Lithium Australia Implementing a Drive Towards Battery Energy Sustainability

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has openly declared that its corporate intentions include shoring up an ethical and sustainable supply of energy metals to the battery industry, thus enhancing energy security in the process.

Ramelius Resources Reports Further High-Grades from Symes’ Find

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Ramelius Resources (ASX: RMS) announced results from recent drilling undertaken at Symes’ Find deposit at the company’s Hampton project in Western Australia.

Breaker Resources Identifies New Gold Anomaly

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Breaker Resources (ASX: BRB) has identified a large new gold anomaly, which it claims to highlight the exploration upside at the company’s Lake Roe gold project, east of Kalgoorlie in Western Australia.

Comet Resources Scores Further High Grade Drilling Results

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Comet Resources (ASX: CRL) announced further results from recent diamond drilling conducted at the company’s Springdale graphite project near Hopetoun in southern West Australia.

Black Cat Syndicate Back Out Drilling at Bulong

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Black Cat Syndicate (ASX: BC8) informed the market it has resumed RC drilling has resumed at the company’s Bulong gold project in Western Australia.


Lithium Australia Implementing a Drive Towards Battery Energy Sustainability

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has openly declared that its corporate intentions include shoring up an ethical and sustainable supply of energy metals to the battery industry, thus enhancing energy security in the process.

The company is eager to create a circular battery economy and has highlighted the recycling of old lithium-ion batteries to new is intrinsic to this plan.

In October 2019, Lithium Australia announced it had increased its equity in Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd (EA) to 23.9 per cent.

The company believes that by combining the recycling resources of both companies, they will form the only recycling entity in Australia able to not only collect, sort, shred and separate the components of spent batteries but also supply the technology required to recover all the energy metals they contain, to supply as a value-added product or for direct feed for conversion into cathode active materials.

Lithium Australia expects that the restructured EA/LIT recycling business unit will be investment-ready in the first half of 2020.

“Our plan to create greater opportunities for shareholders and potential investors began with increasing our equity in Envirostream,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in a recent announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We see the recycling of spent batteries as a significant opportunity, given the increased legislative and community focus on environmental responsibility.

“Envirostream’s existing business model and Lithium Australia’s metal extraction technologies could exist in perfect symbiosis, and we are planning for a public listing.

“Meanwhile, other company business units are approaching commercialisation and, as they do we, will adopt a similar approach in the interests of our shareholders.”

Lithium Australia has plans to restructure its asset base.

This, it believes, will provide greater value for its shareholders and provide current and future investors with the opportunity to choose in which company business units they prefer to invest.

LIT business units are as follows include the recycling deal mentioned above and the use of primary extraction technologies developed to generate high-purity lithium chemicals from waste material.

They also include the manufacture of batteries.

LIT, through its wholly-owned subsidiary VSPC Ltd, has already created LFP cathode powders from mine waste and recycled batteries on a pilot scale.

The produced LFP powders are being incorporated into commercial-format 18650 coin-cell lithium-ion batteries at DLG’s plant in China.

LIT is finalising its Pre-Feasibility Studies into the production of LFP cathode powder and, as part of that study, mounting a trade delegation to China in early November 2019.

There, the company will assess opportunities to partner with existing Chinese cathode-powder producers, with a view to utilising existing plant and infrastructure for a faster and lower-capital pathway to commercialisation.

Meanwhile, LIT and DLG have incorporated Soluna Australia Pty Ltd, with the aim of supplying battery products into the energy storage industry nationally.

The focus will be on fringe-of-grid and off-grid applications. Legal formalities should be completed shortly and staff recruitment has commenced.

Lithium Australia is currently revising the orebody model for the company’s Sadisdorf lithium/tin deposit in Germany and is also in discussions with third parties regarding involvement in the exploration and assessment of a number of its Western Australian exploration assets.





Lithium Australia Increases Stake in Envirostream

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has increased its interest in Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd from 18.9 to 23.9 per cent.

Lithium Australia said the $100,000 investment greatly enhances its exposure to the process of collecting and separating spent lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), a fundamental precursor to the recycling of battery chemicals.

LIT has already, at laboratory scale, successfully recovered metals from separated batteries, used the lithium so retrieved to regenerate cathode materials and, from those materials, manufactured coin-cell LIBs, testing of which vindicated the company’s aim of closing the loop on the energy-metal cycle.

Lithium Australia explained that EA is the only company in Australia with the integrated capacity to collect, sort, shred and separate all the components of LIBs, including the lithium.

The company highlighted EA’s infrastructure, saying it is essential to developing an environmentally responsible solution to the mounting problems spent LIBs represent.

EA’s collection and physical processing/separation of spent battery components makes for a perfect fit with LIT’s recycling R&D.

Lithium Australia anticipates its expanded equity in EA, and acceleration of its R&D program will contribute to the restructuring of the recycling business to best amalgamate the capabilities of both entities.

