Galaxy Resources will invest $2.9 million and take a 12 per cent stake in a company developing technology that can extract lithium from low-grade waste ore.

The lithium miner will use its financial muscle, technical capabilities, industry contacts and market expertise to help junior Lepidico commercialise its L-Max technology.

Lithium is usually mined from hard rock (spodumene) and brine sources, but it also exists in micas, such as lepidolite and zinnwaldite, but no process exists to commercially extract it.

L-Max aims to change that.

Galaxy hopes the L-Max technology can help it extract lithium from ore considered waste at its Mt Cattlin project near Ravensthorpe, and its proposed James Bay project in Canada.

Galaxy’s managing director Anthony Tse described L-Max as an exciting technology.

He said the alliance with Lepidico would allow the company to evaluate processing its significant mica feedstocks.

Lepidico’s managing director Joe Walsh said the investment by Galaxy was a great endorsement of the company’s strategy and its L-Max technology.

The company also plans to raise $4 million in a one-for-six rights issue priced at 1¢ per share to fund a feasibility study to explore a processing plant that uses the technology.

Lepidico also has interests in conventional lithium projects in WA, NSW, Canada, Portugal and Brazil.

Shares in the company closed up 0.3¢, or 25 per cent, at 1.5¢ yesterday after hitting 2¢ in earlier trade, while Galaxy shares ended flat at $3.14.

In other lithium news, Argentinian-focused brine producer Argosy Minerals entered a trading halt after flagging a potential dispute with its Chinese offtake partner, and shares in Venus Metals Corporation jumped 36 per cent after it identified a “giant pegmatite” at its Poona East project in the Murchison.

Macquarie lifted its 2018 lithium carbonate price forecast by 20 per cent to an average $9000/t.

However, the bank warned that a looming “avalanche of supply” from emerging producers had prompted forecast prices of $7500-$8500/t in 2019-2020.

Image: File picture of lithium (spodumene crystals).