With the inception of lithium mining in 1983, Western Australia now accommodates the largest lithium mine all over the globe. Through these years, since lithium has become a more valued metal in demand, Australia is now considered the primary lithium supplier worldwide.
Image Credit: Steve Morfi/Shutterstock.com
However, consumers are increasingly questioning if there is a sustainable way ahead for the lithium mining industry. It Matters to You is a supplier of auto recycling and cash for cars across Melbourne, and it shows what the coming days might seem like for the lithium mining industry of Australia.
Currently, Greenbushes, situated right outside of Perth, Western Australia, delivers about 40% of total Australia’s lithium output. Approximately 50% of the world’s lithium is produced by Australia, which is closely followed by certain South American countries.
Some part of this lithium is utilized to produce the lithium-ion batteries that drive electric vehicles (EVs). It is no doubt that EVs are considered by many to be a comprehensive solution for climate change. But, the hard rock mining employed in Australia to form lithium and the following refining methods are not proving to be sustainable.
It Matters to You describes that when lithium is mined in Australia, the source rock of lithium needs to be crushed and roasted to create a material known as spodumene, containing approximately 6% lithium. Upon undergoing this process, the rock is sent off to China, where it is purified—all those steps, including shipping, have a continual, negative effect on the environment.
As per It Matters to You, all is not lost. The WA’s state government is strategizing to construct several refining facilities on home soil nearby lithium mines, thereby avoiding the necessity of shipping rock to China.
To find methods to decarbonize and decrease the industry's environmental impact, environmental groups are closely watching the lithium mining industry as a whole.
Experts claim that, regardless of how tiny the positive changes are, if they are executed now, they will have considerable impacts in the coming future. Such modifications will mold the way EVs are produced, thereby making them a far more eco-friendly choice than they are at present.