Argosy Minerals Limited announced the first batch of lithium carbonate has been produced from the Stage 1 industrial scale pilot plant, representing a significant milestone for the Rincon Lithium Project, located in Salta Province, Argentina.
A sample of the first one kilogram production batch was tested in the Company’s lab colocated at the Stage 1 industrial scale pilot plant and determined to be a good quality ‘industrial grade’ LCE. Importantly, key deleterious elements for battery grade such as Mg, SO4 and metallic impurities were within acceptable specification ranges, which Argosy will have independently tested by a third-party lab to confirm its internal results. The key issue determining the tested batch to be industrial grade vs. battery grade was the presence of certain soluble impurities. These would usually be removed by the ‘washing’ stage but that stage is not yet fully functional in the plant because the stage prior requires a high heat, and Argosy is still awaiting a natural gas supply for the plant to provide such temperature. The plant is physically connected to the local mains gas network but the Company is waiting for local bureaucratic approval to switch on the supply, to then continue full processing works to produce the battery grade material.
The product quality and process test-works phase completed to date provides confirmation for the Company to produce consistent product to meet potential customer requirements of battery grade LCE product specification, and the Company will continue processing works to prepare these customer samples for their own quality confirmation and testing, and then for subsequent initial commercial sales.
Following on from the milestone announced today, the Company will continue works to realise the principal Stage 1 milestone – a scalable, cost effective chemical process solution to produce consistent battery grade LCE product for all development stages. Once the gas supply is available and such process works are conducted, Argosy expects to be in a position to instigate steady-state plant operations for delivering into future Stage 1 sales arrangements.
Argosy Managing Director, Jerko Zuvela said “We are delighted at this significant milestone, noting the historical magnitude of this achievement and the fast-track strategy the Company deployed to attain this landmark development.
The momentous effort, technical expertise and knowledge required to achieve this initial milestone is extraordinary, and I thank the whole Puna and Argosy team for their commitment and dedication.”
In addition, the Company is nearing completion of works to produce a Resource estimate for the Rincon Lithium Project – to be reported in accordance with JORC 2012 requirements, is progressing on works to prepare the Preliminary Economic Assessment, and progressing with a major international group on the Stage 1 off-take agreement.
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