Chinese scientists have discovered a giant lithium mine in the Himalayas
Lithium ore, known as “white oil”, is an extremely rare white light metal resource.At present, 75% of China’s lithium resources rely on imports.With the development of global new energy industry, the demand for lithium resources increases sharply.A giant lithium deposit has been discovered in the Qiongjiagang region of the Himalayas, according to the Institute of Geology and Geophysics (IGEG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.The lithium mine is considered to be “the third largest lithium deposit in China after Bailongshan in southern Xinjiang and Methylka in western Sichuan” and “the first pegasite lithium deposit with industrial value in The Himalayas”.The results are published in Acta Petrologica sinica.Qin Kezhang, head of the research team and director of the Key Laboratory of Mineral Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was interviewed exclusively by Chinese Science Journal on some problems of qiongjiagang super-large lithium mine.How do scientists find super-large lithium mines?”We found this mine under the guidance of scientific theories that go beyond conventional wisdom.”Qin kezhang said.He said the lithium deposit had not been discovered until now mainly because the traditional view was that large areas of pale granite in the Himalayas were formed by remelting and emplacement of sedimentary rocks, and were not usually a prospecting target.”Large-scale Cenozoic pale granites have been exposed in the Himalayan orogenic belt stretching more than 2500 km east-west on the southern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which has long been recognized by the first Qinghai-Tibet scientific survey, but has never been a prospecting target for rare metals for more than 40 years.”Qin told The Chinese Journal of Science.Academician of Chinese academy of geological earth fu-yuan wu team after 10 years of research, founded in 2015, light color granite high genetic differentiation theory, systematically put forward the Himalayan granite of crystallization differentiation of the light color granite is highly, is beyond the plutonic intrusion, which means that the area light granite has a good potential of rare metal mineralization.The theory breaks with conventional wisdom.”Based on the new theory of Academician Wu Fuyuan, we began to search for rare metal deposits in the Pale granite belt of the Himalayas.”Qin kezhang said.Subsequently, a number of units investigated the regional rock mass, and found that more than 20 rock mass contained rare metal mineralization, metal combination is mainly beryllium-niobium-tantalum (tin – tungsten) combination, among which the Cuonadong tin – tungsten – beryllium deposit has been evaluated to be large scale.Although spodumene minerals have been found in a few 4 pegmatite sites, no lithium ore bodies of industrial value have been found.Based on the status quo of the Himalayan region rich lithium beryllium lean for further research, 2020, ke-zhang qin in contrast to summarize the altay metallogenic belt of east qinling rare metal lithium, beryllium ore separation rule on the basis of symbiosis, put forward “to the strong differentiation at the farther end of the granite, higher looking for lithium” scientific predictions, optimizing prospective area for key check,And found lithium in the summer of 2021.Where are the mega lithium mines?”We found this lithium deposit 3,000 meters southwest of the Himalayas.”To give good wishes, researchers named the mine qiongjiagang lithium Mine, a homonym for poor Jiagang, Qin said.They found more than 40 belts of spodumene viritic rock ranging in width from 10 meters to nearly 100 meters, comprising four dike groups and four ore belts, Qin said.”The surface outcrop of the Qiongjiagang lithium mine is in good condition, so we can clearly see the length, width and surface outcrop drop.Four ore belts are all over 1000 m in length, with two of them approximately 100 m wide, concentrated at high elevations of 5,390 m to 5,581 m.”Qin kezhang said.How “big” are super-large lithium mines?Generally speaking, “large” lithium ore contains lithium oxide resources in more than 100,000 tons, then, known as “super large” Qiongjiagang lithium mine how “big”?Qin told the Chinese Journal of Science that the ore body could contain up to 1,012,500 tonnes of lithium oxide, “a figure based on conservative estimates of ore body volume and lithium oxide content”.”The reason we say ‘conservative’ is that when we estimated the volume of lithium ore, we only took 2/3 of the actual length, 1/2 of the actual width, and 1/2 of the inferred depth for thickness. That is to say, the total volume is only 1/6.”Qin kezhang said.In terms of lithium content, ke-zhang qin, the scientific research team, select a representative sample of 59 a representative selection of large volume, structure and mineral distribution is relatively homogeneous area for cutting, grinding, and the piece of broken sample not less than 1 kg weight, then, they will each fully mixing powder samples, finally