According to the Institute of Geochemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a major breakthrough was made in the theory of prospecting and metallogenesis for new types of lithium deposits in China, and a world-class lithium resource base was found in central Yunnan. It is predicted that the lithium resources of this base will exceed 5 million tons.
At present, China is an importer of lithium resources. From 2011 to 2015, its dependence on foreign countries has reached 80%. It is urgent to find new lithium resources. For this reason, the chief scientist of the national key R&D project, the demonstration project of deep exploration technology in the scattered mineral resources base, and Wen Hanjie, a researcher at the Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, have put forward a new type of deposit and a new metallogenic model of “carbonate clay type lithium deposit”.
According to the newly established metallogenic model, a potential large lithium resource base has been found in the central Yunnan basin. The ore body is concentrated in the Lower Permian inverted rock formation, which is a set of “continental margin-littoral” facies sedimentary rocks. The project team carried out scientific research demonstration exploration in two target areas delineated in this area. The results of engineering exploration show that the distribution of lithium-rich ore beds in this area is stable, the thickness is about 2 to 16 meters, the grade of lithium oxide is 0.10%-1.02%, and the average grade is 0.30%. A total of 340,000 tons of lithium oxide resources have been obtained in the 7.2 square kilometers scientific research and demonstration area, reaching a super large scale. Experts predict that the lithium resources in central Yunnan will exceed 5 million tons, forming a world-class lithium resource base.
The project passed mid-term assessment and on-site inspection at Kunming University of Technology from 30 to 31 May. It is reported that the carbonate clay-type lithium resources have broad prospects in China due to the huge scale of carbonate clay rocks in other areas.