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Title:
METHODS FOR TREATING LITHIUM-CONTAINING MATERIALS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/031595
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The disclosure relates to methods for preparing lithium hydroxide. For example, such methods can comprise mixing a lithium-containing material with an acidic aqueous composition optionally comprising lithium sulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture; roasting the mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a roasted, lithium-containing material; leaching the roasted material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate; submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate, the electomembrane process involving a hydrogen depolarized anode; optionally increasing concentration of acid in the second aqueous composition; and using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate as the acidic aqueous composition optionally comprising lithium sulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture.

Inventors:
MAGNAN JEAN-FRANÇOIS (CA)
BOURASSA GUY (CA)
LAROCHE NICOLAS (CA)
PEARSE GARY (CA)
MACKIE STEPHEN CHARLES (CA)
GLADKOVAS MYKOLAS (CA)
SYMONS PETER (US)
GENDERS J DAVID (US)
CLAYTON GENEVIÈVE (CA)
BOUCHARD PIERRE (CA)
OUELLET BERTIN (CA)
Application Number:
CA2016/051008
Publication Date:
March 02, 2017
Filing Date:
August 26, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NEMASKA LITHIUM INC (CA)
International Classes:
C01D1/04; B01D61/42; C01D1/28; C01D1/38; C01D1/40; C22B1/02; C22B3/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2010056322A12010-05-20
WO2013159194A12013-10-31
WO2014138933A12014-09-18
Foreign References:
US6331236B12001-12-18
US6004445A1999-12-21
US5595641A1997-01-21
US4561945A1985-12-31
US20010040093A12001-11-15
Other References:
See also references of EP 3341330A4
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., S.R.L. (40 King Street WestToronto, Ontario M5H 3Y2, CA)
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Claims:
WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1 . A method for preparing lithium hydroxide, said method comprising: mixing a lithium-containing material with an acidic aqueous composition optionally comprising lithium sulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture; roasting said mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a roasted, lithium-containing material; leaching said roasted material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate; submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate, said electomembrane process involving a hydrogen depolarized anode; and optionally increasing concentration of acid in said second aqueous composition; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate as said acidic aqueous composition optionally comprising lithium sulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

2. The method of claim 1 , wherein said acid is present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 10% to about 100%, based on the amount of lithium in said lithium-containing material.

3. The method of claim 1 , wherein said acid is present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 10% to about 40%, of from about 20% to about 40% or of from about 55% to about 60%, based on the amount of lithium in said lithium-containing material.

4. The method of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein said mixture is roasted at a roasting temperature of from about 150°C to about 400°C.

5. The method of any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein said mixture is roasted at a roasting temperature of from about 200°C to about 300°C.

6. The method of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein said mixture is roasted for a time of about 10 minutes to about 24 hours at said roasting temperature.

7. The method of any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein said mixture is roasted for a time of about 15 minutes to about 2 hours at said roasting temperature.

8. The method of any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein said lithium-containing material is a lithium-containing ore.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein said lithium-containing ore comprises β- spodumene or jadarite.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein said lithium-containing ore comprises β- spodumene.

1 1 . The method of any one of claims 1 to 10, wherein said roasted lithium- containing material is leached with water to obtain said first aqueous composition comprising said lithium sulfate.

12. The method of any one of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein said lithium-containing material further comprises a leachable metal impurity and said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate is further treated under conditions suitable to remove at least a portion of said leachable metal impurity from said first aqueous composition comprising said lithium sulfate.

13. A method for preparing lithium hydroxide, said method comprising: submitting a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate, said electomembrane process being carried out by using a hydrogen depolarized anode; and optionally increasing concentration of acid in said second aqueous composition; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate for reacting with a lithium-containing material.

14. The method of any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein said method further comprises recovering lithium sulfate from said second aqueous composition and reusing said lithium sulfate in said electromembrane process.

15. The method of any one of claims 1 to 13, wherein said method further comprises at least partially recovering lithium sulfate from said second aqueous composition, before using said second aqueous composition for reacting with said lithium-containing material, and reusing said lithium sulfate in said electromembrane process.

16. A method for preparing lithium hydroxide, said method comprising: submitting a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate, said electromembrane process being carried out by using a hydrogen depolarized anode; optionally increasing concentration of acid in said second aqueous composition; and recovering lithium sulfate from said second aqueous composition and reusing it for the electromembrane process.

17. The method of any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein said method comprises increasing concentration of acid in said second aqueous composition by removing water from said second aqueous composition.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein increasing concentration of said acid is carried out by heating said second aqueous composition.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein said second aqueous composition is heated at a temperature of about 100°C to about 300°C.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein said second aqueous composition is heated at a temperature of about 1 10°C to about 130°C.

21 . The method of claim 18, wherein said second aqueous composition is heated at a temperature of about 1 15°C to about 125°C.

22. The method of any one of claims 19 to 21 , wherein said second aqueous composition is heated under reduced pressure or under vacuum.

23. The method of any one of claims 19 to 21 , wherein said second aqueous composition is heated at atmospheric pressure.

24. The method of claim 17, wherein increasing concentration of said acid is carried out by a membrane dehydration process, by a reverse osmosis membrane process or by adding some acid.

25. The method of any one of claims 17 to 24, wherein removing water from said second aqueous composition causes precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

26. The method of any one of claims 17 to 24, wherein removing water from said second aqueous composition causes a substantially selective precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

27. The method of any one of claims 17 to 24, wherein removing water from said second aqueous composition causes crystallization of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

28. The method of any one of claims 1 to 16, wherein said method comprises increasing concentration of acid in said second aqueous composition by removing water from said second aqueous composition, thereby substantially selectively precipitating lithium sulfate.

29. The method of any one of claims 25 to 28, further comprises carrying out a solid-liquid separation (for example at a temperature of about 15 °C to about 130 °C or about 25 °C to about 125 °C) to recover said lithium sulfate, thereby obtaining said lithium sulfate and an acidic composition.

30. The method of any one of claims 25 to 28, further comprises carrying out a solid-liquid separation (for example at a temperature of about 15 °C to about 130 °C or about 25 °C to about 125 °C) to recover said lithium sulfate, thereby obtaining said lithium sulfate and an acidic aqueous effective to be used for being mixed with a lithium-containing material.

31 . The method of any one of claims 1 to 30, wherein said process comprises recovering lithium sulfate in the form of lithium sulfate monohydrate from said second aqueous composition and reusing said lithium sulfate for said electromembrane process.

32. The method of any one of claims 1 to 31 , wherein said acid is H2S04.

33. A method for preparing lithium hydroxide, said method comprising: obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide, said electomembrane process involving a hydrogen depolarized anode.

34. The method of any one of claims 1 to 33, wherein during said electromembrane process, pH of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition is acidic.

35. The method of any one of claims 1 to 33, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; or a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

36. The method of claim 34, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

37. The method of claim 34, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

38. The method of claim 34, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

The method of claim 34, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and wherein during said three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, said pH is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 2 to about 4.

40. The method of claim 34, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, and wherein conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to lithium hydroxide proceeds until said pH of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition has a value of from about 0.1 to about 2.0, about 0.2 to about 1.0 or about 0.4 to about 1.0.

41 . The method of any one of claims 1 to 33, wherein during said electromembrane process, pH of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition is basic.

42. The method of claim 41 , wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; or a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

43. The method of claim 41 , wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

44. The method of claim 41 , wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

45. The method of claim 41 , wherein said electromembrane process comprises a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

46. The method of claim 41 , wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and wherein during said three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, said pH is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 10 to about 12 or at a value of about 10.5 to about 12.5.

47. The method of any one of claims 33 to 46, wherein said method comprises: submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to said electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate in a method according to claim 42.

48. The method of claim 47, wherein said method comprises: submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to a two compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process under suitable conditions to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate in a method according to claim 42.

49. The method of any one of claims 1 to 48, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process voltage is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 4 V to about 5 V.

