Lithium Feldspar is the name coined by Avalon Rare Metals Inc. for its unique new glass/ceramic raw material to be produced from the "Big Whopper" pegmatite on the Company´s Separation Rapids property, Kenora, Ontario. Lithium feldspar is actually a natural blend of the main mineral constituents of the pegmatite which include the lithium mineral petalite, sodium feldspar, potassium feldspar, mica and quartz. The material is easily produced due to the natural blending process and homogenization which occurred during the structural deformation endured by the pegmatite following its initial crystallization.
Lithium is a very powerful flux which results in accelerated melting performance and reduced energy costs amongst other benefits for the glass manufacturer. Normally, lithium is used as a high priced additive to the glass batch but this product offers the lithium pre-mixed into a quartz-feldspar glass sand at minimal additional cost. This property has a similar effect on ceramic fusion temperatures. In addition, the lithium substantially enhances the durability of the glass or ceramic product.
Potential applications include container glass, fibre glass, flat glass, ceramic tiles sanitaryware, dinnerware, frits and glazes.
The ore simply requires crushing, grinding and magnetic separation of metallic mineral impurities to produce the lithium feldspar product. The material is screened to produce a coarse grained (-40+200mesh) glass grade product and a fine grained (-200mesh) ceramic grade product. Its preliminary chemical and mineralogical specifications are as follows:
SiO2 = 77.7%
Al2O3 = 14.6%
Na2O = 4.08%
K2O = 1.59%
Li2O = 1.57%
CaO = 0.16%
Rb2O = 0.18%
Fe2O3 = 0.04%
P2O5 = 0.03%
TiO2 = 0.02%
LOI = 0.40%
Ta2O5 = 28ppm
Nb2O5 = 51ppm
SnO2 = 950ppm
Analytical work done by SGS Minerals Services, Don Mills, Ontario. All elements determined by XRF except Li2O and SnO2 which were determined by ICPMS and Fe2O3 and SiO2 determined by AA using an acid digestion.
|Petalite (plus spodumene-quartz intergrowth)
|Lithian muscovite (including some lepidolite)