LONDON (Alliance News) – Alexander Mining PLC on Wednesday said it has agreed an extension and expansion of its lithium ore processing joint venture with an inventor of its two main technologies.
The deal has been signed with Nicholas Welham, who has been the firm’s technological consultant for around a decade and is a “principal” inventor of its proprietary AmmLeach and HyperLeach technologies.
Welham, Alexander Mining said, has recently identified opportunities not previously covered by the joint venture which is currently concerned with the testing and development of a possible heap leaching process for hard rock lithium ores.
The partnership will now look at reducing the complexity and cost of the conversion process from mineral to battery grade lithium carbonate and/or hydroxide, Alexander Mining said.
The company added it is in “preliminary” talks with possible partners in the UK, Europe, and Australia to increase the funding available for the development stages of the joint venture to the proof of concept stage. Discussions are being held with both private and governmental sources.
Alexander Mining also said Wednesday work on HyperLeach trials of a nickel-cobalt flotation tailings sample will start in the next few weeks. The completion of this would allow Alexander, it said, to seek “significant” funding to start “rapidly” a small-scale, low-cost operation to produce battery grade nickel sulphate and cobalt sulphate.
A second trial is planned in the next few months to test heap leaching of low grade copper sulphide ore. Alexander said chalcopyrite bearing copper ores are “notoriously” slow to leach under atmospheric conditions, something HyperLeach will try to remedy.
Shares were down 2.5% on Wednesday at 0.11 pence each.
By George Collard; [email protected]