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[images] S. American mountains hold key to electric car's future: =

lithium for batteries By Juan Forero Dec 17 2010
IN SUSQUES, ARGENTINA It's the lightest of all metals, skitters =

wildly on water and can unexpectedly explode. To mine it commercially =

requires an elaborate process involving drilling, evaporation tanks =

and chemical processing.
Lithium mining in Argentina
If electric cars are ever to flourish, a once-obscure metal crucial =

for the batteries in those cars, lithium, will probably be mined by =

the tens of thousands of tons in the high Andes.
But if President Obama is to fulfill his goal of putting 1 million =

electric cars on the road by 2015, a once-obscure metal crucial for =

the batteries in those cars, lithium, will probably be mined by the =

tens of thousands of tons here in the high Andes. Its boosters say
lithium will one day rival petroleum in value, and that has prompted
a race to secure mining rights across this craggy, bone-dry mountain
range where vast salt flats contain some of the world's largest =

deposits ... "We think there is enough here to last many years."
Electric cars and their gas-electric cousins are not new. Ferdinand =

Porsche's hybrid was presented at a Paris exhibition in 1900. In the =

United States, there were 50,000 electric cars plying the roads in =

1918. But big oil discoveries and Henry Ford's introduction of the =

Model T quickly established the dominance of the internal-combustion
engine. It is only now, with the United States consuming more than =

twice as much oil as it produces, that policymakers are considering
a shift that would place less emphasis on gasoline-powered vehicles
Much of the world has had its eyes on Bolivia, which President Evo =

Morales claims has infinitely more of the metal than all other =

lithium-producing countries combined. His socialist government is =

trying to lure mining companies ... to also fund a Bolivian-based
lithium-ion battery industry.

While Japanese and South Korean companies have expressed interest, =

none is producing lithium in Bolivia ... major lithium producers ...
all backed away." Instead, production is picking up in Chile, the =

world's largest producer, and in Argentina. The two countries account
for more than half of the world's lithium production.

Among the big players are New Jersey-based Rockwood Holdings and the =

Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, both of which mine salt flats in =

Chile. In Argentina, the companies include FMC of Charlotte, which =

relocated here from Bolivia, and Orocobre of Australia, which has =

agreed to provide lithium from Argentina for a major supplier to =


Exar, the Argentine affiliate of Lithium Americas, has been punching =

exploration holes in the Cauchari-Olaroz salt flats, a moonscape-like =

plateau in northern Argentina not far from the Bolivian border.
... Exar and its shareholders, among them Mitsubishi, think the salt
beds here may contain up to 8 million tons of lithium. That would give
the company control over the world's third-largest deposit. =
Canadian Lithium Developments Representing Economic Viability
By Dave Brown Dec 22 2010 =

Canada Lithium Corp said it expects to start full production at its =

Quebec Lithium Project in 2013 ... will extract the pegmatite hard rock
mineral resource containing one percent lithium, crush it and upgrade =

it through its processing plant to 99.5-to 99.9 percent pure lithium =

carbonate, the core product for the next-generation batteries ...



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