Lithium and Battery Metals Digital Conference

22nd September 2020

Craig Heidrich, CEO of the Australasian Pozzolan Association recently presented at the Lithium and Battery Metals Digital Conference 2020 as a keynote speaker.

His presentation discussed the journey towards the creation of the Australasian Pozzolan Association, in particular key projects defining material(s) and characteristic(s) for use as mineral binders such as; cement, lime, amorphous silica, slag or coal ash.  The Association has committed to developing a new Standard to facilitate resource beneficial use through well-defined standards ensuring these resources can be incorporated into value added applications.

Pozzolans include a broad category of materials, both naturally occurring, processed materials, and by-products of various manufacturing processes but can be generally defined as being mainly siliceous or silico-aluminous or dicalcium silicates material that will, in finely divided form and in the presence of moisture, chemically react with calcium hydroxide at ordinary temperatures to form compounds having cementitious properties.

Whilst natural pozzolans sources are well understood, there is an emerging class of manufactured pozzolans arising from various non-metallurgical and mineral processing industries which warrants greater focus given ‘Circular Economy’ drivers to minimise wastes generated. One example is lithium aluminosilicate by-products. To put in context, Australia is fast becoming a major stakeholder in the global supply of lithium products given its large resources of spodumene. This lithium bearing mineral occurs in hard rock pegmatites and can be processed to extract lithium compounds used to make valuable products such as lithium ion batteries, ceramics and lubricants, creating a lithium aluminosilicate by-product.

Whilst by-product volumes are difficult to estimate, industry predictions based on forecast demand for lithium for use in lithium ion batteries, ceramics, lubricants will result in significant quantities of lithium aluminosilicate by-product being generated over the next 5 years.  Other non-metallurgical pozzolans can include by-products such as; ferronickel slags, nickel slags, copper slags, beneficiated coal combustion products, incinerator ashes (WtE) and natural sources which can be beneficially used. 

View the presentation