A lone worker in a yellow and blue uniform stands on rocky terrain at a quarry site, holding a surveying pole. The background features a steep rock face, with various shades of gray and brown indicating the layers of earth and mineral deposits.

A Global Leader in Lithium

Albemarle‘s lithium resources are among the largest and highest quality in the world, comprising hard rock deposits in Western Australia and North America and hypersaline (brine) in South America and North America.  The geographic diversity of our lithium resources in stable and trade-friendly global regions promotes customer accessibility to high-quality supply.  

Hard Rock Resources

Lithium-containing ore in hard rock deposits is found in every continent on the globe. In most cases, the mineral spodumene is the best-understood and most economical for extraction.  Spodumene ore is extracted from both underground and open-pit mines where the hard rock is continually crushed and processed to separate the minerals, including lithium.  Unlike the brine resources, hard rock lithium deposits vary significantly in their geography and environmental conditions, often times being hundreds of millions to billions of years old.

Albemarle has interests or ownership in an industry leading portfolio of world-class spodumene mines and development projects. Our operations include:

Aerial view of a large industrial complex set against a rugged, arid landscape. The facility features multiple buildings, structures, and machinery, with roads connecting different sections. Various equipment, vehicles, and storage tanks are visible throughout the site.

Aerial view of a large industrial facility with multiple blue-roofed buildings surrounded by trees and greenery. There is a smaller complex with white-roofed structures nearby. The area features paved roads, parking spaces, and two bodies of water in the background.

Brine Resources

For more than 50 years, Albemarle has pioneered the extraction of lithium from mineral-rich brines in naturally occurring aquifers around the world.  We endeavor to bring lithium to market with minimal impact and maximum result in a variety of jurisdictions and environments –such as the Atacama desert in Chile and the Nevada desert in the U.S., home of the first large-scale extraction of lithium brine in the world. 

Natural brine is exposed to solar evaporation that increases the concentration of lithium from in-situ 0.1 - 0.3 % to approximately 6%, the point at which it can readily be converted into lithium chloride and lithium carbonate.  

Albemarle brine extraction operations and development projects are located throughout the Americas.

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Direct Lithium Extraction: DLE

Direct Lithium Extraction or DLE technology is a not-yet-fully commercialized but potentially revolutionary approach to lithium extraction that may increase production in even more sustainable ways. DLE involves the selective extraction of lithium ions directly from lithium-rich brines through absorbents, membranes or other chemical processes. Albemarle is active in advancing this and other innovative lithium extraction processes.

Lithium Conversion & Production

Whether brine or hard rock, production of the extracted lithium concentrates into technical or battery grades of lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate is a critical part of the value chain for our customers. From chemical recovery of lithium brines to crushing, roasting and acid leaching of lithium ores in spodumene, Albemarle’s technical and chemical process know-how delivers consistent, high performing, low-cost lithium to power the world for generations to come.


Lithium Hydroxide 

This fine crystalline powder is used as a precursor for the manufacturing of cathodes with mid- and high-nickel chemistries that drive higher energy density and performance. The preferred feedstock is hard rock spodumene; however, the salt can also be produced from the caustification reaction of lithium carbonate with calcium hydroxide.


Lithium Carbonate 

The lithium salt of carbonic acid is a widely used precursor for compounds in the cathode and electrolyte of the battery. Typically produced from brine pools, lithium carbonate is predominately used in applications for a lithium phosphate (LFP) cathode but can also be used in mid-nickel chemistries or as an intermediary for the production of lithium hydroxide.


Spodumene Concentrate

A high lithium ore, containing approximately 6% lithium, is the main raw material used in the production of lithium salts (lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate) from hard rock sources.

Flowchart illustrating established processes for conventional lithium resources. It shows the steps starting with resource extraction (mines, ponds), lithium conversion (various plants), and ending with lithium products (battery and technical grade lithium hydroxide, carbonate, metal).

Building on globally diverse lithium conversion sites in the Americas, Australia and China, Albemarle has invested in both added capacity as well as new strategic processing locations around the world. This allows us to meet regulatory demands for sourcing and customer – and end consumer – demands for a safe and flexible product supply.

See our Kings Mountain Site in Action