THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced it has advanced the Program of Works (PoW) for the extraction of a trial sample for pilot testing of lithium micas from the Lepidolite Hill project in Western Australia.
The company said the testing will advance its 100 per cent-owned Sileach process towards commercialisation with pilot testing of the process to be undertaken in an independent laboratory.
Lithium Australia said the program will not only advance the Sileach process development, but also the Coolgardie Rare Metals Venture, which it established with Focus Minerals (ASX: FML) in September 2014.
LIT developed the Sileach process as an alternative to roasting silicates for the recovery of lithium.
The company claims the process is:
Undertaken at atmospheric pressure; and
Very versatile (applicable to all silicates).
LIT believes the Sileach process offers a real alternative for hard rock lithium producers, in particular those producing spodumene as it can produce lithium carbonate, hydroxide, or higher-level lithium chemicals.
When integrated with primary hard-rock lithium production, the application of the Sileach process will provide the opportunity for lithium producers to bypass third party refiners, which are presently the bottleneck in the lithium production chain.
To provide the first plant feed LIT will recover high-grade ore from Lepidolite Hill, near Coolgardie where the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum has approved the PoW to recover up to 1,500 tonnes of Lepidolite ore.
LIT has entered into discussions with mining contractor to recover the test parcels.
“LIT is full steam ahead in establishing its pilot plant run to advance its 100 per cent-owned Sileach process,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“LIT is preparing feed from a number of sources in Australia, Europe and North America for testing, and has selected an independent laboratory to ensure the production of unbiased results.”