Tag Archives: lithium hydroxide

Piedmont Lithium enlists SGS Canada for pilot-scale spodumene work

Piedmont Lithium has agreed to partner with SGS Canada in Lakefield, Ontario, to complete a pilot-scale spodumene concentrator program at its namesake project in North Carolina, USA.

The company collected over 50 t of mineralised pegmatite from 17 locations across its core properties in February. These near-surface samples were from locations representing early, middle and late-stage planned production at the development.

Piedmont said the pilot plant design will be based on the results of prior test work programs and will be used to support both the definitive feasibility study (DFS) of the company’s planned concentrate operations, as well as detailed design engineering of full-scale operations.

The pilot program will target production of a large sample of spodumene concentrate with at least 6% Li2O and less than 1% Fe2O3 for use in future pilot-scale lithium hydroxide test work programs that Piedmont intends to complete as part of the DFS of its planned integrated lithium chemical plant. The tests will involve “dense medium and flotation” pilot work, Piedmont said.

The ASX-listed company said this test work is a “critical step in ensuring future commissioning and ramp-up success” at the project.

“Additionally, the bulk sample collected targeted a range of potential concentrator feed conditions, including low-grade zones and diluted feed,” the company said. “Testing variable conditions rather than an optimised feed will help inform engineering design and eliminate potential operational bottlenecks during the project design phase.”

Keith Phillips, President and Chief Executive Officer of Piedmont, said: “The program will enable Piedmont to complete future lithium hydroxide test work programs and also supply large sample of spodumene to our key customer, Tesla, for their own testing purposes.”

The prefeasibility study on the Piedmont lithium project, released earlier this year, envisaged two options – a “Merchant” project and an “Integrated” project. Both included an annual average lithium hydroxide production (steady-state) of 22,720 t, but only the latter included 160,000 t/y of 6% Li2O spodumene concentrate production over the 25-year mine life.

SCEE to work on Kemerton lithium hydroxide facility

Southern Cross Electrical Engineering (SCEE) says it has been awarded the electrical and instrumentation (E&I) works contract at the new Kemerton lithium hydroxide processing plant near Bunbury, Western Australia.

The Kemerton processing plant, owned 60% by Albemarle Corp through the MARBL lithium joint venture, will initially comprise of two trains, each with a production capacity of 25,000 t/y of lithium hydroxide. Production is scheduled to commence in 2021.

The award for SCEE is to deliver the full E&I scope for both the hydromet and pyromet sections of the plant with an approximate value of A$65 million ($44.8 million).

Engineering company Monadelphous Group is delivering the pyromet structural, mechanical and piping package of work, as well as associated piping fabrication for the plant.

SCEE’s work is due to commence around the end of the March quarter of 2020 and is due for completion in May 2021.

SCEE Managing Director, Graeme Dunn, said: “I am extremely pleased to announce such a major award in the resources sector’s growing lithium industry.”

SIMPEC to help with plant handover at Tianqi Lithium’s Kwinana plant

SIMPEC has added to its existing scope of works at the Tianqi Lithium-owned lithium hydroxide process plant (LHPP1) in Kwinana, Western Australia, with a new A$5 million ($3.34 million) contract to carry out structural, mechanical, piping, and electrical and instrumentation work at the operation.

This work, which comes on top of the pyromet piping installation contract the WestStar Industrial subsidiary was awarded by lead contractor MSP Engineering in 2018, will assist Tianqi with the handover of the plant to the operations team.

SIMPEC Managing Director, Mark Dimasi, said: “This award is a true reflection of our team’s performance to date on the LHPP1 project. An outstanding effort by everyone involved. I personally would like to thank all the MSP Engineering personnel for supporting our team over the past 10 months and Tianqi Lithium Kwinana for backing the incumbent SIMPEC site team.”

This new contract builds on previously announced extensions during the company’s 2020 financial year and brings contract awards received during the first half of this period to circa-A$23 million.

Pilbara Minerals and POSCO move a step closer to lithium chemical production JV

The Pilbara Minerals Board has conditionally exercised its option to enter into an incorporated joint venture with POSCO (for up to 30% participation) for the development of a downstream lithium chemical conversion facility in South Korea.

Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, Ken Brinsden, said the company’s relationship with POSCO had developed over the last year as it has continued to work through the Pilgangoora lithium project joint venture.

“It has been really pleasing to see the positive results generated by the due diligence work to date. The significant investment by POSCO into their PosLX technology has paid off and they have proven their ability to produce an industry leading, battery-ready lithium product through their innovative lithium purification process,” he said.

On October 2, 2018, Pilbara Minerals produced its first spodumene concentrate shipment from Pilgangoora. A total of 8,800 t (wet) of spodumene concentrate grading approximately 6.1% lithia and 1.2% Fe2O3 set sail from Port Hedland bound for the company’s offtake partners in north Asia.

The company’s agreement with POSCO encompasses long-term offtake, funding and the downstream conversion plant joint venture opportunity.

Brinsden said the rapid growth in lithium chemicals consumption in South Korea could see the country’s battery manufacturing sector supply around 25% of worldwide capacity by 2028, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

The downstream lithium facility, to be located in the Gwangyang Free Economic Zone in South Korea, would have up to 40,000 t/y of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) capacity and process spodumene from Pilgangoora using POSCO’s patented PosLX purification process.

