Galaxy Resources has shipped its first container of mica to an international industrial minerals group under a trial purchase agreement. The 10-tonne shipment was exported from Western Australia’s Fremantle Port and delivered to the international customer’s plant for use in mica-based products, including ceramic tile coatings, cosmetics, adhesives and plastics.

Galaxy says the customer will test the raw mica which could lead to a long term sales agreement. Currently, the purchaser sources mica feedstock from a variety of suppliers.

Galaxy Resources’ managing director Iggy Tan says, “Following the receipt of initial mica samples and assays, the purchaser confirmed its interest in the quality of the Mt Cattlin product and agreed to purchase a 10 tonne trial parcel for further test work at its overseas plant.

“If further testing proves successful, sales of mica could be a valuable revenue stream for the company and become a significant supplier in the Asia Pacific region. We were always hopeful of developing this market, however to be conservative, we did not factor this potential opportunity into the original feasibility study for Mt Cattlin,” he said.

Mica is a non-toxic co-product of spodumene production and occurs naturally in spodumene in the form of muscovite. At its Mt Cattlin site, Galaxy separates the mica from spodumene and is developing the technology to further process it to create another potentially high-value marketable product.

Galaxy wholly owns the Mt Cattlin project near Ravensthorpe in Western Australia where it mines lithium pegmatite ore and processes it on site to produce a spodumene concentrate and tantalum by-product. At full capacity, Galaxy will annually produce 137,000 tonnes of spodumene concentrate and 56,000 pounds of contained tantalum.

The concentrated spodumene is shipped to the company’s newly-commissioned lithium carbonate plant in China’s Jiangsu province.