Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) announced it has expedited the Program of Works for the extraction of a trial sample for pilot testing of Lepidolite Hill lithium micas.
As quoted in the press release:
- Testing will advance the versatile, 100% owned Sileach™ process towards commercialization
- Pilot testing of the Sileach ™ process will be undertaken in an independent laboratory
- Independent laboratory to provide pilot plant equipment reducing capital requirement
- The program will not only advance Sileach™ process development but also the Coolgardie Rare Metals Venture, established with Focus Minerals Limited (ASX:FML) in September 2014
Sileach™ process commercialization
The Sileach™ process has been developed by LIT as an alternative to roasting silicates for the recovery of lithium. The process is:
- Energy efficient;
- Undertaken at atmospheric pressure; and
- Very versatile (applicable to all silicates).
The Sileach™ process offers a real alternative for hard rock lithium producers, in particular those producing spodumene. The process can produce lithium carbonate, hydroxide, or higher-level lithium chemicals.
When integrated with primary hard-rock lithium production, the application of the Sileach™ process will provide the opportunity for lithium producers to bypass third party refiners, which are presently the bottleneck in the lithium production chain.
LIT is accelerating the commercialization of the Sileach™ process. An integral part of the commercialization process is pilot testing. To provide the first plant feed LIT will recover high- grade ore from Lepidolite Hill, near Coolgardie in Western Australia (Figure 1). The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum has approved the Program of Works to recover up to 1,500 tonnes of Lepidolite ore. LIT has entered into discussions with mining contractor to recover the test parcels.
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