Use of HDPE Geomembrane in lithium mining

This article helps you to have a more general idea about that Lithium mining process, the importance of this mineral in the global econom and the geosynthetics mining.

Lithium: Use and applications

Lithium is the lightest metal and most solid element known. Its density is half that of water.

Due to its high specific heat, lithium is used in heat transfer applications, and due to its high electrochemical potential, it serves as a suitable anode for electric batteries. The electric vehicle boom has caused the demand for this metal to grow enormously in recent years.



Lithium can be found both in rocks and dissolved in marine and continental waters, in abundance on our planet. To make its extraction economically viable, large concentration are required, such as those found in the so-called Lithium Triangle (Bolivia – Chile – Argentina).

In these countries, it occurs in the form of brine in huge salt flats such as Atacama in Chile, Uyuni in Bolivia or Dead Man’s Salt Flat in Argentina.

These salt flats are located in the Andes range at about 4,000 metres above sea level and in extreme weather conditions (temperature, wind, solar radiation, etc.)

The extraction of Lithium from brine is the cheapest process presently known.



Extraction of Lithium

The extraction of lithium brine is carried out by pumping and then concentrated in evaporation pools, which are waterproofed with HDPE geomembranes.

During solar evaporation, pools are sequentially filled with fresh brine to optimize their saturation and crystallization from salts.

Subsequently, the brine concentrated in lithium from solar evaporation is pumped to the plant within the industrial area.

This evaporation process that concentrates the Lithium lasts between 12 and 18 months.



Advantages of using ALVATECH Geomembrane

Alvatech Geomembranes allow a perfect waterproofing even in the extreme conditions that are found in the Lithium Triangle.

They are manufactured with 100% virgin resins from top-level petrochemicals and additives that promote durability.

The 7,50-metre width of ALVATECH allows improved installation times, thus reducing the exposure of workers to risks in these extreme working conditions typical in these projects.

CQA / CQC costs are also reduced and a better surface finish is guaranteed (<welds ≤possibility of failure)