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  • Lithium Oxide
  • Mines Producing Lithium Oxide

Also Known As : Dilithium-monoxide

Lithium Oxide is also known as dilithium monoxide. It is created when lithium is burned to air where it combines with oxygen. When this is carried out lithium nitride is also formed. Lithium oxide can also be made by heating lithium peroxide. It is a chemical that makes lithium salts as a result of its reaction with acids. Lithium oxide also reacts with carbon dioxide where it forms lithium carbonate that is far less corrosive and creates a red flame. It is also quite toxic owing to its strong alkalinity.

Lithium oxide use is continually expanding as is being discovered in scientific research. It can be used in the following applications:

- As a flux in glazing ceramic products that creates blue when mixed with copper and pink with cobalt. It is also added as a co-dopant in a zirconia top coat in ceramic finishing
- Non-rechargeable lithium batteries have already been used in watches, electronic games, computers, cameras and calculators
- A possible new use on the horizon could be lithium oxide replacing lithium cobalt oxide in lithium ion batteries, particularly rechargeable batteries. This use of lithium compounds has the largest growth potential as it involves batteries belonging to mobile phones, tablets, portable computers, MP3 players and cordless tools. Motor vehicle companies are looking at developing lithium batteries for battery-powered vehicles

Australia is one of the world largest producers of lithium with mines operated by the following companies in Western Australia:

- Talison Lithium at Greenbushes
- Altura Mining Limited at Pilgangoora
- Galaxy Resources Mount Cattlin mine at Ravensthorpe (currently on care and maintenance)
- Reed Resources at Mount Marion
The latest lithium mine to be developed in Australia is Altura's world class project at Pilgangoora in Western Australia. This is being claimed to be one of the largest hard rock lithium deposits to be discovered anywhere in the world and it is due to begin production in 2013.

The Pilgangoora project is located 1,250 kilometres north east of Perth and 120 kilometres south of Port Hedland. This project has road linkage to the port at Geraldton where it is planning to export lithium concentrate.

The lithium deposit at Pilgangoora has a JORC Resource estimate of 25.16 million tonnes grading at 1.23 percent lithium that is expected to produce 310,000 tonnes of contained lithium oxide. It is an important discovery in that there are only a limited number of known lithium deposits in the world that can be mined economically. The shallow Pilgangoora deposit is expected to deliver high yields and low strip ratio's.

World demand for lithium is currently growing at 10 percent a year and as this new find is the fourth largest known deposit in the world it is expected that Altura could become one of the worlds largest low cost lithium producers.
Western Australia is known throughout the world as a reliable producer of high grade lithium because of the long running Greenbushes mine near Bunbury that is expected to be acquired from Talison by specialist US company Rockwood Holdings in the near future.

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