The Ghana Minerals Commission has confirmed that a new mineral, lithium, has been discovered in the soils of Ghana.
The discovery was made in the Volta, Western and Ashanti regions.
According to the Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Kwaku Addai Antwi Boasiako, the discovery was made during a nationwide exploration by the Minerals Commission.
Mr. Boasiako however put a damper on earlier news reports that the discovery is in commercial quantities, saying the commission is still in the process of exploring the commercial value of the mineral ahead of comprehensive exploration activities in the identified areas.
Lithium is a silvery-white to grey alkali metal with a metallic luster when fresh, but it is also highly reactive and in air, quickly tarnishes to a dull silvery-grey and then black. It is the lightest metal, the least dense of all the elements that are not gases at 20 degrees Celsius and can float on water.
It is a mineral that is extensively used in the automobile industry. “The country can play a leading role in electronic car business if the mineral is discovered in commercial quantity,” Mr. Kwaku Addai Antwi Boasiako told Accra based Joy FM.
Lithium is also alloyed with aluminum, copper, manganese, and cadmium to make high-performance alloys for aircraft.
The CEO of the Minerals Commission said the commission is set to put up 14 new satellite stations to monitor the discovery sites and deter illegal miners from encroaching on them.
“…if we [authorities] don’t block it and give it the prominence it deserves, then we are going to lose it because this is the first time of hearing that the Volta Region is as good as any other region in terms of minerals”, he said.
He also said the commission is keen on publishing the mineral map of the country so individual consigners can apply to take charge of them.
Both lithium metal and its compounds have many uses. Lithium stearate is mixed with oils to make all-purpose and high-temperature lubricants. Lithium hydroxide is used to absorb carbon dioxide in space vehicles
Bahnmetall consists of lead-containing 0.04% lithium, 0.7% calcium and 0.6% sodium is harder than pure lead and was used for railroad car bearings in Germany.
Compounds such as LiAlH4 and organolithium reagents (LiMe, LiPh, etc.) are very important as reagents in organic chemistry
Lithium metal has the highest specific heat of any solid element and it is sometimes used as battery anode material (high electrochemical potential). Lithium compounds are used in dry cells and storage batteries.
Lithium is used in the manufacture of special high strength glasses and ceramics sometimes, lithium-based compounds such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) are used as drugs to treat manic-depressive disorders.