Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has received a ‘Certificate of Grant’ from IP Australia for its LieNA lithium processing technology patent.
While the recovery rate of lithium from conventional spodumene beneficiation varies, it can be as low as 50% owing to the concentrate offtake specification constraints applied by the current generation of lithium chemical producers, all of which commence the process by roasting the concentrate.
Together, Lithium Australia and ANSTO (the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation) have completed extensive test work on the LieNA technology, with final recovery of lithium reported as greater than 85%.
Managing Director Adrian Griffin said that Lithium Australia continues to work towards commercialisation of its proprietary LieNA technology for the improved recovery of lithium from spodumene, the most common hard-rock source of lithium for the production of critical battery chemicals.
“Lithium Australia continues its emphasis on developing novel solutions to lithium processing problems,” Mr Griffin said.
“Commercialisation of the LieNA process is an opportunity to improve the sustainability of the lithium-ion battery industry.
“We see an immediate application for it in Australia, which produces well over half the world’s lithium requirements and nearly all of the spodumene needed; however, significant quantities of the latter never make it into the process supply chain.
“The problem starts with the very nature of the mineral and the processes currently used to recover lithium from it.
“That problem may be solved with more efficient processing – and that remains our focus. LieNA could help mitigate much of the waste in the lithium industry.”
Mr Griffin said the LieNA process can improve recoveries, reduce the footprint of mining operations, lessen environmental impacts and enhance sustainability.