RS1: The Lithium Triangle
Kangsu Kong was a landscape architecture designer before entering Royal College of Art in 2019. He got his master’s degree of Landscape Architecture in Nanjing Forestry University in China from 2013-2015. After graduation, he worked as a designer in Jiangsu Branch of China Academy of Building Research Co.,LTD, and now is working as the deputy director of Landscape Institute. His main research direction is rural and municipal landscape. In 2019, he got the full scholarship from the Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation Scholarship and began to study the master degree of Environmental Architecture in Royal College of Art.
He was in MA Environmental Architecture Studio – Lithium Triangle Group during RCA study in 2019-2021, which focused on lithium mining extraction there. He researched environmental changes and lithium-brine extraction’s environmental impacts in Huatacondo and Tulor-Beter in Chile at first term. Then in term two, he participated in a field trip in Guatacondo and Salar de Atacama in Chile to communicate with local people through interviews and try to understand the topography and environmental features through landscape recording. After the field trip to Chile, he worked as the group lead to do the environmental analysis report of Guatacondo and Tulor Beter for the local communities, which was based on the time-series research of environmental parameters. And he also designed the sustainable tourist routes for Tulor Beter, which was considered as one of local communities’ main concerned issues.
and facilitate a global space that focuses on water issues related to lithium mining and help to protect local communities’ water rights.
Case study of Atacama Salt Flat- Chile — The website page (https://kangsukong.wixsite.com/website/copy-of-atacama-salt-flat) shows the 3D interactive map, which contains the basic information of the case study topography, terrain, water lines, main surrounding communities, lithium mining areas, national protection areas, lagoons and other water bodies. Moreover, the page shows the video of the site’s mining expansions and my time-series landsat analysis-NDWI which shows the water content changes over the past 45 years (1975-2019).
Case study of Olaroz Salt Flat-Argentina — The website page shows the 3D interactive map of Olaroz Plateau (https://kangsukong.wixsite.com/website/copy-of-atacama-salt-flat-1), which contains the basic information of the case study topography, terrain, water lines, main surrounding communities, lithium mining areas, national protection areas, lagoons and other water bodies. Moreover, the page shows the video of the site’s mining expansions and my time-series landsat analysis-NDWI which shows the water content changes over the past 9 years (2012-2020).
Case study of Qaidam plateau- China — The website page (https://kangsukong.wixsite.com/website/copy-of-atacama-salt-flat-2) shows the 3D interactive map, which contains the basic information of the case study topography, terrain, water lines, main surrounding communities, lithium mining areas, national protection areas, lagoons and other water bodies. Moreover, the page shows the video of the site’s mining expansions and my time-series landsat analysis-NDWI which shows the water content changes over the past 35 years (1985-2020).
Medium:Mapping, 3D model, landsat image, video, photograph
Lithium interactive map — This image shows the main page and frame of the lithium map which contains lots of layers containing different information. The users can check the global information of lithium and we can help local communities to upload the water issues caused by the lithium-brine extraction. And the researchers can upload their related research on it.
1. Global critical mining deposit locations and names
2. Global lithium distribution
· Main countries and amount of reserves of each country
· Locations, names, photos of each lithium location
· Distribution of main different types of lithium (lithium brines, pegmatite lithium, clay lithium)
3. Global conflicts over lithium extractions
4. The website main study regions and areas, when you click on the icons, you can see the environmental changes of NDWI and NDVI of that area.
Medium:Website, code, interactive platform
Particle simulation of lithium-brine extraction - concept — The particle simulation of lithium extraction helps to see the water evaporation, the water extraction in pipelines from underground of the lithium extractions. Such a particle simulation can give website users an intuitive feeling, strong visual impacts of water waste and shift people’s normal view to lithium. This is the particle simulation of lithium brine extracted by pipelines from underground. The middle cylinder shows the lithium-brine liquid flow in pipeline and the last cylinder shows the particle simulation of the liquid flow, which can show the relationship between lithium and water. The blue represents water particles, the white means lithium ion particles and red particles are magnesium ions. The different movements of lithium brines of different countries also show the different viscosity, which means different concentrations of the brine that decide the amount of water that will be wasted before you get lithium. The composition of the brine includes many other ions, the magnesium ions are important to show because they mostly decide the efficiency of the process and the quality of the brine. Through the simulation, I wish we could see what happens when the extraction begins and the water is extracting.
Particle simulation of lithium extraction - different countries — This image shows the particle simulation of lithium extraction of global different countries (Chile, China） and the basic information of the lithium brine.
Particle simulation of lithium extraction - different countries — This image shows the particle simulation of lithium extraction of global different countries (Bolivia, Argentina，USA） and the basic information of the lithium brine.
Particle simulation of lithium evaporation — The video shows the particle simulations of the evaporation process of four lithium sites of different countries and the water waste calculation of the lithium brine of different countries, which could attract users’ attention and let people see the water particles are being evaporated to the air very clearly. Different speeds of particles of different countries means different evaporation rates which are also very important for the lithium-brine production. Next to the simulations, I also show the estimated water evaporation of each study area to show the water waste directly.
Its missions and how to achieve:
1. Build awareness and understanding the lithium which is called “clean energy metal’ [Provide and gather information on lithium, particle simulation of extraction process];
2. Provide scientific support to local communities, that are threatened by mining activities; [Our case studies and researches uploaded by our partners];
3. Networking between communities, researchers, and advocacy teams [by gathering reports and uploading to interactive map, providing forum, studies and researches from partners];
4. Archive of research on the environmental impacts of lithium extraction to provide scientific support to local communities [they can access a library of stuff];
5. Events being organized [activist and academic]
6. A space for the discussion of technologies for more sustainable extraction, production and consumption of minerals and metals [recycling, water-less extraction, etc].