Argosy Minerals (ASX: AGY) has kicked-off commissioning of its pilot plant for its Rincon lithium brine project in Argentina’s Salta Province.
The stage one pilot plant will produce up to 500 tonne per annum of lithium carbonate equivalent with the first 1-2t of lithium carbonate equivalent due this month.
Throughout April, Argosy will make slight adjustments to the plant and will carry out test work on the first batch of lithium carbonate to ensure its product is consistent with customer requirements.
Fine tuning will also ensure the plant operates as efficiently as possible.
“Argosy continues its fast-tracked development strategy, with another major step taken towards building a sustainable battery grade lithium production company,” Argosy managing director Jerko Zuvela said.
The lithium carbonate samples will be sent to international offtake companies in cathode and battery manufacturing industries across Japan, Korea and China.
First shipments are anticipated by the end of this month and May, with Argosy hoping to lock-in medium and longer-term offtake arrangements for its lithium carbonate equivalent.
Stage two evaporation ponds underway
In parallel with commissioning its pilot plant, Argosy has begun work on its stage two evaporation ponds after securing official approvals in mid-March.
Once the stage two ponds have been completed, Argosy will have 34 hectares of operational lithium brine evaporation ponds.
Rincon lithium brine project
A maiden JORC-compliant resource for Rincon was due by the end of the March quarter, after Argosy reported its final eighth drill hole was almost completed in mid-February.
Assays to-date have “exceeded” the company’s expectations with the more recent results averaging 446 milligrams per litre of contained lithium, with a mean magnesium to lithium ration of 8.2.
Other results were 343mg/l of lithium with a magnesium to lithium ratio of 5.8.
Argosy has earned a 77.5% stake in the project and has the option to collar a 90% interest by achieving various milestones.
Shares in Argosy were steady at A$0.32 at the beginning of trade.