Tag Archives: Cornish Lithium

Grinding Solutions leveraging Watson-Marlow pumps for Cornish Lithium testing

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) says Grinding Solutions, a metallurgical laboratory and consultancy service, is using a 500 series peristaltic pump from WMFTG as part of a new pilot plant for Cornish Lithium’s project in the southwest of England.

The pump features six pump heads to dose reagents into all six streams of the flotation process simultaneously.

As part of the same pilot plant, the company is also using a Qdos metering pump from WMFTG to dose flocculant into settling tanks.

Grinding Solutions has taken advantage of pumps from WMFTG for many years as part of bench testing operations, but the move to pilot scale operations is a first-time venture for this progressive company, WMFTG said.

After successful bench testing, Grinding Solutions is now undertaking pilot plant testing for Cornish Lithium, helping the company to develop a process to extract lithium from micas.

Pilot-scale operations enable Grinding Solution to confirm bench test results, build confidence and generate concentrate which Cornish Lithium can use for further testing, according to the pump maker. The pilot plant will also help its client to verify processes, understand costs and minimise risks.

“We’ve been working with Cornish Lithium for a couple of years now,” Jon Rumbles, Project Metallurgist at Grinding Solutions, said. “Steadily, we’ve progressed from bench-based mineral processing and testing, to a pilot plant. Rather than processing tens of kilograms, we’re now processing hundreds of kilograms.”

Grinding Solutions crushes, mills and separates the mineral into different size fractions, processing it to generate a lithium concentrate. Vital to the success of the pilot plant is the accurate dosing/pumping of materials.

Through the pilot plant’s flotation stage, there is a need to dose reagent (collector and thickener) at a constant addition rate. Here, the company takes advantage of a Watson-Marlow 530SN peristaltic pump with six 313 pump heads.

“The use of six pump heads means we can use a single pump to dose all six streams through the rougher and scavenger as part of the flotation process, which is very efficient,” Rumbles said.

In addition, the company is leveraging the benefits of a Qdos 30 metering pump from WMFTG for dosing flocculant into settling tanks at a rate of 10-15 ml/min. The flocculant allows for better settling, permitting quicker extraction of the water ready for recirculation back through the system, according to WMFTG.

“We’ve been using Watson-Marlow pumps for years, for both dosing and slurry transfer,” Rumbles said. “They are really easy to calibrate, while their wide ranging flow rate capabilities are invaluable. We have a number of 500 series pumps on site for reagent dosing, plus the Qdos 30. A couple of the 500 series pumps are fitted with larger pump heads for slurry transfer, while some of our 600 pump series models are linked to density meters. In fact, to facilitate automatic adjustment, we’re now looking at using the 4-20 mA input for even more control from live meters.”

As well as dosing viscous reagents, Grinding Solutions uses its Watson-Marlow pumps to dose sulphuric acid, which helps the system maintain a pH of 2-3.

“By using peristaltic pumps from Watson-Marlow, we’ve not had to think about issues like strong acidity and high viscosity,” Rumbles said. “As the pump heads are self-contained, we can change a reagent – and a pump head – without having to worry about damage to pump parts or cross contamination. In addition, we get accurate dosing and continuous flow from Watson-Marlow pumps, with no reliability issues whatsoever.”

GeoLith’s LiCapt Direct Lithium Extraction tech to be tested at GeoCubed’s United Downs project

GeoCubed, the joint venture between Cornish Lithium Ltd and Geothermal Engineering Ltd (GEL), has announced that GeoLith SAS has been selected to provide its Li-Capt® Direct Lithium Extraction (DLE) technology for GeoCubed’s pilot plant at the United Downs project in Cornwall, England.

GeoLith’s DLE technology was selected for use in the pilot plant following a comprehensive tender process. The £4 million ($5.5 million) plant, being supported by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership with £2.9 million from the UK Government’s Getting Building Fund, is due to be commissioned at United Downs by the end of March 2022.

GeoLith says its Li-Capt DLE technology is compatible with groundwater temperatures of up to 70°C and is able to treat low concentration brines.

During the selection process, GeoCubed and Cornish Lithium engaged with over 10 providers of DLE technologies to evaluate their effectiveness on Cornish geothermal waters. Following the completion of these evaluations, five providers formally tendered their DLE technology for use in the plant. GeoLith’s technology was selected due to the quality of its tender, the effectiveness of its technology, and the company’s ability to design and deliver a pilot plant, Cornish Lithium said.

The pilot plant will be used to process the 140 cu.m of deep geothermal water successfully obtained during GEL’s recent testing at its United Downs site, which will confirm that lithium can be produced in Cornwall from geothermal brine, Cornish Lithium said. The plant is planned to have a nominal capacity of 10 t/y of lithium carbonate equivalent and the results of the pilot are expected to provide sufficient information to enable the design of a commercial lithium plant in Cornwall.

Jeremy Wrathall, CEO and Founder of Cornish Lithium and a Director of GeoCubed, said: “We are delighted to announce that GeoCubed has selected GeoLith’s Li-Capt technology for use in this pilot plant. We have established a good working relationship with the team at GeoLith, who provided a demonstration plant, along with their operations team, to enable us to test their DLE technology on our shallow geothermal water samples in June. This test work provided excellent results and we look forward to working with them.

“The pilot plant being constructed at Cornish Lithium’s test site at United Downs will enable us to demonstrate what modern, low-carbon mineral extraction looks like as well as demonstrating the viability of DLE technology on Cornish geothermal waters. By processing the 140 cu.m of geothermal waters collected from the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power Project, the pilot plant will provide important data to enable the design and construction of a commercial-scale plant as we work to establish this innovative minerals extraction industry for the benefit of Cornwall and the UK.”

Jean-Philippe Gibaud, CEO and Founder of GeoLith, said: “We are honoured to have been selected to provide our lithium filter technology as the ‘technological enabler’ of this clean lithium mining project, demonstrating the feasibility of sustainable mining for the future. We would like to congratulate GeoCubed on this first semi-industrial lithium brine production facility in Europe.”