Lithium Mining in Australia

Greenbushes, Australia.

Australia currently has 8 ASX listed companies with Lithium deposits and is amongst the world's top six producers according to the U.S. Geological Survey 2009.

Talison Lithium Inc. is the world's largest primary lithium producer - production from its Australian operation fills roughly a third of the world's lithium demand and supplies 75% of Chinese demand.

The Greenbushes Lithium Operation has been producing lithium for over 25 years. The mine is located 250 kilometers (km) south of Perth/Fremantle - a major container shipping port - and 90 km south east of the Port of Bunbury, a major bulk handling port in Western Australia.

Greenbushes' two major industries are mining, producing tantalite concentrates, lithium minerals, tin metal and kaolin; and timber milling. Agriculture, viticulture, tourism and art galleries are also part of Greenbushes' industry.

The Greenbushes ore body is a highly mineralized zoned pegmatite with a strike length of more than 3 km. Its mineral reserve is very unique grading 50% spodumene. This makes Greenbushes the highest grade lithium mineral resource in the world at 3.9% Li2O mineral reserves and 3.5% Li2O mineral resources versus 1.0 - 2.0% Li2O for other known hard rock deposits.

Talison is the only primary pure lithium supplier not producing from brine operations but rather from rock mining operations.

Talison's Greenbushes lithium mineral resource is open along strike and at depth so there is significant potential to increase lithium mineral reserves and mineral resources extending the life of mine while at the same time increasing production rates.

Talison's Greenbushes Lithium Operation produces two categories of lithium concentrates: technical-grade lithium concentrates - low iron content for use in the manufacture of glass, ceramics and heat-proof cookware; and high yielding chemical-grade lithium concentrate - used to produce lithium chemicals which form the basis for manufacture lithium-ion batteries for laptop computers, mobile phones and electric cars.
Talison does not produce lithium chemical products, instead the company sells lithium concentrate directly to customers for processing into lithium chemicals. Presently Talison is expanding its lithium production to supply the growing need in the battery market. Talison designed expansion plan to increase total production capacity to approximately 62,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent.

Aggressive and continual demand caused Talison to plan for further expansion by nearly doubling the current run-rate production of 50,000t lithium carbonate equivalent to 100,000t - the next stage of expansion of the chemical-grade plant is being funded by the recent $80 million financing. Long lead time items for the expansion have already been ordered.