Hawkstone Mining Limited (ASX: HWK) announced that results from its ongoing metallurgical test work of the Big Sandy Sedimentary Lithium Mineralisation have demonstrated initial lithium recoveries in the 90% range.
The company said that the ongoing work also succeeded in the removal of iron (Fe), aluminium (Al), and magnesium (Mg), with minimal losses of recovered lithium (Li) values, from leach solution produced from the mineralised material.
HWK said that Hazen Research is on track to produce battery-grade Li2CO3 (lithium carbonate) by the end of February 2021.
Aimed at producing battery grade Li2CO3
Hawkstone said that the current test work is focused on the removal of calcium (Ca) and sodium (Na) from the leach solution which will result in the purification and concentration of the lithium sulphate (Li2SO4) enabling final processing to produce “battery grade” lithium carbonate (Li2CO3).
Metallurgical test work
Hawkstone had appointed Hazen Research to commence metallurgical test work on the lithium mineralised sedimentary material from the Big Sandy Project, with the aim of producing battery grade Li2CO3.
HWK said that lithium recoveries of 90% was demonstrated by preliminary results from metallurgical testing of the Big Sandy Sedimentary Lithium Mineralisation. The company said that iron (Fe), aluminium (Al) and magnesium (Mg) removal from the leach solution was successful with minimal lithium losses.
Hawkstone said that this test work will be used to develop a feasible and economic processing route leading to more extensive bench and bankable pilot scale testing.
Intellectual property development program
Hawkstone said that it believes this initial work has validated its choice of the basic processing approach. The company said that an intellectual property development program is now being developed focused on certain unit operations of the planned flow sheet, and optimisation of the planned interlocking steps of ore beneficiation, slurry pipeline transport, and ore leaching.
Hawkstone said that these developments will be unique to the development of the Big Sandy project and could also improve the viability of other sedimentary clay projects.
Boost from clean energy economy
Joe Biden, the new President of the USA, has the vision of a 100% clean energy economy and a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. This concurrently supports the domestic production of metals and batteries crucial to this plan, making Hawkstone extremely well positioned due to its strategic location.
The company’s Big Sandy Sedimentary Lithium Project is located halfway between Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, straddling US 93 and the new I-11 Pan American corridor, and only 80 km from one of two US transcontinental railroads in the southwest “Sun Belt”.
The company said that the baseline environmental and cultural surveys forming part of the Plan of Exploration (POE) process were completed in 2020, and the Company is awaiting approval by the BLM to enable drilling to extend the known resource to the north and south. The company said that the approval for a bulk sample to allow larger-scale pilot plant testing in 2021 is also pending.
Hawkstone Mining Managing Director, Paul Lloyd, said: “The Company is pleased to announce the positive steps being made by Hazen Research in the completion of bench scale testing of the Big Sandy lithium mineralisation, with the aim of producing battery grade lithium and in the process developing a preliminary process flow sheet. With drill approval imminent at Big Sandy, the Company will rapidly progress development of the Project to realise its full economic potential.”