Matsa Resources says lepidolite samples from its Pink Panther and Rose Panther prospects in western Thailand have achieved excellent lithium recoveries above 95% by Yongxing Special Materials Co at their Jiangxi facility in China.

The test work demonstrated that both Pink Panther and Rose Panther lepidolite (lithium mica) samples can be processed as a Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) product -which can be directly crushed and milled without using the flotation process.

The results highlighted a minimum 94.8% lithium recovery from the lepidolite concentrate and a minimum 91% recovery from the lepidolite DSO samples, using Yongxing’s sulphate roasting technology.

Importantly, the lepidolite processing results has confirmed a battery grade lithium carbonate product can be produced from Matsa Resources’ (ASX:MAT) Thailand lithium project.


Producing battery grade lithium carbonate

“China has been at the forefront of processing lepidolite for a number of years now, which is why we intentionally sought out an industry leader to test Matsa’s lithium samples,” executive chairman Paul Poli said.

“It is really pleasing to have Yongxing confirm that Matsa’s lepidolite and polylithionite samples were successfully processed using conventional techniques to extract lithium and are capable of producing battery grade lithium carbonate.

“In the case of the samples from Pink Panther and Rose Panther, it is particularly pleasing that the lithium recoveries were in excess of 94.8% from the lepidolite.”


Polylithionite processed through lepidolite plant

In addition, test work on polylithionite (also a lithium mica) from the Black Panther and Spotted Panther prospects, also demonstrated that lithium extraction is possible using existing technology.

“Whilst the results of the lepidolite testwork are not a surprise to Matsa, we were less certain as to how polylithionite, also a lithium mica, would behave in Yongxing’s lepidolite processing plant,” Poli said.

“The testwork has in fact demonstrated that polylithionite is also processable through the existing lepidolite processing plant.”


Potential offtake and cooperative exploration

Yongxing has created a ‘one-step’ battery-grade lithium carbonate production line, instead of upgrading industrial grade carbonates, as most smelters would do.

This has shortened the production period and further reduced costs, with current carbonate production costs from lepidolite at around RMB35,000/t, which is competitive with the average cost of producing lithium carbonate from spodumene.

Off the back of Matsa’s results, the producer has now indicated they are interested in progressing talks to an MOU.

“Now we’ve established that lithium samples from our project can be processed, we’ll cast our mind to planning a number of initial drilling campaigns, whilst advancing discussions with Yongxing and other parties for the exploration and development of our Thai lithium project,” Poli said.




This article was developed in collaboration with Matsa Resources Limited, 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.