Core collected during a phase III drilling program in December 2017 is being used in the test program being carried out by SGS Canada at Lakefield, Ontario.
During batch and locked cycle testing, Sayona achieved concentrate grades of 6% at metallurgical recoveries of 80%.
The batch and locked cycle phase was carried out to establish the optimal conditions for the continuous pilot plant program. The pilot plant operations have now commenced.
Pilot plant in operation
The objectives of the pilot plant program are to confirm the flowsheet and process parameters for concentrate production and to produce engineering data for equipment sizing and plant design.
Sayona is also aiming to generate about 500 kilograms of spodumene concentrate for downstream testing and marketing purposes.
Five tonnes of mineralised pegmatite to be processed through the pilot plant
The pilot program involves stage-crushing the ore to about 3.35 millimetres.
The crushed ore then passes through a grinding mill, cyclones for de-sliming, magnetic separation for iron removal, mica and spodumene flotation.
About five tonnes of mineralised pegmatite will be processed through the pilot plant. The plant will operate for a minimum of 100 hours at a feed rate of 50 kilograms per hour.
The results of the pilot program are expected to be available by the end of April and will be incorporated into the definitive feasibility study (DFS) which will be completed during Q2 2018.
On completion of the pilot program, optimisation work will continue with the objective of maximising metallurgical recoveries and de-risking the metallurgical performance of the full-scale operations.
Sayona recently upgraded the project’s resource to 209,476 tonnes of contained lithium oxide compared to the November 2017 estimate of 186,939 tonnes.
The project already has an impressive pre-feasibility study featuring a pre-tax valuation of $227 million for a start-up capital expenditure of $65 million.