JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Perth-based explorer Lithium Australia has declared a maiden inferred mineral resource estimate of 25-million tonnes at 0.45% lithium oxide at the Sadisdorf tin/lithium project, in Saxony, Germany.
Lithium Australia is farming into a joint venture with Tin International, which previously defined a tin mineral resource of 3.36-million tonnes grading 0.44% tin at a cutoff of 0.25% for the Sadisdorf deposit.
The Australian junior said on Thursday that the mineral resource estimate substantially enhanced the potential for progressing the historical Sadisdorf mine to a polymetallic deposit with contributions from lithium, tin and tungsten, as well as from a range of byproducts made available by virtue of its registered SiLeach hydrometallurgical technology.
“Our previous testing demonstrates that SiLeach can unlock the potential of Sadisdorf as a true polymetallic operation, recovering lithium from the residues of conventional tin concentration processes. The size of the Sadisdorf resources is already significant, with the potential to feed a 25 000 t/y lithium carbonate plant for ten years,” Lithium Australia MD Adrian Griffin commented.
He added that the Sadisdorf deposit had similar grades to those of the nearby Cinovec deposit, in the Czech Republic, and that it was not far from the Zinnwald deposit of Deutsche Lithium.
“All these deposits have similar characteristics, making them difficult, if not impossible, to commercialise using conventional lithium processing technology,” Griffin noted.
Quantitative X-ray diffraction analysis has quantities of lithium-bearing zinnwaldite mica ranging from 9% to 12.5% with local values in the inner greisen zone of up to 38% zinnwaldite. The company explained that zinnwaldite, a lithium mica, could be easily processed using SiLeach.
Preliminary SiLeach testwork on the Sadisdorf outer greisen material returned encouraging results, with lithium extractions of zinnwaldite concentrates from Sadisdorf greisen mineralisation averaging 95%.