SiLeach® hydrometallurgical process is used to extract and recover lithium values from lithium bearing materials.
Significantly, the confirmation from the patent office is expected to pave the way for the grant of corresponding patents for the process around the world.
Adrian Griffin, managing director, said: “The grant of patents for SiLeach® will bolster Lithium Australia's desire to create greater sustainability in the lithium industry by capitalising on the abundance of lithium-bearing waste materials.
“It will also dovetail perfectly with our interest in VSPC cathode production technology, giving us the ability to process mine waste right through to the production of battery cathodes.
“Currently, no other company has the tools required to achieve this sustainability goal.”
Pending patent protection ensured in 148 countries
In February 2017, Lithium Australia submitted an international patent application for the SiLeach® process under the Patent Cooperation Treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
A rigorous preliminary examination of the patent claims conducted by the Australian Patent Office ensued, leading to confirmation in the International Preliminary Report on Patentability.
This ensures pending patent protection in 148 countries for the SiLeach® technology.
Large-scale SiLeach® pilot plant on track for 2018
The company is on track to approve the construction of a large-scale SiLeach® pilot plant (LSPP) in early 2018 and has recently stated its intention to fund construction off its own balance sheet.
Notably, pilot-testing of SiLeach® produced battery-grade lithium carbonate from sub-spec spodumene and lithium micas.
Studies show that SiLeach® LSPP can be cash positive with additional cost reduction upside from further optimisation, scale up and by-product credits.
Perth broker RM Research recently initiated coverage on Lithium Australia with a speculative buy recommendation.
RM Research considers the ability to produce advanced lithium ion cathode material moves Lithium Australia up the lithium value chain.