ioneer Ltd (ASX:INR) has produced boric acid from the pilot plant processing ore from its 100% owned Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Project in Nevada, US.
The pilot plant which is based in Vancouver, Canada forms a key part of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) due for completion this September quarter.
The main run of processing Rhyolite Ridge ore will continue for several weeks, premium quality boric acid has been produced with lithium carbonate expected to follow.
Output from the plant will provide lithium and boron products within defined industry specifications for supply to potential customers as part of ongoing off-take negotiations.
ioneer’s managing director Bernard Rowe said: “The pilot plant enables us to demonstrate the integrated process flowsheet, produce lithium carbonate and boric acid for marketing activities and collect the required data for the engineering design and scale up.
“The initial production of boric acid has resulted in premium quality product which will be well received by the market and suitable for toughened glass products such as phone and television screens. We are now sending the first of our boric acid samples to potential off-take customers who have expressed strong interest in our product.
“We expect the pilot plant will demonstrate the ability of Rhyolite Ridge to produce premium end-products using a highly efficient and low-cost process, which can be readily scaled for commercial production.
“The successful result from the initial run of ore through the pilot plant gives us strong confidence that our commercial process is both straightforward and scalable."
Chemical analysis of boric acid from Rhyolite Ridge Pilot Plant
As detailed below, the initial boric acid produced by the pilot plant contains very low levels of impurities and is a premium-grade product.
ioneer recently updated the JORC resource estimate at Rhyolite Ridge to 154 million tonnes for 1.3 million tonnes of lithium carbonate and 12.4 million tonnes of boric acid.
The upgrade represents an increase of 200,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate and 3.8 million tonnes of boric acid.