Lithium Australia’s revolutionary technologies help deliver a robust September Quarter

  • November 03, 2020 05:24 PM AEDT
  • Team Kalkine
Lithium Australia’s revolutionary technologies help deliver a robust September Quarter

Summary

  • Lithium Australia released its September 2020 quarterly activities report.
  • LIT completed capital-raising of AUD 8.5 million through a placement and shareholder purchase plan.
  • Envirostream collected 130 tonnes of batteries and processed around 80 tonnes of LIBs.
  • Envirostream is also administering wheat-seeding trial near Kojonup, about 260 kilometres southeast of Perth.
  • In September quarter, LIT completed stage 1 of the LieNA® Co-operative Research Centres Project with bulk sample collection and concentration.
  • A co-funding grant from the AMGC boosted VSPC's research into processes for the utilisation of lower-cost raw materials in cathode powder synthesis.
  • Soluna Australia installed eight residential battery units and had sales of AUD 79,000.
Gold MTF non-AMP

The leader in battery-material processing technologies, Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT) has released its September 2020 quarterly activities report.

The company has world-class proprietary LieNA® and SiLeach® processes to recover lithium from primary ore and waste materials.

Let us glance through the key highlights of the quarter gone by.

Successful capital raising

LIT managed to raise AUD 8.5 million through a placement and shareholder purchase plan and is now concentrating its efforts on near-term cash flow projects. The company raised more funds than expected which enabled it to pay out its convertible note. As on 30 September 2020, LIT was debt-free with cash reserves of AUD 9.2 million.

Envirostream Australia activities galore

LIT’s 90% owned subsidiary, Envirostream achieved its designed processing throughput in the June 2020 quarter. It collected 130 tonnes of batteries and processed around 80 tonnes of LIBs. 

Envirostream finished the quarter with 23 tonnes of MMD in inventory. The quarterly activities got affected due to Covid-19-induced restrictions in Melbourne, however commissioning of aluminium, copper, and plastic separation circuit is ongoing.

Must read: ASX Listed Lithium Australia's Envirostream bags funding from Sustainability Victoria

LIT is of the belief that there are many factors which will help boost Envirostream's revenues for FY21. These include –

  • additional revenue streams from the recycling of copper and aluminium,
  • increased collection volumes,
  • improving commodity prices, and
  • battery stewardship fees.

It will continue to assess value-added applications for zinc and manganese which Envirostream obtains from used alkaline batteries.

The company has undertaken several recycling trials on 6 different types of EV battery packs and intends to document the entire process of EV battery recycling. The company found that it can process used batteries cost-efficiently, sustainably, safely, and effectively to provide an effective and environmentally responsible solution.

The company is also conducting wheat-seeding trial near Kojonup, about 260 kilometres southeast of Perth, the capital of WA. Zinc and manganese from recycled alkaline batteries are being tried as micronutrients in combined fertilisers. 

Image source: ASX announcement dated 30 October 2020

Image source: ASX announcement dated 30 October 2020

Safety precautions by Envirostream: To mitigate any safety risks of fires due to incorrect storage of spent batteries, especially LIBs, Envirostream has implemented strategies such as the installation of an early-warning heat-detection system at its facility, and storage of batteries in plastic containers. It adheres to the EPA Victoria guidelines for storage of different battery types at its premises.

The facility has additional water-cooling points, implemented operator training, and procedural changes for safe operating practices. Thanks to the battery recycling agreements with two suppliers, Envirostream will be the first mover in the recycling of used battery packs in Australia. 

Revolutionary lithium processing technologies

Lithium Australia has two disruptive lithium extraction technologies that produce a range of lithium chemicals. These technologies are - SiLeach® for the processing of lithium micas and LieNA® for the recovery of lithium from fine and variable-grade spodumene.

These in combination with VSPC's patented nanotechnology allow the production of battery materials directly from LP of silicate minerals or spent LIBs, eliminating the need of an additional step to produce lithium hydroxide or carbonate.

LIT exploring commercialisation of LieNA®: In September quarter, LIT completed stage 1 of the LieNA® Co-operative Research Centres Project with bulk sample collection and concentration. The samples have been sent to ANSTO. The next move towards the commercialisation of the LieNA® process is the construction and operation of a LieNA® pilot plant.

The company has applied for various patents for its extraction technologies - patent application PCT/AU2019/050540 details LIT's process for extracting LP from lithium-bearing solutions such as brine or pregnant process liquor. 

The firm recently got a shot in the arm with IP recognition, boosting the value of its research programmes.

Must read: Lithium Australia bags US patent for its revolutionary lithium-recovery technique- SiLeach®

Battery segment

LIT's subsidiary VSPC is an Australian leader in battery technology. A co-funding grant from the AMGC boosted its research into processes for the utilisation of lower-cost raw materials in cathode powder synthesis.

VSPC's proprietary reduced cost process was used to evaluate low-cost raw-material options for the manufacture of LFP cathode material. The LFP produced revealed that the cells achieved capacities better than the best LFP cathode materials currently in the market. It was up to 161 milliampere hours per gram at a 0.1C discharge rate.

Image source: ASX announcement dated 30 October 2020

Image source: ASX announcement dated 30 October 2020

During the quarter, Soluna Australia installed eight residential battery units and had sales of AUD 79,000. Interest in Soluna Australia's industrial and residential ESS is robust, and sales and installation of its batteries for domestic use began in July 2020. The company expects sales to grow in the December quarter and rest of the 20-21 financial year. The business unit too, is anticipated to be cash flow-positive in the near term.

Read: Recyclable Soluna Au battery systems' installation commence for residential energy storage

Raw materials 

Strategic alliance – Coates Mafic Intrusive Complex: LIT, Australian Vanadium Limited (ASX: AVL), and Mercator hold contiguous tenements spread across 59 km2, the entire Coates Mafic Intrusive Complex in Western Australia.

LIT has completed available aeromagnetic data modelling. It will help in determining the extent of proposed soil geochemistry and geological mapping programmes. 

On 3 November 2020, LIT closed the day’s trade at AUD 0.050, up by 2.040%.

Good read: Lithium Australia's progress in maintaining operations during an uncertain environment

 

 


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