The first stage of beneficiation test-work resulted in an enriched lithium brine concentrate containing 3.05% (30,500 ppm – parts per million) lithium and a very low magnesium contaminate ratio of 1.6:1 magnesium:lithium
This result represents a massive increase in lithium content in raw brine.
This test-work, which involved the blending of brines from the Rincon and Incahuasi deposits, resulted in the gypsum contaminate being precipitated out, resulting in high-grade 3.05% lithium brine concentrate through evaporation.
PepinNini believes this result is potentially a project-making outcome for the company and the Salta Project as it provides the confidence to move forward with expansion plans at the project.
It provides the company with the understanding that it is possible to deliver a high-grade lithium brine concentrate from a potentially large-scale combined lithium brine project.
Stage two beneficiation studies
PepinNini now plans to undertake the next stage of beneficiation studies involving laboratory bench test-scale studies to validate the high-grade stage one results.
Stage two will involve blending brine samples from the Rincon and Incahuasi projects in a laboratory environment, which will involve a laboratory-scale wind tunnel to create accelerated evaporation conditions to enrich the brine samples.
This program will be designed to test and estimate the approximate actual evaporation and concentration of lithium brines that is required to produce lithium carbonate.
The objective of the stage two program will be to provide actual data on the blended brine product to validate the results of the computer simulations from stage one.
PepinNini has identified a consultant with requisite wind tunnel equipment from the University of Salta to conduct these tests.
The laboratory bench test program is expected to take a period of three months to complete.