Lithium Australia has commenced piloting the new LieNA® technology at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), as outlined in the joint development agreement (JDA) with Mineral Resources (MinRes).

ANSTO is a provider of specialist consultancy, process technology, process development and research services to mining and minerals processing industries, with which Lithium Australia has an established relationship on the development of the LieNA® processing and other technologies.

Piloting is a key activity under the JDA and follows the successful commissioning of equipment and receipt of raw material samples from MinRes. 

Lithium Australia has commissioned a new pilot batch autoclave and received a raw material spodumene sample from MinRes in preparation for piloting. Lithium Australia’s LieNA® technology has previously been successfully tested at laboratory scale, with the current piloting program seeking to demonstrate the technology at a larger scale.

The results from the piloting program are expected to support the engineering study for a demonstration scale plant, which MinRes can elect to independently fund, develop and operate. Lithium Australia has recently announced the appointment of Carnac Project Delivery Services as lead engineer for the demonstration plant engineering study.

Upon completion of piloting and an engineering study, Lithium Australia and MinRes will form a 50:50 joint venture (JV) to commercialise the LieNA® technology through a licensing model. 

The JV will wholly own the LieNA® technology going forward and will licence the technology to third parties at a target headline gross product royalty rate of eight per cent. The first licence issued by the JV is expected to be for the demonstration plant.

Following this, the JV will issue licences to greenfield and brownfield spodumene mines both domestically and internationally.

Lithium Australia’s CEO and Managing Director, Simon Linge, said, “We are excited to announce the commencement of piloting under our JDA with MinRes, marking a significant milestone in our partnership’s progress towards the formation of a JV. 

“The planned JV and licensing model with MinRes can capture a significant opportunity in the lithium market. LieNA® has potential application at new and existing lithium mines, with the royalty model expected to materially expand the company’s addressable market by capturing a fee on all tonnage processed utilising the LieNA® technology. 

“LieNA® is an exciting opportunity for Lithium Australia and we will continue to progress activities under the JDA as a top priority.”

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