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Lithium Australia gets go-ahead to extract lithium from mining waste

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:32 -- Hugh Finzel

Lithium Australia (LIT) has been given the green light to extract lithium from mining waste dumps in Western Australia to produce lithium-ion batteries. 

The state government approved plans for LIT to remove excess tonnage— which will become part of the feed required for the company’s proposed large-scale pilot plant (LSPP).

Last April, LIT confirmed it had successfully separated lepidolite (lithium mica) from mine waste using an x-ray transmission ore sorting process. 

LIT will use its 100%-owned SiLeach process to separate lithium content from mining waste into a concentrate stream. In testing, more than 90% of the available lepidolite reported to the concentrate stream. The company said it would consider this technique to pre-concentrate lithium mica from waste, prior to transport to its proposed large-scale pilot plant.

LIT managing director, Adrian Griffin said: “Obtaining approval for excess tonnage advances our aim of producing lithium-ion batteries from mine waste.”

Griffin said the firm was “well advanced, with a pilot plant run at ANSTO Minerals (a division of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation), to generate materials that will be used to further process that lithium in our Brisbane-based VSPC facility”.

First delivery of lithium-iron-phosphate battery cathode material samples will be made to lithium-ion battery makers in the fourth quarter of 2018, LIT said.

BEST Battery Briefing reported earlier this year that LIT had been awarded a licence to search for lithium at the Sadisdorf project in eastern Germany.

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