BLUF

In 2021 Australia supplied approximately fifty per cent of the world's lithium—lithium is not scarce, but it isn't easy to extract.

Summary

Royce Kurmelovs writing for BBC Future makes the following points:
  • Greenbushes WA mine is the largest lithium mine in the world.
  • Australia mines lithium from hard rock; other countries obtain it from brine pits.
  • China refines 60% of the world's lithium and 80% of the world's lithium hydroxide.
  • The refining process is energy and chemically-intensive. 
  • The environmental impacts of lithium hard rock mining are similar to other hard rock operations such as coal.

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