Frontier Lithium’s PAK project, in Ontario. Credit: Frontier Lithium
Sudbury-based Frontier Lithium has produced lithium hydroxide monohydrate from spodumene sourced from its PAK lithium project in northwestern Ontario, using a proprietary extraction process.
In a release, the company said the flow sheet used has the advantage of directly producing battery-quality lithium hydroxide from spodumene, without employing a lithium carbonate intermediate – reducing both cost and waste generated.
In bench-scale test work, Frontier, XPS Expert Process Solutions and AG Hydrometallurgy Services produced high-quality, lithium-bearing pregnant leach solutions suitable for battery-grade lithium hydroxide production.
The bench-scale test work used lithium concentrates produced by single-stage dense media separation (DMS), and flotation from samples taken from PAK, located 175 km north of Red Lake. Small quantities of high-quality pregnant solution were created through pyrometallurgy and the proprietary hydrometallurgical steps. Frontier reports that preliminary crystallization test work resulted in 56.5% LiOH values – on par with industry specifications.
The next step involves producing larger quantities of the leach solution and demonstrating continuous processing through construction of a pilot plant, which has already begun.
Last month, Frontier also began a preliminary economic assessment on the viability of creating a vertically integrated chemical company including mining, milling and a downstream lithium hydroxide production facility.
“Recent provincial and federal announcements have begun to lay the foundation for a regional, vertically integrated battery ecosystem supported by northern natural resources and Ontario’s 96% zero-carbon sources of energy,” said Trevor Walker, president and CEO of Frontier Lithium, in a release. “Frontier is well positioned in the Great Lakes region as it develops Ontario’s largest lithium bearing spodumene resource with multiple deposits which will be required to support North American lithium ion battery production capacity.”
The 267.8-sq.-km PAK project hosts proven and probable reserves of 5.8 million tonnes grading 2.06% Li2O. A positive prefeasibility study for PAK was completed in 2018, but the study looked only at the production of spodumene concentrate (Li2O).
For more information, visit www.frontierlithium.com.