The company has identified multiple lithium mica feed sources for a new large-scale pilot plant (LSPP).
To date, substantial bench-scale and pilot plant trial test work has been undertaken on the 80%-owned Lepidolite Hill deposit in Western Australia.
However, far less test work has been undertaken at a second deposit designated Waste2.
Waste2 deposit to be used as feed
Tests have shown that the metallurgical characteristics of concentrates produced from Waste2 vary from those of other micas tested.
This is due to the material have higher ratios of muscovite and lepidolite.
Lithium Australia’s managing director Adrian Griffin said: “Lithium Australia continues its war on waste.
“In processing the Waste2 material, we will clearly demonstrate that we can take the particular waste provided, run it through the SiLeach® pilot plant and create a commercial lithium chemical.”
The pilot plant run is due to commence in early August and the aim is to produce lithium products to commercial specifications.
A vertically integrated strategy, from waste to battery material
Griffin added: “But that's only step II in ascending the value chain. Subsequently, the lithium chemical will be sent from Lucas Heights to our VSPC Brisbane plant for processing into battery cathode material.
“The cathode powder will then be tested at VSPC's in-house battery testing facility. We hope to report on its performance with respect to battery applications in coming months.”
The LSPP front-end engineering and design (FEED) study nearing completion, anticipated in the September quarter 2018.