Disruptive technology developer Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) is another step closer to commercialising its technology after reporting bench-scale processing had begun using its proprietary processes for producing lithium-ion battery cathode materials.
These processes were developed by Lithium Australia’s subsidiary, the Very Small Particle Company Ltd (VSPC), which was established 14 years ago by several prominent university researchers and was subsequently acquired by Lithium Australia in February this year.
At its Brisbane plant, VSPC has now restarted bench-scale production of lithium iron phosphate powders for lithium-ion battery cathodes. This material will then be used in the creation of battery cells and ensuing testing.
“The VSPC technology produces superior quality control in the production of a wide range of cathode powders – that superiority includes the control of particle size and precise particle chemistry,” Lithium Australia stated.
Additionally, Lithium Australia noted it has received “strong interest” from global battery end-users for VSPC’s fourth-generation lithium iron phosphate cathode material after early testing revealed its performance “exceeded” industry standards.
Speaking with Small Caps, Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said VSPC’s cathode development technology is one of the most advanced in the world.
Mr Griffin noted that production of this cathode material was also less energy intensive compared to current cathode material generation and could potentially command lower production costs.
Meanwhile, recommissioning of the larger pilot plant is advancing, with wet commissioning scheduled to begin by the end of the month.
According to Lithium Australia, the cathode material will be available to customers for evaluation from September this year after recommissioning of its larger pilot plant.
Spodumene found at Medcalf prospect
Today’s news follows Lithium Australia’s announcement on Monday it had identified up to 7.1% lithium oxide from rock chip assays at its wholly-owned Medcalf prospect, which is part of the Lake Johnson project in Western Australia.
Lithium Australia claims Lake Johnson has similar geological features to major operations in the region including Galaxy Resources’ (ASX: GXY) Mt Cattlin operation, and Kidman Resources’ (ASX: KDR) and Chilean-based SQM’s Mt Holland project, as well as Mt Marion which is owned by Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN), NeoMetals (ASX: NMT), and China-based Jiangxi Gangfeng. The projects including Lake Johnson are all situated in the Yilgarn Block.
“The occurrence of LCT [lithium, caesium, tantalum] pegmatites adjacent to granites at Medcalf has regional geological significance,” Mr Griffin said.
“The pegmatites occur in the same greenstone sequence that abuts the same granite complex at Lithium Australia’s Mt Day prospect, 45km to the north-east.”
He said both locations had “significant” lithium mineralisation and there was potential to identify further pegmatites under cover at Lake Johnson.
Shares in Lithium Australia were steady at A$0.13 by mid-afternoon after lifting 3.8% earlier in the day to A$0.135.