Research & Development
British Lithium have invested heavily in ongoing metallurgical testwork and process design and are world leaders in recovery of lithium from micas, such as those we have discovered in Cornwall, see our exploration work. Our work on lithium micas began in 2014 and on Cornish micas in 2016, and continues today at our exclusive laboratory in Roche, Cornwall and at our technology partner’s laboratory in Perth, Western Australia. British Lithium is the only lithium mine developer in UK to have its own, in-house metallurgical research facilities.
In Q1 2020 British Lithium continued to expand its metallurgical laboratory in Roche, Cornwall, installing a range of new equipment for:
- Core sawing and splitting
- Rock crushing, from 160 mm down to 2 mm
- Representative sample splitting
- Energy Dispersive X-ray Florescence Spectrophotometric analysis
- Dust extraction and filtration (Class M)
To compete with spodumene, production of lithium from micas requires an unique and efficient physical beneficiation process to produce a concentrate with high recovery followed by environmentally friendly alkaline leach and purification. There are currently no refiners globally who can process Zinnwaldite concentrate, and so a complete plant from mine, to beneficiation, to refining will be needed in Cornwall.
British Lithium’s engineers have successfully beneficiated Cornish micas using our unique process to produce a +4% Li Lithium concentrate with recovery over 90%. Note that the grade achieved was higher than the theoretical maximum possible. We have also conducted numerous roast trials producing near battery grade lithium carbonate. Successful metallurgical research and process development is critical to demonstrating the potential for economic recovery of Lithium in Cornwall and much remains to be done.