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First Phosphate goes live with phosphate for batteries plant in Quebec

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First Phosphate Corp [CSE:PHOS] said yesterday it has completed the commissioning of its pilot plant to produce phosphate concentrate to be used in the formulation of battery-grade purified phosphoric acid for the manufacture of lithium iron phosphate cathode active material. This is intended primarily for the LFP battery industry in North America.

The pilot plant uses fully solventless, environmentally friendly extraction methods. It is located at the facilities of SGS Canada in Quebec City, Canada.

What makes First Phosphate special?

First Phosphate is actually a mineral development company fully dedicated to extracting and purifying phosphate for the production of cathode active material for the LFP battery industry. It has access to clean igneous anorthosite phosphate-bearing rock in Quebec, that it will be able to purify into large quantities of battery-grade purified phosphoric acid.

First Phosphate says it is committed to producing at high purity level, at full ESG standard and with low anticipated carbon footprint. The company plans to vertically integrate from mine source directly into the supply chains of major North American LFP battery producers that require battery grade LFP cathode active material emanating from a consistent and secure supply source.

Why the pilot plant is important

“The commissioning of the pilot plant is a major milestone for First Phosphate in the processing of battery-grade purified phosphoric acid that will be used in the LFP homologation process with our partners,” commented First Phosphate President, Peter Kent.

After very positive bench test results that demonstrated a recovery of 91.4% of its phosphate-bearing apatite to a concentrate containing 40.2% P2O5 (phosphate), First Phosphate decided to setup the pilot plant to process a large bulk sample. A 15-tonne bulk sample was crushed to a diameter of 20 mm and sent to SGS. Based on 15 separate crushed rock specimens, the bulk sample assayed 7.6% P2O5 (phosphate) and 6.9% TiO2 (titanium oxide).

The pilot plant optimises the company’s metallurgical process for the production of a super high grade phosphate concentrate approaching 41% P2O5. It has produced over 900 kilograms of apatite concentrate which have been sent to the facilities of Prayon SA in Belgium for the production of battery-grade purified phosphoric acid.

The battery-grade PPA produced will then be sent to corporate partners for homologation into their LFP cathode active material production processes. The pilot plant also produces valuable, marketable recoveries of ilmenite and magnetite.

First Phosphate and Belgium’s Prayon have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on several fronts including the production of battery grade PPA. Prayon is Europe’s largest producer of purified phosphoric acid.

First Phosphate has only recently listed on both the Canadian Securities Exchange and also the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It completed a non-brokered private placement financing in April to the tune of C$2m. This was oversubscribed.

Deal with the UK’s Integrals Power

In March the company announced a joint lithium iron phosphate homologation agreement and LFP production technology licensing agreement with Integrals Power of Milton Keynes, UK. The agreement could serve to anchor First Phosphate’s future LFP cathode active material production facilities and is currently of unknown potential future monetary value.

“We have visited the IPL facilities in the United Kingdom and were able to see and touch the LFP cathode active material produced by IPL,” explained First Phosphate CEO, John Passalacqua. “We have also viewed the performance logs of test battery cells created using LFP cathode active material produced by IPL. We are cautiously optimistic that IPL technology could hold the answer to improved LFP battery performance.”

There is the traditional solid-state method of making LFP cathode active material from ferro-phosphate and lithium-phosphate precursors which is currently the main production formula used in China. Then there are promising new advanced hydrothermal methods such as those being pioneered by IPL that produce higher performance LFP batteries.

“We believe it prudent for the company to have access to IPL’s advanced method of LFP cathode active material formulation,” Kent said.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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