Avalon Rare Metals has initiated a $750,000 pilot plant program for its Separation Rapids lithium project near Kenora, Ontario. The program will test a new flowsheet developed by Avalon at the bench scale over the past year. A total of 30 mt of crushed ore will be shipped to a laboratory in Germany for processing to produce a minimum of 1 mt of pure lithium mineral (petalite) concentrate.

The concentrate will be used to provide product samples to potential customers in the glass-ceramics industry and concentrate for additional process development toward producing a high-purity lithium chemical product for use in the lithium ion rechargeable battery manufacturing business. The lithium chemicals work will be done at the laboratories of the Saskatchewan Research Council in Saskatoon. The entire program is expected to be completed over the next six to eight months.

Avalon is seeking to position itself as a long-term supplier both of high-purity lithium minerals to the glass-ceramics market and lithium chemicals to the rapidly growing lithium ion rechargeable battery market.

Avalon is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The Separation Rapids project is located approximately 70 km north of the small city of Kenora in the traditional territory of the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in northwest Ontario. The project is 100% owned by the company, with the deposit held under a 21-year mining lease.

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