Lithium Australia locks down patent for new processing tech
Lithium Australia has received a notice of acceptance from IP Australia, all but ensuring that the patent applications for its “LieNA” lithium processing technology will be approved. The company patents will provide for 20 years of protection relating to its intellectual property.
The company’s LieNA processing technology is set to revolutionise the lithium industry by increasing lithium recoveries by more than 85% from fine spodumene waste ore that mostly ends up as tailings streams.
With up to 50% of processed lithium ending up in waste or tailings dams, Lithium Australia is looking to commercialise these those “waste” streams via its LieNA technology.
Lithium Australia said that it expects the patents to be granted in the next few months and its Managing Director Adrian Griffin said: "The ability to process fine spodumene that would otherwise never enter the supply chain represents a real opportunity.”
“Processing such material can reduce the environmental impact of hard-rock lithium mining and improve sustainability with no additional mining costs or footprint”.
“Importantly, application of LieNA could not only change the economics of spodumene production but also provide a means of producing lithium-ion batteries that includes fewer processing steps and better quality control.”
LieNA’s stablemate technology, SiLeach, is also designed to extract lithium from lower-grade ores and waste mica minerals, whilst also dispensing with the need for expensive, energy-hungry roasting.
The two technologies, whilst achieving similar outcomes, operate differently in terms of their processes.
Lithium Australia has also developed a method of refining intermediate lithium phosphate that drastically reduces the amount of potassium, sodium, sulphur and other contaminants to produce a refined product with more than 99.9% lithium phosphate content.
With the green wave washing across the globe, the environmental movement looks here to stay and Lithium Australia’s board looks to be sitting firmly on the crest of that wave.
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