In recycling spent LIBs, we hope to meet the ethical, social and governance standards the community has grown to expect,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The world’s capacity to deal with climate change is also bolstered by the resulting improvements in resource sustainability and reductions in the environmental footprint of portable power.

“Our further investment in recycling in general, and EA in particular, therefore represents a tremendous opportunity for the company.”





Lithium Australia Scores Strong Lithium Hits at Youanmi

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) reported further assay results from THE maiden RC drilling program underway at the company’s Youanmi project in Western Australia.

Lithium Australia released the results saying they included widths of high-grade lithium mineralisation from the campaign that has been designed to test down-dip extensions of outcropping lithium-bearing pegmatites.

Highlights of the drilling results include:

3 metres at 1.68 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) from 32m;

3m at 1.27 per cent Li2O from 2m;

4m at 1.61 per cent Li2O from 21m;
5m at 1.54 per cent Li2O from 62m;

4m at 1.26 per cent Li2O from 2m; and

6m at 1.61 per cent Li2O from 22m, including 1m at 4.14 per cent Li2O from 22m.

Lithium Australia said the drilling had confirmed mineralisation over 2.5 kilometres of strike, with assays reporting widths of high-grade lepidolite (lithium mica) mineralisation hosted in LCT pegmatites.

Multiple stacked pegmatites have been intercepted in RC drill fences along this strike.

The drilling has also demonstrated that the pegmatites dip at shallow angles (20-30°) towards the east.

Mineralisation remains open down dip and along strike and further drill testing will be required to determine the extent of the mineralised system.

“These results from our maiden drill program – which confirm significant lithium mineralisation at Youanmi – are most encouraging,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The lithium is hosted in lepidolite, a lithium mica ideally suited to processing via our proprietary SiLeach technology.

“Initial results suggest Youanmi could provide critical local feedstock for Lithium Australia’s lithium-cathode and battery business units.”






Lithium Australia Claims Maiden Discovery at Youanmi

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) kicked off its week at Diggers & Dealers 2019 by reporting the results of a maiden RC drilling program within the company’s Youanmi project area in Western Australia.

Lithium Australia has an option to acquire full rights and title to three exploration licences at Youanmi that contain lithium, caesium and tantalum (LCT) pegmatites, as well as vanadium mineralisation in a nearby layered mafic complex.

The company said the RC drilling program was designed to test down-dip extensions of outcropping lithium-bearing pegmatites where rock-chip samples yielding up to 4.2 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) had been identified and lepidolite mineralisation observed in RC drill cuttings.

To date, 54 RC holes have been completed, from which the first batch of assay results has reported high-grade lepidolite mineralisation hosted in pegmatites.

LIT said the extent of known lithium-bearing pegmatites has been extended by this maiden drilling program and that it was encouraged that mineralisation is reported over good widths of high-grades, is shallow and remains open down dip and along strike.

Assay results returned lithium intersections, including:

8 metres at 1.39 per cent Li2O from 8m;

7m at 1.42 per cent Li2O from 20m;

6m at 1.64 per cent Li2O from 11m – includes 1m at 3.07 per cent Li2O;

6m at 1.54 per cent Li2O from 1m;

5m at 1.57 per cent Li2O from 13m;

5m at 1.2 per cent Li2O from 31m.

“These great results from our first-pass drilling program vindicate our exploration model,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“Good widths of high-grade lithium mineralisation in pegmatites are reported at Youanmi, including 8 metres at 1.39 per cent Li2O and 7 metres at 1.42 per cent Li2O from 20 metres, with results from 19 holes pending.

“Importantly, the mineralisation is shallow and remains open down dip and along strike.

“The lithium is hosted in lepidolite, a lithium mica ideally suited to processing by our proprietary SiLeach® technology.

“Initial results suggest Youanmi could provide critical local feedstock for our lithium-cathode and battery business units.”





Lithium Australia Forms Partnership to Market LFP Lithium Batteries

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced it is forming a business partnership with Chinese battery producer DLG Battery Co. Ltd (DLG).

Lithium Australia said the partnership would be launching a new range of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) in the Australian market, with a focus on industry-scale energy storage systems (ESS).

The company’s new marketing division will be known as Soluna Australia Pty Ltd and will provide technical support, customer service and, importantly, a range of lithium-iron-phosphate (often referred to as lithium-ferro-phosphate or LFP) battery options for greater safety and superior performance in ESS applications.

From a new Australian-based facility, Soluna Australia will supply and service a range of energy-storage products – from residential energy-storage through to industrial energy storage units.

Custom products for applications such as large-scale storage (including microgrids), will be provided to bespoke specifications.

Lithium Australia said that establishing an Australian warehousing and technical facility will provide greater certainty for ESS users currently relying on offshore suppliers.

