Advanced battery metals play Lepidico (ASX:LPD) celebrates two wins this morning; producing 99.9 per cent battery grade lithium carbonate and US patent protection for its processing tech.

The news sent shares up as much as 20 per cent this morning to 2.4c.

Lepidico said it successfully produced high specification lithium carbonate of 99.9 per cent purity during a recent pilot plan program, aimed at testing its L-Max processing technology.

The L- Max process is for the extraction and recovery of lithium chemicals from lithium containing mica and lithium phosphate minerals, including lepidolite, zinnwaldite and amblygonite.

It is designed to provide the potential for sustainable, commercial production from the less conventional sources of lithium.

Lepidico’s end carbonate product is above the nominal battery grade reference purity of 99.5 per cent for many existing producers, the company said.

Also, the impurity levels of most deleterious elements for battery grade specifications were below detection limits in Lepidico’s lithium carbonate.

Lepidico is now working to convert the plant so it can produce lithium hydroxide.

Lithium comes predominantly from two main sources — hard rock (hosted in spodumene and mica ores) and brine (lithium-enriched salt water).

In Australia, lithium largely comes from hard rock, which has an advantage over brine-produced lithium.

Lithium-bearing hard rock ores can be converted into lithium hydroxide chemical – which already commands a higher price than carbonate — after a process that does not require carbonate prior to production of battery grade lithium hydroxide.

Lithium hydroxide is becoming more popular among electric car battery makers because it can produce cathode material more efficiently.

The cathode is used to conduct electricity flows out of a battery or device.

Meanwhile, Lepidico also received US patent protection for the L-Max process in the US and is working to secure patents in other key jurisdictions.

“L-Max is integral to Lepidico’s vertically integrated phase one project which is now in the advanced stages of a feasibility study, the results of which are due in March 2020,” managing director Joe Walsh said.

Read more:

Lithium hydroxide producers in the box seat as battery makers move towards NMC-811

Lithium stocks guide: Here’s everything you need to know

Here’s what electric car makers look for when choosing lithium suppliers


In other ASX battery metals news today:

Anson Resources (ASX:ASN) is chasing early cash flow with plans to build a modular bromine plant at its Paradox brine project in the US. The company says a bromine focus will reduce development costs and the timeline to production. The early cash flow will help with the funding of the planned lithium pilot plant and the commercial size bromine/lithium plant.

Jadar Lithium (ASX:JDR) shares shot up 30 per cent today on news it was buying a 200,000oz gold project in Peru. “The Yanamina gold project presents a rare opportunity in which such an advanced gold project with exploration upside and the potential for near-term production can be acquired with minimal upfront cost,” chairman Luke Martino said.