Hawkstone scores with 90pc lithium recoveries at Big Sandy
Special Report: Hawkstone has received a big tick for its chosen basic processing approach, after initial metallurgical test work achieved 90 per cent lithium recoveries.
The ongoing work also succeeded in removing iron, aluminium and magnesium with minimal losses of lithium from the leach solution produced from materialised material from its Big Sandy sedimentary lithium project in Arizona.
Current work is focused on the removal of calcium and sodium from the leach solution that will result in the purification and concentration of the lithium sulphate, which will enable final processing to produce “battery grade” lithium carbonate.
Hawkstone Mining (ASX:HWK) is now developing an intellectual property development program focused on certain unit operations of the planned flow sheet, and optimisation of the planned interlocking steps of ore beneficiation, slurry pipeline transport and ore leaching.
It believes that these developments will be unique to the development of the Big Sandy project and could also improve the viability of other sedimentary clay projects.
The company adds that the Big Sandy project’s location in Arizona’s “battery corridor” straddling two major highways and just 80km from one of two US transcontinental railroads meant that it was well positioned with US President Joe Biden’s goal of a 100 per cent clean energy economy and a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
“The company is pleased to announce the positive steps being made by Hazen Research in the completion of bench scale testing of the Big Sandy lithium mineralisation, with the aim of producing battery grade lithium and in the process developing a preliminary process flow sheet,” managing director Paul Lloyd said.
“With drill approval imminent at Big Sandy, the company will rapidly progress development of the project to realise its full economic potential.”
Test work will be used to develop a feasible and economic processing route leading to more extensive bench and bankable pilot scale testing.
Hawkstone has already completed preliminary engineering studies to determine process scenarios, possible mining, processing and consumable/product logistics scenarios.
Establishing contacts within the local, state and Federal governments has also demonstrated a broad level of support including tangible economic incentives while baseline environmental and cultural surveys were completed in 2020.
The company is now waiting on Bureau of Land Management approval to enable drilling to extend the known resource to the north and south.
Big Sandy currently has a resource of 32.5 million tonnes grading 1,850 parts per million lithium for 320,800 tonnes of lithium carbonate that represents just 4 per cent of the project area that contains an estimated exploration target of between 271.1Mt to 483.15Mt at 1,000ppm to more than 2,000ppm lithium.
Approval for a bulk sample to allow larger-scale pilot plant testing this year is also pending.
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