNEG – Laboratório Nacional de Geologia e Energia IP.

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