On 1 May 2017 Lithium Australia (ASX:LIT) and Alix Resources Corporation (TSX:V AIX) announced preliminary results of metallurgical tests for the recovery of lithium from volcanogenic sediments at the Agua Fria prospect.
Which is part of the larger Electra project, located in Sonora County, Mexico (Figure 1).
- Acid leach at 50oC achieves 99% extraction
- Short leach time – only 4 hours
- No roasting required
- No expensive reagents required
Lithium in the Agua Fria prospect occurs within volcanogenic sediments which have been the focus of significant exploration, not only by LIT and AIX, but also by Baconora Minerals Ltd which has identified the largest documented lithium “clay” deposit within the same geological sequence.
The sediments at Agua Fria contain a range of minerals, including:
- Ankerite – Dolomite; and
LIT and AIX are currently drilling the Agua Fria deposit and early indications are very promising with significant drill intervals having average values exceeding 1000ppm lithium.
Lithium extraction increased to 99%
Metallurgical test work is being undertaken by Kappes Cassiday and Associates in Reno, Nevada (USA).
Simple four hour, sulphuric acid leach tests, carried out at “room temperature” were reported on 1 May 2017.
These tests extracted up to 85% of the contained lithium.
A very modest increase in temperature to only 50° C has achieved lithium extractions of 94-99% in only 4 hours, vindicating the outcome anticipated by the announcement of 1 May 2017.
Montmorillonite its thought to be the main lithium bearing mineral and tests have commenced to isolate this material to produce a higher-grade concentrate for further testing.
Managing Director, Adrian Griffin said:
“We have clearly demonstrated the ease with which lithium can be recovered from the volcanogenic sediments at Agua Fria. Beneficiation of the components containing the lithium, to produce a concentrated product is the next challenge. Fortunately the characteristics of each of the minerals are very different, providing a number of avenues to achieve the desired outcome.”
President of Alix, Mike England said:
“Beneficiation is as important a step as discovering the lithium at Agua Fria. These