Lithium explorer and developer Lepidico (ASX: LPD) has announced its engineered design for the phase one L-Max lithium processing plant has been finalised, with the feasibility study on the plant due to wind up in the September quarter 2018.
Lycopodium’s (ASX: LYL) subsidiary Lycopodium Minerals completed the design which identified areas to evaluate for cost reduction and enhanced capacity to provide optimal processing capability.
In the first phase, about 3.6 tonnes per hour of lithium mica concentrate will be fed through the Canada-based plant to produce up to 3,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent for the battery market.
As part of the feasibility study, Lepidico has started vendor testwork to precisely identify the capacity of its major equipment to assist with understanding the plant’s optimal throughput.
Lepidico anticipates the vendor testwork will afford greater confidence in each piece of equipment’s actual capacity and assist with identifying cost savings.
Via the study, Lepidico is also looking into potentially boosting capacity up to 6,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent under the phase one design.
The engineering design also found sodium sulphate may be another valuable L-Max by-product in addition to the already identified sodium silicate and sulphate of potash fertiliser.
Lepidico created the L-Max processing technology to develop battery-ready lithium carbonate from non-convention sources including lepidolite and zinnwaldite.
According to the company, once operational its L-Max plant has the potential to “disrupt” the lithium market by using lithium from alternate sources.
First production from the plant under phase one is anticipated in 2019.
For feedstock, Lepidico has been actively exploring its Alvarroes lepidolite project in Portugal.
Earlier in December, the company reported a maiden JORC-compliant resource for Alvarroes of 1.5 million tonnes grading 1.1% lithium.
The company believes Alvarroes could provide enough feedstock for the plant for at least 10 years.
As well as exploring at Alvarroes, Lepidico has farm-in agreements for the Moriarty lithium project and PEG 9 lepidolite prospect in Western Australia.
Lepidico’s shares surged more than 14% in early morning trade to A$0.055 on the back of the news.