The company will receive a $1.3 million grant for the R&D program which will provide a pathway to commercialisation of the processing technology.
Leading researchers and companies participating in the R&D program include the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Murdoch University and Curtin University.
LieNA® could hold significant value to hard-rock miners
Lithium Australia’s managing director Adrian Griffin said: “LieNA® has the potential to commercially recover lithium from fine and contaminated material discharged to tailings by the spodumene producers that currently achieve poor recoveries.
“If LieNA® can improve the viability of hard-rock lithium mining operations, its effects will be far-reaching.
“We applaud the federal government for recognising the significance of this project and welcome input from lithium producers who could benefit from a positive outcome for this research.
“We appreciate the considerable contributions our partners will make and the expertise they can provide.”
Multiple potential benefits to proprietary process
LieNA® is a proprietary technology for the recovery of lithium from spodumene, which is the most common hard-rock source of lithium for the production of critical battery chemicals.
While the recovery rate of lithium from current spodumene concentration processes varies, it can be as low as 50%.
Lithium Australia’s LieNA® process is able to recover lithium from the fine spodumene in waste or tailings streams from such concentration processes.
The LieNA® process has the potential to not only expand current hard-rock lithium resources and reduce mining costs but also improve the sustainability of spodumene production and the subsequent manufacture of lithium chemicals.