THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Cobre Montana (ASX: CBX) has recovered lithium-bearing minerals from tailings generated during recent metallurgical testing carried out on drill core samples from the Cinovec tin project in the Czech Republic.
The initial tin recovery tests were undertaken by European Metals Holdings (ASX: EMH) with subsequent treatment of the tailings undertaken by Cobre under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding struck between the two companies in December 2014, which allows Cobre to evaluate the possible production of lithium carbonate as a by-product of Cinovec’s tin production.
Cobre has been investigating processing technology capable of providing advantages over conventional lithium extraction technology.
The company entered into a technology sharing agreement with Strategic Metallurgy in September 2014 to work in co-operation to optimise that company’s proprietary technology for use on Cobre’s projects.
Cobre received a sample of gravity tails from the Cinovec project for froth flotation to test concentrates of an appropriate grade could be produced as a feed source for further down-stream processing using Strategic’s processing technology.
The sample used for the initial scoping produced the following results:
Cinovec gravity tails lithium oxide 0.71 per cent potassium oxide 2.94 per cent
Concentrate grade lithium oxide 2.05 per cent potassium oxide 7.56 per cent
Flotation yield lithium oxide 98.1 per cent potassium oxide 87.0 per cent
Flotation tail lithium oxide 0.02 per cent potassium oxide 0.58 per cent
“The ability to separate lithium-containing mica from other constituents present in the gravity tails, by conventional froth flotation, has been demonstrated to be very effective, achieving >98 per cent lithium recovery to a concentrate grade containing >2 per cent lithium oxide,” Cobre Montana said in its ASX announcement.
“The flotation concentrate has since been subject to leaching tests, the results of which will be announced in the near future.
“Strategic Metallurgy’s flowsheet for processing lithium micas is capable of recovering lithium as a carbonate, and potassium as sulphate of potash, a valuable fertiliser.
“At current market prices, and accounting for the sulphate of potash by-product credit, the concentrate produced from the Cinovec tailings exceeds six per cent lithium carbonate equivalent.”