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  • Lithium Australia’s (LIT) has been given the green light to pilot test its spodumene conversion process, LieNA
  • Spodumene is the principle hard-rock source of lithium
  • Currently, conventional processes used to recover lithium from spodumene involves roasting as the first step, which means fine particles are not processed
  • However, LIT’s LieNA technology does not have a roasting stage and is capable of recovering lithium from fine and contaminated spodumene
  • Construction of the pilot plant is being planned and the first concentrates are expected to commence in September 2021
  • On the market this afternoon, LIT is down 3.85 per cent and is trading at 12.5 cents per share

Lithium Australia’s (LIT) has been given the green light to pilot test its spodumene conversion process, LieNA.

Conventional processes to recover lithium from spodumene (the principal ore of lithium) involves roasting as the first step, meaning fine particles are not processed.

Currently, when spodumene ore is converted to commercial concentrates, around 25 to 50 per cent of the lithium within the ore fed to the concentrator is lost. This leads to higher mining costs, hence higher than the optimal cost of lithium chemicals produced.

LIT’s LieNA process does not involve a roasting stage and is capable of recovering lithium from fine and contaminated spodumene.

Being able to process fine and contaminated spodumene potentially removes one area of low recovery in the lithium industry.

Last month, the company was awarded a grant under the Australian Federal Government’s co-operative research centre projects initiative. Funds from this grant will be used on the $3.6 million LieNA pilot testing.

Construction of the pilot-plant is currently being planned and the first concentrates are expected to commence in September 2021.

Managing Director Adrian Griffin says the LieNA technology is the “pinnacle for hydrometallurgical processing of spodumene.

LieNA is capable of recovering lithium from fine and/or contaminated spodumene that fails to meet the feed specifications of current converters. It also provides the highest levels of impurity rejection,” he said.

“It is these characteristics that set it apart. LieNA, then, is designed to improve
overall recovery and achieve better utilisation of existing resources: it’s about cost
reduction, sustainability and maximising the benefit of our critical (and finite) resources,” he added.

On the market this afternoon, LIT is down 3.85 per cent and is trading at 12.5 cents per share at 1:19 pm AEDT.

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