What is Lithium?

What Is Lithium?

Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. It is represented by the symbol Li, and it has the atomic number 3. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. It is a member of the “alkali metal” elements along with sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium and francium. Like all alkali metals, Lithium is highly reactive and flammable. Because of its high reactivity, Lithium does not appear in nature as an element, it only appears naturally in the form of compounds.

While Lithium is one of the most prevalent elements on earth, there are few concentrated sources that can provide economically viable production. Meanwhile, demand for Lithium is increasing, leading to a probable competition by customers over the next decade for adequate supply. In addition, the geopolitics of governments controlling exports of this important material will lead customer nations (Europe, United States, Japan, Korea) to seeking sources within their own country and/or control.

Lithium’s primary value has evolved with industrial processes. Today, there are two primary uses for Lithium, first as a catalyst in the production of metals and ceramics, and second as a primary material in Lithium Ion batteries for small electronic devices. Lithium Ion batteries are being installed in some new electric-powered vehicles and it is expected that demand from this use will drive total demand well beyond current and near-term production levels.

Lithium is derived from two generic sources, rock from mines and evaporates from specific “dry” lakes. Batteries require 99.9+% purity of Lithium, which is more difficult to produce from rock sources. Therefore, rock tends to be used to supply the ceramic and metal markets, with evaporates being the primary source of Lithium for battery production.

Lithium brine deposits are recognized world wide as the most economic and productive means of producing lithium.

Adjacent to Clayton Valley; half-way between Reno and Las Vegas.

  • Clayton Valley Lithium deposit may exceed 700 million kg. (Source; Price /Lechler Report )
  • Significant infrastructure: close to road, rail and power, mining towns
  • Adjacent to America’ s only producing lithium mine Rockwood Lithium
  • Surrounding lithium bearing rhyolites richest in the world (USGS)
  • New proven lithium processing technology to be applied