Disruptive battery technology developer Lithium Australia (ASX: LIT) has locked-in the Youanmi lithium project in Western Australia after formalising an option it had over the asset.
In October, Lithium Australia executed a binding heads of agreement to acquire 100% of project which is prospective for lithium and vanadium and located 450km north-east of Perth.
The project comprises three exploration licences and previous preliminary exploration over the tenements has included prospecting, data reviews, geological inspections and mapping, as well as rock chip sampling and surveying.
Early stage work has indicated a 3km strike of lithium-bearing pegmatites, with widths ranging up to 200m.
Rock chip samples returned up to 4.2% lithium as well as tantalum.
The main lithium mineral uncovered across the project has been lepidolite.
“Recent advances in our battery technology demonstrate that materials such as lepidolite, which is abundant at Youanmi, can be processed to produce viable precursors for lithium-ion batteries,” Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin said.
“We’ve not only proved the theory but made the batteries – and done so without needing to use lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide,” Mr Griffin noted.
As part of the formalised option, Lithium Australia will issue Youanmi vendors $3.1 million in scrip in addition to a production royalty of 2% or $1 per tonne of material mined and processed – whichever is greater.
Youanmi feed source
Part of Lithium Australia’s rationale for acquiring Youanmi was to use it as a potential feed source for the company’s planned generation three pilot plant operations.
Only last month, Lithium Australia reported a world first achievement after it successfully produced lithium-ion batteries from mine waste using its SiLeach proprietary process.
The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary VSPC used the SiLeach process to create a tri-lithium phosphate.
To develop the cathode material, the tri-lithium phosphate was converted to a lithium-iron-phosphate, which was then incorporated in a lithium-ion coin cell battery.
According to Lithium Australia, its proprietary technology eliminates the need for producing lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate, which can be the most cost-intensive and challenging part of developing lithium-ion batteries.