Tag Archives: Avalon Advanced Materials

Avalon Advanced Materials and Metso sign MoU on lithium hydroxide production plan

Avalon Advanced Materials Inc has signed a memorandum of understanding to create a strategic partnership with Metso aimed at establishing terms to develop a lithium hydroxide production facility to process lithium mineral concentrates that are essential for the North American electric vehicle (EV) battery value chain.

Avalon intends to deploy Metso’s technology to construct and operationalise a full-service lithium processing facility at the company’s recently acquired Thunder Bay, Ontario industrial site.

Upon completion of the project, Avalon says it will be the first vertically integrated lithium producer in Ontario, while ensuring Canada’s EV battery manufacturing base has a stable, proximate and long-term supply of this resource.

“Metso’s platform and technological solutions perfectly complement Avalon’s vision to complete an integrated lithium value chain in Ontario, predicated on innovative process solutions,” Zeeshan Syed, President of Avalon, said. “We view Metso as an integral part of this rapidly growing sector, and a foundational partner in developing internationally best-in-class processing capabilities that are environmentally sustainable, allowing Avalon to meet the soaring demand for battery-grade lithium.”

The non-binding MoU stipulates:
• The pursuit of a definitive agreement to establish a lithium hydroxide processing facility in Thunder Bay;
• Avalon to license Metso technology and solutions to produce lithium hydroxide cathode materials to serve the EV market;
• Allow Metso to conduct testing and engineering work across Avalon’s portfolio of critical-mineral projects, including the company’s flagship deposit at Separation Rapids near Kenora, Ontario; and
• The parties anticipate reaching a definitive agreement on or before September 1, 2023.

Metso’s sustainable next-generation production and processing technologies are being deployed internationally by governments and clean-energy producers in order to address and deliver the necessary supply required by the emerging EV battery industry, Avalon says.

Avalon’s strategic partnership with Metso is a first in Canada, and is a significant step towards helping the company execute on its vertically-integrated business strategy – and, in turn, entrench Ontario’s position as an advanced manufacturing hub serving not only North America, but the world.

Mikko Rantaharju, Head of Hydrometallurgy at Metso, said: “Metso is looking forward to partnering with Avalon and be part of its long-term vision to be a mid-stream supplier in the lithium hydroxide space. We are aligned with Avalon’s vision of the future and proud to play a key role in technology supply and advancement into clean energy solutions.

”We are also extremely excited to be partnering with the first Ontario conversion facility with Metso’s technology. The innovation advantages of the alkaline process allow for elimination of the use of potentially harmful chemicals such as sulfuric acid and comparatively reduces overall solid waste and emissions, making it environmentally friendlier and overall, safer for workers and local surrounding communities.”

Avalon is a Canadian mineral development company focused on vertically integrating the Ontario lithium value chain. The company is currently developing its Separation Rapids lithium deposit near Kenora, while continuing to advance other projects in its portfolio, including its 100%-owned Lilypad spodumene-cesium-tantalum project near Fort Hope, Ontario.

In additional to extraction activities, Avalon is executing on its key strategic objective of developing Ontario’s first midstream lithium hydroxide processing facility, a vital link bridging the gap between upstream lithium production and downstream EV battery manufacturing.

For battery minerals, Metso provides sustainable technology and equipment for the entire production chain, from the mine to battery materials and black mass recycling with project scopes ranging from equipment packages to plant deliveries.

Avalon, Cronimet proving sensor-based ore sorting thesis for East Kemptville tin project

Avalon Advanced Materials has moved a step closer to incorporating sensor-based ore sorting into its plans at the East Kemptville tin project in Nova Scotia, Canada, after the latest testwork came back with positive results.

As recently as July, the company said ore-sorting technology had the potential to upgrade the feed material to the processing plant, thereby reducing both capital and operating costs and the volume of tailings generated, and it has stuck by that assessment after the latest batch of work.

Sensor-based ore-sorting (an example from Outotec shown above) is an emerging technology seeing increasing application in the mining industry. It involves the scanning of individual rock particles on a conveyor using various types of available sensor technologies.

Depending on the chemical, mineralogical or physical characteristics, the particles of value are individually identified and separated from the ‘rejects’ by applying either a mechanical, hydraulic or, in the case of East Kemptville, pneumatic process.

The most recent work, which comes on the back of similar preliminary work in 2017, was conducted by Cronimet Mining Processing, which is providing technical and metallurgical services to Avalon.

Drill core samples from the in-ground resources at East Kemptville were delivered in July to a test facility in Kentucky, US, in order to determine the amenability of East Kemptville tin mineralisation for beneficiation using sorting technology.

Samples varying from relatively high-grade to low-grade tin concentrations were scanned using a multisensory sorter platform. Based on these scans, an algorithm was developed to allow for the separation of the material during tests.

The feedstock used during the test campaign contained 0.11% Sn, 0.06% Cu and 0.11% Zn. The first step of the testwork produced an upgraded product containing 0.47% Sn and a product mass yield of 12%.

Recovery versus grade data also showed ore sorting can be used to recover the zinc ore mineral sphalerite (which also contains indium) from this resource. The zinc-indium feed was successfully upgraded to 0.23% Zn in the first step, while copper content remained low.

Similar positive results were achieved in a preliminary ore sorting test programme conducted in 2017 using material from the low-grade stockpile, Avalon said. This confirms the technology can be successfully employed to upgrade both the in-ground tin resource as well as the stockpiled material.

Based on these results, Cronimet has recommend a detailed sampling campaign be conducted on the low-grade stockpile, followed by an extensive bulk testwork programme using a pilot-scale ore sorting plant to test the recovery of valuable minerals on a pilot scale.

Cronimet will be visiting the East Kemptville site in September to meet with Avalon and site representatives in order to design and schedule the sampling programme likely to involve the extraction of a bulk (circa-10 t) composite sample sometime in October.

The test programme, including writing of the technical report, is expected to take five to six months to complete. This will be combined with a confirmation drilling programme on the stockpile, which will be used to finalise the small-scale site re-development model to the feasibility level of confidence, following which it is contemplated Avalon and Cronimet would enter into a partnership for the joint development of the project.

In July, Cronimet started carrying out the installation of ore sorting equipment at Almonty Industries’ Panasqueira mine in Portugal. This particular installation was aimed at reclaiming coarse fraction tailings and would result in a production increase of about 10%, according to Almomty.