Nathália Vieceli, Carlos A. Nogueira, Manuel F. C. Pereira, Fernando O. Durão, Carlos Guimarães, Fernanda Margarido (2018). Optimization of an innovative approach involving mechanical activation and acid digestion for the extraction of lithium from lepidolite. International Journal of Minerals, Metallurgy, and Materials, vol. 25, 1, Pages 11-19. doi: 10.1007/s12613-018-1541-7
The recovery of lithium from hard rock minerals has received increased attention given the high demand for this element. Therefore, this study optimized an innovative process, which does not require a high-temperature calcination step, for lithium extraction from lepidolite. Mechanical activation and acid digestion were suggested as crucial process parameters, and experimental design and response-surface methodology were applied to model and optimize the proposed lithium extraction process. The promoting effect of amorphization and the formation of lithium sulfate hydrate on lithium extraction yield were assessed. Several factor combinations led to extraction yields that exceeded 90%, indicating that the proposed process is an effective approach for lithium recovery.