Lithium battery cathode material produced from mine waste
In an ASX Announcement, posted 22 November, Lithium Australia announced that its wholly owned subsidiary VSPC Ltd had successfully produced lithium-ion battery cathode material and lithium-ion batteries from tri-lithium phosphate that came directly from mine waste.
The world-first feat was achieved using VSPC’s groundbreaking SiLeach process, which removes the requirement for generation of high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate — long seen as one of the most cost-intensive and challenging steps in the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries.
“The tri-lithium phosphate was converted to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathode material at the advanced electrochemical laboratory and pilot plant facility in Brisbane, Queensland operated by VSPC,” said the announcement.
“LIBs (2032 coin cells) were subsequently produced…and tested under a range of charge and discharge conditions and the cells achieved equivalent performance to VSPC’s advanced cathode powders which use lithium carbonate as the manufacturing feed,” it continued. “Battery performance compares very favourably against cells using standard VSPC cathode material produced with industry standard lithium carbonate.”
The company is also developing the process for direct production of cathode powders from lithium brines to not only eliminate the requirement to produce high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate, but to reduce the requirement for evaporation ponds — one of the more capital-intensive aspects of setting up a lithium brine operation.
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