Galan Lithium Limited (ASX: GLN) have announced “exciting” laboratory test work results for its low carbon footprint brine evaporation process at its flagship Hombre Muerto West (HMW) project located in the South American Lithium Triangle in Catamarca, Argentina.
Managing Director, Juan Pablo (JP) Vargas de la Vega, says grade is always king.
“These results are better than we envisaged and have more than solidified the serious potential of the Hombre Muerto West project.
“We have always followed the mantra of ‘walking before running’ and these results, whilst taking time to achieve, have affirmed our step-by-step approach of utilising proven technology with low risk in processing. Our teams in Argentina and Chile have been brilliant during these uncertain times and continue to deliver these essential Project steps.”
The second round of test work on HMW’s raw brine was conducted in Antofagasta using the first stage of natural brine evaporation process and finalised using accelerated evaporation in a wind tunnel under controlled conditions. The test work was fully managed and conducted by lithium experts Ad-Infinitum. As our technical advisors, Ad-Infinitum recommended the use of reagents to remove impurities and to avoid the risk of precipitation of Li salts causing losses of this valuable element.
Mr de la Vega said the results far exceeded Galan’s expectations, with the lithium chloride concentrate increasing by 25% to 6% Li, versus a 4.8% Li estimation for the December 2020, Scoping Study/PEA).
He said the HMW project’s Li grade, is one of the highest publicly known brine concentration levels in the world, using the evaporation process. Galan’s 6% Li it is directly comparable to SQM’s & Albemarle’s concentrate produced from the Atacama salt-flat in Chile.
This result was made possible through the optimisation process developed using the Ad-Infinitum prediction model. These grades provide Galan with exciting commercial opportunities for a lithium chlorine concentrate product.
Furthermore, the low levels of impurities contained in the lithium chlorine brine were also significant. The main contaminants like SO4, Mg and Ca were reduced significantly. Whilst B and other elements like K, Na and Cl are low they are expected to be removed during the treatment at a downstream process. Galan’s study team is confident that this brine concentrate quality could be converted into a high-quality battery grade product while remaining cost competitive.
- Galan is continuing to test and optimise a range of lithium chloride concentrate solutions with conversion costs in mind to deliver the best commercial solution in the shortest time possible.
- Galan expects to commence commissioning the evaporation pilot test work on site during Q2 2021.
- Testing the conversion of the high-grade LiCl to lithium carbonate battery grade.
- Galan is reviewing the scope of work for the most adequate path to accelerating the project development (lowest Capex and shortest time) to market. The high quality of the concentrated LiCl could be a mayor strategic differentiation for improving the economic performance of the project.
Lithium classification and conversion factors
Mr de la Vega said lithium grades are normally presented in mass percentages or milligrams per litre (or parts per million (ppm)). Grades of deposits are also expressed as lithium compounds in percentages, for example as a per cent. lithium oxide (Li2O) content or per cent. lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) content.
Lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) is the industry standard terminology for, and is equivalent to,Li2CO3. Use of LCE is to provide data comparable with industry reports and is the total equivalent amount of lithium carbonate, assuming the lithium content in the deposit is converted to lithium carbonate, using the conversion rates in the table included further below to get an equivalent Li2CO3 value in per cent. Use of LCE assumes 100% recovery and no process losses in the extraction of Li2CO3 from the deposit.