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Pioneer Resources generates battery grade lithium carbonate

Pioneer has received test results from its joint venture partner.
Pioneer Resources generates battery grade lithium carbonate
Crushed Lepidolite mineralisation from the Pioneer Dome

Pioneer Resources (ASX:PIO) has produced high specification battery grade lithium carbonate grading up to 99.7% from a sample taken from its Pioneer Dome Project in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

The lithium carbonate was produced by joint venture partner Lepidico (ASX:LPD) using its L-Max® technology.

Last month Pioneer entered into a joint venture agreement with Lepidico for the PEG009 prospect within Pioneer Dome.

A sample was taken from PEG009 for the purposes of trialling Lepidico’s L-Max® technology.

L-Max® achieved over 93.9% lithium extraction from the flotation concentrate, with estimated lithium recovery to the final lithium carbonate product of 90%.


Test program results

Final results from the recent bench scale L-Max® test program include:

- Mineralised samples used in the test program contained approximately 57% lithium mica and graded 2.8% lithium oxide - from a 3 kilogram sub-sample, a flotation concentrate was produced grading 3.6% lithium oxide and lithium recovery to concentrate was over 99%;
- The sample was then subjected to leaching under standard L-Max® conditions, with extractions for lithium and caesium of circa 94% and 93% respectively achieved;
- The leach liquor from the test was subjected to the usual L-Max® downstream process flow-sheet in a series of batch tests - lithium losses in the post leach L-Max® process were estimated at less than 3%, with total recovery from concentrate to lithium carbonate of approximately 90%.
- Battery grade lithium carbonate grading 99.7% was produced from these tests; and
- Caesium and rubidium in residue also represent an excellent opportunity to extract further valuable by-products, as has been undertaken on previous samples tested by Lepidico.


Joint venture details

Lepidico is able to earn up to 75% of the outcropping pegmatite PEG009 prospect, which contains a lithium-bearing mineral called lepidolite.

The joint venture area is circa 2% of the total Pioneer Dome Project area of 338 square kilometres.

A summary of the key terms includes:

- Stage 1 farm-in: Within 12 months, Lepidico commits to delineate a JORC compliant Inferred Resource of at least 500,000 tonnes grading at least 1.2% lithium oxide based on lepidolite content;
- Stage 2 farm-in: Within 24 months, Lepidico commits to delineate a JORC compliant Indicated Resource of at least 500,000 tonnes grading at least 1.2% lithium oxide based on lepidolite content to earn a 75% equity interest in the PEG009 area; and
- If Lepidico fails to meet either the Stage 1 or Stage 2 requirements the agreement will terminate and Lepidico will not retain any interest in the PEG009 area.

On Lepidico earning a 75% interest by satisfying the Stage 2 requirements, Pioneer’s 25% interest will be free-carried by Lepidico through to completion of a feasibility study resulting in a decision to mine.


PEG009 prospect

PEG009 is located 3 kilometres south of Pioneer’s recently discovered high grade Sinclair Caesium deposit within the Pioneer Dome Project.

It covers a strike length of 2.5 kilometres and is one cluster of 13 pegmatite clusters identified by Pioneer along a 20 kilometres trend along the eastern edge of the Pioneer Dome.

The PEG009 prospect is located 35 kilometres north of the town of Norseman adjacent to the Coolgardie-Esperance Highway and rail line.

Mapping at PEG009 has identified two lepidolite-mineralised pegmatites, and rock chips have returned values up to 3.94% lithium oxide at PEG009A and 3.84% lithium oxide at PEG009B.

The rock chips are also anomalous with caesium.



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