Pioneer Resources Produces Battery-Grade Lithium Carbonate using Lepdico L-Max Technology

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Pioneer Resources (ASX: PIO) announced results of testwork carried out on a sample of lepidolite-bearing pegmatite sourced from the company’s 100 per cent-owned Pioneer Dome lithium-caesium tantalum (LCT) project in Western Australia.

Pioneer Resources said that Lepidico (ASX: LPD) informed the company of the results from the recent trial.

These included the production of high specification battery grade lithium carbonate grading 99.7 per cent produced using Lepidico’s L-Max technology.

Lepidico said the L-Max process had achieved over 93.9 per cent lithium extraction from the flotation concentrate, with estimated lithium recovery to the final lithium carbonate product of 90 per cent.

“Mineralised samples used in the test program contained approximately 57 per cent lithium mica and graded 2.8 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O),” Pioneer Resources said in its ASX announcement.

“From a three kilogram sub-sample, a flotation concentrate was produced grading 3.6 per cent Li2O.

“Lithium recovery to concentrate was over 99 per cent.

“The sample was then subjected to leaching under standard L-Max conditions, with extractions for lithium and caesium of approximately 94 per cent and 93 per cent respectively achieved.

“The leach liquor from the test was subjected to the usual L-Max downstream process flowsheet in a series of batch tests.

“Lithium losses in the post leach L-Max process were estimated at less than 3 per cent, with total recovery from concentrate to lithium carbonate of approximately 90 per cent.

“Battery grade lithium carbonate grading 99.7 per cent lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) was produced from these tests.

“Caesium and rubidium in residue also represent an excellent opportunity to extract further valuable by-products, as has been undertaken on previous samples tested by Lepidico.”

Pioneer and Lepidico struck a Joint Venture for PEG009 in February, 2017 at Pioneer’s Pioneer Dome LCT pegmatite project in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.

Under the JV terms Lepidico may earn a 75 per cent interest in Lepidolite mineralisation at the PEG009 prospect by delineating at least 500,000 tonnes of mineralisation grading at least 1.2 per cent Li2O in lepidolite within two years.

This is considered sufficient to feed a proposed Phase 1 L-Max Plant for five years.

The JV is restricted to lepidolite and minerals able to be treated by the L-Max process sourced from the PEG009 prospect only.

The JV area is approximately 2 per cent of the total Pioneer Dome LCT project area of 338 square kilometres.