according to the test sample amount required for testing samples.Analysis results show that the average content of lithium oxide is 1.30%.”Whole-rock trace elements were tested in The Australian Mineral Laboratory and Wuhan Upper Spectrum Analysis Technology Co., LTD., and retested in the laboratory of institute of Geology and Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The relative error of trace elements measurement is less than 10%.”Qin added.Is there controversy?A series of articles on the discovery of the Qiongjiagang lithium deposit were published in The Chinese academic journal Acta Petrologica in November 2021.”Before the paper was published, some peers questioned the size of the Qiongjiagang lithium deposit, because there are only a handful of pegmatite rare metal deposits in China or even abroad.”Qin kezhang said.Mr Qin said the doubts were largely resolved after the paper was published, but the debate since then has centred on “why only one-sixth of the ore body volume was estimated”.”A lot of people read the article and asked me, ‘Why is the discount so big?’ and ‘why don’t you take 1/3 or 1/2?’ I said, ‘1/3 is ok, but 1/2 is too optimistic.'”Qin kezhang said.He said they chose only one-sixth of the estimated size because they thought they should have been more cautious initially.”You can’t see what’s inside the ore body right now. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little smaller at the beginning, but if it turns out to be of better grade and larger size in the future, of course it will be better.”In addition, the reporter learned that The Journal of Petrology is supervised by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and sponsored by the Chinese Society of Mineralogy, Petrology and Geochemistry and the Institute of Geology and Earth of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is included in Science Citation Index (SCI) and has a compound impact factor of 3.316 in 2021.For the paper published in the journal, anonymous review, “this is a great breakthrough in the exploration of rare metals in the Himalayan region”, “not only has important scientific value for understanding the light granite rare metal mineralization, but also has outstanding practical significance for prospecting and exploration”.What about industrial value?The newly discovered lithium ore was evaluated by the scientific research team as “the first pegmatite lithium ore with industrial value in the Himalayas”.So what is its industrial value?According to Qin, lithium oxide is considered to be of industrial value when its content exceeds 0.8%. Of the 59 samples collected, 44 had an industrial grade of more than 0.8%, with the highest sample containing 3.3%.In addition, he told reporters that the ore body in addition to lithium oxide, there are about 39,800 tons of beryllium resources, to achieve a large scale;About 2358 tons of tantalum oxide resources, also reached a large scale;About 7074 tons of niobium oxide resources, small scale.And Joan jia gang orebody in more than 90% of the mineral composition of quartz, potash feldspar and sodium feldspar, and part of mica, cocoa Joe sea mining these minerals in xinjiang were used in the manufacture of glass, ceramic, and insulation materials, the main rock forming mineral is expected to be used effectively, the corresponding economic benefit, and greatly reduce waste emissions.Are there mining conditions?”The Himalayan belt is expected to become the most important reserve base for rare metals in China,” the team said in the paper.So, does Qiongjiagang lithium mine have mining conditions?”The Qiongjiagang lithium mine has good mining conditions.”Qin Kezhang responded, “Spodumene particles are thick, about 10 cm to 20 cm, belongs to the suitable ore;The location of the mining area has convenient transportation, has passed the rural cement road;In the positive terrain, is conducive to mining;Exposed ore body, no need to dig deep;Away from the Core Nature reserve of Mount Everest.”However, he said the lithium mine is still in the early stage of “pre-inspection”, only to basically determine the distribution of the ore body and the type and content of useful elements.A mine from discovery to drilling, general experience study, reconnaissance and detailed investigation, exploration and four stages, the study is to determine the location and general situation, the census is ruled out by engineering methods study phase of uncertainty, detailed investigation is to find out the availability of deposit, prospecting is to determine the specific scheme.For the next step of work, ke-zhang qin said, the researchers will also enrich and perfect the high differentiation granite rare metal mineralization theory system and prospecting marks, further scientific research studies of lithium mineral area and find new lithium pegmatite, to determine Joan jia gang lithium and surrounding can form a more complete lithium ore belt,Therefore, the Himalayan region of China will be built into a new strategic replacement base for lithium beryllium rare metal resources to make greater contributions.