The first is a process to produce lithium phosphate, and the second is the process for recovering lithium phosphate and/or lithium sulphate from lithium-bearing silicates.
An unprecedented advantage
The innovative patents cover unprecedented advantages for the company in that lithium can be recovered from the process liquors without the requirement for extensive evaporation.
This process may be applicable to other process streams such as conventional spodumene conversion.
Evaporating is an expensive process
Lithium Australia’s managing director Adrian Griffin said: "Managing the water balance correctly has, until now, been an expensive and vexing issue for many lithium chemical producers.
“Lithium Australia will expedite commercialisation of the SiLeach® process, capitalising on the advantages gained by solving this processing challenge.
“Being able to produce lithium chemicals without the necessity of evaporating large quantities of water clearly puts us ahead of our peers."
Lithium Australia's SiLeach® process can extract lithium from all silicate minerals, but is ideally suited to processing lithium micas, considered a waste product in many mining operations.
The company is currently undertaking a scoping study on its recently acquired Sadisdorf deposit where it is hoped SiLeach® will breathe new life into the mothballed tin mine, enabling the recovery of lithium, tin and other by-products.
The resulting lithium chemicals can be used as a feed source for Lithium Australia's VSPC cathode powder production technology, providing a cost-effective means of delivering lithium units to battery producers.