Lithium Australia begins continuous lithium carbonate production

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) commenced piloting for continuous production of lithium carbonate.

The pilot production is part of the second stage of the company’s new test program at the Sileach pilot plant in Sydney, operated by ANSTO Minerals (a division of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation).

Lithium Australia’s step-up to continuous lithium carbonate production follows the initial pilot scale extraction of lithium from pegmatite ore sourced from Lepidolite Hill, located 15 kilometres south of Coolgardie in Western Australia.

The company said the second stage of pilot testing will recover lithium carbonate, and potassium salts from solutions generated during the previous pilot plant test.

Lithium carbonate is used in lithium-ion batteries and potassium salts, which are valuable by-products of the process, are used as a major component of fertiliser.

“Pilot testing the company’s 100 per cent-owned Sileach process at the ANSTO Minerals has been very successful to date, extracting over 95 per cent of the lithium,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We anticipate very good results for the carbonate production step as the initial solutions are largely devoid of impurities.”