Lithium-ion battery metals explorer Metals Australia (ASX: MLS) revealed flotation tests on two ore samples from its Manindi tenements in Western Australia’s mid-west produced lithium concentrate grading up to 3.05%, recovering up to 77% lithium from 30% of the mass feed.
Metals Australia firmed up its lithium focus on 10 May 2018 by entering a binding agreement to offload its stake in the Mile 72 uranium project in Namibia to Marenica Energy (ASX: MEY) for A$30,000 and a 1% gross preferential dividend on future production.
The company today said its preliminary Manindi lithium metallurgical test work results for the project 500km north-east of Perth had produced favourable concentrate grades and high lithium recovery rates.
“This initial program of metallurgical test work on the lepidolite mineralisation identified at Manindi has provided the company with some significant and highly encouraging results,” director Gino D’Anna said.
According to Metals Australia, the primary lithium mineralisation at mainly Manindi was lepidolite, with the testwork indicating flotation is the preferred option for treating the mineralisation identified at the project.
“Using an unoptimised flowsheet, the company has demonstrated that the lithium mineralisation at Manindi is capable of producing a lithium concentrate of 3.05% lithium which compares favourably against similar lepidolite-hosted lithium projects and meets the minimum benchmark for lepidolite-hosted lithium concentrate end-users in China,” Mr D’Anna said.
“Using these preliminary results, we can now confidently start to engage with potential end-users in China,” he predicted.
Metals Australia compared its results to Lithium Australia’s (ASX: LIT) test work on its Lepidolite Hill project, which produced a lepidolite lithium concentrate grading 3.34% lithium.
Mr D’Anna said the company would continue advancing the project, in line with its new focus on the battery metals sector.
“Metals Australia is planning to complete a reverse circulation percussion drilling program at Manindi that will test the grade, thickness and continuity of the lithium-mineralised pegmatite dykes that have already been identified at the project,” Mr D’Anna said.
The company may also use more samples from the program to advance its metallurgical test work and drill large-diameter core for the metallurgical characterisation.
Metals Australia’s consultants have recommended future tests to gain better representation of a potential future mill feed, identify the optimal flow sheet for Manindi’s specific mineralisation, and evaluate the mineralisation’s comminution characteristics and tantalum recovery rates.
The Manindi project includes three mining leases and is about 20km south-west of the OZ Youanmi Gold’s historic Youanmi gold mine in the Murchison district.
According to Metals Australia, Manindi is “situated in a fertile geological complex” and also hosts gold and a “significant” undeveloped zinc deposit.
Metals Australia’s securities were unchanged at A$0.006 by 1pm after experiencing an intraday high of A$0.007.