Arizona Lithium upgrades Prairie resource by 10.5% ahead of imminent PFS release
Special Report: After an 11% increase to its landholding earlier this month, Arizona Lithium’s Prairie brine project in Saskatchewan, Canada, now boasts 6.3Mt lithium carbon equivalent (LCE) in resources.
Arizona Lithium (ASX:AZL) is on the cusp of counting itself among just a handful of lithium producers across North America, including Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) and Piedmont Lithium’s hard rock NAL project in Quebec and Albemarle’s Silver Peak brine operations in the US.
On top of its Prairie project, the company is processing brine at a nearby pilot plant and is also progressing its Big Sandy lithium project in Arizona where its Lithium Research Centre is stationed for researching extraction and recovery techniques.
After recently expanding its project acreage by 11%, Prairie now covers a whopping 1,578km and AZL has today bolstered the previous resource by 10.5%, or 600,000t LCE, to 6.3Mt.
Importantly, 500,000t of the increase has been classified in the higher confidence indicated category, bringing the total indicated resource up to 4.5Mt, with 1.8Mt classified as inferred.
The resource upgrade follows the completion of direct lithium extraction (DLE) tuning period at Prairie, which established a baseline steady-state lithium extraction rate of 95.6% with excellent stability.
To put this in perspective, Goldman Sachs believes that various DLE techs are expected to average recovery rates of between 70-90% across evaluated brine projects.
On top of this, rejection rates of impurities in the brine showed 99.9%, with the most concentrated cation (sodium) being reduced from 95,640mg/L in the feed to just 61mg/L in the concentrate.
AZL MD Paul Lloyd says that following AZL announcing the increase landholding at Prairie by 39,331 acres just earlier this week, the expanded project area has already proven highly strategic and value accretive.
“We have added over half a million tonnes of indicated LCE resources to one of the most promising lithium brine plays in North America,” Lloyd says.
“With pilot testing at Prairie well underway, initial work continue to deliver highly promising results with a steady-state of 95.6% Li extraction achieved, indicating that the project has significant potential to be economically robust.”
The brine developer says the focus for the remainder of the pilot test schedule – which will conclude in February – is on developing control limits and process capability indexes for lithium recovery and rejection of impurities to determine the design and economic evaluation for the commercial-scale facility, scheduled for production in 2025.
The lithium concentrate produced over the duration of the pilot run time will be transported to AZL’s Lithium Research Centre in Tempe, Arizona, then processed and converted to ~100kg of lithium carbonate (or other lithium chemicals) using AZL’s new cross flow reverse osmosis (CFRO) and crystallisation equipment scheduled for installation early next year.
A pivotal preliminary feasibility study (PFS) is on track to be delivered by the end of the December and early indications show Prairie to be an economically robust project.
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.