American Lithium validates sulphate of potash as a strategic by-product of future lithium production at Falchani

Source: press release, 27 June 2022

American Lithium’s advanced-stage Falchani project is the sixth largest hard-rock lithium deposit in the world
American Lithium’s advanced-stage Falchani project is the sixth largest hard-rock lithium deposit in the world (illustration: American Lithium Corp.)

American Lithium Corp. has announced the successful precipitation of high purity, fertiliser-quality potassium sulphate (SOP – sulphate of potash) by-product from the company’s Falchani Project.

Testing confirms that in addition to producing high quality lithium compounds, SOP can be produced to potentially supply Peru with its domestic needs. Testing was completed at Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) Minerals Business Unit laboratories in Sydney, Australia. The SOP produced by ANSTO from Falchani mineralisation is 45% potassium (K) and 20% sulphur (S) and falls within the specification parameters of SOP marketed by various producers and traders of K-based fertilisers.

Testing highlights:

  • ANSTO’s work to date validates the ability to produce high quality SOP at Falchani, while continuing to refine flowsheet options and realising the lithium and by-product value contained within the deposit.
  • As part of the SOP production validation test work, the caesium and rubidium extracted in the upfront acid leach have been separated from lithium and work is on-going to realise the significance of these two critical elements.
  • Once all by-products are validated, ANSTO will optimise the Falchani flow sheet to maximise the precipitation of lithium carbonate while enabling significant by-product production.
  • The existing Falchani PEA will be updated for these by-products and associated revenue implications.
  • Recent shortages of fertilisers in Peru, with imports of SOP rising to over 60,000 tonnes per year, highlight the strategic importance of developing significant domestic sources of supply.

Dr Laurence Stefan, COO of American Lithium, states, “The strategic importance of the ability to produce significant amounts of SOP from Falchani cannot be overstated. This by-product will not only provide an additional potential revenue stream at Falchani, but more importantly will also provide a major source of domestic SOP for Peru with the potential to largely reduce the country’s dependence on imported overseas fertilisers. Falchani has the potential to ultimately make Peru self-sufficient for the SOP fertilisers required to produce the high-value crops, fruit and vegetables that are major exports for Peru. At the same time, the Company continues to refine its flowsheet to maximise its ability to extract Cesium and Rubidium, also critical minerals and potential by-products to further enhance the Falchani project.”

The current test work program at ANSTO builds on previous programs which have demonstrated the ability to produce battery grade lithium carbonate from the Falchani mineralisation. This latest program has pursued to modify the baseline flowsheet to allow the recovery of SOP, and caesium and rubidium by-products.