polished lithium pegmatite
Polished section of a lithium pegmatite
small pieces of pegmatite minerals
Pegmatite minerals separated after electrodynamic fragmentation
further information, ANZAPLAN Services

Alternative Lithium Minerals Processing Concepts

An alternative concept for lithium minerals processing has been published by ANZAPLAN and described in Minerals Engineering Journal. It exploits the characteristics of typical pegmatite host rocks - the coarse primary crystal size and the differences in color and morphology of the minerals within the ore.

By integrating two key technologies, selective fragmentation and optical sorting, further advantages can be achieved. Selective fragmentation breaks the ore more cleanly along natural crystal boundaries yielding larger size product whereas conventional grinding ignores crystal boundaries and yields finer size product. Liberation without destruction of the inherent large pegmatite crystalline material is key for efficient optical sorting.

Read more:
> Liberation of Spodumene
> Download our white paper: Alternative Lithium Minerals Processing

Depending on the purity of the spodumene product, flotation may even be avoided reducing the consumption of chemicals and water and improving the overall economic viability of projects where wet separation techniques are not applicable.

Since fine grinding is avoided, highly valuable by-products can be separated during optical sorting, e.g. high purity quartz feedstock and low-iron potassium feldspar, and made available for further processing to meet commercial market specifications. Thus sustainability of the mining activity and the overall cost base is improved.

Besides laboratory scale equipment, ANZAPLAN provides a local test plant for the production of samples, allowing the customer to test the alternative processing concept on their specific pegmatite. The evaluation procedure includes ore processing and metallurgical tests up to concentrate roasting and crystallization of lithium carbonate following the acid or base digestion route.