Argosy Minerals has produced the first batch of lithium carbonate (LCE) from the Stage 1 industrial scale pilot plant at the Rincon lithium project, located in Salta Province, Argentina.

Laboratory tests were conducted on a sample of the first 1kg batch to be produced and the sample is considered industrial-grade LCE.

Argosy noted that significant deleterious elements, such as Mg, SO4 and metallic impurities, were within acceptable specification ranges for battery-grade certification.

“We are delighted at this significant milestone, noting the historical magnitude of this achievement.”

Argosy Minerals managing director Jerko Zuvela said: “We are delighted at this significant milestone, noting the historical magnitude of this achievement and the fast-track strategy the company deployed to attain this landmark development.

“The momentous effort, technical expertise and knowledge required to achieve this initial milestone is extraordinary, and I thank the whole Puna and Argosy team for their commitment and dedication.”

According to the company, the presence of certain soluble impurities was the key issue in determining whether the tested batch could be considered industrial-grade or battery-grade quality.

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The company claimed that the impurities would normally be removed by the ‘washing’ stage, which is currently not fully functional in the plant due to the absence of natural gas required to supply the necessary high heat.

Though the plant is physically connected to the local mains gas network, approval is pending to allow the company to switch on the supply, and then continue full processing works to produce the battery-grade material.

Argosy stated that it will be able to begin steady plant operations for Stage 1 sales arrangements subject to the availability of a steady gas supply and the completion of process works.

Meanwhile, the company is nearing completion of the resource estimation works for the project.