THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced its trademarked Sileach process has produced battery grade lithium carbonate from spodumene concentrates sourced from Pilbara Minerals’ (ASX: PLS) Pilgangoora deposit.
Lithium Australia said operations undertaken at ANSTO Minerals (a division of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) demonstrated proof-of-concept production of high-purity lithium carbonate from spodumene process solutions.
The lithium carbonate feed solutions were produced by Lithium Australia’s Sileach pilot plant, processing of Pilgangoora spodumene concentrates.
LIT explained the concentrate grades processed were intentionally selected to have a grade lower than commercial concentrate grades, in this case 3.4 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) to demonstrate the flexibility of Sileach in processing a wide range of materials, including off-specification spodumene concentrates.
The solutions generated by digesting spodumene contain approximately 2.4 per cent silicon, 1.2 per cent aluminium and 0.2 per cent lithium.
Lithium Australia said the concentrations achieved provide an opportunity to recover components, other than lithium, as by-products that is not available with conventional processing.
“The ability of Sileach to cope with the high levels of contamination in the spodumene concentrate, and still produce a high-purity lithium carbonate is a great achievement,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The ability to produce by-products that are not available with conventional processing of spodumene shows great potential.”