Two independent laboratories in the U.S. and Canada reported results of lithium carbonate analyses of up to 99.5% lithium carbonate purity, and in some cases high purity of 99.9% based on the precision of the analytical methods employed. Western Lithium’s processing method achieves 99.5% purity, but still shows elevated parts per million levels of sodium and potassium sulphate.
However, following the standard processing, the pilot tests included a simple carbon dioxide treatment, which resulted in the lithium carbonate product upgrading to high purity product that is expected to meet industry battery requirements. Western Lithium has now produced approximately 2 kg of lithium carbonate product from its Nevada property.
"In 2010, we achieved our milestone to demonstrate that we can competitively produce high quality lithium carbonate from one of the largest known lithium deposits in the world located in Nevada(1)," said Western Lithium’s President, Jay Chmelauskas. "With a competitive cost structure and potential scalability, we are well positioned to potentially displace some offshore lithium imports into the United States, and also to compete with exporting countries supplying lithium products to Asian battery and automotive manufacturers. In 2011, we will focus our attention on process and engineering optimization, product design and permitting."
In 2010, a Preliminary Assessment and Economic Evaluation Report was completed that indicated the proposed project is expected to compete as a low-cost lithium carbonate producer (see SEDAR filing, Feb. 10, 2010). The company is now proceeding with engineering optimization and pre-feasibility work, and this next stage of development will focus on final product specifications including product purity, size and performance.
The engineering will incorporate the findings from the pilot studies as well as define parameters that will satisfy battery requirements potentially without a carbon dioxide upgrade process. A large-scale production run is now underway to initially produce approximately 20 kg of lithium carbonate for engineering optimization and product design to include in the pre-feasibility study.
Western Lithium is developing the Kings Valley, Nevada lithium deposit into potentially one of the world’s largest strategic, scalable and reliable sources of high quality lithium carbonate. The Company is positioning itself as a major U.S.-based supplier to support the rising global demand for lithium carbonate that is expected from the increased use of hybrid/electric vehicles.
(1Western Lithium has completed National Instrument 43-101 resource estimates on two portions of the property, one of which is envisioned for the initial stage of mine development. These resources cover part of the mineralization from a historical estimate of 11 million tonnes of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) prepared by Chevron Resources Corp. in the 1980s that encompasses all of the King’s Valley lithium lens deposits identified to date, and ranks in size behind deposits in Bolivia (47 million tonnes LCE), Chile (37 million tonnes LCE), North Carolina (14 million tonnes LCE) and the DRC (12 million tonnes LCE). Source: R. Keith Evans, 2010; Roskill Information Services Ltd., 2009; and company disclosures. A qualified person has not done sufficient work to classify the historical estimate as current mineral resources under National Instrument 43-101, the Company is not treating the historical estimate as current mineral resources and the historical estimate should not be relied upon.