50. The method of any one of claims 1 to 48, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process LiOH current efficiency is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 65% to about 85%.

51 . The method of any one of claims 1 to 48, wherein lithium concentration in said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 20 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution or at a value of about 30 g lithium per liter solution to about 33 g lithium per liter of solution.

52. The method of any one of claims 1 to 48, wherein lithium concentration in said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 20 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution, of from about 10 g lithium per liter solution to about 20 g lithium per liter of solution, of from about 5 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution, or of from about 12 g lithium per liter solution to about 18 g lithium per liter of solution.

53. The method of any one of claims 1 to 48, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process said lithium hydroxide is produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a concentration of lithium hydroxide of about 2 M to about 7 M, of about 2 M to about 4 M or of about 2.5 M to about 3.5 M.

54. The method of claim 53, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process said lithium hydroxide is produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a temperature of about 40°C to about 100°C or about 60°C to about 100°C.

55. A method for preparing lithium hydroxide, said method comprising: mixing a lithium-containing material with an aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture; roasting said mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material; leaching said lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate, said electomembrane process involving a hydrogen depolarized anode; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

56. The method of claim 55, wherein the molar ratio between said lithium bisulfate in said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and lithium in said lithium-containing material is from about 0.5:1 to about 4:1 .

57. The method of claim 55, wherein the molar ratio between said lithium bisulfate in said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and lithium in said lithium-containing material is from about 1 : 1 to about 2: 1 .

58. The method of any one of claims 55 to 57, wherein said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate further comprises sulfuric acid.

59. The method of claim 58, wherein the molar ratio between said sulfuric acid in said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and lithium in said lithium-containing material is from about 0.5: 1 to about 4: 1 , about 1 : 1 to about 2: 1 , or about 1 .1 : 1 to about 1 .25: 1 .

60. The method of claim 59, wherein said sulfuric acid is present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 30% to about 100%, based on the amount of lithium in said lithium-containing material.

61 . The method of claim 59, wherein said sulfuric acid is present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 55% to about 60%, based on the amount of lithium in said lithium-containing material.

62. The method of any one of claims 55 to 61 , wherein said mixture is roasted at a roasting temperature of from about 150°C to about 400°C or from about 200°C to about 350°C.

63. The method of claim 62, wherein said mixture is roasted for a time of about 10 minutes to about 24 hours at said roasting temperature.

64. The method of any one of claims 55 to 63, wherein said lithium-containing material is a lithium-containing ore.

65. The method of claim 64, wherein said lithium-containing ore comprises β- spodumene or jadarite.

66. The method of claim 64, wherein said lithium-containing ore comprises β- spodumene.

67. The method of any one of claims 55 to 66, wherein said lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material is leached with water to obtain said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate.

68. The method of any one of claims 55 to 67, wherein said lithium-containing material further comprises a leachable metal impurity and said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is further treated under conditions suitable to remove at least a portion of said leachable metal impurity from said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate.

69. The method of any one of claims 1 to 32 and 68, wherein during said electromembrane process, pH of said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is acidic.

70. The method of claim 69, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; or a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

71 . The method of claim 69, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

72. The method of claim 69, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

73. The method of claim 69, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

74. The method of claim 69, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and wherein during said three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, said pH is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 2 to about 4.

75. The method of claim 69, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, and wherein conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to lithium hydroxide proceeds until said pH of said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate has a value of from about about 0.1 to about 2.0, about 0.2 to about 1 .5, or about 0.4 to about 1 .0.

76. The method of any one of claims 1 to 32 and claim 69, wherein during said electromembrane process, pH of said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is basic.

77. The method of claim 76, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; or a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

78. The method of claim 76, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

79. The method of claim 76, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

80. The method of claim 76, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process.

81. The method of claim 76, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and wherein during said three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, said pH is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 10 to about 12 or at a value of about 10.5 to about 12.5.

82. The method of any one of claims 55 to 81 , wherein said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is an aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate.

83. The method of any one of claims 55 to 81 , wherein the molar ratio between said lithium sulfate and said lithium bisulfate in said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is at least about 9: 1 , at least about 19: 1 , or at least about 99: 1 .

84. The method of any one of claims 55 to 83, wherein the molar ratio between said lithium bisulfate and said lithium sulfate in said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is at least about 3:2, at least about 9: 1 , at least about 19: 1 , or at least about 99: 1.

85. The method of any one of claims 55 to 84, wherein said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate comprises lithium bisulfate and the method further comprises adding a base to a portion of said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate under conditions suitable to convert at least a portion of said lithium bisulfate to lithium sulfate.

86. The method of claim 85, wherein said base comprises calcium hydroxide.

87. The method of any one of claims of any one of claims 1 to 32 and 55 to 86, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process voltage is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 4 V to about 5 V.

88. The method of any one of claims 1 to 32 and 55 to 86, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process LiOH current efficiency is at least substantially maintained at a value of about 30 to about 50 %, about 30 to about 40 %, 50% to about 95%, about 55% to about 90% or about 65% to about 85%.

89. The method of any one of claims 55 to 88, wherein lithium concentration in said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 20 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution.

90. The method of any one of claims 55 to 89, wherein lithium concentration in said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate is at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 20 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution, of from about 10 g lithium per liter solution to about 20 g lithium per liter of solution, of from about 5 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution, or of from about 12 g lithium per liter solution to about 18 g lithium per liter of solution.

The method of any one of claims 55 to 90, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process said lithium hydroxide is produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a concentration of lithium hydroxide of about 2 M to about 7 M, of about 2 M to about 4 M or of about 2.5 M to about 3.5 M.

92. The method of any one of claims 55 to 90, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process said lithium hydroxide is produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a concentration of lithium hydroxide of about 3.0 M.

93. The method of claim 91 or 92, wherein said electromembrane process comprises a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during said two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process said lithium hydroxide is produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a temperature of about 60°C to about 100°C.

94. The method of any one of claims 55 to 93, wherein said method comprises : mixing said lithium-containing material with said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and thereby obtaining said mixture; roasting said mixture under suitable conditions to obtain said lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material;

leaching said lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; purifying said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; submitting said purified first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to said electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate, said electromembrane process involving a hydrogen depolarized anode; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

95. The method of any one of claims 1 to 94, wherein said roasting and said leaching is carried out in a single apparatus.

96. The method of any one of claims 1 to 94, wherein said roasting is carried out in a first apparatus and said leaching is carried out in a second apparatus.

97. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 30 to about 60 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

98. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 40 to about 60 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

99. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 45 to about 55 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

100. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 40 to about 50 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

101. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 30 to about 60 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

102. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 40 to about 60 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

103. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 45 to about 55 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

104. The method of any one of claims 1 to 96, wherein said method comprises submitting said first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of said lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 40 to about 50 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate; and using said second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate as said aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with said lithium-containing material and to obtain said mixture.

105. The method of any one of claims 1 to 104, wherein said electromembrane process is carried out in a two-compartment membrane electrolysis process.

106. The method of any one of claims 1 to 104, wherein said electromembrane process is an electrolysis process.

107. The method of any one of claims 1 to 1 04, wherein said electromembrane process is an electrodialysis process.

108. The method of any one of claims 1 to 107, wherein said electromembrane process comprises generating hydrogen at a cathode thereof and recovering said hydrogen for feeding said hydrogen depolarized anode.

109. The method of any one of claims 1 to 107, wherein said electromembrane process comprises generating hydrogen at a cathode thereof and recycling said hydrogen for feeding said hydrogen depolarized anode.

Description:
METHODS FOR TREATING LITHIUM-CONTAINING MATERIALS

[0001] The present disclosure claims the benefit of priority from U.S. provisional application no. 62/210,977 filed on August 27, 2015, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0002] The present disclosure relates to methods for extracting lithium from lithium-containing materials.

[0003] Methods for extracting lithium from lithium-containing materials which comprise leaching an acid roasted, lithium-containing material are known. For example, in such methods the lithium-containing material is roasted in the presence of an acid such as sulfuric acid to obtain the acid roasted, lithium-containing material from which the lithium can then be extracted.

