Lithium Universe achieves key milestones with Québec refinery progress and strategic expansion

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By Colin Hay - 
Lithium Universe ASX LU7 quarterly report

Lithium Universe (ASX: LU7) achieved a number of practical and corporate milestones in what was a particularly strong March quarter.

On the technical side, the company is making good progress with a major test program to investigate the establishment of lithium carbonate refinery in Québec.

Having identified a strategic opportunity related to the lithium conversion capacity gap in the North American market, the company is studying a process utilising the flow sheet developed for Lithium Universe’s Québec lithium processing hub refinery.

Standalone refinery

Lithium Universe’s plan involves the creation of a downstream standalone lithium refinery designed to be able process spodumene feedstock from any part of the world.

Samples featuring various lithium grades from Australia, Brazil and Africa have been collected and are currently undergoing metallurgical processing in the company’s contracted laboratory.

One complete program has already successfully achieved 99.7% lithium carbonate against the international battery grade specification of 99.5%.

The test work program is one component of the engineering study being conducted by Hatch for the Québec lithium processing hub (QLPH) multi-purpose battery-grade lithium carbonate refinery.

A series of laboratory tests aims to ensure the transformation of spodumene into high-purity battery-grade lithium carbonate through a systematic and controlled process.

Prime site secured

To support its development plans, Lithium Universe has successfully executed an option agreement to acquire a commercial property strategically located within the Bécancour Waterfront Industrial Park in Québec.

The prime site covers an estimated 276,423 square metres.

Elsewhere on the facility side, the company has completed a port study for spodumene import to the lithium carbonate refinery.

Spodumene feed will be sourced from within or outside of Canada and Lithium Universe is investigating the potential to directly import it into the Bécancour lithium refinery.

The studies evaluated the Trois-Rivières, Sorel, Québec, Montreal and Bécancour ports, with the latter eventually named as the preferred option.

Major new appointment

On the corporate side, former Galaxy Resources chief financial officer John Sobolewski has joined the Lithium Universe “dream team” in a similar role.

Mr Sobolewski played a pivotal role during the feasibility, funding, construction and operation phases of the Mt Cattlin spodumene mine and Jiangsu lithium carbonate refinery while at Galaxy.

He established finance teams and systems in Australia and internationally and his experience in financial and debt modelling for both projects will be critical in Lithium Universe completing definitive feasibility studies for the QLPH concentrator and lithium carbonate refinery projects.