The Battery revolution has produced a new frenzy in the Australian outback!
In most of the countries cobalt is extracted as a by-product of copper and nickel, but it has recently become more valuable than nickel because of its scarcity.
Such is the anticipated demand for it in the lithium -ion battery industry that shortages are expected within a few years.
In each case, the companies argue that they offer a more secure source of raw material can be reproduced more cheaply from brine in South American, political, business
and legal risks are lower in Australia. Moreover, Mr Brinsden argues that spodumene can be processed directly into lithium hydroxide,
which is preferred by battery-makers to the lithium carbonate that comes from lithim chloride in brine.
Phil Thick, boss of Tianqi Lithium Australia, the majority-owner of Greenbushes, a lithium mine in Western Australia that is the world’s largest ,foresees no shortage of lithium itself-
especially metal that is lower grade than that mined from Greenbushes.
But he says there is a lack of processing capacity, so Tianqi, which is Chinese -owned, and its American partner, Albermarle, have plans to lift production of lithium hydroxide in Western
Australia for export to China.
As for cobalt, Clearn TeQ says that its production will have none of the ethical issues associated with the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC)
from where 60% of today’s supply comes.DRC cobalt is partly produced by “artisanal”miners that often use children with pickaxes to produce the metal.