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A natural source of lithium, Spodumene (lithium aluminum silicate) can be used either as a feedstock for the production of lithium carbonate and metal, or directly, in its mineral forms, in the production of glass, ceramics and steel.
Cabot produces spodumene at its TANCO mine (Tantalum Mining Corporation of Canada Limited) in the Province of Manitoba. The Spodumene ore is mined, ground and processed into powder and then graded into three products, 7.25%, -200 mesh, and 6.8% concentrates. (Concentrations refer to lithia, or Li2O, content.)
Lithium is the lightest solid element. It has three times the fluxing power of sodium, the smallest ionic radius of any solid and the highest ionic potential of all the alkalies. It is an important element for industries anxious to reduce energy consumption.