AL said its development partner, Hazen Research, roasted the sample lithium-bearing claystones at its laboratory in Colorado with sulfate and chloride salts, prior to water leaching.
The experiments involved roasting the lithium bearing claystones at 900°C with sulfate and chloride salts, and then leaching in 60°C water for two hours, results in 82% of the lithium being extracted into aqueous solution.
The company said the processing method will be investigated further by both Hazen Research and metallurgical consulting company TECMMINE's facility in Lima, Peru.
Dr. Laurence Stefan, COO of American Lithium, states, "The early success of roasting demonstrates once again the robust nature of the TLC lithium resource and its processing versatility. This new metallurgical approach opens the door widely to produce either lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide or both from the TLC project. "
He added that the "extremely low level of impurities in the leachate" provides many advantages over the successful sulfuric acid leaching technique that had been the company's focus to date.
TLC Li-rich claystones were previously shown as amenable to rapid sulfuric acid leaching, with lithium extraction in sulfate solution reaching 92% in 10 minutes, said the company. American Lithium plans to compare the roasting option to acid leaching both in terms of capex, opex, environmental footprint and economic performance.