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What is lithium and what is the new 'white gold' used for?

From your cell phone to your bicycle, through some medicine you have taken and, in the not too distant future, your car, lithium has become one of the most coveted minerals on the planet.

This is well known to the federal government, which, through its electrical reform initiative, has set out to regain control of the mineral’s exploitation and the huge potential profits. Here we tell you what lithium is and what it is for .

What is lithium?

According to the (RSC, for its acronym in English), it is a metal that is found mainly in natural brines, oil wells, seawater and geothermal fields.

It is the lightest metal known and has excellent properties for conducting heat and electricity.

Its appearance is that of a smooth, silvery metal and it reacts vigorously to contact with water.

According to the Chilean Ministry of Mining, lithium carbonate is the product with the highest international transaction volume, the country with the largest proven lithium reserves in the world.

What is lithium used for and what is its importance?

For a few years now, lithium has been implemented in the development of various products that have spread in the daily use of most people on the planet.

Its most common application, according to the RSC, is in the manufacture of batteries for cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles.

Yes, you are most likely holding some lithium in your hands right now.

Lithium, in alloy with aluminum and magnesium, strengthens the resistance of these last two elements, while making them lighter. Magnesium and lithium alloys are used, for example, in bulletproof vests and armor. While lithium and aluminum alloys have applications in aeronautics, the manufacture of bicycles and the assembly of high-speed trains.

As if that were not enough, lithium oxide is used to make glasses and certain ceramic products, while lithium chloride is present in air conditioners and industrial drying systems.

An additional and very important application for lithium is in the pharmaceutical industry. Given its electrical signal conduction properties, this mineral is present in some medications for the treatment of manic-depressive disorders and mania episodes.

Due to the above, lithium has become a highly coveted mineral due to the explosion in demand for several of the aforementioned products.

Australia is currently the largest producer of lithium and three companies, Ganfeng, SQM and Albermarle dominate the supply.

Why is lithium known as white gold?

The growing demand for lithium has detonated its price globally. So far this year alone, the value of lithium carbonate has increased 171%, while that of lithium hydroxide, 173%

Given the scarcity of deposits, lithium represents considerable profits for those lucky enough to have this mineral in their territory. Mexico is one of them.

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