THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced an agreement with Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS), under which the two companies will jointly progress development of LIT’s 100 per cent-owned trademarked Sileach process, which has been developed to recover lithium from spodumene concentrates.
Subject to the outcome of series of testwork programs and feasibility studies, the agreement could pave the way for LIT and Pilbara to form a 50/50 Joint Venture (to be known as the Sileach Joint Venture or SJV).
The aim of the JV would be to commercialise the Sileach process and investigate the viability of jointly developing a lithium conversion facility.
Such a facility, if it proceeds, would potentially source spodumene concentrate from Pilbara’s 100 per cent-owned Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project.
The facility could also, potentially, be used to process feed from other Pilbara-based lithium mineral producers by agreement of the JV partners.
Lithium Australia has previously indicated its preferred location for such a processing plant is Port Hedland, near Pilbara’s Pilgangoora project.
“The agreement with Pilbara Minerals is a very important step towards Lithium Australia’s goal of becoming a lowest cost quartile lithium carbonate producer,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Successfully combining PLS’ Pilgangoora spodumene concentrates with the low-energy Sileach process has the potential to add enormous value to both parties and may allow the SJV to deal directly with the lithium chemical consumers, including the battery manufacturers.
“This is a great deal for LIT, PLS and for Western Australia’s burgeoning lithium processing industry.”