An engineering design study for a large-scale pilot plant for Lithium Australia’s breakthrough Sileach Lithium processing technology has identified an overseas location with potential for substantial capital cost savings.Lithium Australia appointed CPC Project Design in December to conduct the study, which includes capital cost estimates, operating cost estimates and comparisons of logistics costs for a number of sites in WA and overseas.
In a statement to the ASX, Lithium Australia reported the study had highlighted a “very attractive” overseas site, prompting the company to ask CPC to sharpen its estimates for the overseas location to a level that would normally be found in a preliminary feasibility study.
The company also reported that “other areas of substantial capital cost savings” had been indentified by CPC, and these would be included in the estimates for the overseas location, which would be submitted to Lithium Australia by mid-June.
The company has set a timeline for a commitment to invest in the large-scale pilot by the end of 2017.
Sileach promises to shake up Lithium processing on a global scale by extracting Lithium without the need for energy-intensive and expensive roasting of the silicate ores. According to the company studies suggest extraction costs could be halved compared to conventional processing.
Initial pilot testing of Sileach by the Federal Government’s Australia Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has produced outstanding results.
Managing Director, Adrian Griffin, said: “It is gratifying to see Sileach progressing towards commercialisation. This has been achieved with the best possible partnerships in industry and government, including research grants at state and federal levels. Design has been completed within the most stringent safety standards, which is the best possible prelude to commercialisation of the process.”