BRISBANE PILOT PLANT COMMENCES PRODUCTION OF LITHIUM-ION CATHODE MATERIAL FOR GLOBAL BATTERY MARKET
- First cathode material produced at VSPC's re-commissioned pilot plant
- Delivery of cathode material samples to international battery makers in Q4 2018
Production of advanced battery cathode material
VSPC is a specialist battery-component research and development laboratory wholly owned by Perth-based Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT). VSPC is pleased to report that its pilot production facilities in Brisbane, Queensland are now fully re-commissioned, and lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery cathode material is being produced.
International battery makers have previously shown strong interest in VSPC’s 4th-generation LFP cathode material. Tellingly, in tests completed late in 2017, the performance of VSPC's cathode material exceeded that of an industry standard material (see ASX announcement dated 1 November 2017).
VSPC’s electrochemical laboratory facilities now fully operational
The quality and consistency of VSPC's pilot-production materials are currently being verified via the company’s advanced, on-site electrochemical testing facilities, the capabilities of which include the ability to assemble and test lithium-ion coin and pouch cells.
Very Small Particle Company Ltd name change
In tandem with the recommissioning, Lithium Australia advises a change of name for its subsidiary from “Very Small Particle Company Ltd” (ACN 087 481 927) to “VSPC Ltd” (VSPC).
Says Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin:
“VSPC gives Lithium Australia the opportunity to manufacture the world's most advanced cathode materials – at the high-margin end of the battery metals market. Importantly, VSPC will also allow us to capitalise on waste batteries as a feed source. We anticipate immense pressure on the supply of energy metals such as lithium and cobalt in the near future. Battery recycling not only supports sustainability but may also, ultimately, prove the cheapest source of those energy metals materials in years to come. The ability to produce cathode powders from these materials, while also controlling particle size, is clearly advantageous. It is an integral part of our sustainable and ethical supply policy."
LITHIUM AUSTRALIA (ASX: LIT) BREAKS NEW GROUND IN PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY
PATENT PROTECTION FOR BREAKTHROUGH
LIT has recently lodged two new patent applications; namely:
- 'Process to produce lithium phosphate', and
- 'Process for recovering lithium phosphate and/or lithium sulphate from lithium-bearing silicates'.
The innovations covered by the patents provide LIT’s SiLeach® process with an unprecedented advantage, that of lithium recovery from the process liquors without the requirement for extensive evaporation. This remarkable breakthrough may also have application to process streams other than those generated by SiLeach®, such as, conventional spodumene conversion, mica sulfation roasting or lithium-containing waste waters.
These new process steps will further refine Lithium Australia's plans to commercialise SiLeach®, including the development of a large-scale pilot plant (LSPP) (see ASX release dated 6 July 2017). The enhancements will not only reduce capital costs and the operating costs associated with managing the water balance but also improve the quality of the lithium chemicals and potassium by-products that SiLeach® generates
FROM MINE WASTE TO CATHODE MATERIALS
Lithium Australia's SiLeach® process can extract lithium from all silicate minerals, but is ideally suited to processing lithium micas, considered a waste product in many mining operations. Lithium Australia is currently undertaking a scoping study on its recently acquired Sadisdorf deposit (ASX announcement 12 June 2018), where, it is hoped, SiLeach® will breathe new life into the mothballed tin mine, enabling the recovery of lithium, tin and other by-products.
The resulting lithium chemicals can be used as a feed source for Lithium Australia's VSPC cathode powder production technology, providing a cost-effective means of delivering lithium units to battery producers.
LITHIUM AUSTRALIA ACQUIRES SIGNIFICANT RESOURCE ON THE DOORSTEP OF THE EUROPEAN EV INDUSTRY
- Lithium Australia to purchase the Sadisdorf lithium/tin project from Tin International AG
- Acquisition provides 100% equity in a substantial resource close to expanding LIB production capacity
- 100% owned SiLeach® provides the path for unlocking resource value
- Target completion for scoping study – October 2018
- Synergistic supply opportunity with cobalt and other energy metals
Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) will, subject to regulatory requirements, acquire 100% of the Sadisdorf lithium/tin resource from Tin International AG (see Figure 1). Consultant CSA Global has estimated that the Sadisdorf Project has an Inferred Mineral Resource of 25 million tonnes grading 0.45% Li2O 1 (ASX announcement 7 December 2017). Significantly the lithium is contained within lithium micas within alteration around tin mineralization, the latter being the subject of historic mining. The lithium micas can be readily concentrated after the removal of tin by conventional gravity separation. Lithium has been very successfully extracted from Sadisdorf mica concentrates using LIT’s SiLeach® process.
