How Australia became the world’s greatest lithium supplier

There are three proposals for new lithium refineries for development around Australia. These plants will bring their own environmental challenges. Roasting spodumene cocaine to create the concentrate requires large amounts of energy and large amounts of sulfuric acid. In the end, It will also require disposal of waste, a process that must be monitored to prevent contamination.

It’s still early days for Australia’s lithium mining industry, but Maggie Wood, executive director of the Conversation Council of Western Australia, a not-for-profit organization representing more than 100 environmental groups across Western Australia, said it was watching the industry closely. .

On the other hand, We know we need to decarbonize as quickly as possible, and important minerals like lithium and other landfills are part of that path, Wood says. “But we also know that mining is damaging to the environment.

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for example, Environmentalists have raised concerns that sediment from the Finniss Lithium Project mine will pollute nearby streams. BBC Future Planet contacted Core Lithium, owner of the Finniss Lithium project, but did not receive a reply.

Kirsty Howey, associate director of the territory’s Northern Territory Environment Centre, said she was concerned the environmental damage would increase as more mines opened an hour’s drive between Darwin and the famous Litchfield National Park. Capital city.

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“There are lithium rooms all along that road,” Howey said. “You have vast swathes of this land that are pretty tame by global standards, and now they’re subjugated. [permits for future lithium mining].

“It’s a tropical ecosystem, so there’s an increased risk of cyclones, you’ve got heavy rains, and rain is the enemy of mining. Then the minerals run into the waterways and erode.

“Fossil fuel development needs to be stopped, but mining scrutiny is also needed.”

BBC Future Planet contacted the Minerals Council of Australia for comment on concerns about the impact of lithium mining but did not receive a response.

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Some Australian political leaders have argued that getting minerals for carbon dioxide is a priority. In early October, When the Finniss Lithium project broke ground 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Darwin. The Northern Territory’s Minister of Mines and Industries, Nicole Manison, was on site. Speaking to the media, she said: “This transition needs to be realistic: there are things you absolutely have to mine to decarbonize and tackle climate change, and a lot of that stuff is available in the Northern Territory.”

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