Lithium Australia has recorded positive plant uptake of micronutrients in controlled field tests for its spent alkaline battery waste fertiliser blends by Western Australia’s broadacre pastoralists. The company’s 90 per cent-owned subsidiary, Envirostream Australia is incorporating slow-release zinc and manganese into conventional mono-ammonium phosphate fertilisers used in WA’s Wheatbelt.
ASX-listed Lithium Australia has recorded positive plant uptake of micronutrients in controlled field tests for its spent alkaline battery waste fertiliser blends. The field trial results, recorded by WA’s broadacre pastoralists, is ongoing near Kojonup in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt approximately 260km southeast of Perth where the local soil is traditionally deficient in phosphorous.
Envirostream Australia, the company’s 90 per cent-owned subsidiary, is incorporating slow-release zinc and manganese into conventional mono-ammonium phosphate, or “MAP” fertilisers. It is testing both the slow release nature of its product and the benefits of recycled manganese and zinc as a micro-nutrient supplement for the pastoralists in a region with soils that also lack these two critical nutrients.
The company commenced the wheat-seeding trial at selected farms near Kojonup back in June and Envirostream said it had seen good grain-filling outcomes ahead of the planned harvesting of the micronutrient-treated crops in mid-December.
Lithium Australia Managing Director and Envirostream director, Adrian Griffin said: "The utilisation of manganese and zinc derived from spent alkaline batteries, shows immense promise as a micronutrient for broad acre farming. The visual results we have seen in our Western Australian field trials speak for themselves.”
“Disposal of spent batteries is a rapidly escalating global problem. Successful applications of this type provide a great environmental solution and beneficial outcome for Western Australian agricultural. Envirostream is well placed to provide Australia with a far superior environmental alternative to sending spent batteries to landfill."
Whilst rapid-release micronutrient products are commercially available in the northern hemisphere, Lithium Australia said Envirostream’s products are slow-release variants that are tailored specifically for WA’s broadacre farming needs. WA’s Wheatbelt region produces around 14 million tonnes of grain annually.
Lithium Australia and its recycling division, Envirostream, have developed its zinc and manganese-based micronutrient supplement from mixed metal dust gleaned from spent, single-use, disposable alkaline batteries. This product is a part of the company’s overall commitment to a “circular” battery economy.
The mixed metal dust is recovered from its battery recycling facility in Victoria and agglomerated with mono-ammonium phosphate fertiliser to deliver the slow-release product used in the field trials.
The company’s management, which deliberately selected a site containing low pH soils deficient in zinc, manganese and phosphate, said it has already engaged with fertiliser manufacturers to develop a commercial market for its product.
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