the saudi arabia of lithium
This ancient Chilean lake bed, 700 miles north of San Diego, may be the driest place on Earth, a salt-filled wasteland --
Inlaid rock similar to a cow pie.
Annual rainfall in Sal (
Meaning of \"Salt Lake City\" in Spanish)
Few more than a few millimeters.
The cloudless sky is combined with the sky.
4 miles above sea level, able to fry exposed meat in a few minutes, producing punitive solar radiation.
If there is no precious salt water bubbling below 130 feet on its surface, humans will avoid Salar de Atacama.
When pumping water from the ground for the first time, the salt water looks like muddy dirt
After a spring storm, it piled up on the sidewalk in Manhattan.
But when we bake in the desert sun, the water in the salt water will slowly evaporate, leaving a yellow mineral spring bath, which is easily mistaken for olive oil.
This greasy solution produces substances that make modern life possible: lithium.
Lithium is the lightest of all metals and is the key ingredient to keep the rechargeable battery buzzing with mobile phones and laptops.
Chile is Saudi Arabia for lithium.
According to US media reportsS.
According to geological surveys, the old lake bed has 27% of the world\'s metal reserves.
Until recently, lithium was still a small commodity and was used in small quantities by glass, grease and mood makers --
But demand has soared in recent years as BlackBerry and ipod have become medium-sizedclass staples.
Between 2003 and 2007, lithium carbonate consumption in the battery industry doubled, and lithium carbonate is the most common ingredient in lithiumbased products.
Lithium ore may have just begun. Lithium-
Ion batteries are part of a plan to phase out fossil fuels in the automotive industry.
Much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt plug
Hybrid cars will debut in 2010 and will use lithium-
1 next to the ion battery. 4-
Mercedes plans to launch a hybrid version of S-
Class cars will also depend on lithium in 2009-
Ion technology producing excellent mileage.
Nissan is working with NEC on mass productionLithium production
The hybrid\'s ion batteries are expected to produce 65,000 a year by 2010.
Since the amount of lithium carbonate required by the vehicle battery is hundreds of times that of the laptop, the green battery
The auto revolution could make lithium one of the world\'s most strategic commodities.
People are eager to find and develop new sources of information, a race for mining companies to search the world\'s most remote corners from high places
The plateau desert of Chile and Bolivia goes to the wilderness of northern Tibet.
Prospec does not seem to be blocked by the possibility that the cost and complexity of lithium may shorten the heyday of lithium carsion batteries.
Instead, they prefer to focus on optimistic forecasts.
Kevin McCarthy, commodity chemicals analyst at Bank of America, believes that,
At least by 2012, annual sales of lithium carbonate had grown by double digits. Such a red short
Long-term forecasts have led investors to become interested in Chile\'s socialist market. A.
Chilean chemical fertilizer and mining company, which produces nearly the third lithium carbonate in the world, its leather
For the benefit of gadget lovers, employees of skin bravely go to Atacama.
In the past three years, the Big Board
The trading price of SQM climbed from $11 to $22.
In the first six months of 2008, SQM reported profit of $0. 191 billion, up 103% year on year and sales of $0. 787 billion, up 41%.
SQM is controlled by Julio ponse LERU, head of the Chilean investment group Papa Calichera;
He was also an ex. son-in-
Chile\'s military dictator, Pinochet, has been legal for 17 years.
But Potash Corp.
Since at least 2002, The SQM in SA province has been coveted, and now it has a 32% stake, roughly the same as the Ponce Lerou, and the maximum amount allowed by the SQM charter.
Ponse LERU controlled SQM through an agreement with Kowa, a Japanese company with a 2% stake.
But he also had to take on a huge debt to increase his stake in Papa calihella, which Standard & Poor put Papa calihella under negative credit watch in July.
The unrest could open the door for Potash, which briefly controlled Potash in 2005.
Lithium heat only explains a part of interest in potash taking over SQM.
58% of the Chilean company\'s income comes from fertilizer and 11% from lithium.
But it is clear that investors are interested in SQM\'s rapidly expanding business in the Atacama desert.
Chile also has at least a dozen untapped lithium reserves.
If GM is right, the driver is willing to pay high fees for lithium
For electric vehicles, SQM may have a windfall.
But the lithium industry is still young and even in its infancy.
China produces 23% of the world\'s lithium carbonate, but the cost of most of it is much higher than that of Chile, where China recently started extracting salt water cheaply from a Salar in Tibet.
This operation has already had an impact.
In the first quarter of 2008, when SQM\'s lithium revenue fell by 10%, the company blamed \"an increasing presence of Chinese producers \".
\"The lithium field of SQM is surrounded by white magnesium chloride, which is a salty substance that looks suitable for skiing.
These magnesium mountains,
Products near the potassium chloride plant provide an excellent vantage point from which you can see a rectangular lithium pool extending in a dull directionbrown Andes.
From the top of these piles, you can see dozens of rectangular people.
