Lithium Australia’s Sileach process has given its best indication yet of its breakthrough potential with the latest trials producing 99.8% Lithium Carbonate without the need to roast concentrate. The result was also achieved using a sub-economic grade of just 3.4% Li20 highlighting the potential of Sileach to bring low-grade Lithium deposits to market.
Lithium Australia’s Sileach processing technology has proven it can produce almost pure Lithium Carbonate without roasting in the latest trials by ANSTO Minerals, a division of the Federal Government’s Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
The latest trial examined the effectiveness of Sileach in processing Lithium Carbonate feed solutions generated from uneconomic grade spodumene concentrates from Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora deposit in WA.
A concentrate with a sub-commercial grade of just 3.4% Li2O was deliberately selected to demonstrate Sileach’s much-talked-about potential to economically extract Lithium from low-grade deposits.
The result was a Lithium Carbonate with a high purity of 99.8%, which, according to management is suitable for use in the burgeoning Lithium-ion battery manufacturing business.
The success of the latest trial shows Sileach can not only extract Lithium at much lower costs than conventional processes that rely on high-energy roasting, but it can also do this from ore that would otherwise have been considered to be uneconomic.
Lithium Australia Managing Director, Adrian Griffin, said: “The ability of Sileach to cope with high levels of contamination in the spodumene concentrate, and still produce a high-purity Lithium Carbonate, is a great achievement. The ability to produce by-products that are not available with conventional processing of spodumene shows great potential.”
The success of the trial will also be welcomed by Pilgangoora’s 100% owner, Pilbara Minerals, who last year joined forces with Lithium Australia to investigate the potential of Sileach to move into a downstream processing joint venture.
The company has set a timeline for a commitment to invest in a large-scale pilot plant by the end of 2017.
In other news Lithium Australia announced today they had commenced preparations to drill test their Ravensthorpe Lithium project about 420km south east of Perth.
Managing Director Adrian Griffin said, “Lithium Australia recognises the significant potential of the Ravensthorpe lithium province which includes the operating Mt Cattlin lithium mine. This project was our first exposure to lithium exploration and we look forward to a positive outcome from the drilling campaign.”