Stria Lithium Inc. (TSX VENTURE:SRA)(OTCQX:SRCAF) ("Stria" or the "Company") is pleased to report that further metallurgical testing confirm 88g per tonne (Ta) tantalum metal in bulk samples extracted from its wholly owned Pontax Lithium Project in the James Bay Region of Northern Quebec.
Widely used in cell phones and computers and other consumer electronics, tantalum is also used in nuclear reactors, aviation components, medical implants and surgical devices. The United States, Canada and the European Union have designated tantalum emanating from the largest tantalum producing countries in Africa as a conflict metal.
Initial metallurgical testing results on Pontax spodumene concentrate by SGS Canada Ltd. (SGS) published on May 24, 2016, showed a highly favorable result that supported the Company's decision to continue its investigation and exploration of the Pontax property. (See news release filed on SEDAR).
Those tests support the metallurgical viability of Pontax spodumene as a feedstock for the production of high value, in-demand lithium metal and high-grade lithium compounds for lithium battery applications and other lithium products for technology applications using Stria Lithiums proprietary process.
Subsequent metallurgical investigations performed by SGS discovered significant concentrations of tantalum, feldspar and quartz in the Pontax mineralization. Further metallurgical investigation for additional recoveries of tantalum from Pontax spodumene waste materials are now planned.
Stria holds in-house developed, proprietary technologies that remove upstream obstacles to enable downstream production of lithium metal, lithium carbonate or hydroxide using conventional metallurgical processes.
SGS confirmed the presence of tantalum (88g/t Ta) in the as received trench samples by whole rock analysis.
The present flowsheet to produce a combined spodumene concentrate assaying 6.3% Li2O with an 85% overall lithium recovery incorporates dense media separation - magnetic separation and flotation.
During magnetic separation for removal of iron bearing minerals from both DMS and flotation feed ores, Tantalum bearing minerals are naturally recovered in the magnetic concentrates. These combined concentrates represent almost 39% of tantalum in the feed mineralization at a concentration of 1275g/t Ta. Further testwork is now planned to upgrade this material as a potentially marketable tantalum concentrate through gravity concentration and/or selective flotation.
As a further 38% of the tantalum is rejected in the final DMS gangue material, this stream will also be tested for Tantalum mineral recovery.
Tantalum is a silvery metal that is soft in its purest form. It is almost immune to chemical attack at temperatures below 150 C. Tantalum is virtually resistant to corrosion due to an oxide film on its surface.
Tantalum finds use in four areas: high-temperature applications, such as aircraft engines; electrical devices, such as capacitors; surgical implants and handling corrosive chemicals. Because of its anti-corrosive properties, Tantalum is widely used by chemical industries for heat exchangers in boilers where strong acids are vaporized.
Feldspar and Quartz
Preliminary laboratory flotation tests on spodumene flotation tailings have established the potential for recovery of a high grade quartz product assaying greater than 98% SiO2 and representing 25.4% of the flotation tailings volume.
Two feldspar products have also been produced. A high grade product containing 34.3% microcline, 64.2 % albite and 1% quartz and a lower grade product containing 18.9% microcline, 76.5% albite and 4.6% quartz. The combined mass yield for these feldspar products represents 54.4% of the flotation tailings.
Stria Mangement are encouraged that potentially 80% of the flotation tailings that would normally require disposal can possibly be marketed as quartz and feldspar products.
Feldspar is a common raw material used in glassmaking, ceramics, and to some extent as a filler and extender in paint, plastics, and rubber. In glassmaking, alumina from feldspar improves product hardness, durability, and resistance to chemical corrosion.
Quartz is economically important on a global scale and is one of the most widely used minerals in manufacturing, including glass for automotive, residential and industrial applications; as a flux in metallurgy; as an abrasive material and in building materials. By volume, the bulk of all commercially mined quartz is used in the construction industry as aggregate for concrete and as sand in mortar and cement.
About Stria's Proprietary Process
An initial roasting produces the β-spodumene used for Stria's process. Within a closed loop containing chloride compounds, the β-spodumene is mixed in a proprietary process environment. Impurities including iron, magnesium, vanadium, chrome, aluminum and silicates are eliminated, producing a high-purity lithium chloride concentrate.
The unique advantage of Stria's process is that it removes upstream obstacles to enable downstream production of lithium metal, lithium carbonate or hydroxide using conventional metallurgical processes.
Stria's process obviates the need for additional, cost-heavy refinery steps, making it potentially economically competitive.
Moreover, the process permits the recycling and repeated re-use of chemicals, returning them to the start of the process -using fewer chemicals results in lower costs and effectively lowers the process's environmental footprint.