Testwork on petalite lithium produces pure concentrate for AfriTin Mining
By Freeman ya Ngulu.
A mining and exploration company with a portfolio of technology metal assets based in Uis on the site of the old Uis Tin Mine, has announced that metallurgical tests support the successful production of a petalite lithium concentrate, indicating the potential for a lithium byproduct with considerable commercial value.
A large bulk sample of 11 tonnes was collected to produce petalite lithium concentrate samples for distribution to potential offtakers; and contractors appointed for the design and construction of a lithium pilot processing plant at the Uis Mine.
Upon completion of the tests, Chief Executive Anthony Viljoen, said “We are pleased to announce the results from the first phase of lithium testwork for the Uis Mine, showing the potential for producing a high-quality petalite lithium concentrate from our lithium mineral resource which is contained in the currently mined ore body. The petalite concentrate will be a byproduct to our existing tin concentrate. These positive test results allow us to progress to the design and construction of a lithium pilot plant at Uis.
A high-purity (up to 94%) petalite lithium concentrate was produced from bulk ore samples by independent test facilities which confirms high-grade, ultra-low iron petalite at 4.34% Li2O and contaminants levels of 0.03% Fe2O3and 0.93% alkalis (Na2O + K2O).
Petalite concentrate has historically been sold to the technology market, as feedstock in glass and ceramics industries.
“Given the increasing global demand for lithium supply and the quality of our lithium, we are also receiving in-bound enquiries from the lithium conversion industry who can develop petalite into battery-grade lithium carbonate or hydroxide. Prior techno-economic modelling of an expanded operation has highlighted the substantial revenue potential of lithium for the Uis Mine,” stated Viljoen.
The company expects the concentrate to meet demand from premium glass and ceramics manufacturers, and be suitable feedstock for battery-grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide converters.