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ANSTO works with mining companies to develop and design novel flowsheets, demonstrate and optimise processes delivering valuable insights and cost savings to our partners.

Autoclave equipment at ANSTO

Lithium Australia

LieNa® technology receives funding boost

A world-first processing technology developed in collaboration by ANSTO’s Minerals unit and Lithium Australia Limited to extract lithium from discarded mining waste, LieNa®, has reached an exciting new milestone in its progress towards commercialisation.

In a recent ASX announcement, Western Australian mining company Mineral Resources Limited will provide $4.5 million in funding to Lithium Australia for the development and operation of a pilot plant for the LieNa® technology. Upon finalisation of pilot plant operations and an engineering study, a joint venture vehicle will also be formed to own and commercialise the technology.

Since 2015, ANSTO’s Minerals unit and Lithium Australia have worked together to develop the LieNa® extraction process. This process enables the overwhelming majority – at around 95 per cent – of lithium to be extracted from the spodumene mineral concentrate. Spodumene is a ‘hard rock’ lithium-bearing mineral.

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Shallow mine image


Pilot Hydromet Plant delivers favourable results

VHM Ltd, an Australian mineral sands and rare earths company working with ANSTO’s Minerals team, has recently announced successful results for its flagship project, the Goschen Rare Earths and Minerals Sands Project.

The project, based in Victoria’s northwest region, has a rare earth deposit of over 400,000 tonnes of total rare earth oxide, and will produce critical minerals as listed on the Australian critical minerals list.

Over the last 5 years, ANSTO’s dedicated minerals team has closely worked with VHM in providing rare earth processing expertise to design and test a process for recovering rare earths. These include the critical light rare earths of Neodymium and Praseodymium, and the critical heavy rare earths of Dysprosium and Terbium.

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Lynas Rare Earths Ltd

Grant awarded under Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative

ANSTO welcomed an announcement by Lynas Rare Earths Ltd of a $20 million grant awarded under the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Initiative – Manufacturing Translation Stream. Read more about the announcement from Lynas here.

The grant awarded to Lynas supports the development of the Apatite Leach Circuit project to process apatite-rich ores at its Mt Weld ore site in Western Australia.

The process to remove apatite mineral was developed in collaboration with Lynas and ANSTO’s Minerals unit, who provided technical guidance and laboratory testing from its Lucas Heights research facility. Going forward, ANSTO will work with Lynas on the implementation of the project on a commercial scale.

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Lithium Australia

LieNA® pilot program

Construction of Lithium Australia's planned pilot plant at ANSTO has begun.

Showcasing and testing its LieNA® spodumene conversion, ANSTO will construct and operate the LieNA® pilot plant, with Murdoch University, Curtin University, and Carnac Project Delivery Services offering specialised input into the project. 

Image: Lithium Australia

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Ironridge Resources Limited

Ewoyaa Lithium scoping results

IronRidge Resources Limited (IRR), the African focussed minerals exploration company, has announced the successful completion of a scoping study on the Ewoyaa Lithium Project in Ghana, West Africa

ANSTO test-work cofnrimed production of high purity, battery grade lithium hydroxide monohydrate (LHM) from a bulk sample of the Ewoyaa spodumene mineral concentrate.

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Energy Resources Australia

Closure Ranger mine

Energy Resources Australia’s (ERA) authorisation to mine and process uranium at Ranger ended in January 2021 marking the end of 40 years operation in the Northern Territory.

ANSTO has had a long and successful association with the Ranger mine, assisting ERA across all aspects of the operation.

Image: Energy Resources of Australia

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Northern Minerals

Resource growth potential at Browns Range

The final drilling results released from Northern Minerals for it’s Browns Range project has identified new prospectivity at the Toad, Dazzler North and Ripchord prospects supporting potential for growth in resources.

ANSTO continues to support the operation of the demonstration plant at Browns Range.

Image: Northern Minerals

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Aerial shot honeymoon mine

Boss Resources Ltd.

Honeymoon project

Boss Resources Ltd. has announced improved process economics for its Honeymoon Uranium Project in South Australia.

Recent optimisation test work on the ion exchange (IX) circuit of the process has identified the ability to remove heating during elution which positively impacts the project economics.

The IX process proposed for Honeymoon also uses a patented elution process developed at ANSTO.

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Mkango Resources camp

Mkango Resources

Songwe Hill Project

In a major step forward, Definitive Feasibility Study results for the Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project in Malawi, East Africa have been released this July by Mkango Resources. ANSTO has been involved in the project for a number of years supporting the DFS through optimisation and piloting programs conducted at our Lucas Heights facility. 

The final hydrometallurgical pilot at ANSTO in late 2021 produced a mixed rare earth concentrate containing 55 wt% TREO equivalent, enriched in neodymium and praseodymium (Nd/Pr) oxides, which together made up 31% of the rare earth oxide content. The Songwe Hill deposit comprises mostly carbonaceous gangue minerals with the principal rare earth bearing mineral being synchysite (CaCO3·CeFCO3).

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Australian Vanadium

Gabinintha project

Australian Vanadium (AVL) released a pre-feasibility study (PFS) update in December 2020 for the Gabinintha project, outlining changes to site processing and improved NPV and IRR metrics.

ANSTO is a partner with AVL, AMEC Foster Wheeler, ALS, and Curtin in a CRC-P program to improve vanadium processing/production methods.

Image: Australian Vanadium

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