Lithium Australia provides update on SiLeach lithium tech

By Meagan Evans. Published at Apr 27, 2018, in Mining

Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) today provided an update on the progress of its cutting edge SiLeach® plant design.

Its front-end engineering and design (FEED) activities are progressing as planned with undertakings including preliminary equipment specifications, material selection, infrastructure, assessment of contracting strategies, discussion with vendors selected for the supply of specialised equipment, and logistic and scheduling activities. The FEED study is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2018.

LIT also reported that detailed metallurgical test work is well advanced. The test work is designed to confirm final process design criteria in key areas of the flowsheet, including beneficiation, acid digestion and removal of impurities.

Additionally, test work aimed at optimising acid digestion and removal of impurities has been conducted at ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisations) Minerals' facility at Lucas Heights in NSW.

This led to lithium leach extractions of more than 90% for lower-grade leach-feed mica samples, an improvement on those earlier reported of 89% lithium on feed material of 4.5% Li2O. This result is significant in that higher recoveries have the potential to reduce capital costs in several unit processes of the LSPP. The work confirms that, overall, SiLeach® recoveries are expected to be in excess of 86% lithium compared to previously reported results of 82.8% lithium.

LIT Managing Director Adrian Griffin said, “The FEED study is advancing well and the improvements in lithium recovery are very encouraging. We're pleased with the increase in confidence around by-product recovery, which is an important aspect of the SiLeach® revenue stream – we believe it will allow us to produce lithium chemicals from minerals but at the same low unit cost as that of the brine producers.

“Preliminary discussions with potential off-take partners have been encouraging and our planned laboratory-scale pilot run at ANSTO, while aimed primarily at finalising the flowsheet for construction, will generate significant amounts of lithium chemical product for testing by potential off-take partners.”

It should be noted that LIT is an early stage play and anything can happen, so seek professional financial advice if considering this stock for your portfolio.

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