While SiLeach(R) remains the cornerstone of Lithium Australia's business strategy (first lithium carbonate production from the pilot plant is expected by 2020), the company recently expanded its business model to embrace other aspects of the lithium production cycle. This involves the following.
Sadisdorf lithium project - located in Germany, the project is being advanced towards a scoping study (4Q18). The plan is to process hard-rock lithium ore from Sadisdorf into a lithium carbonate concentrate using SiLeach(R).
VSPC Ltd - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lithium Australia, VSPC uses proprietary nanotechnology to convert lithium carbonate into a more valuable product: lithium cathode material.
RCARC Ltd - having identified an escalating need for more, and better, recycling of lithium-ion batteries, Lithium Australia subsidiary RCARC aims to recover not only lithium but also other valuable energy metals (including copper, nickel and, most notably, cobalt) from such batteries at the end of their useful life.
Analyst comments: Demand for lithium and other energy metals is now well documented and shows no signs of slowing down. Much of that demand relates to the manufacture of electric vehicles, as well the need for storage of renewable energy, both of which are burgeoning in light of somewhat aggressive government emission targets globally.
At present, investors' exposure to the lithium sector relates mostly to mining ventures that aim, ultimately, to produce and market lithium concentrate. Currently that product sells for between US$500 and US$800 a tonne.
Lithium Australia is taking a different approach: controlling the lithium production cycle right from the mine site (Sadisdorf), through production of lithium concentrate (SiLeach(R)) to, finally, the production and sale of more valuable cathode materials (VSPC) direct to battery manufacturers.
Overall, this strategy reduces Lithium Australia's risk profile, since it need not rely on the success of its SiLeach(R) technology alone. Nor need it rely on third-party agreements for source material, which further enhances its autonomy.
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About Lithium Australia NL
Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) aspires to 'close the loop' on the energy-metal cycle. Its disruptive technologies are designed to furnish the lithium battery industry with ethical and sustainable supply solutions. Lithium Australia’s technology comprises the SiLeach(R) and LieNA(R) lithium extraction processes, along with superior cathode material production courtesy of VSPC Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Lithium Australia) and enhanced recycling techniques for battery materials. By uniting resources and the best available technology, Lithium Australia seeks to establish a vertically integrated lithium processing business.
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