Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX:AVL,OTCQX:AVLNF) (formerly Avalon Rare Metals Inc.) announced an update on the 2016 work program on its 100% owned Separation Rapids Lithium Project, near Kenora, Ontario.As quoted in the press release: The Company has initiated its lithium hydrometallurgical process development work at the facilities of Thibault and Associates Inc., Fredericton, New Brunswick (“Thibault”), utilizing … Continued
Avalon Advanced Materials Inc. (TSX:AVL,OTCQX:AVLNF) (formerly Avalon Rare Metals Inc.) announced an update on the 2016 work program on its 100% owned Separation Rapids Lithium Project, near Kenora, Ontario.
As quoted in the press release:
The Company has initiated its lithium hydrometallurgical process development work at the facilities of Thibault and Associates Inc., Fredericton, New Brunswick (“Thibault”), utilizing the bulk concentrate sample produced in the winter. Thibault are experts in applied process chemical engineering, with considerable experience in rare metals including lithium. The work is scheduled for completion in late June, following which the Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) will be finalized.
Lithium Hydrometallurgical Process Development
The focus of the hydrometallurgical process development work is to produce a lithium hydroxide product from a petalite (lithium mineral) concentrate suitable for use in lithium ion batteries. Preliminary work demonstrated that this product could be achieved employing a flowsheet using sulphuric acid as the primary solvent.
Recent work has successfully produced a very high purity lithium sulphate solution from the petalite concentrate. This is currently being converted to lithium hydroxide solution via an established electrolysis process using another service provider. Preliminary observations indicate a lithium hydroxide conversion efficiency matching, and possibly exceeding, original expectations.
Feldspar and Silica By-Products
Avalon is awaiting the results of testwork being conducted in Europe to evaluate the suitability of the feldspar by-product as a paint filler product. Discussions with vendors of suitable mills for the fine grinding requirements both in Europe and North America are already in progress. Results of testwork evaluating the potential production of a high purity silica by-product are also awaited and should be available by the end of May. Successful inclusion of one or both by-products into the final project will potentially improve overall project economics and reduce the environmental footprint.
Avalon is also awaiting further feedback from potential glass industry customers interested in the petalite concentrate as an industrial mineral product for glass-ceramics.
Other Project Activities and Future Plans
Engineering work continues for the PEA, which is currently scheduled for completion this summer. The Company is advancing capital and operating cost estimates and evaluating various production scenarios. Samples of products from the flotation plant process have been sent for environmental testing as part of the project permitting process.
Avalon continues to investigate the possibility of developing a clean, low cost “run-of-river” hydro-power supply to the mine site with potential development partners. At least three sites have been identified along the English River near the deposit that offer this potential. Clean, low-cost hydro-power generation could provide environmental benefits and economic benefits both to the project and to local business partners interested in this opportunity.
A diamond drilling program is tentatively planned for August/September with the objective of demonstrating potential for significant additions to the historical mineral resources originally delineated in 1997-2001. The known resource remains open for expansion to depth and along strike.