• Beneficiation testwork on Jindalee’s McDermitt project in Oregon returns 92% lithium recovery and 25.3% mass rejection
  • Average grade to leach is 57% higher than the project’s average resource grade of 1,340ppm lithium
  • Korean conglomerate POSCO to support testwork on largest confirmed lithium deposit in North America


Special Report: US-focused lithium developer Jindalee Resources has received a massive boost ahead of the upcoming PFS on its flagship McDermitt project in Oregon with beneficiation testwork delivering “exceptional” results.

Acquired in 2018, McDermitt is a lithium sediment project with an inventory of 3 billion tonnes at 1,340ppm Li for a total of 21.5Mt LCE.

That makes it the largest lithium deposit in the US by contained lithium, with the closest analogy being Lithium America’s advanced 19.1Mt Thacker Pass asset, 30km away.

Thacker Pass has already generated US$650m in offtake funding from car maker General Motors, and the US government (Department of Energy) is expected to loan up to 75% of the development cost for the project.

According to a recent note from financial services firm Canaccord, Jindalee Resources (ASX: JRL) traded on an EV/Resource of $4.50 versus Thacker Pass of $112 — a significant valuation gap.


‘Exceptional’ lithium test work success

JRL reports beneficiation of metallurgical samples from McDermitt via attrition scrubbing recovered 92% of the lithium to leach feed and rejected 25.3% of the mass at a cut size of 250 microns.

Importantly, the average grade to leach of 2,107ppm lithium is 18% higher than the average head grade of previously reported metallurgical samples (1,790ppm lithium) and 57% higher than the average resource grade of 1,340ppm.

Jindalee executive director Lindsay Dudfield described the latest metallurgical results as “exceptional”.

The 250-micron cut size is set to be adopted for initial acid leaching testwork in the upcoming McDermitt PFS which is slated for release in mid-2024. Jindalee notes the attrition times and cut sizes, as well as the scrubbing of coarse material to increase the recovery of lithium to fines, requires further investigation.


Bigger is better for McDermitt 

With a resource of 21.5Mt LCE, McDermitt is regarded as the largest lithium deposit in North America.

Previous metallurgical testwork determined the enormous scale of the project allowed for flexibility in the development and provided an opportunity to feed higher grade ore early in the mine life.

Jindalee announced in March that beneficiation to upgrade the leach head grade followed by acid leaching was its preferred option and delivered the best financial outcome.

Recent relogging of McDermitt drilling also recognised up to 12 distinctive stratigraphic units can be tracked across the project, with Units 4, 6, 8 and 10 found to be carrying elevated lithium grades.

Jindalee believes selective mining of these units has the potential to deliver significantly higher grade material (compared to the average resource grade) for processing. Engineering firm Cube Consulting has been assisting the company with generating conceptual pit shells for the selection of metallurgical test samples.

Testwork is being undertaken at the Colorado headquarters of consultant metallurgists Hazen and managed by leading EPCM company Fluor Corporation.


Korean conglomerate is already on board

Initial results from acid leaching of the 250-micron beneficiated samples are expected early next month.

Samples from Units 4, 6, 8 and 10 are also being beneficiated for shipping to POSCO Holdings for further testwork, pursuant to the MOU signed between Jindalee and the major Korean conglomerate back in February.

POSCO previously advised that testing of the McDermitt ore would investigate three separate metallurgical processes, take approximately six months to complete and cost about $2 million.

Jindalee and POSCO, which is funding the testwork, will then jointly evaluate a commercialisation strategy for the project.



This article was developed in collaboration with Jindalee Resources, 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.