Since the December quarter, Pilbara Minerals has been undertaking technical due diligence to assess the proposed chemical plant development and work to date has delivered promising results, it said.

“Due diligence has included a visit of technical staff and assessment of POSCO’s existing commercial operations plant using their PosLX technology, based on Pilbara Minerals’ spodumene delivered from the Pilgangoora project,” Pilbara Minerals said.

POSCO has developed its first commercial-scale operation (after the initial development of a pilot scale plant) that produces up to 2,500 t/y of lithium chemicals on an LCE basis, according to Pilbara Minerals. Based on spodumene chemical conversion, the plant has the capacity and flexibility to produce both high grade lithium hydroxide, or, alternately, lithium carbonate products with low impurities in the final products produced.

Pilbara Minerals said: “The battery grade lithium hydroxide produced has to date been tested by major South Korean cathode makers and has passed their qualification process.”

Once a number of conditions surrounding the deal are complete, they will be put to the Board of Pilbara Minerals for a final decision and commitment to the joint development in mid- to late-May 2019. The parties would then aim to complete construction of the chemical conversion plant in late 2020 with commencement of ramp-up and production from early 2021.

Civmec starts fabrication work for Albemarle’s WA lithium hydroxide plant

ASX-listed Civmec has announced the award of a contract from Albemarle for the delivery of a new lithium hydroxide plant to be built in Western Australia.

Albemarle’s new hydroxide production plant will be in the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, around 160 km south of Perth, near the port town of Bunbury. It will initially comprise of three production trains, each producing 20,000 t/y of hydroxide, with a potential further expansion to five trains and ultimate site production of 100,000 t/y by around 2025. Albemarle began earthworks earlier this year.

Civmec’s scope of work includes structural, mechanical and piping for the hydromet and final product, reagents and utilities for Trains 1, 2 and 3.

The company’s Henderson facility will be used to fabricate and pre-assemble selected components for the on-site plant erection, with fabrication commencing immediately. Site works, meanwhile, are expected from mid-2019 to March 2021.

At the peak of construction, there is expected to be some 300 personnel involved in the delivery of the current defined scope, providing significant opportunity for skilled people residing in the region, Civmec said.

Civmec’s CEO, Patrick Tallon, said: “We are delighted to have been selected by Albemarle as a significant construction partner for this exciting project. This two-year project is ideally suited to our operations, fabricating, modularising and site erecting steel work for this key Western Australian development.

“This project reflects the growing confidence in the Western Australia resource industry, highlighting a bright future for the coming years.”

The contract award takes the Civmec’s current order book to approximately A$758.5 million ($543 million), it said.

Outotec to help convert spodumene into lithium hydroxide in Australia

Outotec says it has been awarded a contract for the delivery of filtration technology and services for a lithium processing plant in Australia.

The order, expected to total around €12 million ($13.7 million), has been booked in Outotec’s 2019 March quarter order intake.

The mineral processing equipment company’s scope in this order includes design and delivery of proprietary Outotec© Larox pressure filters as well as installation and commissioning advisory services and spare parts, it said.

When complete, the plant will convert spodumene concentrate into lithium hydroxide.

Kimmo Kontola, Head of Outotec’s Minerals Processing Business, said: “At Outotec, we have expertise to offer sustainable solutions for extracting lithium from brines and spodumene ores up to battery-grade lithium salts. We are well positioned in this growing market for lithium processing technologies.”

Albemarle on course for 2021 commissioning at Kemerton lithium hydroxide conversion site

Albemarle has begun earthworks at the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area, in Western Australia, for the construction of the company’s Kemerton lithium hydroxide (LiOH) conversion site.

Albemarle recently received environmental approval from the federal and state government for the Kemerton plant and has followed this up with the groundbreaking.

Eric Norris, Albemarle President, Lithium, said: “The site earthworks at Kemerton today are on track with our projections. Achieving this milestone underscores our commitment and confidence in developing LiOH operations in Western Australia and in our overall strategy to drive significant shareholder value and meet our customers’ demands.”

The Kemerton plant is expected to have an initial capacity of 60,000 t/y of LiOH with an ability to expand to 100,000 t/y over time. The commissioning of the site is expected to start in stages during the course of 2021.

SIMPEC to work on Tianqi Lithium’s Kwinana processing plant

WestStar’s SIMPEC business has been awarded an A$8 million ($5.8 million) contract by MSP Engineering at the Tianqi Lithium Kwinana processing plant in Western Australia.

The award, the company’s largest contract to date, follows on from SIMPEC’s work for MSP at the Talison lithium CGP2 project in Greenbushes, WA, a mine owned 51:49 by Tianqi and Albemarle.

The work on the lithium hydroxide process plant (LHPP1) at Kwinana involves pyromet piping installation.

MSP is the head contractor for the design and construction of the Kwinana LHPP1 project, which is being designed to produce lithium hydroxide monohydrate from the processing of spodumene ore from the Talison Greenbushes operation. The plant will have a total output of 48,000 t/y upon completion, SIMPEC says.

With this award, the WestStar group has built an order book of some A$25 million, the company said.