Supply and characterisation of materials

The main objective of the LiCORNE project is to increase the European Lithium (Li) processing and refining capacity to produce battery-grade chemicals from ores, brines and off-specification battery cathode materials. For 48 months (from the 1st of October 2022 to the 30th of September 2026), 14 new technologies to extract, recover and refine Li will be investigated by eight R&D centers in Europe. 

Work Package 2 (WP2) is dedicated to the characterisation and supply of materials to the R&D activity. Following the first half-year of the project, a variety of materials were sent to lab partners for technology investigation. These materials can be sorted into three distinct groups:  

  • Material from ore, concentrate and tailing, to feed experiments of WP3 “Beneficiation of ore and physico-chemical transformation of concentrates” and WP4 “Extraction from concentrates, waste cathode material, ore and tailings” 
  • Material from brines: synthetic, continental, and geothermal, to feed experiments of WP5 “Separation and purification of Li from solutions” 
  • Material from off-specification cathodes to feed experiments of WP4 “Extraction from concentrates, waste cathode material, ore and tailings” 

Most of the materials are from European resources, spodumene and Li-rich mica being sources from mines in France and Austria, and geothermal brine sampled from the Upper Rhine Graben (France and Germany). The synthetic brine is prepared in UK. Only continental brine and off-spec cathode material are coming from non-European countries – Chile and Korea (see featured figure).  

After 6 months of activities, all laboratories, except those conducting experiments related to the beneficiation of spodumene ore, have sufficient material to start their experiments.