Arizona Lithium Limited (ASX:AZL) has received very encouraging new results from its metallurgical testing programme at Hazen Research on Big Sandy lithium mineralised material from Arizona, USA.
Highlights from the testing include:
• Significant reduction in acid consumption, shifting the economics of the Project, opening numerous scenarios for mining and processing.
• Significant advancement in upgrading treatable material leading to enhanced economic potential.
• Ongoing test work is ramping up to produce larger quantities of concentrate to increase the scale of the leaching tests to enable leach circuit optimisation.
• Bench-scale ore beneficiation work has produced a concentrate containing 71% of the lithium in 36% of the whole ore mass. Acid consuming carbonates were reduced by 92%.
• The sulfuric acid consumption was 490 kg/mt on the concentrate, the equivalent of 176 kg/mt whole ore.
• Four-hour duration leaching tests on the concentrate at 700C have yielded 87% lithium extraction.
• Sufficient quantities of leach solutions will be produced for optimisation of purification methods and the production of battery grade lithium carbonate, with Hazen producing “battery grade” 99.85% lithium carbonate in previous test work on the Big Sandy lithium mineralised material.
• To continually improve the approach, concurrent test work to improve product quality and reduce operating costs employing promising new technologies is now planned for:
• Leach solution purification using ion exchange.
• Improved crystallisation methods for the final product.
• Further recovery of lithium from beneficiation waste.
Managing Director, Paul Lloyd, said with an identified process route, the company can now commence scoping and prefeasibility studies.
“These excellent metallurgical results continue to demonstrate the potential of the Big Sandy Lithium Project,” Mr Lloyd said.
“With the ability to recover 71% of the lithium in just 36% of the whole ore mass, and the resulting acid consumption reduced to 176kg/mt of the whole ore, this shifts the economics of the Project, opening numerous scenarios for mining and processing.
Due to the location of the Project, Arizona infrastructure is a massive plus. With the recent test results significantly reducing the planned tonnage of ore to be moved offsite, several additional infrastructure possibilities have now opened up for our assessment.
“With the processing flow sheet determined, we are now able to advance with our scoping and pre-feasibility studies.
“This is a significant milestone event in the development of the Big Sandy Lithium Project. At the onset of the development timeline, we quickly identified that the sulfuric acid consumption was the major cost driver. These results provide an exciting base to commence the studies in the coming months.
“Given the large existing JORC compliant lithium resource that has excellent further upside potential, AZL’s ability to produce a high-quality product in Arizona, USA, in a market with rapidly increasing demand and price, along with quality infrastructure choices and proactive State and Federal Governments, it presents a highly promising future for Arizona Lithium and its shareholders.”
For further information please visit: https://www.arizonalithium.com/