Latin Resources demonstrates ‘exceptional’ metallurgy with over 80% Li2O recovery at Salinas Project

Australian-based mineral exploration company Latin Resources (ASX:LRS) reports it is continuing to demonstrate ‘exceptional’ metallurgy results with over 80% lithium (Li2O) recovery at the Salinas Lithium Project in Brazil.

Results of the testwork has shown that simple Heavy Liquid Separation (HLS) was able to recover an average of 80.5% of the Li2O into a concentrate grading a ‘very high’ average of 6.30% Li2O.

The company says it commissioned SGS GEOSOL laboratories Belo Horizonte Brazil to undertake a program of Heavy Liquid Separation (HLS) testwork on 10 samples representing the total strike length of the current resource drilling program. A total of 367kg of representative sample was collected and each of the samples included interstitial waste between ore zones to simulate expected mining dilution.

One of the main objectives of this program was to investigate potential variability in metallurgical performance across the deposit, and at varying depths.

Half of the samples were targeted in the top 50m to 100m of the ore body with the other half taken from the bottom 100m to 150m of the deposit. Latin reports the results have been independently reviewed and interpreted by Met Assist who have ‘significant’ experience in lithium processing, metallurgy and process plant design.


Latin Resources General Manager of Geology, Tony Greenaway says: “The latest round of testwork is extremely encouraging for our recoveries at Salinas and we are delighted with the consistency of results we have been able to achieve.

“We are very pleased to report very high recoveries and the production of a high-grade concentrate from simple HLS”

We are very pleased to report very high recoveries and the production of a high-grade concentrate from simple HLS, and while these results cannot be directly translated to an operational environment, they do have very significant implications for the marketability and the economics of our concentrate.

We intend to progress this into bulk pilot plant testwork where we will optimise the flowsheet for the planned detailed PEA program that is planned to be completed by SGS in the first quarter next year.”

Based on the promising initial sighter tests that were conducted in July 2022, Latin reports it was confident to conduct the HLS testwork at a much coarser top size of 12.5mm.

HLS results from the coarse fraction demonstrated extremely ‘high-grades’ in excess of 7% Li2O. Given ‘pure’ spodumene has a theoretical grade of 8.03% Li2O, this suggests that full liberation of spodumene is achieved even at these coarse grind sizes.

It also indicates that spodumene is by far the dominant lithium ore type, and the deposit is not challenged by lower grade variants such as lepidolite or petalite which can negatively impact final concentrate grades.

Latin reports a key objective of this round of testwork was to investigate variability within the deposit. A total of 10 samples were composited and represented around 20m of total intersection for each sample.

These samples were selected over around 500m of known mineralisation, and 5 samples were taken from areas within the top 50m to 100m of the deposit, and another 5 samples were taken from depths of 100m to 150m within the deposit.

The company says the results demonstrate very close correlation between the 2 groups of samples with the exception of sample Metsa04, which is believed to be due to a less than ideal sample size of 12kg, making this less representative for use in sub samples taken for HLS.

Latin states size distributions indicate that the amount of fines generated in a 12mm crush is very low with an average of 12.25% of the material reporting to the under 0.5mm fraction. This is an important aspect when considering a future DMS plant as the under 0.5mm fraction is not suitable DMS feed.

‘Higher’ proportions of fines result in less of the Li2O being presented to the DMS circuit which the company says has a direct bearing on the overall expected Li2O recovery for the project.

The results of the program on the Salinas samples suggest the under 5mm fraction contains only 10% of the Li2O and therefore potentially up to 90% of the contained Li2O in the deposit would be processed through a future DMS plant.

It also reports the Colina composite samples demonstrated ‘very low’ iron content in the raw feed sample. Cumulative recoveries of the results for each SG cut point enabled the calculation of expected iron grades for a concentrate of 6% Li2O.

Latin Resources is an Australian-based mineral exploration company with projects in South America and Australia. These projects include the flagship Salinas Lithium Project in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, the Cloud Nine Halloysite-Kaolin Deposit in Western Australia, the Catamarca Lithium Project in Argentina and the MT-03 Copper Project in Peru.

Images: Latin Resources Ltd & iStock
Written By Harry Mulholland
Hailing from the Central Coast region of NSW, Harry is a passionate journalist with a background in print, radio and ESG news. When not bashing away on his keyboard, he can be found brewing a coffee or playing with his dog.