Each pond is bigger than the hockey field. The plastic-
Lined ponds lined in neat grids are filled with salt water in various evaporation states.
In the pond overflowing with the freshest salt water, it is dotted with brilliant turquoise;
Other crops that are almost ready to harvest, are yellow around the edges.
There is little need for anyone to intervene;
All the work is done by the sun.
After the salt water reached a lithium concentration of 6%, it took less than a year to pump it into the tanker and travel west for three hours to reach a factory near the coast of Chile.
There, the solution is purified and dried until the rest is lithium carbonate crystals.
These crystals are then made into the finished product that battery manufacturers dream of, a white powder similar to cocaine.
Solar energy keeps the cost of carbonate at about $1,260 per ton of lithium carbonate.
It sells that ton for up to $12,000.
The production of lithium is not always so simple and not always so cheap.
For about half a century, since the beginning of the 1950 s, the world\'s primary source of lithium was North Carolina, most of which came from a mine in King hill town.
Soft metal, H-on the Army-
The bomb plan was painstakingly extracted from the occasionally used silicate mineral lithium pyroxene. By the mid-1970s the U. S.
About 2,900 tons of lithium per year.
At about the same time, an Exxon chemist named M.
Stanley whiteham is working on a new type of rechargeable battery that emits lithium ion between the anode and the cathode.
Whittingham\'s design takes full advantage of the fact that lithium stores unusually large amounts of energy in its volume, making it ideal for portable electronics.
Although Exxon failed to commercialize the technology, probably because it could not easily eliminate the risk of fire, the engineering sector realized that lithium could be available one day.
Foote Mineral, who owns the King\'s Mountain Mine, hopes to get a leap of lithium boom by expanding into northern Chile, where the desert Brits are said to contain a lot of cheap lithium.
On 1975, foo signed an agreement with the Chilean government, administered by Pinochet, to explore Salar de Atacama.
Nine years later, foo began extracting lithium from a small portion of the lake bed. (
The Foote subsidiary working in salar is now owned by Rockwood Holdings, Princeton, New Jersey. J.
, Continue to produce lithium on this track. )
Pinochet\'s government\'s value to the desolate Sal is a new wise move, deciding to auction the rest of the mining rights in the region.
American company Amax (
Now part of free harbor. McMoran)
Won the bid but did not develop the property.
On 1992, Amax sold its rights to a former branch of the Chilean government, which was recently privatized and handed over to Pinochet\'s then son --in-
Law, Julio poncellerou.
Only a year ago, when Sony launched its first generation of lithium, the lithium boom began.
Ion batteries for consumer electronics.
By the end of 1991, Sony\'s monthly output was 100,000.
At the end of 1996, SQM began selling lithium carbonate, and in a few weeks the price of lithium carbonate fell third to $2,000 a tonne.
The American lithium industry disappeared overnight.
Sidebar: white gold prices did not fully recover until 2002 as mobile phones and laptops became a burden to millions of consumers.
Prices have been rising steadily since then, especially for so-called battery-
Grade lithium carbonate, a powder with the smallest particles and the least impurities.
Glass and Ceramic manufacturers buy relatively bulky lithium carbonate for $6,000 to $7,500 a tonne.
Demand for good things grows by 20% to 25% per year.
If the lithium battery catches up, there is no idea what will happen.
Today\'s hybrid cars have batteries in which Nickel is an effective metal.
Why would lithium replace it?
Just because it is light in weight. A lithium-
Ion batteries store two to three times as much energy per pound as nickel.
Charles ghassenheimer, chief executive of a New York company that bought Delphi company Ener1, said metal hydrogen batteries. \'s lithium-
Ion battery business(Lithium-
Ion batteries are very different from lithium batteries. lithium batteries are not rechargeable and are used for hearing aids and other items. )
The long-awaited Chevrolet Volt, a small car priced at about $40,000, will feature 400-pound lithium-
Ion battery pack for 16 KW-Energy for a few hours
It doesn\'t sound like much, but it is speculated that Volt will be able to travel 40 miles on battery power before it needs to be charged from a small gas engine.
Filled with electricity from the wall socket, the car runs 100 miles for every gallon of gas burned. (
At least if the driver\'s behavior;
Read the plug by Lisa MargonelliIn Paradox\")
Other sick automakers are focusing on pure electric vehicles.
On September, Chrysler announced that it was developing an electric Dodge capable of charging 150 miles.
Tesla Motors recently started selling $109,000
Electric sports car, which contains a battery mount 6,831 lithium-ion cells. The U. S.
The advanced battery Alliance, a research institute funded by Detroit\'s three giants, believes Lithium
The ion battery needs to maintain the energy of 40kwh before it is powered on.
Only cars can be commercialized on a large scale.
There is quite a lot of debate about how much lithium carbonate is needed per kWh
Ion battery, but 3.
1 pounds is a common estimate in line with the Argonne National Laboratory calculations.
