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Australia-based Core Lithium has produced battery-grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LH) from the Finniss Lithium Project, which is located south of Darwin Port in the Northern Territory.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) collected the spodumene mineral concentrate sample from the project and used a direct conversion approach to produce battery-grade lithium LH.

The conventional direct flowsheet process involved decrepitation, sulfation baking/water leaching, purification, Glauber salt crystallisation and lithium hydroxide crystallisations.

Following two separate tests on 2kg of blended concentrate samples, lithium was extracted at a grade of more than 95% across.

Core Lithium expects the concentrate produced from the Finniss project could be used for the high-end lithium battery, electric vehicle, and renewable energy industries.

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The firm is considering the project’s downstream value potential based on the synergies with the adjacent Middle-Arm industrial infrastructure near Darwin.

Core Lithium managing director Stephen Biggins said: “This successful proof-of-concept test work provides Core, and our customers, the confidence in utilising Finniss lithium concentrates in the global lithium battery supply chain.

“Together with the recent award of Major Project Status from the federal government, this programme lays a foundation for Core to explore the potential of adding downstream processing infrastructure to our portfolio, incorporating the strong synergies with the infrastructure at the nearby Middle-Arm Industrial Precinct at Darwin Port and aligning with Australia’s national Modern Manufacturing Strategy and expansion of the global lithium battery supply chain.”

Prior to making the final investment decision on the project in the third quarter of 2021, the company plans to complete the definitive feasibility study of the project concentrate and finalise ongoing off-take negotiations.