Proactive Investors | By Andrew Scott.

Andrew Mackenzie, managing director of Lithium Australia NL (ASX:LIT) (OTCMKTS:LMMFF) (FRA:3MW) subsidiary Envirostream, discusses with Proactive’s Andrew Scott the national stewardship scheme for managing end of life batteries and the potential impact it will have on the business as well as results from field testing of fertiliser blends containing manganese micronutrients derived from spent alkaline batteries.

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Envirostream Australia’s micronutrient development: expanded 2021 field trials commenced

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Envirostream Australia has commenced its battery-material micronutrient field trial programme for 2021.
  • The expanded field trial programme is targeting manganese-deficient soil types.
  • Two products are being assessed, based on positive outcomes of the process development for separation of manganese from single-use alkaline batteries.
  • Seeding has been undertaken at three West Australian sites, in collaboration with Summit Fertilizers.
  • One trial site in South Australia has also been seeded.

Introduction
Following successful results from its 2020 field trials, which used recycled alkaline battery material as a fertilizer micronutrient (see ASX announcement 17 December 2020), Envirostream Australia Pty Ltd (‘Envirostream’), the recycling division of Lithium Australia NL (ASX: LIT, ‘the Company’), is please to advise that an expanded field trial programme for 2021 has commenced.

Collaboration with Summit Fertilizers
The Company is pleased to be collaborating with Summit Fertilizers (‘Summit’). A leading fertilizer supplier established in 1989, Summit has over the years introduced a number of innovations to the West Australian (‘WA’) market. With a highly experienced area manager network and dedicated field research team, Summit aims to help its customers use nutrients that achieve the best outcomes.

Summit has provided access to three of its 2021 trial sites, two with wheat and one with lupins, to assess Envirostream products.

The 2021 programme
The programme has been expanded to four sites in WA (three Summit sites and one dedicated Envirostream site) and one dedicated Envirostream site in South Australia (‘SA’), thereby permitting performance assessments of the recycled battery material across varying broadacre soil types. Envirostream’s micronutrients will again be agglomerated with mono-ammonium phosphate (‘MAP’) fertilizer.

This year, the number of treatments at the two Envirostream trial sites has been expanded from five (see ASX announcement 10 June 2020) to nine. It is hoped that there will be a manganese uptake response similar to or better than that noted in the 2020 trial (see ASX announcement 18 February 2021).

Both Envirostream trial sites will be seeded with wheat crops.

Treatments being used in the 2021 programme at the Envirostream sites include the following.

  • No fertiliser (control).
  • Summit MAP at two target phosphate addition rates.
  • Summit MAP and Mn (full compound), blended with Summit MAP, at two target phosphate addition rates.
  • Envirostream agglomerated MAP product 1, at two target phosphate addition rates.
  • Envirostream agglomerated MAP product 2, at two target phosphate addition rates.

The two Envirostream product options being used are both derived from its proprietary separation technology for single-use alkaline batteries. Any performance differences between these options will be assessed.

Blended fertilizer products are shown in the following photographs.

Seeding at the WA sites
Summit has seeded several sites, with the remaining Envirostream sites, located West of Kojonup, scheduled for seeding in early June 2021.

Seeding at the SA site
The dedicated Envirostream SA site is located between Port Wakefield and Port Broughton, towards the top of the Yorke Peninsula. Seeding there with wheat was completed on 21 May

Images of the specialised trial-seeding equipment and of trial-seeding progress at this site are shown below.

Comment from Lithium Australia managing director Adrian Griffin
“Lithium Australia and its subsidiaries are committed to providing the battery industry with sustainable outcomes. The expansion of Envirostream’s successful fertiliser micronutrient programme into 2021 demonstrates this commitment and further positions Envirostream to support implementation of the national Battery Stewardship Scheme, to ensure that as many spent batteries as possible are recycled rather than consigned to landfill.”

 

01 June 2021 Envirostream’s micronutrient 2021 field trials commence 3 pages (817KB)