ASX-listed Lithium Australia has identified a metallurgical process route which may provide security for the European renewable energy industry.
The company aims to produce lithium from unconventional sources, using mine waste from the Sadisdorf lithium/tin project, in Saxony.
The junior said on Thursday that it was contemplating producing high-performance cathode powders from mica that was recovered from tin mining operations, and that it would commit to a prefeasibility study to investigate the option.
The company believes that by situating a SiLeach plant at Sadisdorf to treat locally available micas and converting the lithium chemicals produced to cathode powders, as has been demonstrated at pilot scale, the company could combine low capital intensity with high margins to reduce the European battery industry’s reliance on imported lithium-ion battery components.
Historically, Sadisdorf had been a tin-mining enterprise, the tin veins occurring within a 'greisen' (altered granite), with the pervasive alteration within the granite consisting of lithium micas.
The project, which is situated near the border with the Czech Republic, is close to Deutsche Lithium’s Zinnwald deposit and European Metals’ Cinovec deposit (in Czech Republic).
Formal study planning activities would start in March with a technical workshop in Germany.
MD Adrian Griffin commented that Sadisdorf presents a significant opportunity to advance an unconventional lithium resource to the status of a strategic asset.
“The plan is to downstream-process via our proprietary VSPC technology to produce cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries. This has the potential to provide energy security within the European renewables sector. Lithium Australia is the first company in the world to produce lithium-ion batteries from the types of material available at Sadisdorf, and we look forward to advancing this operation to commercialisation."