[0004] According to an aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a method for extracting lithium from a lithium-containing material, the method comprising leaching a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain an aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound.

[0005] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide, the electomembrane process comprising a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode.

[0006] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising: obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide, the electomembrane process involving a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode.

[0007] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide, the electomembrane process being carried out in the presence of a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode.

[0008] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide, the electomembrane process being carried out by using a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode.

[0009] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide, the electomembrane process being carried out in a membrane cell comprising a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode.

[0010] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate, the electomembrane process comprising a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate in a method according to the present disclosure. [0011] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate the electomembrane process being carried out by using a gas diffusion anode and/or a depolarized anode; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate in a method according to the present disclosure.

[0012] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate;

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate the electomembrane process being carried out in a membrane cell comprising a gas diffusion anode and/or a hydrogen depolarized anode; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate in a method according to the present disclosure.

[0013] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

mixing a lithium-containing material with an aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture;

roasting the mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material;

leaching the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate;

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate, the electomembrane process comprising a gas diffusion anode and/or a depolarized anode; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture.

[0014] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

mixing a lithium-containing material with an aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture;

roasting the mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material;

leaching the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate;

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate, the electomembrane process is carried out by using a gas diffusion anode and/or a depolarized anode; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture.

[0015] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

mixing a lithium-containing material with an aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture;

roasting the mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material;

leaching the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate, the electomembrane process being carried out in a membrane cell comprising a hydrogen depolarized anode; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture.

[0016] It was found that by using the methods of the present disclosure, it was possible to replace sulfuric acid with lithium bisulfate. It was also found that, for example, it was possible to reduce the costs associated with using the acid reagent i.e. sulfuric acid. In fact, under certain circumstances, it was possible to recycle the lithium bisulfate obtained in an electromembrane process (e.g. partial conversion of lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide) to extract lithium from a lithium-containing material. It was found that by using the methods of the present disclosure, it was possible to easily recover sulfuric acid under the form of an acidic composition that can be used for treating a lithium-containing material and/or recovering lithium sulfate from the second aqueous composition and reusing it for an electromembrane process. For example, by using such methods, lithium sulfate monohydrate (Li 2 S0 4 ·Η 2 0) can be substantially selectively precipitated and thus easily recovered and reused.

[0017] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising: submitting a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate; optionally increasing concentration of acid in the second aqueous composition; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate for reacting with a lithium-containing material.

[0018] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

mixing a lithium-containing material with an acidic aqueous composition optionally comprising lithium sulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture;

roasting the mixture under suitable conditions to obtain a roasted, lithium-containing material;

leaching the roasted material under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate;

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate; and

optionally increasing concentration of acid in the second aqueous composition; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate as the acidic aqueous composition optionally comprising lithium sulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture.

[0019] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising: submitting a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate; and

optionally increasing concentration of acid in the second aqueous composition; and recovering lithium sulfate from the second aqueous composition and reusing it for the electromembrane process.

[0020] It was found that by using the methods of the present disclosure, it was possible to easily recover sulfuric acid under the form of an acidic composition that can be used for treating a lithium-containing material and/or recovering lithium sulfate from the second aqueous composition and reusing it for an electromembrane process. For example, by using such methods, lithium sulfate monohydrate (Li 2 S0 4 ·Η 2 0) can be substantially selectively precipitated and thus easily recovered and reused.

[0021] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for treating an electromembrane process aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate, the process comprising removing water from the electromembrane process aqueous composition under conditions suitable for substantially selectively precipitating lithium sulfate monohydrate.

[0022] According to another aspect of the present disclosure there is provided a method for extracting an alkali from an alkali-containing material, the method comprising leaching an alkali bisulfate roasted, alkali-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain an aqueous composition comprising an alkali compound.

[0023] In the following drawing, which represents by way of example only, various embodiments of the disclosure :

[0024] Figure 1 is a schematic diagram of a method according to an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0025] Figures 2 and 3 are plots of cumulative current efficiency as a function of charges passed for alkali hydroxide production;

[0026] Figure 4 is a schematic diagram of a method according to another embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0027] Figure 5 and 6 are XRD analysis of precipitated crystals recovered from separation step; [0028] Figure 7 is a plot of lithium sulfate recovery efficiency at the separation step as a function of water removed at atmospheric pressure on a mass basis;

[0029] Figure 8 is schematic representation of a device for carrying out an electromembrane process according to one embodiment of the disclosure that comprises a Hydrogen Depolarized Anode (HDA);

[0030] Figure 9 is a plot showing electromembrane processes comparative results obtained by comparing the results obtained with device having a cell configuration as shown in Figure 8 and that involves a HDA anode and the results obtained with a standard DSA-02 anode; and

[0031] Figure 10 is a graph showing electromembrane processes comparative results obtained by comparing the results obtained with device having another cell configuration (H 2 enters a the top) (other than the one shown in Figure 8) and that involves a HDA anode and the results obtained with a standard DSA-02 anode; and

[0032] Figure 1 1 is a plot showing electromembrane processes comparative results obtained by comparing the results obtained with device having another cell configuration (H 2 flow from the back of anode) (other than the one shown in Figure 8) and that involves a HDA anode and the results obtained with a standard DSA-02 anode.

[0033] Unless otherwise indicated, the definitions and examples described herein are intended to be applicable to all embodiments and aspects of the present disclosure herein described for which they are suitable as would be understood by a person skilled in the art.

[0034] As used in the present disclosure, the singular forms "a", "an" and "the" include plural references unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. For example, an embodiment including "a lithium-containing material" should be understood to present certain aspects with one lithium- containing material, or two or more additional lithium-containing materials.

[0035] In embodiments comprising an "additional" or "second" component, such as an additional or second lithium-containing material, the second component as used herein is different from the other components or first component. A "third" component is different from the other, first, and second components, and further enumerated or "additional" components are similarly different.

[0036] In understanding the scope of the present disclosure, the term "comprising" and its derivatives, as used herein, are intended to be open ended terms that specify the presence of the stated features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps, but do not exclude the presence of other unstated features, elements, components, groups, integers and/or steps. The foregoing also applies to words having similar meanings such as the terms, "including", "having" and their derivatives. The term "consisting" and its derivatives, as used herein, are intended to be closed terms that specify the presence of the stated features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps, but exclude the presence of other unstated features, elements, components, groups, integers and/or steps. The term "consisting essentially of", as used herein, is intended to specify the presence of the stated features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps as well as those that do not materially affect the basic and novel characteristic(s) of features, elements, components, groups, integers, and/or steps.

[0037] Terms of degree such as "about" and "approximately" as used herein mean a reasonable amount of deviation of the modified term such that the end result is not significantly changed. These terms of degree should be construed as including a deviation of at least ±5% or at least ±10% of the modified term if this deviation would not negate the meaning of the word it modifies.

[0038] The term "suitable" as used herein means that the selection of the particular conditions would depend on the specific manipulation or operation to be performed, but the selection would be well within the skill of a person trained in the art. All methods described herein are to be conducted under conditions sufficient to provide the desired product. A person skilled in the art would understand that all reaction conditions, including, when applicable, for example, reaction time, reaction temperature, reaction pressure, reactant ratio, flow rate, reactant purity, current density, voltage, electrode(s) material(s), concentration, pH, oxidation reduction potential, cell area, type of membrane used, and recycle rates can be varied to optimize the yield of the desired product and it is within their skill to do so.

[0039] The term "electromembrane process" as used herein refers, for example to a process that uses ion-exchange membrane(s) and an electric potential difference as the driving force for ionic species. The electromembrane process can be, for example (a membrane) electrodialysis or (a membrane) electrolysis. For example, the electromembrane process can be a membrane electrolysis.

[0040] The expression "is at least substantially maintained" as used herein when referring to a value of a pH or a pH range that is maintained during a method of the disclosure or a portion thereof (for example an electromembrane process) refers to maintaining the value of the pH or the pH range at least 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 % of the time during the method or the portion thereof.

