American Lithium Corp. (TSXV: LI) announced on Thursday the completion of the first round of pre-concentration testing on the Tonopah Lithium Claims (TLC) claystone mineralization in Nevada using Falcon C gravity concentrators, yielding positive results.
Previous work had demonstrated that gravity/physical concentration techniques are capable of upgrading the TLC mineralization, with the lithium preferentially reporting to the fine fraction in centrifuge tests. The important fraction at TLC is not the “concentrate”, but what is often considered “tails” in other commodities, the company said.
The latest test work rapidly upgraded samples of TLC mineralization from 1,098 ppm Li to 1,671 ppm Li by retaining as much as 88% of the lithium in 60% of the original mass — representing a grade increase of 52% (or an upgrading factor of approximately 1.5). The process is estimated to take less than 45 minutes in an industrial-scale operation.
Testing will continue to further optimize the upgrading process including utilizing higher-grade feed from planned drilling and bulk sampling at TLC, the company said.
Processing material with significantly higher lithium concentrations should reduce costs through lower reagent consumption and reduced throughput, including the potential to reduce back-end processing plant requirements, it added.
“By processing higher-grade lithium mineralization, a smaller plant footprint is possible, and processing becomes more efficient with the ability to minimize reagents and improve recoveries,” said Dr. Laurence Stefan, COO of American Lithium in a press release.
Last month, the company reported the best lithium extraction results to date on the TLC claystones, achieving a 97.4% extraction rate using warm sulfuric acid leach.
Shares of American Lithium gained 6.3% by noon EDT on the TSXV following the latest testing results. The company has a market capitalization of C$474.8 million.