Core collected during a phase III drilling program in December 2017 is being used in the test program being carried out by SGS Canada at Lakefield, Ontario.
Two composite pilot plant feed samples have been prepared to represent years 0 to 5 and years 5-plus of the operation, which aims to provide materials for lithium-ion battery production.
Corey Nolan, chief executive officer, said: “The objective of the pilot program is to further refine the design and confirm the operating parameters for the Authier process plant.
“This is being done in order to de-risk the plant construction, commissioning and ramp-up.
“The company is focused on the rapid progression of the project towards production to capitalise on the strong projected price outlook for spodumene concentrates.”
Pegmatite ore collected during drilling
Circa 5.5 tonnes of mineralised pegmatite ore was collected during the drilling.
Diamond drill core was assayed and stage-crushed to the appropriate particle size to feed the pilot plant.
The flowsheet for the plant comprises grinding, de-sliming, magnetic separation, mica and spodumene flotation.
SGS has scheduled the plant to operate for 100 hours at an hourly feed rate of 50 kilograms.
Aiming for 6% lithium carbonate concentrate
The objective is to produce a 6% lithium carbonate concentrate at recoveries of greater than 80%.
Pilot plant testing will help finalise the flowsheet and processing parameters for spodumene concentrate production developed during the pre-feasibility study.
It will also produce engineering data for equipment sizing and plant design.
Spodumene concentrate generated will be used for downstream lithium carbonate testing and marketing purposes.
Definitive feasibility study planned
Data collected during the piloting program will be incorporated into a definitive feasibility study which is expected to be completed during the June quarter of 2018.
Authier Lithium Project is in a lithium producing region of Quebec.
SGS has extensive experience in developing spodumene concentration flowsheets.
Over the last 10 years, SGS has operated pilot plants for several Canadian hard rock lithium deposits.
Sayona is an Australian-based company focused on sourcing and developing the raw materials required to construct lithium-ion batteries.
Its primary objective is developing the Authier Lithium Project in western Quebec.
Authier is an advanced, near-term development project with construction forecast to begin in the second half of 2018 and first production in late 2019.