Frontier Lithium's goal is to become a fully integrated lithium producer by targeting the increased demand of lithium as a result of its being the preferred element to produce compounds required for advanced energy storage.
Lithium Is Our Asset
The deposit is outcropped at the earth's surface and is amenable to low-cost open pit mining. It is an LCT (lithium- cesium- tantalum) type pegmatite (coarsely crystalline granite or other igneous rock with crystals several centimeters to several meters in length). The deposit is a large intrusion, with internal zonation (defined mineralogical assemblages) and high concentration (PAK maintains the highest known grades in North America). These types of pegmatites have been the principal source of hard rock lithium, tantalum, rubidium and cesium ores mined in the world but there are few commercially-viable deposits.
Adequate size and grades at surface amenable to open pit mining to base feasibility work on to potentially construct a mine and milling operation at site.
Ability to produce high quality, low iron technical grade lithium concentrates, tantalum concentrate with possible future byproducts of rubidium and cesium.
The large deposit is still open in all directions providing a long term prospect with the ability to further grow and scale the operation in the future with the additional potential to diversify in to producing lithium compounds required for lithium battery technology.
Our Planned Path of Operations
Frontier Lithium's PAK deposit allows for a unique and most favourable development path. Our planned path into the global lithium market realizes the best return on investment and involves scaleable operations.
Lithium (chemical symbol: Li) is the lightest of all metals. It does not occur as a pure element in nature but can occur in economic concentrations in salts from surface and subsurface brines (most of the world's supply), and in granitic pegmatites in the lithium minerals (from most relevent to least) spodumene, petalite, lepidolite, and amblygonite. Spodumene is the most widely used lithium mineral because of its high lithium content and occurrence.
Lithium and its chemical compounds exhibit a broad range of beneficial properties including:
An extremely high coefficient of thermal expansion
Fluxing and catalytic characteristics
Acting as a viscosity modifier in glass melts
The highest electrochemical potential of all metals
As a result, lithium is used in numerous applications that can be defined in to two categories: technical applications and chemical applications.
Lithium products (Technical-Grade Concentrates) are used directly in technical applications, particularly where lithium products with low iron concentration are necessary to meet the highly specialized requirements of end users. Frontier Lithium's deposit will enable the production of low iron lithium products suitable for technical applications. Currently, the second largest global market for lithium is for use in glass and ceramics.
Glass and Ceramics
Glass: including container glass, flat glass, pharmaceutical glass, specialty glass and fiberglass. These glass products may be designed for durability or corrosion resistance or for use at high temperatures where thermal shock resistance is important. The addition of lithium increases the glass melt rate, lowers the viscosity and the melt temperature providing higher output, energy savings and moulding benefits.
Ceramics: including ceramic bodies, frits, glazes and heatproof ceramic cookware. Lithium lowers firing temperatures and thermal expansion and increases the strength of ceramic bodies. The addition of lithium to glazes improves viscosity for coating, as well as improving the glaze’s colour, strength and lustre.
Specialty Applications: including induction cook tops and cookware. Lithium’s extremely high co-efficient of thermal expansion makes these products resistant to thermal shock and imparts mechanical strength. Other Technical Applications.
Lithium is also used in a variety of metallurgical applications including:
Steel Castings: the addition of lithium to continuous casting mould fluxes assists in providing thermal insulation and lubricates the surface of the steel in the continuous casting process.
Iron Castings: in the production of iron castings, such as engine blocks, lithium reduces the effect of veining, thereby reducing the number of defective casts.
Lithium can be processed to form a variety of chemicals, including lithium carbonate, lithium hydroxide, bromide, lithium chloride and butyl lithium. The fastest growing and now largest market for lithium globally is for use in batteries.
Batteries Lithium is an important element in energy storage. Iron-rich chemical-grade lithium concentrates must undergo further downstream hydro-metallurgical processing (leaching and precipitation via chemical plant) to produce lithium compounds which are ultimately used in lithium batteries. Energy storage technologies fall under the category of non-stationary, as in the case of Li-ion batteries used in electronic devices such as iPAds or electric behicles, or stationary, like those used in electric grid applications.
