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LIT's VSPC further trims cathode material costs

Summary

  • VSPC has successfully produced high-purity, battery-grade iron oxalate from various low- cost, iron sources.
  • After establishing a successful process for stage 3, the project has entered phase 4 involving the steps for process refinement and scaleup.
  • Company's shareholders have paid up on 9.75M LITCF, raising AUD 486,525.

VSPC, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Lithium Australia NL's (ASX: LIT),  has recently concluded successful trials for producing LIB or lithium-ion battery cathode precursors from various low-cost iron sources.  

Image source: LIT’s ASX announcement dated 16 December 2020

The Project Details 

VSPC had begun a project in October last year to explore low-cost raw material alternatives for its proprietary process of cathode material synthesis. The project was co-funded by the Federal government's not-for-profit organization, AMGC.

The project was aimed at proving that it was technically feasible to produce an advanced LFP cathode material by using fewer chemical agents. Another objective was to  assess the techno-economic feasibility of LFP synthesis using low-cost raw materials like iron sulphate, iron oxides and lithium phosphate.

The project has now completed its stage 3, and VSPC confirms that:

  • A new process has been developed for producing high-purity, battery-grade iron oxalate from various iron sources, resulting in up to 10% reduction in chemical costs for manufacturing lithium ferro phosphate (LFP) cathode powder. 
  • The process was demonstrated at the laboratory scale though optimised acid digestion of cheaper iron ore such as haematite, magnetite, and synthetic iron oxides. 
  • The process can use iron-rich wastes of varied impurity levels from different sources and successfully eliminate these impurities to produce battery-grade iron oxalate. This is noteworthy, as it indicates that iron streams of variable quality, including iron-rich wastes from several industrial sources, can be used as feed for the process.

Image source: LIT’s ASX announcement dated 16 December 2020

  • The LFP produced using cathode material developed by VSPC's new process exhibited electrochemical performance of the same level as that of LFP made using commercial battery-grade iron oxalate. See the graph below.

Image source: LIT’s ASX announcement dated 16 December 2020

The project enters stage 4

The project has advanced to stage 4, and the work on process refinements and scaleup is underway.

  • Laboratory experiments to optimise the iron source, acid/reagent consumption and process conditions would continue. The goal is to maximise recovery at a lower cost.
  • The company will continue pilot-scale manufacture of iron oxalate from various iron-rich wastes and will test the same for commercial format lithium-ion batteries.
  • There will be pilot-scale manufacture of LFP using lithium phosphate as a substitute to lithium carbonate, which is costlier.

Shareholders pay the outstanding balance in LITCF

LIT also updated the exchange that its shareholders have fully paid the unpaid balance on 9,750,000 LITCF partly paid ordinary shares in the capital of the Company (LITCF).  The shareholders paid AUD 0.0499 for each LITCF for a total consideration of AUD 486,525.

LIT has requested the ASX to change the designation of these 9,750,000 shares to the ASX code 'LIT'. 119,111,041 LITCF shares remain on the issue. The shareholders who paid the outstanding amounts on their LITCFs will shortly get the statements.

On 16 December 2020, at AEDT 1:28 PM, LIT traded flat at AUD 0.072 with a market capitalisation of AUD 57.04M.

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