[0041] The expression "is at least substantially maintained" as used herein when referring to a value of a voltage or a voltage range that is maintained during a method of the disclosure or a portion thereof (for example an electromembrane process) refers to maintaining the value of the voltage or the voltage range at least 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 % of the time during the method or the portion thereof.

[0042] The expression "is at least substantially maintained" as used herein when referring to a value of a current efficiency or a current efficiency range that is maintained during a method of the disclosure or a portion thereof (for example an electromembrane process) refers to maintaining the value of the electrical current efficiency or the electrical current efficiency range at least 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 % of the time during the method or the portion thereof.

[0043] The expression "is at least substantially maintained" as used herein when referring to a value of a concentration or a concentration range that is maintained during a process of the disclosure or a portion thereof (for example an electromembrane process) refers to maintaining the value of the concentration or the concentration range at least 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 % of the time during the process or the portion thereof.

[0044] The expression "is at least substantially maintained" as used herein when referring to a value of a temperature or a temperature range that is maintained during a method of the disclosure or a portion thereof (for example an electromembrane process) refers to maintaining the value of the temperature or the temperature range at least 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 96, 97, 98 or 99 % of the time during the method or the portion thereof.

[0045] An exemplary flow diagram for a method of the present disclosure is shown in Figure 1 . The method 10 exemplified therein is for preparing lithium hydroxide. Referring to Figure 1 , in the method exemplified therein, a lithium- containing material 12 such as a lithium-containing ore such as β-spodumene can be mixed with an aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and/or lithium sulfate so as to obtain a mixture. In acid roasting and leaching steps 14 the mixture can then be roasted under suitable conditions to obtain a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material and/or a roasted lithium-containing material which can then be leached under conditions suitable to obtain a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate 16 such as a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate. The first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate 16 can then be purified 18, for example to remove at least a portion of a metal impurity or a non-metallic impurity (for example Si and derivatives thereof) that has leached into the first aqueous composition then submitted to an electromembrane process 20 (such as a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, or a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process - for example, such a process can be carried out by using a HDA anode) under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide 22 and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate 24. The second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate 24 can then be used as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material 12 such as a lithium-containing ore such as β-spodumene to obtain the mixture. As it can be seen in Figure 1 , some extra H 2 S0 4 can be added. For example, H 2 S0 4 can be added to the second composition. For example, H 2 S0 4 can be added just before carrying out acid roasting when using the second composition as a source of acid and lithium bisulfate.

[0046] For example, the electromembrane process in 20 can be carried out by using a membrane electrolysis cell as shown in Figure 17 or Figure 23of PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which is incorporated by reference.

[0047] For example, the electromembrane process in 20 can be carried out by using a membrane electrolysis cell as shown in Figure 2 of PCT Application WO 2015/058288 entitled "Processes and systems for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which is incorporated by reference.

[0048] For example, purification 18 can be carried out as described in PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference.

[0049] Another exemplary flow diagram for a method of the present disclosure is shown in Figure 4. The method 1 10 exemplified therein is for preparing lithium hydroxide and is similar to the method 10 exemplified in Figure 1 . Several steps in the method of Figure 4 (1 12, 1 14, 1 16, 1 18, 120, 122 and 124) are similar to those found in the method of Figure 1 (12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24). The content of the first composition (see 16 vs 1 16) and second composition (see 24 vs 124) can optionally vary slightly. For example, in step 1 16, the first composition obtained comprises lithium sulfate and optionally lithium bisulfate. Moreover, the second composition obtained in in step 124 comprises lithium sulfate and optionally lithium bisulfate. With the exception of such particularities of the content of the first and second compositions and steps 126, 128 and 130 that do not have an equivalent in the method of Figure 1 , these two methods are quite similar. With respect to the separation step 126, such step was found to be an alternative instead of simply reusing the second composition into the acid roasting step 1 14 (see the dotted line between step 124 and 1 14). In separation step 126, water is removed in order to obtain a more concentrated acidic composition 130. It was found that such a more concentrated acidic composition that comprises sulfuric acid was efficient to carry out the acid roasting step in 1 14. The person skilled in the art would understand that various processes can be used in step 126 in order to remove water from the second composition. For example, the second composition can be heated, the second composition can be passed through a dehydration process through a membrane or column. The second composition can also be cooled down in order to favor the precipitation of lithium sulfate and then carry out a solid/liquid separation, thereby recovering lithium sulfate 128. The second composition can also be seeded with lithium sulfate to favor precipitation of lithium sulfate 128. Thus, there are various possible ways of achieving steps 126, 128 and 130. As it can be seen in Figure 4, some extra H 2 S0 4 can be added. For example, H 2 S0 4 can be added just before or after carrying out the separation step 26. For example, H 2 S0 4 can be added just before carrying out acid roasting 1 14 when using the acidic composition 130 as a source of acid.

[0050] For example, the second composition can be heated in separation step 126 at a temperature of about 100°C to about 135°C or about 100°C to about 125°C in order to remove water therefrom. That can be carried out by a distillation process that can be carried out under atmospheric pressure or under vacuum. It was observed that during such a process, it was possible to concentrate the sulfuric acid and obtain the acidic composition 130 that can eventually be used for the acidic roasting 1 14. Moreover, while heating the second composition, it was observed that a substantially selective precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate (Li 2 S0 4 »H 2 0) was occurring. It was also noted that when maintaining temperature below about 125 or 130°C, formation of anhydrous lithium sulfate was avoided. Then, a solid/liquid separation was carried out and the precipitated lithium sulfate can be recovered in step 128, for example as (Li 2 S0 4 »H 2 0). The latter was found to be more crystalline than anhydrous lithium sulfate. In fact, the monohydrate is easier to recover since being in a needle like shape of crystal and has less tendency to retain water and/or acid. It was significantly easier to carry out the solid-liquid separation step when the solid was lithium sulfate monohydrate (as compared to lithium sulfate anhydrous). The recovered lithium sulfate can thus be reused in electromembrane process 120.

[0051] The below presented examples are non-limitative and are used to better exemplify the methods of the present disclosure.

[0052] The present disclosure includes a method for extracting lithium from a lithium-containing material, the method comprising leaching a lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material under conditions suitable to obtain an aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound.

[0053] For example, the method can comprise obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate by a method for extracting lithium from a lithium-containing material according to a method of the present disclosure.

[0054] For example, the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material can be prepared by a method comprising:

mixing the lithium-containing material with an aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and thereby obtaining a mixture; and

roasting the mixture under suitable conditions to obtain the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material.

[0055] The lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material can be prepared, for example using known means for roasting lithium-containing material. The selection of suitable conditions to obtain the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes comprising roasting a lithium-containing material with an acid are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference. [0056] The roasted lithium-containing material can be prepared, for example using known means for roasting lithium-containing material. The selection of suitable conditions to obtain the roasted lithium-containing material can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes comprising roasting a lithium-containing material with an acid are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference.

[0057] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate in the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and lithium in the lithium- containing material can be from about 0.1:1 to about 10:1, about 0.1:1 to about 4:1, about 0.2:1 to about 4:1 about 0.5:1 to about 4:1; about 1:1 to about 2:1 or about 1:1.

[0058] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium sulfate in the aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and lithium in the lithium- containing material can be from about 0.1:1 to about 10:1, about 0.1:1 to about 4:1, about 0.2:1 to about 4:1 about 0.5:1 to about 4:1; about 1:1 to about 2:1 or about 1:1.

[0059] For example, the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate can further comprise an acid such as, for example sulfuric acid.

[0060] For example, the aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate can further comprise an acid such as, for example sulfuric acid.

[0061] For example, the acid can be sulfuric acid.

[0062] For example, the molar ratio between the acid in the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and lithium in the lithium-containing material can be from about 0.5:1 to about 4:1 , from about 1:1 to about 2:1 or from about 1.1:1 to about 1.25: 1.

