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Recovery of Lithium From a Montmorillonite-Type Clay
  • Published Date:
    1/1/1985
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Recovery of Lithium From a Montmorillonite-Type Clay
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  • Description:
    The Bureau of Mines investigated a roast-leach process for recovering a marketable lithium product from a montmorillonite-type clay deposit located on the Nevada-Oregon border. The clay sample treated in the investigation contained 0.6 wt pct Li. The lithium recovery process consisted of several unit operations. The lithium silicate compounds in the clay were converted to Li2SO4 by roasting a pelletized mixture of clay, limestone, and gypsum at 900° C in a direct-gas-fired rotary roaster. Water--leaching the calcine at 40 pct solids extracted the Li2SO4. Lithium recovery from the leach solution involved concentrating the solution by evaporation, adding Na2CO3 to the concentrated solution to precipitate Li2CO3 , and filtering the slurry to obtain the product. The product filtrate was recycled to the evaporator following a crystallization step. About 80 pct of the lithium in the clay was recovered as 99-pct-pure Li2CO3. Process operating costs were estimated at $2.12/lb Li2CO3 produced; the current Li2CO3 selling price is $1.48/lb. Raw materials. accounted for 30 pct of the total operating cost.

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