If you use this rule of thumb,
Electric vehicles in the market will need 124 pounds lithium carbonate.
Only 102,000 tons of lithium carbonate were produced in 2007, and only about one quarter was produced for any type of battery.
SQM predicts that global production will increase to 176,000 tons by 2018, of which car production will reach 10% tons, enough to meet the needs of 284,000 electric vehicles. only vehicles.
This does not even explain the need for hybrid cars that will use lithium batteries in the future.
Freedonia Group, a market research firm, predicts that global hybrid sales will reach four.
5 million vehicles in 2013.
There is a big gap here.
William tahill, founder of Meridian International Research, a technical consulting firm based in matarinville, France, some believe that, there is not enough economically Recyclable Lithium on Earth to support the ambitious plans of the automotive industry.
Tahil estimates only 4
4 million tons of lithium resources in the world can be mined without high costs, he believes that if lithium-
Ion batteries become the main product of the next generationReplace the car.
The Tahil square meter reserve is doubtful.
The company says five have been found.
Salar de Atacama has 7 million tons of lithium and only 45% of lakes
Claims for beds have been investigated.
But not the geologists \'tahill scoffed at the assessment;
He believes that salt water under salt began to run out below 130 feet.
\"You have a mother, lode, there [the brine]
The quality is very good. every time you put the right to choose, you will come out with a piece of gold.
However, the further away from the mother\'s road, you must start to Amoy.
This requires more work.
Tahill estimates that Chileans may have exhausted half of Sarah\'s mother.
Metal suppliers and car manufacturers have strongly questioned the controversial \"peak lithium\" argument in tahill.
The Algon National Laboratory said that despite the \"great market penetration [
Electric carwith Li-
Ion batteries can disrupt the market and need to expand the import or US market. S.
Long time production
Long-term supply should not be a major issue. \"R.
Keith Evans, a geologists who has been in the lithium industry since the 1970 s, has been the strongest critic of tahill.
In a rebuttal of the published Tower Hill, Evans believes that the global lithium carbonate reserves are 0. 165 billion tons.
He also believes that if demand spikes as expected, price increases will lead to higher costs.
An effective method for extracting lithium from clay and wastewater.
\"Oh my God, it\'s just the richest element in the world,\" said Ener1\'s Gassenheimer . \".
\"We are pretty sure that lithium will not run out in the world.
\"Toyota is not so optimistic.
Toyota reportedly planned to use lithium batteries.
2009 Prius ion battery but decided to stick with nickelmetal hydride (
The company denied it had fully committed to using lithium. ion).
\"The future supply of lithium will not be able to sustain exponential growth in consumer electronics batteries and significant demand for automotive batteries,\" said Jaycie Chitwood, environmental strategy manager at Toyota\'s advanced technology group.
Toyota is also skeptical about lithium.
Long history of ion technologyterm viability. Bill N.
Reinert, national manager of Toyota Advanced Technology Group, predicted that lithium-
After about a decade, ion batteries will become fashionable, and then the automotive industry will turn to lighter, more affordable solutions ---
Maybe a fuel cell, maybe a battery chemical that has not been tested yet.
\"If people want an electric car that runs 200 miles but doesn\'t cost $100,000, that\'s not lithium, that\'s something else,\" Reinert said . \". \"Lithium-
From our point of view, ion batteries are still unavailable, \"Honda president Fukui vuff told car news on last March.
Another 2010 Honda Insight
Conventional nickel is expected for hybrid vehicles
Metal hydrogen batteries.
The desire for lithium carbonate will continue to send miners to unfriendly places.
The Cuban Women\'s Federation, the company that carried human minerals and mine lithium batteries ominously named Salar de Hombre, died in the mountainous area of northwestern Argentina.
Rincon Lithium, a subsidiary sold by Golden Bell Resources, will speed up production at nearby Salar del Rincon.
The most attractive prize on the African continent is uyunisala in the southwest corner of Bolivia.
The lake bed is said to contain more lithium than Atacama.
On September, an investment company controlled by French industrialist Vincent bollore announced plans to mine lithium in Bolivia;
Lithium will be used to produce this-
Known as BlueCar, it is an electric vehicle developed by bolllore in cooperation with Italian design company Pininfarina.
However, the salt water under Uyuni Salt is contaminated with a large amount of magnesium, and the purification cost is very high.
SQM has a license to mine 66,000 tons of lithium carbonate per year, but can always apply for permission to exceed this number.
\"Chile supports governments at all levels in countries and regions.
Christopher Ecclestone, a mining analyst at allgarten & Co. said.
\"It\'s in the blood.
\"Currently, SQM is waiting for the success of the Chevrolet Volt.
The company launched a new advertising campaign featuring the Sunshine slogan \"Lithium: driving us to the future.
\"But SQM would have preferred automakers like Toyota not to drive more than lithium directly --
Ion technology to the next green thing.