[0063] For example, the molar ratio between the acid in the aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and lithium in the lithium-containing material can be from about 0.5:1 to about 4:1, from about 1:1 to about 2:1 or from about 1.1:1 to about 1.25: 1. [0064] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 1 % to about 100%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0065] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 30% to about 100%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0066] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 20% to about 50%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0067] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 10% to about 50%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0068] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 20% to about 45%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0069] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 10% to about 30%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0070] For example, the acid can be present in a stoichiometric excess of from about 55% to about 60%, based on the amount of lithium in the lithium-containing material.

[0071] For example, the first aqueous composition can comprise potassium and/or sodium.

[0072] For example, the second aqueous composition can comprise potassium and/or sodium.

[0073] For example, the second aqueous composition can comprise less Li + ions than HS0 4 " ions.

[0074] For example, the second aqueous composition can comprise free H 2 S0 4 . [0075] For example, the second aqueous composition can comprise free H 2 S0 4 that was generated during the electromembrane process.

[0076] For example, the second composition can comprise lithium bisulfate and sulfuric acid.

[0077] For example, the second composition can comprise lithium sulfate and sulfuric acid.

[0078] For example, the second composition can comprise lithium bisulfate, lithium sulfate and sulfuric acid.

[0079] For example, the second composition can comprise sulfuric acid.

[0080] For example, the mixture can be roasted at a roasting temperature of from about 150°C to about 400°C. For example, the mixture can be roasted at a roasting temperature of from about 200°C to about 350°C, about 200°C to about 325°C, about 200°C to about 300°C, about 250°C to about 350°C, or about 250°C to about 300°C. For example, the mixture can be roasted at a roasting temperature of about 250°C or about 300°C.

[0081] For example, the mixture can roasted for a time of about 1 minute to about 24 hours at the roasting temperature. For example, the mixture can be roasted for a time of about 1 minute to about 2 hours at the roasting temperature. For example, the mixture can be roasted for a time of about 15 minutes to about 2 hours at the roasting temperature. For example, the mixture can be roasted for a time of about 30 minutes at the roasting temperature.

[0082] For example, lithium sulfate monohydrate can be substantially selectively precipitated and/or substantially selectively formed from the second composition.

[0083] For example, lithium sulfate anhydrous can be substantially selectively precipitated and/or substantially selectively formed from the second composition. [0084] For example, the method can further comprises recovering lithium sulfate from the second aqueous composition and reusing the lithium sulfate in the electromembrane process.

[0085] For example, the method can further comprise at least partially recovering lithium sulfate from the second aqueous composition, before using the second aqueous composition for reacting with the lithium-containing material, and reusing the lithium sulfate in the electromembrane process.

[0086] For example, the method can comprise increasing concentration of acid in the second aqueous composition by removing water from the second aqueous composition.

[0087] For example, increasing concentration of the acid can be carried out by heating the second aqueous composition.

[0088] For example, increasing concentration of the acid can be carried out by heating the aqueous composition.

[0089] For example, increasing concentration of the acid in the second aqueous composition can be carried out by adding some more concentrated acid or some acid having a higher concentration.

[0090] For example, increasing concentration of the acid in the second aqueous composition can be carried out by adding some more concentrated acid or some acid having a higher concentration.

[0091] For example, increasing concentration of the acid in the acidic composition can be carried out by adding some more concentrated acid or some acid having a higher concentration.

[0092] For example, the second aqueous composition can be heated at a temperature of about 100°C to about 135°C, about 100°C to about 300°C, about 100°C to about 250°C, about 200°C to about 250°C, about 105°C to about 130°C, about 1 10°C to about 130°C, about 1 15°C to about 125°C, about 100°C to about 125°C.

[0093] For example, the acidic composition can be heated at a temperature of about 100°C to about 135°C, about 100°C to about 300°C, about 100°C to about 250°C, about 200°C to about 250°C, about 105°C to about 130°C, about 1 10°C to about 130°C, about 1 15°C to about 125°C, about 100°C to about 125°C.

[0094] For example, water can be removed by heating the electromembrane process aqueous composition at a temperature as discussed above.

[0095] For example, the second aqueous composition can be heated at atmospheric pressure.

[0096] For example, the aqueous composition can be heated at atmospheric pressure.

[0097] For example, increasing concentration of the acid can be carried out by a membrane dehydration process.

[0098] For example, increasing concentration of the acid can be carried out by a reverse osmosis membrane process.

[0099] For example, wherein removing water from the aqueous composition can cause precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

[00100] For example, removing water from the aqueous composition can cause a substantially selective precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

[00101] For example, removing water from the aqueous composition can cause crystallization of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

[00102] For example, the method can comprise increasing concentration of acid in the aqueous composition by removing water from the aqueous composition, thereby substantially selectively precipitating lithium sulfate.

[00103] For example, wherein removing water from the second aqueous composition can cause precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

[00104] For example, removing water from the second aqueous composition can cause a substantially selective precipitation of lithium sulfate monohydrate.

[00105] For example, removing water from the second aqueous composition can cause crystallization of lithium sulfate monohydrate. [00106] For example, the method can comprise increasing concentration of acid in the second aqueous composition by removing water from the second aqueous composition, thereby substantially selectively precipitating lithium sulfate.

[00107] For example, the method can further comprise carrying out a solid-liquid separation to recover the lithium sulfate, thereby obtaining the lithium sulfate and an acidic composition.

[00108] For example, the solid-liquid separation can be carried out at a temperature of about 5 °C to about 150 °C, about 15 °C to about 130 °C, about 20 °C to about 125 °C, about 25 °C to about 125 °C, about 20 °C to about 75 °C, about 20 °C to about 50 °C or about 50 °C to about 100 °C.

[00109] For example, the method can further comprises carrying out a solid-liquid separation to recover the lithium sulfate, thereby obtaining the lithium sulfate and an acidic aqueous effective to be used for being mixed with a lithium-containing material.

[00110] For example, the process comprises recovering lithium sulfate in the form of lithium sulfate monohydrate from the second aqueous composition and reusing the lithium sulfate for the electromembrane process.

[00111] For example, the acid can be H 2 S0 4 .

[00112] For example, the method can comprise carrying out a solid- liquid separation to recover the lithium sulfate, thereby obtaining the lithium sulfate and an acidic aqueous effective to be used for being mixed with a lithium-containing material.

[00113] For example, the method can further comprise reusing the obtained lithium sulfate in the electromembrane process.

[00114] For example, the second composition can be further treated in order to increase acid concentration. For example such treatment can be carried out by a dehydration membrane process, a reverse osmosis membrane process, heating or any known suitable method to increase acid concentration. For example, the acidic composition can be treated so as to remove at least 75, at least 80, at least 85, at least 90 or at least 95 % of water.

[00115] For example, the acidic composition can be further treated in order to increase acid concentration. For example such treatment can be carried out by a dehydration membrane process, a reverse osmosis membrane process, heating or any known suitable method to increase acid concentration. For example, the acidic composition can be treated so as to remove at least 75, at least 80, at least 85, at least 90 or at least 95 % of water.

[00116] For example, once the second composition is obtained, and before completing a cycle and carrying out once more an acid roasting, some fresh H2S0 4 can be added.

[00117] For example, once the second composition is obtained, and before completing a cycle and carrying out once more an acid roasting, some fresh and concentrated H 2 S0 4 can be added. For example, such concentrated H 2 S0 4 can be about 90 % to about 98 %, about 93 % to about 98 %, or about 95 % to about 98 %.

[00118] For example, at least 70 % by weight of the water contained in the second composition can be removed therefrom, and about 30 to about 80 % by weight of lithium sulfate can be removed by crystallization from the second composition.

[00119] The lithium-containing material can vary and the selection of a suitable lithium-containing material can be made by a person skilled in the art. For example, the lithium-containing material can be a lithium-containing ore, a lithium-containing compound or a recycled industrial lithium-containing entity.

[00120] For example, the lithium-containing ore can comprise, consist essentially of or consist of a-spodumene, β-spodumene, lepidolite, pegmatite, petalite, eucryptite, amblygonite, hectorite, smectite, jadarite, a clay or a mixture thereof. For example, the lithium-containing ore can comprise, consist essentially of or consist of β-spodumene or jadarite. For example, the lithium- containing ore can comprise, consist essentially of or consist of β-spodumene.

