Piedmont Lithium Limited (“Piedmont” or “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the metallurgical testwork program underway at SGS Labs (“SGS”) in Lakefield, Ontario. The Company remains on schedule to announce results of this bench-scale program and to produce lithium hydroxide (“LiOH”) samples for delivery to prospective offtake partners in advance of PFS completion. The optimized flowsheet developed during this testwork will serve as the basis of the Chemical plant prefeasibility study (“PFS”) to be completed in Q2 2020.
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Spodumene calcination and roasting (from left to right) – (top) pilot kiln, calcined product, milled beta spodumene (bottom) beta spodumene after mixing, beta spodumene after roasting (Photo: Business Wire)
SGS is advancing a lithium conversion testwork program using a ‘direct-to-hydroxide’ approach developed in collaboration with Piedmont Lithium personnel and engineering consultants Hatch and Primero Group. Piedmont previously announced outstanding PFS-level metallurgical results for the production of spodumene concentrate (see press release dated July 16, 2019). The concentrate produced during that program and other spodumene concentrate produced from the same composite sample is now being used by SGS for the ongoing bench-scale lithium hydroxide testwork.
Optimization tests on bench scale samples have been completed for calcination, roasting, water leach, primary and secondary impurity removal, and filtration. Ion exchange tests have been completed. Work completed to date represents approximately 90% of the steps in the bench scale testwork program, with multi-stage lithium hydroxide crystallization and final assay results expected in coming weeks.
Following production of initial samples, the Company will undertake additional conversion tests using optimized test conditions to demonstrate repeatability of product quality and confirm flowsheet design.
Upon completion of the testwork program the Company will be in a position to share lithium hydroxide samples with prospective offtake partners. Our dialogues with prospective customers have been advancing well, and these samples will provide the first opportunity for customers to assess the quality of the material we expect to produce.
Keith D. Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are very encouraged by the positive results generated thus far in the lithium hydroxide testwork program, and expect the final results to be announced in the near future. The optimization tests performed by SGS will allow us to refine the proposed Chemical Plant flowsheet and will underpin the prefeasibility study targeted for completion in Q2 2020. Completion of the PFS, along with continued advances on the permitting and offtake fronts, position us to advance our Project to shovel-ready status by the end of the year, well-timed for the recovery in lithium prices and market sentiment that many observers are forecasting for the remainder of this year.”