Lithium Australia NL believes disruptive lithium chemical production will power the energy revolution that’s transforming the world as we know it. To that end, the Company has developed SiLeach®, an exclusive technology that can process all lithium silicates into battery-grade materials without the need for ‘roasting’. This advance on traditional processing methods is a world first. Lithium Australia NL (‘LIT’) has one over-arching goal: the application of its disruptive processing technologies to the production of lithium chemicals on a commercial scale and at an operating cost in the lowest quartile.
To achieve its ends, LIT is:
- procuring access to feed materials with low exposure to mining costs;
- processing materials considered waste by other operators;
- developing strong strategic partnerships, and
- maintaining equity in resource projects globally.
Share Price Performance
Adrian Griffin – Managing Director
Bryan Dixon – Non-Executive Director
Barry Woodhouse – Company Secretary & CFO
George Bauk – Non-Executive Chairman
Capital Structure And Shareholders
Top 10 holders at 28 July 2017 – 22.2%
JP Morgan Nominees – 4.76
Citicorp Nominees – 3.66
Adrian Griffin – 3.01
Parkway Minerals NL – 2.57
Horn Resources – 1.97
Alan Jenks – 1.32
Apollinax Inc. – 1.15
TA Securities Berhad – 1.1
Gasmere Pty Ltd – 1.06
BNP Paribas – 1.06
Electra project – Sonora, Mexico,
Metals Tech – Quebec, Canada
Sadisdorf – Saxony, Germany
Pilbara region, Western Australia
Goldfields region, Western Australia
Cape York region, Queensland
Bynoe, Northern Territory
Kangaroo Island, South Australia
From alpha-spodumene to zinnwaldite: SiLeach® is the ultimate processing solution
SiLeach® – the fundamentals
SiLeach® is a hydrometallurgical process, so no roasting is required. It uses a combination of sulphuric acid (to break weak chemical bonds) and halides (fluoride in particular) to dissociate the strong bonds that act as the glue in silicate lattices. Reactions occur rapidly at about 90˚C, which is a distinct advantage in terms of constraining plant footprint and reducing capital costs. Now that SiLeach® has been independently pilot-tested by ANSTO Minerals, one of Australia’s premier research organisations, further optimisation of the process is under way, with a view to committing to the construction of a Large Scale Pilot Plant (LSPP) by the end of calendar 2017.
Strategic positions in lithium hot spots
- Resource security is a commercial imperative One of LIT‘s prime objectives is processing third-party ore, where much of the mining cost has already been absorbed during the extraction of other commodities.
- To ensure such security, LIT has taken positions in major lithium provinces around the globe.
LIT has drill-tested the Agua Fria deposit in Mexico, and Ravensthorpe in Western Australia and is planning its drilling programme for Sadisdorf in Germany.
- LIT is negotiating farm-out positions on a number of its exploration properties in return for first right of refusal on product generated from those areas, thereby retaining access to the supply chain without spending high-risk exploration dollars to realise reserves.
- SiLeach® optimisation remains LIT’s highest priority, with a view to commercialising the process and advancing towards production.
- Metallurgical assessment of the Agua Fria deposit is underway, to identify a beneficiation path that elevates feed grades and improves the value of the project.
- Exploration at Ravensthorpe and Sadisdorf has commenced and preliminary indications of the resource potential of Lake Johnston are very promising; the latter area will undergo more intensive exploration later in the year.
Efficacy of the SiLeach® process
SiLeach® does not incorporate a roasting phase to extract lithium and can potentially derive all its energy requirements from waste heat generated in the production of sulphuric acid. Therefore, operating inputs could be quite low. This is in vast contrast to attempts to recover lithium from micas using conventional processing (see China (lepidolite) in the graph below).
Operating costs for production scale, accounting for by-product credits, should place SiLeach®-based lithium carbonate production near the bottom end of the cost curve (see Target hydrometallurgical costs).