THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) informed the market of work carried out by its wholly-owned subsidiary, VSPC Ltd.
Using Lithium Australia’s registered Sileach process, VSPC has produced Li-ion battery (LIB) cathode material, and Li-ion batteries, from tri-lithium phosphate produced directly from mine waste.
LIT’s ground-breaking SiLeach process removes the requirement for generating high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate, which has long been one of the most cost-intensive, and challenging steps in the manufacture of LIBs.
VSPC converted the tri-lithium phosphate to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathode material at its advanced electrochemical laboratory and pilot plant facility in Brisbane.
Lithium Australia explained that the proprietary processes used to generate the LFP nanoparticles is covered by patents granted to VSPC, resulting in the cathode material being independently characterised and determined to be of similar quality to VSPC standard LFP material.
LIT declared the test’s demonstrated ability to bypass lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide as battery precursors, provides potential to greatly reduce the costs associated with battery manufacture.
It also demonstrated that use of mine waste in the battery production cycle can provide greater sustainability to global lithium resources.
Lithium Australia is also developing a process for direct production of cathode powders from lithium brines.
This could not only eliminate the requirement to produce high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate but also reduce the requirement for evaporation ponds.
Lithium Australia claimed the conversion of mine waste, to LIB without the requirement to produce a lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate precursor as a world first that has potential to provide a commercial outcome to many stranded resources creating ethical and sustainable supply in the process.
“The remarkable outcome is a credit to our development team,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“The most notable aspect of this achievement is its simplicity, and ability to streamline the processes and cost required to produce LIB cathode materials.
“The broader application to lithium brine exploitation provides enormous potential for that part of the lithium industry, by removing the cost intensive route to lithium hydroxide – the direct use of lithium phosphate to produce cathode powders may do that.”