Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) has shifted from scoping study efforts into a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) assessment for its ANSTO-facilitated LieNA technology for producing high-purity lithium battery chemicals from spodumene feeds.
LieNA was developed after an extended period of research undertaken with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) based in Sydney.
The research output is not constrained by particle feed size and doesn’t need the calcination or conventional high-temperature treatment of spodumene concentrates.
Instead it uses alkaline sources such as caustic soda at a temperature and pressure needed to convert mineral spodumene to a lithium-bearing sodalite phase.
Once the sodalite is recovered, a high-purity refined tri-lithium phosphate (LP) product is produced from a lithium-bearing solution achieved with selective leaching.
Western Australian company Lithium Australia is aiming to close the loop on energy-metal production by allowing energy sources to be generated through recycling of materials often discarded in conventional processing.
Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin highlighted today: “Lithium Australia’s LieNA technology is a sustainable processing solution capable of recovering much of the lithium from fine spodumene waste.
“Not only does the LieNA technology provide greater sustainability but it can also supply direct feed for the production of LFP cathode materials, a chemistry ideally suited to energy storage applications.”
West Perth-based Lithium Australia can produce lithium-ferro-phosphate (LFP) cathode materials from LP through cathode powder synthesis methods wholly owned by its 100%-held Queensland nanotechnology subsidiary VSPC Ltd.
Griffin noted today: “The production of lithium concentrates from spodumene results in the generation of a large amount of fine spodumene that cannot be used as feed for conventional lithium ‘converters’ — factories that produce lithium chemicals from spodumene.”
He flagged the fine materials discharged as waste during the conventional concentration process could contain up to half of the lithium used as an input.
Lithium Australia fielded enquiries for the potential supply of its LP and LFP products from interested parties while in China during a trip this year.