THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Potash West (ASX: PWN) announced the construction of a small processing plant utilising the company’s 25 per cent-owned L-Max process.
Potash West is a mineral exploration company focused on developing phosphate and potassium greensand deposits in West Australia’s Perth Basin.
As part of this development Potash West, with Strategic Metals (SM), developed the K-Max process to treat glauconite to produce potash and other minerals. This IP is owned 100 per cent by PWN.
Subsequent to this SM developed the L-Max process, for lithium bearing micas, of which it agreed to vest 25 per cent ownership to PWN.
The technology has been taken up by Lepidico Ltd, which has constructed and operated a continuous process operation, using a small scale plant, to produce lithium carbonate from lepidolite, a lithium-rich mica.
PWN and SM are in the process of transferring the ownership of Li-Technology to Lepidico, in exchange for shares.
Lepidico task is to now commercialise the technology.
As far as that goes Lepidico has been fast tracking the development of the L-Max process to ensure it can complete that task.
The first laboratory tests were only conducted in September 2014 and since then Lepidico claims to have confirmed the complete process, from ore to final products, through batch laboratory tests, and computer modelling.
With the mini-plant, Lepidico aims to confirm process parameters when the process is operated on a continuous and closed circuit basis as would be the case in a commercial plant.
Continuous operations were carried out, using Lepidolite ore supplied by Cobre Montana (ASX: CXB).
“This is an important step in the development of the L-Max technology and the demonstration of its applicability to lithium extraction,” Potash West managing director Patrick McManus said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The mini-plant will be a great asset for Lepidico to trial micas from other deposits, and will provide data to support the commercialisation of the process.
“In addition the operation of the plant provides data that will feed into the further development of the K-Max process.”