CMI researchers at Ames National Laboratory conducted the research for this highlight
Low-temperature extraction of lithium from domestic hard-rock minerals.
Validate and optimize MELLT on laboratory scale, achieving extraction of 94 ± 3% of lithium available in domestic α-spodumene concentrate from the Carolina Tin-Spodumene Belt.
Significance and Impact
- Eliminated the high-temperature decrepitation step.
- Li2CO3 or other salts are recovered efficiently by leaching with only water or dilute acids, instead of strong acid or alkali.
- MELLT thus replaces traditional energy- and waste-intensive methods.
Hub Target Addressed
- Recover and convert critical minerals into high-value end products.
- Win industry adoption of technology for source-diversification of lithium.