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The associated lithium resource in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock) (Vol. 41, No.4/5, 2021) TEXT SIZE: A A A

FAN Hong-peng, YE Lin, HUANG Zhi-long*

(State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry, Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang 550081, China) 

Abstract: China is rich in bauxite ores in which Li and other metals critical to the modern industry are commonly enriched. Moreover, it has been widely found that Li is highly enriched in bauxite-bearing rock series. Therefore, there is great potential of Li resource in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock). In addition, Li is mainly concentrated in bauxite-bearing rocks or claystone at the roof and floor of bauxite orebodies and low quality bauxite ores, which are general useless tailings produced in the process of mining. Therefore, the utilization of associated Li resources in the bauxite deposit can not only raise values of bauxite ores (bauxite-bearing rocks), but also can reduce the environmental pollution of mines and alleviate the shortage of lithium resources in China. The occurrence state of associated Li in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock) is still controversial due to poor previous studies. It has been proposed that Li could be adsorbed on the surfaces of clay minerals and Fe-Mn oxides in bauxite ore (bauxite-bearing rock) by ion adsorption, or could substitute Mg2+ and Fe2+ in the lattice of mafic silicate minerals, clay minerals and iron manganese minerals in the form of isomorphism. In addition, it is not known whether there are independent Li minerals, such as cookeite found in claystone, in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock) due to the lack of actual evidence. The enrichment regularity of Li in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock) is closely related to the mineralization process of bauxite. Provenance, sedimentary paleogeography, palaeoclimate, sedimentary environment, mineral differentiation, and the formation of new minerals could be the main factors controlling the activation, migration, and enrichment of Li. However, those relevant researches are extremly weak at present. The associated Li in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock) may become another important direction of development and utilization of lithium resources in China. Those relevant researches will not only provide the basis for the comprehensive utilization and evaluation of the associated Li resource in bauxite (bauxite-bearing rock), but also expand the way of thinking on the development and utilization of Li resource in China.
Keywords: Lithium; bauxite; occurrence state; enrichment regularity; research progress

ACTA MINERALOGICA SINICA Vol. 41, No.4/5, 2021, page 382-390

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