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Pursuit Minerals begins lithium carbonate production in Argentina

28 March 2024 10:18
ASX: PUR

Pursuit Minerals (ASX: PUR) has begun its first phase of operations to produce lithium carbonate in Argentina, following the successful commissioning of its Lithium Carbonate Pilot Plant, which is among the five tenements of the Rio Grande Sur Project.

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Figure 1: 250tpa Lithium Carbonate Plant at Pursuit’s purpose facility in Salta, Argentina

Plant production potential

A recent dynamic simulation of the plant revealed its potential to annually produce 250 tonnes of 99.95% battery-grade lithium carbonate using a conventional evaporation process. The plant is designed for continuous operation, with 12-hour batch production cycles each day, achieving a utilisation rate of 91.5%.

Ausenco‘s engineering team, responsible for the Project, will conduct a peer review to validate the plant’s capabilities, finalise the design of evaporation ponds, and establish the block flow process.

Additionally, they are in the process of finalising environmental permit applications necessary for constructing the evaporation ponds.

Upon the commencement of operations, the engineering team will oversee the plant’s activities, ensuring efficient lithium carbonate production and making strategic adjustments as needed to meet the goal of producing battery-grade lithium carbonate.

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Figure 2: Proposed Pond Location at the Rio Grande Sur Project

Future outlook

Utilising synthetic brine, the Plant aims to produce an initial sample batch ranging from 50 to 100kg of product.

Upon achieving this milestone, Pursuit plans to leverage the evaporated brine obtained from the Stage 1 Drilling Program to scale up production, targeting 2 to 10 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate products.

Following the return of the first batch of lithium carbonate and the completion of construction on evaporation ponds, Pursuit will contemplate relocating the Plant to a site nearer to the Rio Grande Sur Project. This relocation would facilitate easier access to feedstock, enhancing operational efficiency.

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Figure 3: RGS Project location in the ‘Lithium Triangle’ Region

CEO commentary

Pursuit Minerals Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Aaron Revelle emphasised the undeniable significance of the Rio Grande Sur Lithium Project, as evidenced by the Plant’s production of lithium carbonate products.

“The Rio Grande Sur Project continues to advance toward first production at a significant pace,” he said.

“With plant operations now underway, we look forward to the production of the first Lithium Carbonate products demonstrating the enormous potential of the Rio Grande Sur Lithium Project.

“In conjunction with our Stage 1 drilling program which is currently underway and the potential upgrade to our existing JORC resource, we continue to make significant progress on multiple fronts as we move toward becoming a Lithium producer.

“To this end, we continue to progress the environmental permitting applications to commence construction of the evaporation ponds which is currently being targeted for this year.

“The entire team is very excited about the production process, and we look forward to reporting on the results over the coming months,” Revelle stated.

PUR’s Australian Security Exchange-listed share price is currently trading at $0.004 (10:15 am UTC+ 8 hours).

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