Pan Asia Metals reports lithium recoveries past 80% at Reung Kiet Project, Thailand

Battery metals company Pan Asia Metals (ASX:PAM) reports results from sulphate roast and lithium extraction on 2 samples of lepidolite concentrates achieved lithium recoveries of up to 88% at the Reung Kiet Lithium Project.

Pan Asia is exploring the next phase of testwork at the Reung Kiet Lithium Project in Thailand, following ‘highly encouraging’ phase one roast-leach testwork results.

Speaking to Mining.com.au, Pan Asia Metals Managing Director, Paul Lock says the first phase of testwork gives the company a baseline reference for future testwork while phase two will underpin a feasibility study for the project.

The next phase of testwork will further investigate roast reagent rations, roast time, temperature, and the effect of agglomerating the roast feed. This will also investigate concentrate derived from sorted ore versus pre-sorted ore.

Pan Asia reports results from sulphate roast and lithium extraction on 2 samples of lepidolite concentrates achieved lithium recoveries of up to 88%. The results in terms of lithium extraction versus gypsum and sodium sulphate addition demonstrated evidence that fresh and oxide samples produced similar trends across the 5 tests conducted, with the first 4 tests producing the best lithium extractions.

Lock tells this news service: “The clear message from the tests is out of the box, we’re getting about 80% recoveries and we haven’t even done any optimisation work, and we’re using a concentrate which was produced using unsorted ore so there are elements in there which can reduce recoveries.

When we start using sorted concentrate or concentrate using ore sorted materials, we’ll find that the recovery should go up substantially with lower reagent use. We’ll be very pleased to be getting results in the 80s and as high as 88% for the first round because really with optimisation, it can only get better. When you look at a number of players, exceptional results are in the 70s, so to start out at 80% is great stuff.

Phase two has already started and basically, we start to mess around with the ratios of the reagents. The key items in the reagent right now are just gypsum and sodium sulphate, but we might add some other things to the reagent, so it’s all about sort of exploring ratios.

This all goes straight into our feasibility (study), so this is for the Reung Kiet Lithium prospect, and then we’ll obviously do work at Bang I Tum once we start to generate samples there, so this is the start of all our feasibility work to produce a PFS (Prefeasibility Study) and NPV (net present value).”

Pan Asia reports the first 2 tests resulted in lithium extractions of between 78% and 81%, while the third test resulted in lower leach extractions than the first 2 due to lower sulphate addition.

The company says the fourth test resulted in the ‘highest’ lithium extractions between 84% to 88%, but also had the ‘highest’ reagent addition with dosage levels chosen to represent the upper operational limits. Test 5 demonstrated the lowest lithium extraction likely due to insufficient reagent dosing, with the dosage chosen to represent the lower limits.

Pan Asia also reports the 2 samples of lepidolite concentrate generated from the testwork program performed by BGRIMM Technology Group in 2022, which were then delivered to ALS Metallurgy in Perth in late December 2022.

The fresh and oxide samples were milled to 80% passing 125 microns (µm), and then were split into 5 100g samples. Each of the 100g samples were mixed with limestone, gypsum, and sodium sulphate reagents, and water was added to achieve a moisture content of 20%. 

Pan Asia Metals is an ASX-listed battery metals company exploring for lithium in South-East Asia. The company currently holds the Reung Kiet and Kata Thong Lithium projects, as well as the Khao Soon Tungsten Project in Thailand.

Images: Pan Asia Metals Ltd
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.