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Battery developer Lithium Australia has drawn about $800,000 from the $4.5 million convertible note issued by Mineral Resources (MinRes) as part of their joint development agreement.

Lithium Australia signed a deal with MinRes in August 2023 for the development and operation of a pilot plant and the delivery of an engineering study for a demonstration plant. The basis of Lithium Australia’s deal with MinRes was its novel lithium extraction process: LieNA.

This second drawdown will fund operations relating to the joint development agreement over the third quarter of the 2023–24 financial year (Q3 FY24) period.

These planned activities build upon progress made during Q2 FY24, including the assessment of spodumene samples provided by MinRes, preparation of piloting plant equipment and progressing a formal tendering process for the engineering study.

“We are excited by the progress we have made so far with our partner MinRes,” Lithium Australia managing director and chief executive officer Simon Linge said.

“The second drawdown from the convertible note follows from a successful Q2 FY24 and highlights our aligned ambition to continue developing the LieNA technology.”

Once the pilot plant operations and engineering study is completed, MinRes’ convertible note will convert into a new 50/50 joint venture (JV) between Lithium Australia and MinRes.

The JV will aim to wholly own and licence the LieNA technology to third parties at a royalty rate of eight per cent.

Lithium Australia has also appointed multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy firm Carnac as the lead engineer for the demonstration plant engineering study. Carnac has expertise in sustainable mining, minerals, and chemical processing.

“The appointment of Carnac and delivery of the engineering study will facilitate the development of the demonstration plant following the formation of a joint venture. We look forward to continuing our partnership and are on track to deliver positive results from the pilot plant during 2024,” Linge said.