Spodumene is a white to greyish mineral - chemically a lithium aluminum silicate LiAl(Si 2 O6 ) - occuring in granite pegmatites. Albemarle's milled and refined spodumene concentrates contain up to 7.5% lithium oxide (lithia) and have a low impurity profile. This characteristic makes them especially suitable as clean lithia source for the glass and ceramics industry and for metallurgical applications.
One of the largest spodumene comprising ore bodies is located in Greenbushes, Western Australia, where spodumene is mined from open pits. This ore body is unique not only in size, but also concerning the quality of the spodumene, which is very low in iron content.
The ore, naturally containing up to 4.5% lithium oxide, is processed via gravity, heavy media, flotation and magnetic processes into a range of spodumene concentrates from 5.0 to 7.5% lithium oxide. Further operating modes are employed to make products that meet specific customer and application requirements.