Frontier Lithium successfully pilots spodumene concentrate for hydromet conversion

Frontier Lithium (TSXV: FL; OTC: LITOF; FRA: HL2) has successfully concluded a pilot-scale campaign to produce 500 kg of spodumene concentrate that […]
The grinding circuit of the pilot plant testing ore from the Spark and PAK lithium deposits. Credit: Frontier Lithium

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Frontier Lithium (TSXV: FL; OTC: LITOF; FRA: HL2) has successfully concluded a pilot-scale campaign to produce 500 kg of spodumene concentrate that will be used to conduct piloting of a hydrometallurgical conversion process.

A 7,800-kg sample of blended material from the Spark (89%) and PAC (11%) deposits was collected. It averaged 1.57% lithium oxide and 0.8% iron oxide. The Spark material is fine-grained, which necessitated desliming, magnetic separation and gravity concentration before flotation.

The pilot program ran for a total operating time of 81 hours, including a continuous run of 31.5 hours. A total of 930 kg of concentrate was produced averaging 6.0% lithium oxide. A second 640-kg bulk concentrate averaging 6.13% lithium oxide and 0.76 iron oxide. A 500-kg portion was sent to a pilot plant for hydrometallurgical treatment to create lithium salts. The survey conducted during the final pilot shift achieved a lithium recovery of 76%, compared to 78% in bench-scale locked cycle tests.

"We are satisfied with the campaign results from the representative sample as they compare favourably to lithium industry specifications. We see the opportunity to improve lithium grade, recovery, and reduce iron content by further optimizing conditions and the flowsheet,” said Frontier VP technology Naizhen Cao.

Frontier produced a preliminary economic assessment of the PAK project in 2021 that examined a fully integrated lithium operation. The project was given an after-tax net present value (with an 8% discount) of US$974 million and an internal rate of return of 21%. The pre-production capital requirement is estimated to be US$685 million for a project with a life of about 24 years. The post-tax net undiscounted cash flow (excluding initial capex) would be US$3.75 billion.

The project encompasses 26,774 hectares at the south end of Ontario's Electric Avenue, the largest land package hosting premium lithium-bearing pegmatites in Ontario. The project is supported by a measured and indicated resource of 21.6 million tonnes averaging 1.56% lithium oxide (Li2O) and inferred resource of 20.9 million tonnes averaging 1.42 per cent Li2O.

The Spark and PAK deposits are located 2.3 km apart. Frontier continues to explore the Bolt pegmatite between the PAK and Spark deposits and the Pennock pegmatite 30 km northwest of the PAK deposit.

Learn more about the PAK project in Ontario at www.FrontierLithium.com.

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