Rodinia Lithium Inc. ("Rodinia" or the "Company") is pleased to provide an update on its small scale pilot pond system at its wholly owned Salar de Diablillos lithium-potash project, located in Salta Province, Argentina.
The small scale pilot pond system, which has been working continuously since February 2012, has been providing on site experience and allowing for several advances in the metallurgical process. Highlights from the pilot pond system include:
- Second batch of lithium carbonate produced, increasing purity to 99.79% Li2CO3
- Additional work completed to improve removal of interfering magnesium and sulphate ions
- Developed and demonstrated an alternate method to produce caustic soda during the process
- Use of caustic soda later in the production process, potentially reducing reagent costs
- Work continues on site to improve yield, develop separation techniques and reduce raw material costs
William Randall, President & CEO of Rodinia, commented, "While we experienced delays due to a variety of factors, including a third straight year of record rainfall during January and February, we are on track to deliver an updated economic study on the project. Results of additional work conducted on the Salar lead us to believe the updated study will be in line with our previously completed Preliminary Economic Assessment, showing very robust figures with relatively low capital expenditure. Management believes that the high returns and low capital output of the project are attractive components in the current financial climate."
During the first quarter of 2013, a second process run on a larger scale was completed, resulting in the production of a second batch of lithium carbonate. The process employed remains largely the same as the Company's initial run, but the increased quantity of lithium carbonate produced allowed for a hot water wash to improve the quality of the lithium carbonate. This additional step in the process resulted in increased lithium carbonate purity of 99.79%.
In addition to completing production of a second batch of lithium carbonate, the Company's engineering team has been operating the small scale pilot pond system continuously in search of improvements in the process design. The engineering department has been successful in lowering magnesium and sulphate concentration below levels achieved in previous runs. Removal of magnesium and sulphate ions to achieve low concentration levels in accordance with the Company's process design has been successful.
In addition, a significant development has been achieved in the production of caustic soda during the evaporation sequence. An alternate method was tested on the Salar in an attempt to harvest caustic soda during the regular operation of the evaporation ponds. The Company remains encouraged that the successful harvesting of caustic soda could result in lowered externally sourced reagent use, which in turn, has the potential to lead to meaningful operating cost savings.
The Company expects to provide further updates of work completed on the Salar de Diablillos over the coming months.
The project is supervised by Bob Cinq-Mars, P. Eng. Mr. Cinq-Mars is considered a Qualified Person, as defined by National Instrument 43]101 and has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this press release. Mr. Cinq-Mars is not independent of the Company.