THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) has commenced a pilot plant program for the company’s Authier lithium project in Canada.
Sayona Mining said the pilot program is being completed by SGS Canada (SGS), a company with extensive experience in developing spodumene concentration flowsheets, at Lakefield, Ontario.
The company explained that over the last ten years, SGS has operated pilot plants for several Canadian hard rock lithium deposits.
Sayona collected around 5.5 tonnes of mineralised pegmatite ore during the Phase 3 drilling program carried out in December 2017, from which the diamond drill core was assayed and stage-crushed to the appropriate particle size to feed the pilot plant.
Two composite pilot plant feed samples have been prepared to represent Years 0 to 5 and Years 5+ of the operation.
The pilot plant flowsheet comprises grinding, de-sliming, magnetic separation, mica and spodumene flotation.
The pilot plant is scheduled to operate for 100 hours at a feed rate of 50 kilograms per hour.
The objectives of the piloting program are to produce a six per cent lithium oxide concentrate at recoveries of greater than 80 per cent and confirm:
Finalisation of the flowsheet and processing parameters for spodumene concentrate production developed during the Pre-Feasibility Study;
Produce engineering data for equipment sizing and plant design; and
Generation of spodumene concentrate for downstream lithium carbonate testing and marketing purposes.
Sayona intends using the data collected from the piloting program for a Definitive Feasibility Study, which is expected to be completed during the 2Q 2018.
“The objective of the pilot program is to further refine the design and confirm the operating parameters for the Authier process plant, in order to de-risk the plant construction, commissioning and ramp-up,” Sayona Mining chief executive officer Corey Nolan said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The company is focused on the rapid progression of the project towards production to capitalise on the strong projected price outlook for spodumene concentrates.”