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Lithium was first discovered in the mineral petalite. Lepidolite and spodumene are other common minerals which contain lithium. Commercial quantities of these three minerals are in a special igneous rock deposit that geologists call pegmatite. In pegmatites, magma cools so slowly that crystals have time to grow very large. Because lepidolite is a type of mica, its crystals grow into long thin sheets.

Lithium compounds are used in ceramics and glass, in primary aluminum production, in the manufacture of lubricants and greases, rocket propellants, vitamin A synthesis, silver solders, underwater buoyancy devices, and increasingly in batteries.

Lithium batteries are proving to be an effective and affordable alternative to traditional batteries, and also in new battery applications. More than 50% of lithium mined is used in batteries. This use has recently increased rapidly spurring an increase in lithium mining to provide the lithium for batteries.

Frequently Asked Questions

The global market for the alkali metal lithium is growing rapidly.

An important growth driver is its use in the batteries of electric vehicles. However, lithium is also used in the batteries of laptops and cell phones, as well as in the glass and ceramics industry.