Global VS Chinese Lithium mine resources

Lithium mine (Li) is the lightest metal in nature and an important energy metal. Its application in high-energy lithium batteries and controlled thermonuclear reactions makes Lithium mine an important raw material for the long-term energy supply for human beings.

Under the joint promotion of many factors such as political considerations, environmental factors, and economic incentives, Lithium ore resources have become the focus and hotspot of the international mining market, and the status of lithium as a strategic resource has gradually become prominent. Due to its application in the field of new energy in recent years, it is known as “the energy metal of the 21st century”.

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Chinese Lithium mine resources

There are not many countries in the world rich in Lithium mine resources, and China is the only one in Asia. With the transformation of China’s economic industry and the rapid development of high-tech industries, China’s demand for Lithium mineral resources is increasing rapidly year by year.

Characteristics of Lithium mine resources in China

China is rich in Lithium mineral resources, with many deposits and a large scale. It is one of China’s advantageous minerals.

Sorting map of various provinces for lithium metal resources and reserves identified by lithium mines:

Global VS Chinese Lithium Mine

The spatial distribution of Lithium mine deposits tends to be regionally concentrated, and the reserves are concentrated in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The proven Lithium mineral deposits are distributed in nine provinces (autonomous regions) in China, mainly concentrated in four provinces (autonomous regions) including Qinghai, Tibet, Sichuan, and Jiangxi. 96% of. It is also produced in 5 provinces (autonomous regions) including Hunan, Xinjiang, Henan, Fujian, and Shaanxi.

Types of Lithium mine deposits in China

The main deposit types include hard rock lithium (granite type, pegmatite type) and brine lithium (salt lake brine type), and 12 deposit models.

Classification scheme of lithium mine types in China:

SignificanceDeposit TypeDeposit TypeTypical DepositMain Distribution Area
ImportantSalt lake brine type lithium oreQaidam sulfate type salt lake lithium ore Zabye type carbonate salt lake lithium ore Huatugou type chloride type oilfield lithium oreTaijiner,Qinghai Province  Zabye   Huatugou Qaidam Basin   Qinghai-Tibet Plateau  Qaidam Basin 
Importanthard inflammatory lithium oreYichun granite type lepidolite deposit Methyl cartesian pegmatite-type spodumene ore Koktokay granite-pegmatitic spodumene ore Xiangyuan type dolomite type lithium oreYichun,Jiangxi Province 414  Methyl Sichuan ProvinceCorin Altay,Xinjiang Province  Zhengchong County,Hunan ProvinceSouthern part of China  Songpan-ganzi orogenic belt  Aitay orogenic belt  Southern part of China

Lithium brine

Lithium brine deposits are mainly surface brine and intercrystalline brine in salt lakes, which occur in strata from the Upper Pleistocene to the Holocene. Large-scale brine mines are mainly distributed in the salt lakes in northwest Tibet and the Qaidam Basin salt lakes in Qinghai (Yiliping, East and West Taijinel Lakes, and Gasikule Lake at the west end)

Hard Rock Lithium field

Hard rock lithium deposits mainly occur in granite pegmatite and granite deposits. Ore lithium minerals mainly include spodumene, lepidolite, lithium feldspar, Lithite, and iron lepidolite. Mainly distributed in western Sichuan, northern Xinjiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, and other places. The main metallogenic belts are the western Sichuan pegmatite-type metallogenic belt, the southern margin of the Altai Mountains, etc.

Lithium mineral reserves in China

  • Lithium brine: Qinghai 、Xizang  and Hubei  three provinces’reserves account for 99% of China. Ascertaining resource reserves(LiCl)23.634 million tons.
  • Hard rock lithium: Sichuan、Jiangxi and Hunan three provinces’reserves account for 86.3% of China. Ascertaining resource reserves(Li2O)3.126 million tons.

Potential Analysis of Lithium mine Ore Resources in China

According to the evaluation of the national Lithium mineral resource potential, using the comprehensive information prediction method of the deposit model, the prediction results will divide the country into a total of 47 key exploration areas for lithium ore, including 32 for brine lithium and 15 for hard rock lithium.

According to the prediction results, the following six Lithium mines ore prospecting areas are proposed:

  • Key Exploration Area of Qaidam Basin,Qinghai Province
  • Key Exploration Area of Salt Lake in Northwest Tibet
  • Sichuan Jiajika Key Exploration Area and Keryin Key Exploration Area
  • Key Exploration Area of Dagang Mountain,Yichun,Jiangxi Province
  • Key Exploration Area of Hefeng Geyuan

Global Lithium mineral Resources

Types of Lithium mine Mineral Resources

According to statistics from the U.S. Geological Survey, the world’s identified Lithium mineral resources are 40.515 million tons, and reserves are 23.407 million tons. Mainly divided into two categories:

Solid lithium ore, accounting for 21.6% of the reserves, is produced in spodumene, , lithium feldspar and lepidolite, etc;

Salt lake brine-type lithium deposits account for 78.3% of the reserves and are produced in lithium-rich sedimentary strata. The main lithium-donating mineral is montmorillonite.

Distribution characteristics

The distribution area of lithium mines is highly concentrated. In terms of reserves, nearly 70% of the world’s reserves are distributed in the “Lithium Triangle” region of South America, including Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. Among them, Chile’s lithium reserves rank first in the world, accounting for the world’s total. Nearly 1/3 of the reserves, followed by Bolivia, accounting for 24% of the total reserves, and Argentina’s lithium reserves accounted for 11%, ranking fourth in the world. China’s lithium reserves are abundant, ranking third in the world, reaching 3.5 million tons, of which 78.6% exist in salt lakes.

In terms of resources, 59% of the world’s resources are concentrated in the “lithium triangle” countries, and the lithium resources of China and the United States account for 13.3% and 13.5% of the world’s total respectively. Comparing the two sets of data on reserves and resources, Bolivia, Argentina, the United States, and China have great development potential for lithium mines.

Global Lithium Reserves:

CountryReserves/kilotonCountryReserves/kilotonCountryReserves/kiloton
America38Chile7500Portugal60
Argentina2000China3200Zimbabwe23
Australia1600Brazil48Global total14000

Lithium mines in major countries

  • Chile: Chile is the country with the largest lithium reserves in the world, and lithium resources are mainly concentrated in the northern Atacama Salt Lake.
  • Argentina: Argentina is a country rich in salt lake lithium resources in the world, and lithium resources are mainly distributed in the salt lake area of ​​the Puna Plateau in the northwest.
  • Bolivia: There are many lithium-rich salt lakes in Bolivia, and Uyuni Salt Lake, the world’s largest salt lake lithium deposit, is a sulfuric acid salt lake with a relatively high magnesium-lithium ratio, an average lithium content of 0.05%, and lithium resources as high as 10.2 million tons.
  • Australia: Australia has the largest reserves and the best quality pegmatite lithium deposits in the world, and the ore type is mainly spodumene.

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Potential Analysis of Global Lithium Mine Resources

According to the forecast of the US Geological Survey, the potential global lithium mines resources are 35.9 million tons, and more than 60% of the lithium resources remain to be explored and developed. According to the current production level, the global lithium reserves can continue to be developed for 484 years.

According to the geological analogy method, combined with the understanding of overseas geological and mineral surveys, and considering the degree of exploration and development of existing mineral resources, a total of 9 Lithium Mine resource potential areas have been delineated on a global scale (except China).

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