Untapped opportunities in the lithium sector


It is expected that the demand for lithium in traditional applications is set to continue its gradual increase.

Stormcrow Capital Ltd have predicted that demand for lithium in Li-ion batteries will almost triple, increasing from around 69,000 tons of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) used in 2015 to around 200,000 tons LCE by 2025; effectively increasing from 38% to 49% of the total market (IM, 2016). To ensure these increasingly high demands are met, lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology presents its manufacturers a number of challenges. One method with great potential for tackling these challenges is sensor-based sorting, helping producers to increase productivity, reduce costs, environmental impact and meet the market demand.

Manufacturers of spodumene concentrate for lithium chemicals, as well as for glass and ceramic manufacturers can benefit from OUTOTEC TOMRA’s sorting solutions. Offering increased levels of production with limited capital expenditure, TOMRA’s state-of-the-art technology ensures that waste particles and altered spodumene can be reliably detected and rejected prior to milling and flotation.

The possibilities brought about by this technology are displayed clearly in the case of a Canadian spodumene manufacturer. They were able to recover more than 96% of spodumene from 60% mass pull to concentrate in the fraction 20-40mm; recover 94% of spodumene from 60% mass pull to concentrate in the fraction 12-20mm; and recover 95% of spodumene from 65% mass pull to concentrate in the fraction 8-12mm. In short, this means a 26% higher spodumene grade can be fed into the mill, resulting in increased levels of total process recovery as well as overall productivity.

To discuss your needs and the possible OUTOTEC TOMRA’s sorting solution, please contact the OUTOTEC TOMRA team on: sorting.solutions@outotec.com.