Lithium Australia made a battery out of waste ore – they say it’s a breakthrough
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Lithium Australia has successfully made a battery from high impurity, waste lithium ores.
If successful at a commercial scale, using waste mica in battery production could be a lithium industry disruptor.
The Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) share price was up about 5.7 per cent to 10.2c on the news.
Lepidolite is a member of the mica group of minerals and is the most abundant lithium-bearing mineral in the world.
But it is shunned by miners in favour of spodumene ores, which are easier, and far cheaper, to convert to battery grade material.
Last week, Lithium Australia successfully manufactured lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) using the products of its SiLeach process, which recovers lithium chemicals from lithium concentrates without expensive roasting.
The company said battery performance compared “very favourably” with batteries using standard lithium carbonate.
Most importantly, the lithium produced was tri-lithium phosphate (Li3PO4) which can be used for the direct production of battery cathode powders, the company told investors.
This removes the challenging and expensive steps of first producing high-purity, battery grade lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate.
Bypassing lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide as battery precursors could “significantly reduce the cost battery manufacture”, Lithium Australia said.
“Not only that, the use of mine waste in the battery production cycle can provide greater sustainability to global lithium resources.”
The breakthrough the company has achieved by generating cathode powders direct from tri-lithium phosphate will significantly influence the economic potential of not only the Sadisdorf project but also similar occurrences elsewhere in Europe.
The application of Lithium Australia’s tech to generate LFP cathode materials from mica feed will be incorporated into scoping studies currently being undertaken on its Sadisdorf lithium project in Germany.
The company to construct a large-scale pilot plant (LSPP), which it hopes will be the world’s first hydrometallurgical facility to produce lithium chemicals from a feedstock mine waste.
Lithium Australia burnt through $4.3 million on the September quarter, with $14.1 million left in the bank at the start of October.
It expected to spend about $2.4 million this quarter.