The company noted that Australia leads the world in the installation of rooftop solar and domestic energy storage units and has also led the world in the installation of utility-scale ESS and the development of microgrids relying on battery storage for load levelling.

Remote hybrid-power applications can allow consumers the advantage of substituting diesel generating capacity with renewables, provided an efficient battery pack forms part of the installation.

Soluna Australia is assessing the potential for installing a number of hybrid power management systems for evaluation in the local energy market.

“Our partnership with DLG, a leading Chinese battery producer, provides an opportunity to establish our new division, Soluna Australia, as a leading Australian-based provider of LIBs and technical solutions to the fast-growing ESS market that sits in our own backyard,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“In addition, Lithium Australia is well on the way to meeting the requirements that will enable VSPC to commercialise its cathode materials and provide Australia with access to purpose-built LFP battery storage, the safest and most effective option for energy storage systems.”





Lithium Australia Claims Medcalf Lithium Discovery

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) declared identification of lithium pegmatite swarms at Medcalf, part of the company’s Lake Johnson project in the lithium-prospective Yilgarn Block of Western Australia.

The region is host to other major lithium deposits such as Earl Grey (Kidman Resources and SQM) Mt Marion (NeoMetals, Gangfeng and Mineral Resources) and Mt Cattlin (Galaxy).

Lithium Australia noted all of these deposits, as well as Medcalf and Lithium Australia’s nearby Mt Day prospect, have similar geological features whereas the pegmatites emanate from nearby fertile granites and are injected into adjacent greenstones.

Lithium Australia made the Medcalf discovery via an initial geological reconnaissance program it conducted after interpretation of aerial photographs highlighted the potential for multiple pegmatites in 2017.

Outcropping pegmatites were identified at Medcalf during subsequent field inspections in April 2018 and subsequent geological mapping, and sampling confirmed some of these pegmatites as LCT (lithium, caesium, tantalum) types.

Pegmatite swarms containing spodumene mineralisation outcrop in a zone of some 100 metres by 50 metres in area, within a larger area of pegmatites of 250m wide by 500 metres long.

The company acknowledged that the initial rock-chip samples are prospective with grades ranging from 3.07 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) up to 4.78 per cent Li2O and one spodumene only specimen sample grading 7.15 per cent Li2O.

LIT completed a field inspection that identified a pegmatite swarm centred upon the highest hill in the area, where at least five pegmatites were located, and all containing spodumene.

The company described the prospect area to have moderate to low topographic relief and potential exists for additional pegmatites under cover with the main target area it visited containing pegmatites presenting as a dyke swarm comprised of numerous pegmatites in a zone about 250m wide and at least 500m long.

Outcrops of individual pegmatites range from about 2m to 10m in width and 50m to 150m in length. The pegmatites appear to dip at moderate to steep angles towards the southwest and appear to have true-thicknesses of about 5m and are relatively close together with only a few metres separating individual pegmatites.

“The occurrence of LCT pegmatites adjacent to granites at Medcalf has regional geological significance,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The pegmatites occur in the same greenstone sequence that abuts the same granite complex at Lithium Australia’s Mt Day prospect, 45 kilometres to the north-east.

“Both locations have significant lithium mineralisation and there is good potential for locating further LCT pegmatites below cover, within the Lake Johnson project area.”





Lithium Australia Announces Sadisdorf Drilling Results

THE DRILL SERGEANT: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) announced preliminary results of its first drilling campaign at the company’s Sadisdorf Joint Venture in Germany.

Lithium Australia is in a farm-in deal and JV with Tin International AG, a subsidiary of exchange listed Deutsche Rohstoff AG (FRA: DR0) as partner.

The company has declared its aspirations to use its wholly-owned and proprietary SiLeach hydrometallurgical lithium processing technology to unlock the lithium potential and value of historical tin-polymetallic deposits such as Sadisdorf – which is ideally located to supply the European battery and electric vehicle market – by recovering lithium from the residues of conventional tin concentration processes.

Lithium Australia said the latest results represent the first drilling at Sadisdorf since 1990 and follows a maiden Inferred Mineral Resource estimate of 25 million tonnes at 0.45 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O) (0.32 per cent Li2O cut-off).

The program of three diamond holes was designed to confirm historic data and test the outer boundaries of the mineral resource model.

The drilling encountered intercepts including 32.19 metres of continuous lithium mineralisation at 0.52 per cent Li2O.

Other intercepts of tin mineralisation were also encountered of up to 11.65 metres at 0.35 per cent tin.

“Firstly, this is a welcome start to our first on-the-ground work at Sadisdorf – placing the company at the forefront of the bourgeoning battery chemical sector – much of which is European led,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The mineralisation encountered in the first drill hole strongly supports our vision of unlocking the value of the historic tin-tungsten Sadisdorf mine by adding lithium as an additional value driver, at a location in close geographical proximity to emerging European new era battery markets.