[00121] For example, the lithium-containing compound can comprise, consist essentially of or consist of lithium chloride, lithium sulfate, lithium bicarbonate, lithium carbonate, lithium nitrate, lithium acetate, lithium fluoride, lithium stearate, lithium citrate or a mixture thereof.

[00122] For example, the recycled industrial lithium-containing entity can be lithium-containing batteries, other lithium products or derivatives thereof.

[00123] The conditions to obtain the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound may vary and the selection of suitable conditions can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes comprising leaching an acid roasted lithium-containing material are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference.

[00124] For example, in the methods of the present disclosure, the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material can be leached with water to obtain the aqueous composition comprising the lithium compound.

[00125] For example, the roasting and the leaching can be carried out in a single apparatus. For example, the roasting can be carried out in a first apparatus and the leaching can be carried out in a second apparatus. It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that using a first apparatus for roasting and a second apparatus for leaching may, for example, result in useful control of the concentration of the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound. Mixing the lithium-containing material with the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate can be carried out in the first apparatus or in another apparatus.

[00126] It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that impurities may be found in lithium-containing materials which may, for example, be leached under the conditions suitable to obtain the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound in the method for extracting lithium from a lithium-containing material of the present disclosure. Accordingly, the method for extracting lithium from a lithium-containing material can further comprise purification of the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound so- obtained from the method. The selection of suitable purification conditions can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes comprising the purification of an aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference.

[00127] For example, in the methods for extracting lithium from a lithium- containing material of the present disclosure, the lithium-containing material can further comprise a leachable metal or non-metallic impurity and the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound can be further treated under conditions suitable to remove at least a portion of the leachable metal impurity from the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound. The term "leachable metal impurity" as used herein refers to a metal other than lithium which is present in the lithium-containing material and which can be co-leached along with the lithium under the conditions suitable to obtain the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound in the methods of the present disclosure.

[00128] The term "leachable non-metallic impurity" as used herein refers to a non-metallic compound which is present in the lithium-containing material and which can be co-leached along with the lithium under the conditions suitable to obtain the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound in the methods of the present disclosure.

[00129] For example, the leachable metal impurity can comprise aluminum, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, zinc, manganese or a mixture thereof which can, for example co-leach along with the lithium under the conditions suitable to obtain the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound so as to obtain an aqueous composition further comprising a metal ion chosen from Al 3+ , Fe 2+ , Fe 3+ , Mg 2+ , Ca 2+ , Cr 2+ , Cr 3 *, Cr 6+ , Mn 2+ and a mixture thereof. [00130] For example, the term "leachable non-metallic impurity" can comprise metalloid such as silicium or silicon dioxide.

[00131] For example, the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound can be an aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate. For example, the aqueous composition comprising a lithium compound can be an aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate.

[00132] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium sulfate and the lithium bisulfate in the aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 9: 1 .

[00133] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium sulfate and the lithium bisulfate in the aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 19: 1 .

[00134] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium sulfate and the lithium bisulfate in the aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 99: 1 .

[00135] The present disclosure further includes a method for preparing lithium hydroxide, the method comprising:

obtaining a first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate by a method for extracting lithium from a lithium- containing material according to a method of the present disclosure; and

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide.

[00136] The conditions for at least partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide may vary, and the selection of suitable conditions can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes for preparing lithium hydroxide comprising submitting a composition comprising a lithium compound to an electromembrane process are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2014/138933 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide"; International Patent Application No. PCT/CA2014/000769 filed on October 23, 2014 entitled "Processes and systems for preparing lithium hydroxide"; and PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference.

[00137] For example, during the electromembrane process, pH of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition can be acidic. The selection of suitable acidic conditions can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes for preparing lithium hydroxide comprising submitting a composition comprising a lithium compound to an electromembrane process under acidic conditions are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2014/138933 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide" and International Patent Application No. PCT/CA2014/000769 filed on October 23, 2014 entitled "Processes and systems for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference.

[00138] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, the pH can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 2 to about 4.

[00139] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, the pH can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 2 or of about 1.

[00140] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, and conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to lithium hydroxide can proceed until the pH of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition has a value of from about 0.1 to about 2.0, about 0.2 to about 1 .5, or about 0.4 to about 1 .0. [00141] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, and conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to lithium hydroxide can proceed until the pH of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition has a value of from about 0.5 to about 0.7.

[00142] For example, during the electromembrane process, pH of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate composition can be basic. The selection of suitable basic conditions can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure. For example, processes for preparing lithium hydroxide comprising submitting a composition comprising a lithium compound to an electromembrane process under basic conditions are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference.

[00143] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, the pH of the feed composition can be at least at a value of about 10 to about 12.

[00144] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, the pH can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 10 to about 12.

[00145] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, the pH can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 10.5 to about 12.5.

[00146] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process, the pH can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 1 1 to about 12.

[00147] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; a three- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process; or a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process. For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process. For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a three- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process. For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a combination of a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process. The selection of a suitable electromembrane process can be made by a person skilled in the art in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure.

[00148] For example, processes for preparing lithium hydroxide comprising submitting a composition comprising a lithium compound to a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process are disclosed in PCT Application WO 2014/138933 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide" and PCT Application WO 2013/159194 entitled "Processes for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of each of which are incorporated by reference.

[00149] For example, processes for preparing lithium hydroxide comprising submitting a composition comprising a lithium compound to a combination of a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and a three-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process are disclosed in International Patent Application No. PCT/CA2014/000769 filed on October 23, 2014 entitled "Processes and systems for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which are incorporated by reference. [00150] Accordingly, the present application also includes a method for preparing lithium hydroxide further comprising:

submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process such as a two compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process under suitable conditions to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and

using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate in a method for preparing lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material of the present application.

[00151] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate and the lithium sulfate in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 3:2.

[00152] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate and the lithium sulfate in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 9: 1 .

[00153] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate and the lithium sulfate in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 19: 1 .

[00154] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate and the lithium sulfate in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least about 99: 1 .

[00155] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate and the lithium sulfate in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be from about 3:2 to about 99: 1 .

[00156] For example, the molar ratio between the lithium bisulfate and the lithium sulfate in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be from about 3:2 to about 19: 1 .

[00157] For example, the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can comprise lithium bisulfate and the method can further comprise adding a base to a portion of the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate under conditions suitable to convert at least a portion of the lithium bisulfate to lithium sulfate. It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that bleeding a portion of the second aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate and optionally lithium sulfate from the circulation of a method of the present disclosure and adding a base to convert at least a portion of the lithium bisulfate to lithium sulfate may, for example allow for re-equilibration of stock if excess lithium bisulfate is present in the method. The selection of suitable conditions for converting the at least a portion of the lithium bisulfate to lithium sulfate can be made by a person skilled in the art. For example, the base can comprise calcium hydroxide, calcium oxide and/or calcium carbonate.

[00158] For example, in the methods of the present disclosure, calcium sulfate can also be obtained. For example, lithium bisulfate can be converted into a calcium sulfate precipitate, that can eventually be purified by means of a filtration.

[00159] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process voltage can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 4 V to about 5 V, about 3 V to about 6 V about 2 V to about 8 V, about 2.5 V to about 4 V..

[00160] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process voltage can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 4.5 V.

[00161] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process LiOH current efficiency can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 30 to about 50 %, about 30 to about 40 %, 50% to about 95%, about 55% to about 90% or about 65% to about 85%. [00162] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process LiOH current efficiency can be at least substantially maintained at a value of about 75%.

[00163] For example, lithium concentration in the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 20 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution, of from about 10 g lithium per liter solution to about 20 g lithium per liter of solution, of from about 5 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution, or of from about 12 g lithium per liter solution to about 18 g lithium per liter of solution.

