Samples of lithium carbonate product produced at Argosy Minerals’ (ASX: AGY) Rincon pilot plant in Argentina have been analysed by a potential end-user customer and achieved the highest purity recorded to date.
The advanced lithium brine explorer delivered five separate product test samples to Mitsubishi Corporation RTM Japan, which then forwarded the samples to its associated potential end-user customer for analysis.
In an announcement today, Argosy said the Japanese customer confirmed the samples achieved results of up to 99.88% lithium carbonate content with all sample results (starting from 99.7% purity) being within the product specification requirements of the unnamed customer for its battery cathode manufacturing applications.
Product sample testing forms part of an extensive supplier qualification process with end-user customers and battery cathode manufacturers, to ensure integrity with these groups’ manufacturing process systems.
Today’s news provides further validation of Argosy’s proprietary chemical process technology and shows the quality and specification of its lithium carbonate product should facilitate progress through the rigorous supplier qualification process of several battery cathode manufacturers.
Potential offtake deals
The achievement also advances the company’s options for potential stage two offtake arrangements.
Argosy managing director Jerko Zuvela said the customer analysis results confirm the “high quality” of the Rincon project’s lithium carbonate product and its “marketability into various international battery quality cathode customers”.
“This is another significant milestone for the company and our first-class Puna [Argosy’s joint venture subsidiary] operations team utilising our exclusive clean and environmentally-conscious chemical process technology, as we continue toward full development of our Rincon lithium project,” Mr Zuvela said.
In addition to the samples provided to Mitsubishi’s end-user customer, Argosy has delivered Rincon product test samples to other Japanese and Korean potential offtake or strategic investor groups for their own testing and product qualification process requirements.
Lithium carbonate shipment
Last month, Argosy announced the milestone first shipment of five tonnes of high-quality (99.5% purity or greater) lithium carbonate product from its Rincon project.
The maiden cargo was being delivered into the sales and purchase agreement executed with Mitsubishi in Japan.
Argosy has noted the product testing process reported today is separate and independent to this 5t shipment.
Rincon lithium project
Argosy’s 77.5%-owned Rincon project includes an industrial-scale lithium processing pilot plant in Argentina’s Salta Province.
At the start of 2020, the company announced it had received official environmental approval for a proposed 2,000-tonne-per-annum lithium carbonate processing plant and ongoing operation at Rincon.
Argosy today said it is continuing advanced talks with strategic and investment groups for the potential capital expenditure funding requirement of this 2,000tpa modular scale, and also 10,000tpa full commercial scale, operation.