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Lithium Universe (ASX:LU7) has closed off the March quarter with a new Chief Financial Officer pulling the purse strings and strategically located land secured for its planned lithium refinery in Quebec, Canada.

In its March Quarterly report, the company said the recent appointment of John Slabowlewski had added a string to its bow, bringing vast lithium experience to the LU7 “Dream Team” with Mr Slabowlewski having previously played a pivotal role in the feasibility, funding, construction and operation phases that brought the Mt Caitlin Spodumene mine and Jiangsu Lithium Carbonate refinery online for Galaxy Resources.

The company said Mr Sobolweski’s experience in financial and debt modelling will be critical on Lithium Universe’s journey towards completing Definitive Feasibility Studies of the Quebec Lithium Hub Concentrator and Lithium Carbonate Refinery projects.

Lithium Universe said it had initiated metallurgical testing on various sources of spodumene in response to the lithium conversion capacity gap in the United States.

It was establishing a lithium refinery with capacity to process spodumene feedstock from anywhere in the world. Samples from Australia, Brazil, and Africa of various lithium grades were undergoing metallurgical tests at its contracted laboratory aimed at achieving a battery grade product.

Testing was progressing smoothly with no challenges identified from any of the spodumene samples, the company said.

One completed program had achieved 99.7 per cent LiCO₃, which stacked up most favourably against the international battery grade specification of 99.5%.

Global engineering company Hatch was conducting a study into LU7’s Quebec Lithium Processing Hub refinery, which will have a capacity to handle 16,000 metric tpa – assuming a spodumene feed grade of ~5.5% Li2₂O.

Spodume  samples ranging from 5.0% to 6.0% LiCO with diverse 2 particle sizes are being subjected to comprehensive testing with the objective of ensuring the efficacy of the lithium carbonate production process within specified parameters of the emerging Quebec refinery.

A highlight of Lithium Universe’s quarter was an option to acquire the site situated in Becancour between Montreal and Quebec. The site connects to an extensive North American highway network and has close access to the Canadian National Railway, facilitating cross continental transportation as well as vessels on the St Lawrence River.

A lithium carbonate refinery, rather than a lithium hydroxide refinery, has been selected due to the widespread use of concentrate Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are increasingly used in EV applications due to their lower costs, longer shelf life and superior stability.

The site is large enough to cater for future expansion with capacity to add a further two trains of 16,000tpa.

The expected purchase price is $AU14 million. Lithium Universe has secured an agreement with Societe du Parc Industriel et Portuaire de Becancour for an option term of 36 months to expedite developments with the first option fee of $AU70,616 per month available from July this year.

In March the company announced a capital raise for extended operations and to reward Mogul Games Group and IPO shareholders. The share purchase plan was issued at $0.02 per share, representing a 9% discount to the closing price on March 12.

The company ended the quarter with AU$1,3 million in cash.

LU7 by the numbers
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