[00164] For example, lithium concentration in the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 30 g lithium per liter solution to about 33 g lithium per liter of solution.

[00165] For example, lithium concentration in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 10 g lithium per liter solution to about 20 g lithium per liter of solution or from about 20 g lithium per liter solution to about 40 g lithium per liter of solution.

[00166] For example, lithium concentration in the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be at least substantially maintained at a value of from about 30 g lithium per liter solution to about 33 g lithium per liter of solution.

[00167] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process the lithium hydroxide can be produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a concentration of lithium hydroxide of about 2 M to about 7 M, of about 2 M to about 4 M, of about 1.5 M to about 4.5 M, of about 1 .5 M to about 7.5 M or of about 2.5 M to about 3.5 M. [00168] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process the lithium hydroxide can be produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a concentration of lithium hydroxide of about 3.0 M.

[00169] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process the lithium hydroxide can be produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a temperature of about 40°C to about 100°C or about 60°C to about 100°Cor of about 75°C to about 95°C.

[00170] For example, the electromembrane process can comprise a two- compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process and during the two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process the lithium hydroxide can be produced in an aqueous solution that is at least substantially maintained at a temperature of about 80°C.

[00171] The methods of the present disclosure can be operated, for example as a batch method. Alternatively, the methods of the present disclosure can be operated as a semi-continuous method or a continuous method.

[00172] For example, the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can be submitted to a two-compartment monopolar or bipolar membrane electrolysis process under suitable conditions to obtain the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate can then, for example, be used in a method for preparing lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material of the present application; the lithium bisulfate roasted, lithium-containing material so prepared can then be used, for example, in a method for extracting lithium from a lithium-containing material of the present application to obtain a third aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate which can be submitted to an electromembrane process; etc. so as to be operated, for example, as a semi-continuous method or a continuous method.

[00173] For example, the method can comprise submitting the first aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate to an electromembrane process under suitable conditions for partial conversion of the lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 30 to about 70 %, of about 30 to about 60 %, about 40 to about 55 %, about 45 to about 55 %, about 40 to about 50 % or about 45 to about 60 % and to obtain a second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate; and using the second aqueous composition comprising lithium sulfate and/or lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture.

[00174] Without wishing to be bound by such a theory, the Applicant considers that lithium bisulfate, for example, when present in a composition of the present disclosure, can act as a buffer during an electromembrane process, thereby helping for the preparation of lithium hydroxide. For example, such a buffer allows for increasing current efficiency when preparing lithium hydroxide.

[00175] It was observed that when concentrating and/or removing water from the second composition (after the electromembrane process), it was possible to substantially selectively precipitate lithium sulfate (in the form of lithium sulfate monohydrate) and it was also possible to separate at least a portion of lithium sulfate from the acid (sulfuric acid). Alternatively, it is possible to substantially selectively precipitate lithium sulfate anhydrous.

[00176] It will be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that one or more parameters of the methods of the present disclosure such as but not limited to pH, temperature, current density, voltage, current efficiency and concentration can be monitored, for example by means known in the art. The selection of a suitable means for monitoring a particular parameter in a method of the present disclosure can be made by a person skilled in the art. Such parameters can also be maintained and/or changed by a person skilled in the art, for example in light of their common general knowledge and with reference to the present disclosure.

EXAMPLES

Example 1 : Sodium bisulfate roasting tests

[00177] Seven β-spodumene bisulfate roasting tests and one standard acid roasting test were performed. Objectives of the tests included to ensure that the spodumene phase transition occurred during baking at 1050°C; to collect test data for comparison with bisulfate roasting results; and to study the effect of the temperature and/or NaHS0 4 concentration on the bisulfate baking test results.

[00178] The reaction pulp for sulfatation was prepared by mixing β- spodumene with a 30, 50 or 100% excess of the desired sulfate agent over the stoichiometric requirement to the lithium amount in the β-spodumene.

[00179] The acidic mixture was then baked in a muffle furnace under standard conditions using a furnace temperature of 250°C or 300°C for a baking time at the target temperature of 30 minutes and a total baking time of 1 .5-2 hours. The roasted β-spodumene was then subjected to a water leach to determine the extent of Li conversion. The bisulfate and acid roasting test results for trials using various parameters are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1

1 J Sodium bisulfate was added at an excess of 30% and sulphuric acid was added at a 30% excess to the bisulfate solution before roasting.

[00180] In table 1 , sodium bisulfate was used as reagent to better distinguish between the alkali added as reagent and the lithium extracted from the B-spodumene and converted into lithium and sodium sulfate mixture.

[00181] The water leach tests of the bisulfate and acid roasting tests reported in Table 1 showed that the highest Li% extraction of 97.4% was achieved in bisulfate roasting test T7 when a mixture of sulphuric acid and sodium bisulfate solution was used as the sulfate reagent in the roasting process.

[00182] A 94.3% Li extraction in bisulfate roasting test T6 was achieved using bisulfate as the sole sulfate reagent in 100% stoichiometric excess.

Example 2: Lithium bisulfate/sodium bisulfate roasting tests

[00183] Studies were carried out using a mixture of LiHS0 4 , NaHS0 4 and H 2 S0 4 as a sulfate reagent using the procedure described in Example 1 . The acidic mixture was then baked in a muffle furnace under standard conditions using a solution at 70°C, a furnace temperature of 250°C to 300°C for a baking time at the target temperature of 30 to 60 minutes and a total baking time of 1 .5-2.5 hours. The roasted β-spodumene was then subjected to a water leach to determine the extent of Li conversion. The bisulfate tests results for trials using various parameters are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 [1]

Bisulfate roasting LiHS04 +

40% H2S04 30 250 31800 87.3 test T19 NaHS04

Bisulfate roasting LiHS04 +

50% H2S04 30 250 33800 93.7 test T20 NaHS04

Bisulfate roasting LiHS04 +

55% H2S04 30 250 32500 90.9 test T21 NaHS04

Bisulfate roasting LiHS04 +

60% H2S04 30 250 30400 94.3 test T22 NaHS04

m A mixture of LiHS0 4 (85%) and NaHS0 4 (15%) at a 1 : 1 ratio to Li in the ore was used. Sulphuric acid was then added in a stoichiometric excess as indicated.

[00184] The extraction values in Table 2 are calculated based on the Li content in the water leach residue and the initial feed. It is clear from the above results that Li extraction increased with the amount of acid used. In table 2, sodium bisulfate was added to lithium bisulfate at 15% mass ratio in order to simulate the first composition that would be obtained during the alkali extraction from a typical beta-spodumene concentrate obtained from alpha- spodumene ore extraction.

Example 3: Cumulative Current Efficiency vs Charge Passed conversion of first composition into alkali Hydroxide Production tests

[00185] Some tests have been made and are described in PCT/CA2014/000769 (hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety) regarding the use of a two-compartment membrane electrolysis cell for producing LiOH. The tests shown in PCT/CA2014/000769 at Figures 3A-D; Figures 4A-D; and Figures 5A-D have been cumulated and are shown in Figure 2 of the present disclosure. Thus, the parameters of the tests shown in Figures 2 and 3 of the present disclosure are identical to the tests made in PCT/CA2014/000769. In Figure 2 of the present disclosure, it can be seen that the results for 4 kA/m 2 are lower than expected (in terms of current efficiency) when compared to the results obtained for 3 kA/m 2 and 5 kA/m 2 . These results for 4 kA/m 2 are probably due to a technical failure during the tests. However, as it can be seen in Figure 3 (further tests done with the same parameters than in Figure 2 ) of the present disclosure, the results for 4 kA/m 2 seems to be in accordance with those of 3 kA/m 2 and 5 kA/m 2 . Based on those results shown in Figures 2 and 3 of the present disclosure, it can be one embodiment of the present disclosure to carry out the conversion of lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide at a conversion of about 30 to about 60 %, about 40 to about 60 %, about 40 to about 50 %, about 40 to about 55 %, or about 45 to about 55 % and then use the remaining composition (second aqueous composition) comprising lithium bisulfate as the aqueous composition comprising lithium bisulfate for mixing with the lithium-containing material and to obtain the mixture to be roasted.

