From the very start, our aim has been to achieve the lowest environmental footprint possible. Car electrification is based on the need for a greener future, yet most lithium production is currently powered by coal in China.
That’s why we have developed a highly efficient process for concentrating lithium mica without using chemicals and why we will be using renewable energy to power our newly invented Mi-Sep ® technology which has a patent pending.
Mineral processing starts with breaking the rock to a size where the minerals can be separated from one another and extracting lithium from the waste.
Our method focuses on minimising chemical use so the waste coming from our plant will not need neutralising. Water composition is essentially unchanged and, because the team will be extracting micas at a really coarse size, the waste material is very similar to building or beach sand.
Once we have made a lithium mica concentrate, we roast it using lime as a reagent, rather than acid. The solution is then purified to produce lithium carbonate.
The Government has helped fund our dedicated lithium metallurgical research laboratory in Cornwall – the only one of its kind in the country. Innovate UK is also providing nearly £3m to help develop our pilot plant that should be operational by early 2022.
The plant will allow us to collect accurate data on any waste products and emissions, test the energy and water balances and prove our process route. We can also produce enough battery grade lithium to achieve potential customer acceptance and buy-in.