Emerging producer Sayona Mining (ASX: SYA) (OTCQB: SYAXF) has completed a trial feed of ore into the crushing plant at its flagship North American Lithium (NAL) operation in Canada.
The trial represents the latest milestone achieved in the restart of lithium production at the site.
Earlier this month, the company fed 400 tonnes of spodumene ore into the plant as part of the concentrator commissioning process, with automation, electrical and mechanical circuits checked and tested by pre‐operational verification teams.
The crushing area comprises a primary jaw crusher, secondary crusher and tertiary crusher, in addition to conveying equipment.
Joint venture project
NAL is owned by joint venture partners Sayona Mining (with 75% equity through its subsidiary Sayona Quebec) and Piedmont Lithium (ASX: PLL) (NASDAQ: PLL) (25% equity plus a 15% stake in Sayona).
Earlier this month, the joint venture announced it had made “significant progress” towards producing first spodumene before the end of the current quarter.
Initial output from NAL will be around 220,000 tonnes a year of 6% spodumene concentrate, equating to about 30,000tpa of lithium carbonate equivalent.
Sayona managing director Brett Lynch acknowledged the NAL project team on the feed trial achievement.
“This is another significant milestone as we advance this restart closer to first production,” he said.
“Our key project milestones are on track and I look forward to seeing the first saleable concentrate at the plant, as we move towards becoming North American’s leading lithium producer.”
Mr Lynch said engineering and construction for the concentrator had reached nearly 90% by the end of December, with all critical equipment received together with the environmental approvals.
Production of a North American source of lithium is expected to meet mounting domestic demand and Mr Lynch said the joint venture was positioned to play a major role as an industry leader.
“Global demand for lithium is increasing weekly and it is essential that NAL goes into production to help satisfy this demand,” he said.
Lithium is an essential mineral for the production of lithium ion batteries to power electric vehicles and renewable energies.