Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has committed to further investing funds into its work of commercialising operations at the Sadisdorf Lithium-Tin Project in Germany and ultimately producing cathode powders for lithium-ion batteries in Europe.
This commitment comes after the company has produced lithium from unconventional sources, including mine waste, using its SiLeach® metallurgical process route.
The company believes the test results warrant further investment of funds, with a preliminary feasibility study approved for implementation.
READ: Lithium Australia generates lithium-iron-phosphate from waste mica in world-first breakthrough
Formal study planning activities will begin next month with a technical workshop in Germany.
Attending will be participants from Lithium Australia, its subsidiaries Trilithium Erzgebirge GmbH and VSPC, and CSA Global.
Managing director Adrian Griffin said: “Sadisdorf presents a significant opportunity to advance an unconventional lithium resource to the status of a strategic asset.
“The plan is to downstream-process via our proprietary VSPC technology to produce cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries.
“This has the potential to provide energy security within the European renewables sector.
“Lithium Australia is the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries from the types of material available at Sadisdorf, and we look forward to advancing this operation to commercialisation.”
The company’s use of mine waste to produce lithium-ion batteries formed the basis of a recently completed processing evaluation for the Sadisdorf project in Saxony, near the Czech Republic border.
Location of Sadisdorf project in eastern Germany.
That evaluation contemplated the production of high-performance cathode powders from mica recovered from tin-mining operations at the project.
Evaluation is ongoing
The processes required have been extensively pilot-tested and market evaluation of the types of cathode powders produced is ongoing in China and Japan.
Lithium Australia is of the opinion that situating a SiLeach® plant at Sadisdorf will enable it to combine low capital intensity with high margins to reduce the European battery industry's reliance on imported lithium-ion battery components.
The plant would treat locally available micas and convert the lithium chemicals produced to cathode powders, as has been previously demonstrated at pilot scale.
Hydrometallurgical circuit based on SiLeach®.
Lithium Australia, through subsidiary Trilithium Erzgebirge GmbH, has a 100% beneficial interest in the Sadisdorf project, which is on care and maintenance.
Project in strategic location
Historically Sadisdorf was a tin-mining enterprise, the tin veins occurring within a 'greisen' with the pervasive alteration within the granite consisting of lithium micas.
The project is close to Deutsche Lithium’s Zinnwald deposit and European Metals Holdings Ltd’s (LON:EMH) Cinovec deposit.
This location is significant in terms of its proximity to the rapidly expanding European electric vehicle and battery industries.
Sadisdorf contains an inferred resource of 25 million tonnes at 0.45% Li2O and results from a diamond drilling campaign last year suggest the potential for a future resource upgrade.
Drill-hole section showing results.
In addition to lithium and tin, significant tungsten mineralisation was encountered in parts of the inner alteration zone.