Industrial process technology company Calix and Pilbara Minerals will establish a joint venture to potentially develop a demonstration plant to produce lithium phosphate salt to supply battery chemicals manufacturing.
This follows positive results from their joint scoping study for a lithium salt production facility using Calix technology at Pilbara’s existing spodumene concentrate plant (pictured) at Pilgangoora in Western Australia.
The study just completed looked at the utilisation of Calix’s novel kiln that is able to be electrically heated, and thus renewably powered, to convert fine, lower-grade spodumene concentrate to create a concentrated lithium salt.
This in turn can be further refined into lithium battery metals or as a direct feedstock for producing lithium iron phosphate battery cathodes.
Calix told investors the study using Calix’s flash calcination technology gave preliminary support for the construction of a demonstration scale chemicals facility.
The companies achieved ‘high calcination conversion rates’ greater than 95 per cent for alpha to beta spodumene phase transformation using Pilgangoora concentrates.
The contained lithia content of the product increased from less than five per cent in the concentrates to more than 36 per cent, ‘thereby optimising offshore product logistics, reducing associated carbon emissions and minimising waste in the destination market’.
According to a statement: “Any decision to proceed will be subject of more definitive studies, as part of a proposed joint venture.”
Picture: Pilbara Minerals/Pilgangoora
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