Jindalee Resources (ASX:JRL) provides update on preferred extraction process for McDermitt Lithium Project

March 24, 2023 02:40 PM AEDT | By Ankit Sethi
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  • Jindalee's North America based McDermitt Project is 100% owned by the ASX listed company
  • The company intends to quickly start metallurgical testwork recommended after a review to refine the preferred flowsheet
  • As part of the review by Fluor, evaluation of three processing routes for JRL’s McDermitt ore was undertaken
  • The review suggests acid leaching with beneficiation delivers best economic outcomes

Jindalee Resources (ASX: JRL) -- a pure play lithium company developing the McDermitt Lithium Project -- has announced the completion of review of metallurgical testwork at McDermitt. It has been noted that the substantial Mineral Resource Estimate at Jindalee's 100% owned project provides an opportunity to optimise mining. 

The review by Fluor, an NYSE-listed company, has noticed that acid leach with beneficiation is likely to deliver the "best economic outcome" for the project.

Shares jump on the latest development

The ASX-listed shares of Jindalee traded at AU$2.4, after jumping over 2%, at the time of writing on 24 March 2023.

Metallurgical testwork undertaken by Jindalee

Jindalee states that there can be two potential pathways -- first, sulphuric acid leaching (whole or beneficiated ore), and second, alkali salt (sulphation) roasting -- for Li extraction. Initially, the company had concentrated on beneficiation along with sulphuric acid leaching. This is similar to the flowsheet of the nearby Thacker Pass Project.

JRL has asserted that the outcomes of the acid leach testwork have been successful. The highlights of these results are in the below picture.

Source: JRL ASX announcement dated 24 March 2023; Image source: Company website 

Jindalee had also assessed the second pathway of alkali salt roasting for McDermitt ore in its Preliminary Scoping Study (2021). JRL then carried out the alkali salt (sulphation) roasting testwork. Notably, this processing route is proposed by Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd for its Sonora Lithium Project. The testwork produced lithium phosphate assaying 5.89% lithium from ore grading 0.15% lithium, implying 40 times uplift in grade, before purification. 

It also demonstrated Li extraction of 89.5% with the use of salts that are recycled from roasting and leaching. Jindalee further states that the analysis of application of beneficiation in the proposed sulphation roast flow sheet confirmed that the process does not apply.

Fluor review - Acid leaching with beneficiation delivers best economic outcome

Last year, Jindalee engaged Fluor to evaluate three processing routes -- first, alkali salt roasting; second, acid leaching without beneficiation; and third, acid leaching with beneficiation. The last two acid leaching routes used sulphuric acid.

For ranking of these routes, Fluor prepared simple financial models. Results were benchmarked against comparable US-sediment hosted Li projects.

It was noted -- within the accuracy of the comparison -- that all the three routes had more or less similar capital costs. However, in terms of operating costs, the second processing route of acid leaching with beneficiation (to upgrade the leach head grade) demonstrated the most viable outcome. The review also pointed toward flexibility in development, with opportunity of optimisation of mining and feeding high-grade ore early during the mine life, thanks to considerably large Mineral Resource Estimate (21.5 Mt LCE).

Image Description: Summary of 2023 McDermitt Mineral Resource Estimate at the reporting cut-off of 1,000ppm

Source: JRL ASX announcement dated 24 March 2023 

Jindalee to commence the recommended metallurgical testwork 

Jindalee Resources has commented that it plans to quickly start metallurgical testwork based on the recommendations of Fluor. This would refine the preferred flowsheet. 

Further, the results of the testwork would be combined with optimised mine studies on the most recent Mineral Resource Estimate at McDermitt and would inform the next stage of studies at Jindalee's McDermitt Li Project.


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