USA-focused gold and lithium explorer, Hawkstone Mining Limited has appointed Hazen Research Inc to perform metallurgical test-work on the lithium-mineralised sedimentary material from the Big Sandy Lithium Project, with the goal of producing battery-grade 99 per cent lithium carbonate (Li2CO3).
The environmentally-compliant hydrometallurgical process that Hazen will evaluate involves sulphuric acid leaching, purification and production of 99.8 per cent Li2CO3 for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and generation-scale storage to back up renewable energy production. Initial outcomes are expected to be available within two to three months.
Hawkstone notes that Joe Biden has a ‘Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution which places America on the road to becoming the world’s clean energy superpower.
“With a vision of a 100 per cent clean energy economy, stated not only as an obligation, but as an opportunity for the USA to achieve a 100 per cent clean energy economy, with net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Biden’s campaign has privately stated to US miners that he will support boosting domestic production of critical metals used to make electric vehicles, solar panels and other products crucial to this climate plan ,” the company advised.
Hawkstone highlights that it is well placed to capitalise on this dynamic shift in US Federal policy, with its Big Sandy Lithium Project strategically located halfway between Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada straddling US Route 93 and Interstate 11, the newest link to the Pan-American corridor, in the southwest ‘Sun Belt’, which is a rapidly growing centre for renewable energy.
Hawkstone Mining Managing Director, Paul Lloyd, said with softening of lithium demand and price, work on the project has been focused on baseline engineering studies, establishing local contacts and obtaining the required permits for further drilling and bulk sampling while awaiting the awakening of the lithium market.
“We feel that lithium’s time has arrived with a dynamic shift in US Federal policies, Tesla building a new Gigafactory at Austin Texas and announcing its intent to develop US sedimentary resources, VW shifting the majority of its production to EV’s including an entire production line in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and battery storage coupled with wind and solar displacing coal and gas generation with countries around the world mandating the end of the ICE (internal combustion engine) age,” Mr Lloyd detailed.
“With this paradigm shift in the energy/transport sectors, the company is pleased to announce the engagement of Hazen Research to commence bench-scale testing of the Big Sandy lithium mineralisation, with the aim of producing battery-grade 99.8 per cent Li2CO3 and, in the process, developing a preliminary process flow sheet.”
The test work conducted by Hazen Research will be used to develop a feasible and economic processing route leading to pilot-scale testing.
Previous test work completed by Kappes, Cassidy and Assoc. (KCA) of Reno, Nevada established :
- Lithium recoveries from 85 per cent to 95 per cent in a simple sulphuric acid leach.
- Leach times ranged from 1 to 7 hours at ambient temperatures.
- No grinding and minimal crushing required.
 Hawkstone Announcement, Nov 29, 2018, Preliminary Met Test Work Proves Highly Successful