The compay has now received the approvals needed for the 2,500-tonne programme which was initially set to take place last year.
"Avalon can now proceed this summer with the bulk sampling program for pilot plant processing to recover petalite product samples for testing and qualification by glass and ceramic companies that have expressed interest in the high-purity petalite mineral product," the company said.
It added it is looking again at the possibility of producing a lithium hydroxide battery, because of new interest in establishing critical minerals supply chains in Ontario, particularly lithium battery materials. Avalon confirmed it is now evaluating potential facility sites in northwestern Ontario.
Lab test work on sample material that had been archived has been ongoing at Separation rapid, despite there being no recent activity at the site. Officials said the focus there has been flowsheet optimisation.
"The original flowsheet employed a flotation process designed to treat both the coarse-grained and fine-grained petalite ore types. However, the coarse-grained petalite ore is also amenable to lower cost processing using ore-sorting and dense media separation (DMS) to produce a clean concentrate that has not been exposed to flotation reagents," Avalon said, adding the most recent work revealed the petalite product would have an application for some glass-ceramics.
Its goal for the project is to have the capability to produce separate lithium mineral and chemical products so it can pursue various market opportunities.
Avalon is looking at starting initial small-scale production in 2021.