Plymouth Minerals to maintain lithium recoveries
An update from Plymouth Minerals (ASX: PLH) regarding the San Jose lithium-tin project located in Spain has indicated that materials sourced from the deposit can be leached using both acid digest and sulphate calcine ‘front-end’ processing methods.
This is significant in terms of the company being able to achieve optimum recoveries while potentially lowering input costs.
Test work using conventional sulphate calcining/roasting techniques have achieved 95% lithium extraction from the host rock into the liquor. This was achieved at a 212 micron grinder size on non-beneficiating ore.
San Jose is a highly advanced lithium project, and a feasibility study completed in 1991 defined an open pit mining operation and a process flow sheet which produced lithium carbonate through acid leach or sulphate calcined processing, historical data that supports this latest development.
PLH’s Managing Director, Adrian Byass highlighted the fact that both are amenable to industry standard ‘back-end’ precipitation methods used to produce lithium carbonate, and both leach processes have historically been tested at San Jose with lithium carbonate having been produced in historic feasibility studies.
However, in the past, utilising a sulphuric acid flow sheet was considered the preferred method, due to readily available sulphuric acid in Western Spain. In parallel with the sulphuric acid process, PLH has been evaluating the sulphate calcined pathway to produce a final product of lithium carbonate, and management is buoyed by the latest results which included a maximum 97% lithium recovery.
Of course PLH does remain a speculative stock and investors should seek professional financial advice if considering this stock for their portfolio.
Results confirm historical work and point to potentially lower operating expenditure
Summing up the significance of this development, Byass said, “This result confirms historical work as we have two viable leach methods and industry standard precipitation, which is essentially the same as that employed by all hardrock and mineral producers”.
Byass said the company would now economically assess the impacts of process options and the potentially generous operating expenditure benefits enjoyed by sulphate calcining.
Ongoing process work will flow into the Mining Lease Application submission which outlines the mining, processing, economic modelling and marketing for a lithium-tin mine at San Jose.
This document has been prepared in collaboration with PLH’s local partner, Valoriza Mineria, a subsidiary of major listed Spanish construction company Sacyr.
PLH can earn up to 75% of San Jose by completing a feasibility study within four years, which should involve expenditure of approximately $6 million in staged increments.
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