Lithium Australia preparing pilot plant following positive recovery tests on mine waste

Lepidolite Hill quarry, Image: Lithium Australia

Lithium Australia is to assess feed sources for its SiLeach-enabled large-scale pilot plant (LSPP) in Western Australia for its first 12 months of operation.

The company’s SiLeach technology allows lithium silicates to be made into battery-grade materials without the need for the expensive and time-consuming process of roasting, which involves lithium ore being heated in industrial-scale roasters prior to leaching. It also allows for the recovery of battery-grade material from rejected mine waste (including low-grade lepidolite mica feedstock).

The Lepidolite Hill deposit, 80 per cent-owned by Lithium Australia and located about 520km from Perth, WA, has recently seen positive results from beneficiation test work carried out on mine dumps by TOMRA Sorting Solutions, which has shown the opportunity to remove large amounts of waste material via SiLeach extraction.

Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin commented that Lithium Australia was striving for increased sustainability in the energy metals sector:

“Recovery of lithium from mine waste is a great example of that, and we are strongly focused on opportunities in both Europe and Western Australia,” he said. “As demand for lithium grows, efficient resource utilisation will become essential.

“Our range of technologies allows us to seize opportunities as they arise, and that includes more than merely accessing mine waste – we’re also developing the ability to rebirth used lithium-ion batteries.

“It’s all part of Lithium Australia’s plan to take greater responsibility for the stewardship of our finite resources.”