Thanks Observer. That's a really good answer and very understandable. I'd asked the question of a metals trader and that was one of the considerations i.e. high volume vs low margin vs the opposite qualities of a small quantity of a pure rare metal. Thanks. ATB Zoom
Hi Tomcat, yes, I see what you mean and purely considering volume alone is misleading. I think I've concluded that as a direct sale commodity from producer to end user it works over longer distances - but as a traded commodity via an intermediary metals trader then not so viable. I was wondering why Lithium had been avoided by the metal exchanges. With Tianqi talking about putting a LiOH2 plant in Western OZ they must be favouring production close to mine as an economic option vs transporting the graded spodumene long distances. In an deal world the battery and EV factory are best built as close as possible to the mine as we've seen with Tesla and now Lucid Motors. Sonora is in a perfect location that's for sure.
@Zoom56 - tomcat is right, a while back I was considering the feasibility and logistics of transporting something a little rawer than carbonate or hydroxide from the mine locations. We don't really have to worry about the costs of transporting Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate (LiOH.H2O) or Lithium Carbonate (Li2CO3) - other than perhaps armed security guards! ;-)
When it comes down to calculating the volume for shipping purposes, it's a simple matter of dividing the mass of the product by the bulk density (the "bulk density" is used rather than the "density" as the material is separated by air - think about marbles in a bag - you wouldn't use the density of an individual marble to calculate the total volume occupied by the bag).
So although the density of Li2CO3 is quoted as being 2.11g/cm^3 from the wikipedia page - what's more relevant here is the bulk density which depends on various factors - e.g. mill size.
I've seen figures quoted for Li2CO3 bulk densities ranging from 0.3g/cm^3 to 1.1g/cm^3.
Since one metric tonne is equivalent of 1,000kg, and one kg is equivalent to 1,000g: 1t is equivalent to 1,000,000g. One metre is equivalent to 100cm, meaning you can fit a million cubes of length, width and height of 1cm into a single 1m x 1m x 1m cube. Therefore rather conveniently, 1g/cm^3 is an equivalent density of 1t/m^3 - meaning that one tonne of material with a bulk density of 1g/cm^3 would occupy 1m^3.
bulk density of 2g/cm^3: 1t would occupy 0.5m^3. bulk density of 0.5g/cm^3: 1t would occupy 2m^3.
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