Stria Lithium (CVE:SRA) said that it has now moved into the design stage for its pilot plant, which will test its environmentally sustainable lithium processing technologies, after obtaining positive bench scale test results earlier this year.
The plant will be designed to produce up to 140 kg per month of lithium compound over a six-month period, beginning in early 2015, with the aim of providing potential customers with sufficient 99.99% purity materials to validate process economics and product quality.
Stria's pilot plant will be based on its proprietary process to get lithium chloride from hard rock ore that it says is more efficient and environmentally sustainable. Its lithium process uses fewer chemicals and controls as well as reduced energy, meaning it will cost less money to recover lithium.
The eventual aim is to come to market with an affordable lithium metal product, of higher quality.
In October, Stria completed bench scale metallurgical tests that confirmed the spodumene from its Pontax lithium project in Quebec is viable to use as feedstock for its pilot plant operations, which will be located in Kingston, Ontario at the Grafoid Global Technology Centre.
"As a key member of the Grafoid, Focus Graphite battery materials development business platform, Stria completes a potential North American supply solution to both domestic and international battery manufacturers," said president and COO Julien Davy.
"And, as a mineral mining and technology supplier group, our battery platform is unique in the world," he added.
The company's technologies come at the perfect time, as the COO said battery manufacturers are looking to the resource sector to find new ways to lower production costs.
By 2025, it is estimated that global consumption from the battery manufacturing sectors for lithium will account for some 65% of total global consumption. Lithium is used, in greater quantities, in batteries for electric vehicles, with an anticipated uptick in demand for plug-in hybrid electric and all-electric cars expected to increase the call for lithium significantly.
Stria's goal is to license its technologies to electric vehicle and large-scale industrial energy storage battery makers. It is seeking to signficantly cut down the amount of time for processing lithium all while sustaining the environment, with almost no waste coming out of Stria's proposed closed loop process.
The company has two exploration properties that are intended to feed its pilot plant with raw material, inclduing the Pontax hard rock lithium project and the Willcox lithium brine asset in Arizona.
Its project has even drawn support from the Canadian government, with a funding commitment of $137,700 from the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program.