Another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place for Hawkstone with the production of battery grade lithium carbonate from its Big Sandy project in Arizona.

There’s more. Not only has initial metallurgical testing of sedimentary material from the project by Hazen Research successful in producing lithium carbonate with a purity of 99.8 per cent, it has also achieved the goal of high lithium recoveries of 90.7 per cent.

Hazen will now move to full-scale bench-scale testing and design of a continuous-operation pilot plant while Hawkstone Mining (ASX:HWK) expects to receive within the next 30 days permit approvals for further drilling exploration.

This is all well-timed given the rising demand for battery grade lithium that has driven a rapid increase in prices thanks to greater global demand for lithium-ion batteries.

Managing director Paul Lloyd noted that with upcoming drilling expected to turn the very large Big Sandy exploration target into additional resources, which currently stand at about 320,000t of lithium carbonate equivalent, the company has turned its focus towards material processing.

“Today’s announcement of the production of battery grade Lithium at 99.8% Li2CO3 is a highly significant event that has enabled the decision to proceed to bench scale testing and pilot plant design,” he added.

“We have a potentially large lithium resource and are able to produce high quality product in a market with a rapidly increasing demand and price.

“Based in Arizona, USA, with a large number of quality infrastructure choices and highly proactive State and Federal Governments, the planets are aligning for Hawkstone and its shareholders.”

Metallurgical testing and US clean energy drive

The hydrometallurgical process that Hazen is evaluating on Hawkstone’s behalf is a straighforward process using sulphuric acid leaching and leach solution purification to produce lithium carbonate with a lower environmental footprint than peer developments.

Hawkstone will continually assess process improvements including those achieved during the initial testing program, with the initial test work demonstrating that the present flowsheet is a viable approach for the development of the Big Sandy resource.

US President Joe Biden’s campaign has also stated privately to US miners that he will support boosting domestic production of critical metals used to make electric vehicles, solar panels and backup storage battery modules, and other products crucial to his goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

With its location in Arizona’s “battery corridor” straddling two major highways and just 80km from one of two US transcontinental railroads, Big Sandy is perfectly positioned to capitalise on this shift towards clean energy.


This article was developed in collaboration with Hawkstone Mining, 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.