Primary (non-rechargeable): Primary batteries include the round alkaline cells used in watches and calculators and non-rechargeable AAA and AA batteries, which are used in TV remote controls, flashlights, etc. Lithium batteries have a higher energy density compared to alkaline batteries, as well as low weight and a long shelf and operating life.
Secondary (rechargeable): key current applications for lithium batteries are in powering cell phones, laptops, other hand held electronic devices, power tools and large format batteries for electricity grid stabilization. The advantages of the lithium secondary battery are its higher energy density and lighter weight compared to nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries.
A growing application for lithium batteries is as the power source for a wide range of electric vehicles including electric cars, bikes / scooters, buses, taxis, and trucks. There are three main categories of electric passenger vehicles: Hybrid Electric Vehicles, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicles.
The current issues surrounding global warming, peak oil prices and petro-dictatorship have driven policies in many industrialized nations that support the development of low carbon and renewable energy technologies. At the centre of the discussion is the role of the automotive industry and its impact on the environment and resource preservation. Electrification of transportation is strongly supported by governments around the world. The introduction of mass produced passenger electric vehicles has the potential to significantly increase the future consumption of lithium.
Other Chemical Applications Lithium compounds/chemicals are also used in a variety of other applications including:
Lubricants: lithium greases make excellent lubricants as they adhere particularly well to metal, are highly water soluble and offer consistent properties over a range of temperatures.
Metallurgy: Lithium compounds are used as brazing and welding fluxes and as welding rod coatings, as they reduce the flux melting temperature and surface tension of steel alloys. Lithium compounds are used to degasify and clean a number of metals, including aluminum, copper and bronze (improving their electrical conductivity). Lithium carbonate is used in the aluminum industry, 1.5-4% kilograms of lithium carbonate per tonne of aluminum produced, during metal processing. The lithium lowers the melting temperature of the molten electrolyte and increases the cell's electrical conductivity, which in turn decreases processing costs, particularly energy costs.
Air Treatment: Lithium bromide and chloride are used in air conditioners. Both compounds have high hygroscopic capacity (i.e., high water absoring ability), and thus can reduce the moisture of the air and other gases to very low levels. As water is removed from the air, it cools, offering a refrigeration effect. Lithium-based solutions used in air conditioning applications exhibit low vapor pressure, low viscosity, high stability and non-toxic properties. Lithium bromid and lithium chloride can also be used as desiccants (humidty absorbing material) in dehumidification applications.
Pharmaceuticals: lithium is used in the treatment for bi-polar disorder as well as in other pharmaceutical products.
Tantalum ores are found primarily in Australia, Canada, Brazil, and central Africa, with some additional quantities originating in southeast Asia. The average yearly growth rate of about 8% to 12% in tantalum demand since about 1995 has caused a significant increase in exploration for this element. Tantalum minerals of the greatest economic importance are tantalite, microlite, and wodginite; however, it is common practice to name any tantalum-containing mineral concentrate as 'tantalite' primarily because it will be processed for the tantalum values and is sold on that basis. Tantalum mineral concentrates may contain from two to more than five different tantalum bearing minerals from the same mining area. The sale of tantalum mineral concentrates is based on a certified analysis for the tantalum oxide they contain, with a range from 10% or 15% to over 60% depending on the mine source. Therefore, if a concentrate contains 30% intalite that means 30% contained tantalum oxide (Ta2O5). About half of the tantalum consumed each year is used in the electronics industry, mainly as powder and wire for capacitors, owing to tantalum's particular ability to store and release electrical energy. This allows components to be exceptionally small and are therefore favoured in space-sensitive high-end applications in telecommunications, data storage and implantable medical devices. Tantalum is also used for electronic sound filters and as a barrier against copper diffusion in semi-conductors. Tantalum carbide's hardness makes it ideal for cutting tools.
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