USA focused Lithium developer Hawkstone Mining Limited (ASX:HWK) has advised initial metallurgical testing on lithium-mineralised sedimentary material from the Big Sandy Lithium project has been completed and successfully achieved the goal of high lithium recoveries at 90.7% while removing impurities with minimal lithium losses and producing “battery grade” 99.8% Li2CO3.
Managing Director, Paul Lloyd, said Hazen Research’s metallurgical testing programme work is now complete with immediate commencement iof a full-scale bench-scale testing programme and design of a continuous-operation pilot plant.
Located in Arizona, the Big Sandy Project has a maiden Indicated and Inferred JORC resource of 320,800 of LCE.
The Big Sandy Lithium Project is expected to grow from the maiden JORC resource of approximately 321,000 tonnes of LCE as we rapidly work to convert the very large exploration target to a JORC compliant resource via further exploration drilling, which is planned to commence shortly, and with a known exploration strategy, we have turned our attention to material processing,” Mr Lloyd said.
“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.
“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.”
The hydrometallurgical process that Hazen is evaluating involves sulphuric acid leaching, leach solution purification, and the subsequent production of 99.8% Li2CO3 used in the production of lithium-ion batteries.
Mr Lloyd said Hawkstone will continually assess process improvements including those achieved during the initial testing programme, with the initial test work demonstrating that the present flowsheet is a viable approach for the development of the Big Sandy resource.
The US Departments of Energy and Defence are accelerating solicitations for Federal support of technology- based solutions and new sources to secure domestic supply chain security of critical battery metals.
Mr Lloyd said Hawkstone is well positioned to capitalise on this dynamic shift in Federal policy with its Big Sandy Sedimentary Lithium Project located in Arizona, ranked #1 by 2020 Fraser Institutes Mining Survey.