Lithium is a rare metal that can store electrical energy. It is soft so that it can be easily cut and has a low density so that it is light enough to be able to float on water. It is used in mobile phones, electric vehicles, laptop computers, armour plating, air conditioning units, the glass and ceramics industry and more.
Lithium is found in enormous salt beds formed from minerals draining from mountains over many millions of years. It is extracted by either ore mining or salt desert processing, where the saltwater from underground lakes is brought to the surface and is stored in large basins where it evaporates, leaving the remaining solution ready for processing.
Chile has the world’s largest known lithium reserves followed by Australia, Argentina China and Portugal has smaller quantities of the valuable raw material.
The process of extracting lithium requires very hard-wearing pipes and SERCO manufactures the material required for these challenges. Materials such as Duplex and Super Duplex have significant corrosive resistance properties and are therefore ideal for use in lithium mining operations.