Australian mine lays claim to ‘battery grade’ lithium production


From pv magazine Australia

Core Lithium’s Finniss Lithium Project, built last year in the Northern Territory, has completed its first product test work, which confirmed the company is producing “battery grade” lithium hydroxide monohydrate, the company said.

The ASX-listed company on Tuesday announced the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) completed test work from a sample of its product, successfully extracting over 95% of lithium from two two-kilogram samples of blended concentrate in separate tests.

Australia is by far the world’s top producer of lithium, with a number of mines concentrated in Western Australia. The Finniss Lithium Project is the first-ever lithium mine to be approved outside of that state and is the first new mine of significant scale to be approved in the NT since 2013.

Global lithium consumption is projected to rise to around 750,000 tons by 2025, spurred by electric vehicle uptake and the expansion of big batteries–which continue to be dominated by lithium-ion models.

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Core Lithium said it aspires to have its Finniss Lithium Project at the “forefront” of lithium production for the global market. Proponents of the project argue it has perhaps the best-supporting logistics chain, to markets in Asia, of any Australian lithium project. The project lies within 25km of the port, power station and gas and rail facilities, and one hour by sealed road from workforce accommodation in Darwin and, importantly, from Darwin Port–Australia’s nearest port to Asia. The Finniss Lithium Project was recently awarded major project status by Australia’s federal government.

“Today’s announcement confirms that battery-grade lithium hydroxide suitable for high-end uses in the lithium battery, renewable energy and EV industries, can be produced from Core’s excellent-quality lithium concentrate, produced from the Finniss project,” Core Lithium managing director Stephen Biggins said. The company is also looking at the potential of adding downstream processing infrastructure to its portfolio, he added.

The company said it remains focused on completing its definitive feasibility study for the Finniss Lithium Project and finalizing off-take negotiation deals ahead of its final investment decision, expected in the third quarter of this year.

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