Jadarite

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Jadarite
Natural History Center Svilajnac 16.JPG
Jadarite on display at the Natural History Center in Svilajnac, Serbia
General
Category Nesosilicate
Formula
(repeating unit)
LiNaSiB3O7OH
Strunz classification 9.AJ.40
Crystal system Monoclinic
Crystal class Prismatic (2/m)
(same H-M symbol)
Space group P21/n
Unit cell a = 6.816(2), b = 13.789(2)
c = 6.758(2) [Å]; β = 111.08(2)°; Z = 4
Identification
Formula mass 219.46 g/mol
Color White
Crystal habit As microscopic anhedral grains
Fracture Irregular to conchoidal
Tenacity Brittle
Mohs scale hardness 4 - 5
Luster Dull
Streak White
Diaphaneity Translucent to opaque
Specific gravity 2.45
Optical properties Biaxial
Ultraviolet fluorescence Weak pink to orange under UV
References [1][2]

Jadarite is a white, earthy monoclinic silicate mineral,[1] whose chemical formula is LiNaSiB3O7(OH) or Na2OLi2O(SiO2)2(B2O3)3H2O.

Discovery and classification[edit]

It was discovered in November 2006, in drill core from the Jadar Valley (Serbian: Јадар) in Serbia, from which it is named. The find was located 10 km (6.2 mi) southwest of the Cer mountain.[3] It was confirmed as a new mineral after scientists at the Natural History Museum in London and the National Research Council of Canada conducted tests on it.[4] Exploration geologists from Rio Tinto Exploration discovered the mineral as small rounded nodules in drill core, and after being unable to match it with previously known minerals enlisted the expertise of Chris Stanley, from the Natural History Museum, who later described it as being unique to mineralogy.[5] Findings were originally located in the villages of Jarebice and Slatina[6] and later in Draginac.[7]

Findings are important for several reasons. Due to its usage in the technologies of the future, lithium becomes more and more important and the major deposits of the ultra light metal are located in two neighboring countries, Chile and Argentina. That way, political instability or natural disaster in that region might jeopardize the lithium extraction so the diversification of the production is desirable.

Jadarite in fiction[edit]

Jadarite's chemical formula is very close to the formula ("sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide with fluorine") invented for the fictional substance kryptonite in the 2006 film Superman Returns. This coincidence attracted mass-media attention, and jadarite was covered by ABC, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, and Yahoo, among others.

The new mineral, unlike the fictional material in the movie, does not contain fluorine, does not emit electromagnetic radiation, and is white rather than green (although, in the Superman comics, there is a white colored variety of kryptonite). In all other respects the chemistry matches that of the rock containing kryptonite in the movie. The jadarite fluoresces a pinkish-orange color when exposed to UV light.[8]

Future[edit]

It is estimated that there are 200 million tons of the lithium borate ore, which would make the future Jadar mines one of the world's largest lithium deposits, supplying 10% of the world's demand for lithium.[9] Of that, the Lower Jadar ore deposit has 114.5 million tons with an average content of the profitable components of 1,8% of lithium oxide and 13,1% of boron oxide.

Lithium is the most important element in the production of the batteries for the electric and hybrid cars, cell phones and laptops, while boron is used in the production of glass, ceramics, light alloys, materials for the thermal insulation, detergents, wood protection materials, fireworks and rocket fuels.[6]

In May 2017, Rio Tinto announced that the Jadar area has one of the largest lithium deposits in the world, lifting Lower Jadar's deposits to 136 million tons. The company stated that the ore deposit's mineral resource estimation confirmed the quality of the mineral. Extraction is scheduled to begin in 2023, with a projected underground exploitability of 50 years. As of May 2017, construction of a mine has not begun. A jadarite processing plant next to the mines, which will process the ore into lithium carbonate and boric acid, is also planned. The prototype facility has been constructed by the scientists from Serbia, Australia and USA and is being tested in Melbourne. Testing includes the processing of the jadarite concentrate.[10] On 25 July 2017 a memorandum was signed by the company and the Government of Serbia, represented by the prime minister Ana Brnabić, which confirmed the year 2023 as the starting year, but also revealed that only now the working groups will be formed, studies will be conducted and the process of issuing the permits will begin. The entire enterprise was named "Project Jadar".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jadarite". mindat.org. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
  2. ^ Webmineral data
  3. ^ Tanjug (25 May 2009), "Jadarski kriptonit nije na prodaju", Politika (in Serbian) 
  4. ^ Whitfield, Pamela. LiNaSiB3O7(OH) a novel structure of the new borosilicate mineral jadarite determined from laboratory powder diffraction data Acta Crystallographica Section B Structural Science, International Union of Crystallography, DOI 10.1107/S0108768107010130, ISSN 0567-7408. (abstract).
  5. ^ 'Kryptonite' discovered in mine. BBC News
  6. ^ a b S.Trifunović (18 June 2009). "Jadarit još čeka" (in Serbian). Politika. 
  7. ^ Aleksandar Apostolovski (17 April 2010). "Supermen oboren u Jadru" (in Serbian). Politika. 
  8. ^ "Kryptonit är är inte bara påhitt" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  9. ^ S.P. (22 November 2016). ""Rio Tinto" otvorila info centar: Sve informacije o najčuvenijem projektu "Jadar"" (in Serbian). Blic. 
  10. ^ Aleksandar Mikavica (20 May 2017), "Jadarit - novo srpsko zlato", Politika (in Serbian), p. 13 
  11. ^ "Proizvodnja litijuma od 2023.", Politika (in Serbian), p. 10, 25 July 2017