Example 4: Lithium bisulfate/sodium bisulfate roasting tests with electrochemically generated sulfuric acid hydrogen cations

[00186] Studies were carried out using a mixture of LiHS0 4 , NaHS0 4 and H 2 S0 4 as a sulfate reagent using the procedure described in Example 1 . The acidic mixture was then baked in a muffle furnace under standard conditions using a furnace temperature of 250°C for a baking time at the target temperature of 30 minutes and a total baking time of 1 .5-2.75 hours. The roasted β-spodumene was then subjected to a water leach to determine the extent of Li conversion. The bisulfate tests results for trials using various parameters are summarized in Table 3.

Table 3

[1] A mixture of 80% bisulfate (LiHS0 4 (85%) and NaHS0 4 (15%)) and 20% hydrogen cation from sulfuric acid on a molar basis was used at a 1 : 1 ratio to Li in the ore. This mixture is simulating the second composition that would be obtained from the electromembrane process with a conversion of lithium sulfate into lithium hydroxide of about 60%. Sulphuric acid was then added in a stoichiometric excess as indicated.

[00187] The extraction values in Table 3 are calculated based on the Li content in the water leach residue and the initial feed. It is clear from the above results that compared to Li extraction results obtained in Example 2, sulfuric acid generated electrochemically is proportionally reducing the required sulfuric acid excess.

Example 5: Removing water and lithium sulfate from process solution

[00188] Following the roasting tests campaign based on various acidic mixtures simulating the second composition that would be obtained from the electromembrane process, further testing was made in order to remove as much water as possible from the aforementioned composition before mixing with the lithium-containing material.

[00189] When heating the mixture, water is selectively removed by evaporation. When the mixture from which water was removed reaches a boiling temperature of about 1 18°C, it was observed that a precipitate forms. Figure 5 and 6 are XRD analysis of the precipitated crystals recovered from this process. Figure 5 is resulting from an analysis of the precipitate recovered from test 07A. Figure 5 shows that when precipitate forms at a temperature below about 125°C to 130°C, its chemical composition is essentially lithium sulfate monohydrate. Thus, lithium sulfate monohydrate is substantially selectively precipitated and/or substantially selectively formed. Figure 6 is resulting from an analysis of the precipitate recovered from test 04. It shows that when precipitation is carried out at temperatures of at least about 125°C to 130°C, at least a portion of the precipitate is dehydrated, thereby forming lithium sulfate anhydrous. Continuing such heating can lead to substantially precipitating and/or forming lithium sulfate anhydrous.

[00190] It was also observed that, contrarily to the expected behavior of substantially pure lithium sulfate in aqueous solution, when the concentrated acidic mixture is cooled, the recovery of lithium sulfate monohydrate is increased dramatically. As shown in Tables 5 and 6, presenting data generated by two independent laboratories, about 35% to about 80% of the lithium sulfate can be separated as lithium sulfate monohydrate, for example, depending on the temperature at which the solution is cooled. Figure 7, based on data in Table 5, shows lithium sulfate recovery efficiency at the separation step as a function of water removed at atmospheric pressure on a mass basis. It is apparent from this figure and from the final boiling temperatures in Table 5 that most of the lithium sulfate precipitates at a temperature below 130°C in its monohydrate form.

[00191] It appears that this phenomenon, unanticipated from the very sparse literature about acidic lithium sulfate aqueous solutions, represent an operational advantage in the context of the present disclosure. Indeed, it can be recycled directly to the electromembrane process which benefit from this very high purity or substantially pure raw material addition to the main stream coming from the lithium-containing material.

[00192] From these tests, it was determined that the second composition resulting from test 07A (composition A) should be tested for the roasting of lithium containing material.

[00193] Based on this composition, a second evaporation step was tested (07B) in order to remove more water. Test 07A was further evaporated until reaching a boiling temperature of about 200°C (composition B).

Table 5

Table 6 [00194] The person skilled in the art will understand that in regards to the energetic costs associated with the recovery of lithium sulfate at different temperatures, a tradeoff as to be made between the water removed, the lithium recycled at the electromembrane process and the efficiency of the roasting process downstream. For example, under certain conditions the costs related to heating may be significantly high and therefore, filtration will advantageously be carried out at higher temperature in order to be able to recover as much heat as possible. However, when energy costs permitting, it is possible to carry out the solid-liquid temperature at a lower temperature in order to precipitate a higher percentage of lithium sulfate.

Example 6: Roasting tests with treated by-product

[00195] Studies were carried out using composition A and composition B determined in Example 5 as a sulfate reagent using the procedure described in Example 1 . The acidic mixture was then baked in a muffle furnace under standard conditions using a furnace temperature of 250°C for a baking time at the target temperature of 30 minutes. The roasted β-spodumene was then subjected to a water leach to determine the extent of Li conversion. The roasting tests results for trials using various compositions and stoichiometric excess are summarized in Table 7.

Table 7

[00196] The extraction values in Table 7 are calculated based on the Li content in the water leach residue and the initial feed.

[00197] It is clear from the above results that compared to Li extraction results obtained in Example 2 and 4, composition A shows similar performances while having the benefits of recycling directly lithium sulfate to the electromembrane process as mentioned in Example 5.

[00198] It is clear from the above results that compared to Li extraction results obtained in Example 2 and 4, composition B shows better performances while having the benefits of recycling directly lithium sulfate to the electromembrane process as mentioned in Example 5.

Example 6 - Tests made with a Hydrogen Depolarized Anode (HDA)

[00199] Figure 9 is a plot showing cell voltage for DSA-02 anode and HDA anode as a function of time at various current densities, including the voltage difference between both types of anodes. At open circuit voltage (OCV) and at 200 mA/cm2, voltage difference is close to 1 V. Difference decreases as current density is increased, likely due (without wishing to be bound to such a theory) to additional resistive voltage loss because of non optimal design of the MEA assembly of the HDA cell configuration.

[00200] The difference in the thermodynamic half-cell potentials may provide a savings of 1 .23 V on the required cell voltage (greater savings may be realized due to different kinetics of the two reactions - it can also be said that greater savings may be realized due to lower kinetics overvoltage for the hydrogen oxidation reaction). Further, hydrogen produced at the cathode could be recycled back to the anode and the incorporation of a hydrogen depolarized anode (HDA) removes the use of the DSA-02 anode.

DSA-02 anode reaction:

2 H 2 0(l) 0 2 (g) + 4 H+ (aq) + 4 e- E° = 1 .23 V

HDA anode reaction:

H2(g) 2 H+ (aq) + 2 e- E° = 0.00 V

[00201] A typical arrangement for these systems is shown in Figure 8, where the hydrogen gas is fed in a third compartment behind the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), the hydrogen oxidation occurs at the surface of the platinum, and the proton diffuses through the membrane (as part of the MEA) into the lithium sulfate electrolyte. This had SS cathode/2 M LiOH/N324/Li2S04/MEA/H2/Pt current collector

[00202] The DSA-02 arrangement was similar to the membrane electrolysis cell as shown in Figure 2 of PCT Application WO 2015/058288 entitled "Processes and systems for preparing lithium hydroxide", the contents of which is incorporated by reference.

[00203] Figure 10 is a plot showing cell voltage for DSA-02 anode and Pt mesh anode for cell configuration with H 2 flow with feed as a function of time at various current densities, including the comparison with HDA anode. Pt mesh with and without H2 bubbling with feed had the same voltage as DSA-02. Further tests and experiments will be carried out with such a configuration.

[00204] Figure 1 1 is a plot showing cell voltage for DSA-02 anode and Pt anode for cell configuration with H2 flow from the back of anode as a function of time at various current densities, , including the comparison with HDA anode. Pt anode had the same voltage as DSA-02. Further tests and experiments will be carried out with such a configuration.

[00205] All publications, patents and patent applications are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference in its entirety. Where a term in the present disclosure is found to be defined differently in a document incorporated herein by reference, the definition provided herein is to serve as the definition for the term.