Arizona Lithium knocks Big Sandy test work out of the park delivering ‘shift’ in project economics
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Arizona Lithium has emerged from a trading halt with metallurgical test work results the company says will transform the economics of its Big Sandy Lithium Project in the United States.
Met test work completed by Hazen Research on lithium materials from Arizona Lithium’s (ASX:AZL) Big Sandy has produced encouraging results.
Bench scale tests produced a concentrate containing 71% of the lithium in just 36% whole ore mass, with four-hour duration leaching tests on the concentrate at 700C yielding 87% lithium extraction.
Importantly, the results show a pathway to significantly reduce process costs, with acid consuming carbonates sliding 92% and sulphuric acid consumption at a rate of 176kg per metric tonne of whole ore.
The company said this reduction in acid consumption will open numerous scenarios for mining and processing and Arizona now says it will be able to commence scoping and pre-feasibility studies on the Big Sandy project.
“These excellent metallurgical results continue to demonstrate the potential of the Big Sandy Lithium Project,” Arizona Lithium managing director Paul Lloyd said.
“With the ability to recover 71% of the lithium in just 36% of the whole ore mass, and the resulting acid consumption reduced to 176kg/mt of the whole ore, this shifts the economics of the project, opening numerous scenarios for mining and processing.”
Big Sandy contains an Indicated and Inferred JORC resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 ppm Li for 320,800 tonnes Li2CO3.
That represents just 4% of the Big Sandy area, where Arizona Lithium has a large-scale exploration target of 271.1Mt to 483.15Mt at 1,000 – >2,000ppm Li2.
In a US policy environment supportive of critical minerals projects, Big Sandy is ideally located between the major cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas and just 960km by sealed interstate highway from Tesla’s Gigafactory in Nevada.
“Due to the location of the project, Arizona infrastructure is a massive plus,” Lloyd said.
“With the recent test results significantly reducing the planned tonnage of ore to be moved offsite, several additional infrastructure possibilities have now opened up for our assessment.
“With the processing flow sheet determined, we are now able to advance with our scoping and pre-feasibility studies.”
Arizona says enough leach solution will be produced for a battery grade lithium carbonate, with Hazen having previously produced 99.85% lithium carbonate in test work on Big Sandy material.
Concurrent test work is being planned to improve the product quality and reduce operating costs with promising new technologies.
These include leach solution purification using ion exchange, improved crystallisation methods for the final product and further recovery of lithium from beneficiation waste.
Arizona shares were up 9.1% this morning.
This article was developed in collaboration with Arizona Lithium, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.