“Our SiLeach processing technology is ideally suited for processing Sadisdorf’s greisen-style polymetallic mineralisation which contains abundant lithium micas.

“With tin increasingly regarded as a strategic technology metal, the tin assays encountered also confirm our view of the potential of Sadisdorf as a significant polymetallic deposit.

“Testwork on fresh samples will commence shortly and we look forward to the full assay results from the remaining two drill holes.”





Lithium Australia Moves SiLeach LSPP closer to completion

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) reported on progress on construction of the company’s large-scale pilot plant (LSPP) to demonstrate its SiLeach® process at commercial scale.

Lithium Australia indicated the front-end engineering and design (FEED) for the plant is on track.

The FEED undertakings include preliminary equipment specifications, material selection, infrastructure, assessment of contracting strategies, discussion with vendors selected for the supply of specialised equipment, and logistic and scheduling activities.

The FEED study is scheduled for completion in Q3 2018.

Detailed metallurgical test work – designed to confirm final process design criteria in key areas of the flowsheet, including beneficiation, acid digestion and removal of impurities – is also well advanced.

Flotation test work on a master composite of the expected LSPP feed has focused on identifying the optimum combination of flotation feed particle size, mass recovery, stage efficiency, concentrate grade and re-grind product particle size.

Past test work indicated the importance of removing ultrafine particles from the flotation feed, since these can lead to poor mica recovery.

Results of the latest test work show lithium recoveries of 86 to 94 per cent, with 60 to 73 per cent of the mass reporting to rougher concentrate at a grade of 3 to 3.6 per cent Li2O (lithium oxide) from a feed grade of 2.5 per cent Li2O.

“The FEED study is advancing well and the improvements in lithium recovery are very encouraging,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We’re pleased with the increase in confidence around by-product recovery, which is an important aspect of the SiLeach® revenue stream – we believe it will allow us to produce lithium chemicals from minerals but at the same low unit cost as that of the brine producers.

“Preliminary discussions with potential off-take partners have been encouraging and our planned laboratory-scale pilot run at ANSTO, while aimed primarily at finalising the flowsheet for construction, will generate significant amounts of lithium chemical product for testing by potential off-take partners.”





Lithium Australia Completes VSPC Acquisition and Identifies Lithium in Lepidolite Hill Waste

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has completed procurement of advanced cathode material production technology by way of acquiring 99.7 per cent of technology company VSPC.

Lithium Australia took over the Brisbane-based VSPC, which has spent 14 years and approximately $30 million developing some of the world’s most advanced manufacturing techniques to produce cathode materials.

LIT explained these materials are critical components of lithium-ion batteries, the growing demand for which is currently driven by rapidly increasing demand for EVs and consumer electronics.

The advanced battery materials being developed by VSPC are also applicable to green energy solutions, including as back-up for sources of renewable energy.

Since completing the takeover in February, LIT has undertaken re-commissioning of the company’s cathode plant, including negotiating time-critical service agreements, recruitment of technical and operating staff and service agreements have been arranged with universities to support the technical demands of the project.

The VSPC facility is a two to four tonnes-per-annum pilot plant, incorporating an integrated laboratory, coin-cell production facility and battery-testing equipment.

LIT indicated that plant inspections and servicing are underway, as is evaluation of equipment upgrades, to prepare for resumption of production in July 2018.

“Recommissioning the VSPC pilot plant is a challenging task, but many of the past scientific and operating staff have made themselves available to ensure success,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“We welcome their assistance and participation in our plan to provide the world’s battery producers with the best available cathode materials.”

Lithium Australia has also completed further testwork on ore-sorting products from its Lepidolite Hill lithium project that it said indicates successful separation of lithium micas using an X-ray transmission ore-sorting method.

The company said existing stockpiles at Lepidolite Hill are potentially an attractive source of feed for its proposed large-scale pilot plant (LSPP), either as supplementary feed or a major source of feed.

On the basis of these initial results Lithium Australia believes potential exists to not only separate out petalite, as well as lepidolite, from surface stockpiles but also to undertake further exploration at the project; the latter would target possible in-situ lithium resources outside and/or below the current historic open-pit mine workings.

“Although our aim at Lepidolite Hill is exploitation of lithium mica, it’s not surprising to find such abundant petalite in the mine dumps,” Griffin said.

“Lepidolite Hill operated as a petalite mine in the 1970s, and perhaps the recovery of the target minerals was not as good as the operators would have liked!

“Ore-sorting will certainly enhance rapid separation of the lepidolite.

“That said, we’ll also devote significant attention to the recovery of other lithium minerals that result in a grade of about 1.8 per cent lithium dioxide in the reject material.

“We’ll probably drill at the south end of the existing pit, to see how far the lithium mineralisation extends beyond what was left in the pit wall.”