Asia, primarily China, South Korea and Japan have lead the world in lithium ion (LIB) cell production but things are changing. Today Europe has only one factory, located in the UK, manufacturing lithium-ion (LIB) cells for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Big plans are on foot to change that in what has become one of the fastest growing precincts of LIB consumption.
Recently China’s BYD announced plans to establish a battery factory in Europe while Northvolt, together with Siemens and Scania, through an investment of €4 billion, will do likewise.
CATL, Samsung SDI, and LG Chem are following suit to establish European production capacity and SK Innovations will establish a factory in Hungary.
The planned capacity in Europe will dwarf the much-publicized Tesla Gigafactory and Europe may well become the highest concentration of energy metal consumption outside China. The major consumers are already competing for offtake, and the establishment of raw material supply will be a critical aspect of their success. Major European auto manufacturers are forming strong alliances with the battery producers to ensure security of supply
With resources already well established at Sadisdorf, and Lithium Australia well down the track of commercializing its 100% owned Sileach® process, there is a great opportunity to develop a domestic European supply chain.
FURTHER COBALT - COPPER - LITHIUM HITS FOR LITHIUM AUSTRALIA IN FOLLOW-UP WORK ON EICHIGT PROJECT IN GERMANY
- Cobalt and copper hits in follow-up exploration work on the Eichigt polymetallic project in Saxony, eastern Germany
- Strong mineralisation on surface confirmed by rock chip assays from wholly owned Eichigt project show up to 1.47 % Co and 0.54 % Cu and 0.71% Li2O
- Additional veins encountered, all remain open along strike and down dip
Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT) is pleased to announce verification of significant cobalt - copper - lithium mineralisation from exploration fieldwork within the Company’s fully owned Eichigt project in Germany.
The 133km² Eichigt exploration licence was granted to Lithium Australia in January this year, adding to its existing Sadisdorf project, also in Saxony. Lithium Australiais farming into a joint venture (JV) with German company Tin International AG, as outlined in the ASX announcement of 28 February 2017. LIT then announced on 7 December 2017 a JORC (2012) Inferred Mineral Resource of 25 million tonnes grading 0.45% Li2O (at a cut-off of 0.3% Li2O).
Mining ceased in Eichigt in the 17th century, and with little modern exploration undertaken since, Lithium Australia’s initial sampling program aimed to test mineralisation of iron- and copper-bearing quartz veins that were subject to small-scale mining activities during the 16th century.
The area is known to host a buried granite cupola, prospective for volatile metals and lithium-bearing greisens.
Significant cobalt and copper mineralisation has been encountered in the field with grades of up to 1.47% for cobalt and 0.54 % for copper in Eichigt field samples (See Table 1). Lithium results in this second round are also elevated – critically, within weathered material – and grades of up to 0.71% Li2O have been received.
As part of the Company's objective to establish a central processing hub in Europe to support battery production for the rapidly expanding electric vehicle industry, Lithium Australia plans to use its 100%- owned SiLeach® process to recover lithium from its German projects, should doing so prove economically feasible.
THE NEW EICHIGT SAMPLING RESULTS
Significant results from the second round of 16 field grab samples are listed in Table 1, and the locations of the samples displayed in Figures 1 and 3.
These early results for cobalt and copper confirm polymetallic mineralisation within the Eichigt project area (see ASX release dated 30 May 2018). Deleterious elements, including arsenic and uranium are very low in concentration.
LITHIUM AUSTRALIA DISCOVERS COBALT MINERALIZATION AT EICHIGT IN GERMANY
- Samples confirm presence of strong mineralization at surface
- Assays up to 0.6 % Co and 0.48 % Cu
- Additional veins encountered – all remain open along strike and dip
Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT) is pleased to announce the first results of the maiden exploration program at its fully-owned Eichigt project in Germany.
Initial exploration focused on copper-bearing quartz-veins that were subjected to small-scale mining activities during the 16th century. Significant cobalt and copper mineralization was encountered, with grades up to 0.6 % for cobalt and 0.48 % for copper in sample E802G.
COBALT, COPPER AND LITHIUM MINERALIZATION IDENTIFED
Results from the first five grab samples are shown in Table 1, with sample locations listed in Table 2 and displayed in Figure 1.
Recent multiple diggings by mineral collectors were encountered in what is otherwise forested terrain. Uncharacteristically low levels of arsenic and uranium set these occurrences apart from other mineralization recorded in the area (in which gossans of this type have not been described before).