US-based mineral exploration company Arizona Lithium is advancing the development of the Big Sandy lithium project by starting a Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) at the project.

Last month, the company completed a Scoping Study, which identified unique opportunities at the project, leveraging new extraction technology.

The technology will be fast-tracked for development and inclusion in the DFS, said Arizona Lithium.

The company’s Lithium Research Centre in Tempe, Arizona, will be used for technology development and collaboration with process equipment and battery manufacturers.

Arizona Lithium managing director Paul Lloyd said: “We are delighted to be fast-tracking the Definitive Feasibility Study in order to accelerate the development of the Big Sandy Project.

“I am currently in the US with our US-based senior leadership team in order to finalise the signing of key contractors for the DFS and strategising as to how to best utilise the DFS in the most environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.

“I look forward to keeping shareholders up to date with new strategic partnerships, the progress of the feasibility study and delivering an exciting report before the end of 2023.”

The DFS will focus on various aspects, including the minimisation of the carbon footprint related to the transportation of raw materials and finished products at the project.

Arizona Lithium currently owns and operates a Nikola Tre BEV electric semi-truck, which will be used to generate the performance and economic data for a full-scale fleet.

The DFS will include the design and production of biolixiviants and the company has already teamed up with Cemvita to develop the commercial-scale application of biolixiviants for lithium extraction from sedimentary ore.

It will also focus on the development of a chemically stable and structurally strong leached tailing that can be used as direct backfill for mining and reclamation activities.

Furthermore, DFS will consider the reclamation of mining and tailing facilities, application of direct lithium extraction (DLE), and reduction of water consumption, among others.