Tag Archives: Lithium

NRW’s Primero to work on Pilgangoora P680 Expansion Project

NRW Holdings subsidiary, Primero Group, has been awarded a contract by Pilgangoora Operations Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pilbara Minerals Limited, for work at the lithium processing plant that is part of the wider Pilgangoora operation, in Western Australia.

The works to be performed under the contract include upgrading the existing Pilgan lithium processing plant through the construction of a new primary rejection facility and preliminary work in connection with a new crushing and ore sorting facility.

Under the contract, Primero will be responsible for detailed earth and concrete works associated with both the primary rejection and crushing and sorting facilities, together with structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation installation associated with the primary rejection facility. Primero will also assist with shutdown, brownfield’s integration and commissioning support to tie the facility into the existing Pilgan plant.

The contract is scheduled to run for approximately eight months, commencing in January 2023, and has an approximate value of A$62 million ($44 million).

NRW Managing Director, Jules Pemberton, said: “This contract builds on a long-term association between POPL and Primero that began with Primero’s involvement in the design and construction of the original Pilgan plant. We look forward to the successful completion of these works.”

The construction activities due to take place on the plant are part of the wider P680 Expansion Project Pilbara Minerals is working on. This could see the company step-up its production run-rate at the operation to a total of circa-680,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate across the combined Pilgangoora operation.

NRW subsidiary wins drill and blast contract at Talison’s Greenbushes lithium mine

NRW Holdings’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast Pty Ltd, has been issued a notice of award by Talison Lithium Australia for drill and blast services at the Greenbushes lithium mine in Western Australia.

This award follows the longstanding relationship Action has with Talison Lithium since Action commenced drill and blast activities on site in 2011.

The seven-year (plus two-year option) contract is valued at circa-A$300 million ($213 million) over the initial period and is scheduled to commence in July 2023.

The scope of works under the contract include ore, waste, pre-split and RC grade control drilling together with loading, stemming and initiation of bulk explosives. Plant requirements for the project will be sourced from within the Action business together with new equipment capital expenditure of circa-A$30 million over the life of the contract, it said.

The contract will require a peak workforce of some 160 personnel, including the 56 currently employed on site.

Action said the majority of the workforce will be sourced from the local community, building on current relationships and training programs.

Together with its predecessor company, Talison Lithium has been producing lithium concentrates at Greenbushes since 1983, which are ultimately used in lithium-ion batteries. The Greenbushes project, directly south and adjacent to the town of Greenbushes in Western Australia, is a major supplier of lithium mineral concentrates.

Macmahon confirms mining gig at Greenbushes lithium project

Macmahon Holdings says it has now finalised a load and haul services contract with Talison Lithium Australia Pty Ltd for the Greenbushes lithium project in Western Australia.

This follows Macmahon’s selection as the preferred load and haul contractor for the project, announced last year.

This contract involves open-pit mining activities of load and haul, and crusher feed, which will commence on July 1, 2023, for a seven-year period with an option to extend for up to two years. The contract is estimated to generate revenue in excess of A$1.1 billion ($768 million) over its initial seven-year term.

Macmahon CEO and Managing Director, Michael Finnegan, said: “We are delighted to finalise this contract with Talison Lithium for its Greenbushes lithium project. This contract will add approximately A$1.1 billion to our order book, which delivers on our commodity diversification strategy into future-relevant commodities. We have built a strong relationship with the Talison Lithium team and look forward to developing this project with them.”

Talison Lithium is a Western Australia-based mining company which is 51%-owned by a joint venture comprising Tianqi Lithium Corporation and IGO Limited, and 49%-owned by Albemarle Corporation.

Together with its predecessor company, Talison Lithium has been producing lithium concentrates at Greenbushes since 1983, which are ultimately used in lithium batteries. The Greenbushes project, directly south and adjacent to the town of Greenbushes in Western Australia, is a major supplier of lithium mineral concentrates.

Bechtel wins EPCM contract for Lithium Americas’ Thacker Pass project

Lithium Americas says it has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract for the construction of the Thacker Pass lithium project, in Nevada, USA, to Bechtel.

Lithium Americas has all federal and state permits needed to commence construction at Thacker Pass, a project with the potential to produce 40,000 t/y of battery-quality lithium carbonate in its first phase. The company says it anticipates a ruling on the Thacker Pass Record of Decision appeal in early 2023 and looks forward to working with Bechtel to begin construction activities shortly thereafter.

Jonathan Evans, President & CEO of Lithium Americas, said: “Awarding the EPCM contract is a significant milestone in advancing Thacker Pass towards production. Bechtel is a globally recognised and respected engineering firm with deep understanding of value-driven project delivery. This key partnership is a big step forward towards enabling North American production of battery-quality lithium carbonate to help secure our nation’s clean energy future.”

Bechtel’s Mining & Metals President, Ailie MacAdam, said: “By partnering with our customers and collaborating with contractors, suppliers and local communities, we’re able to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges and I’m excited to have this opportunity that will enable the project to responsibly unlock the resources needed for the energy transition.”

Lithium Americas and Bechtel share a commitment towards a safer, cleaner, more equitable and prosperous future, by advancing towards increased energy security and advanced decarbonisation targets, the company says. By working closely together, Lithium Americas can leverage Bechtel’s world-class team, a suite of seamless execution systems, global logistics and innovative construction strategies, it says. Bechtel will be fully integrating into the owner’s team and will be responsible for engineering, procurement and execution planning services, along with overall project management.

Metso Outotec pyro processing and comminution lines set for Albemarle’s Kemerton lithium plant

Albemarle Lithium Pty Ltd has awarded Metso Outotec an order for two pyro processing and comminution lines for its Kemerton lithium hydroxide processing plant in Western Australia, the OEM says.

Previously, Metso Outotec delivered two similar pyro process lines to the plant as part of another order.

Metso Outotec’s delivery consists of rotary calciner kilns and coolers, Premier™ ball mills, acid roast indirect rotary kilns and coolers for the pyro processing lines, as well as advisory services for installation and commissioning. Over 90% of the approximately €55 million ($58.6 million) order value is booked in Metso Outotec’s Metals fourth-quarter (December-quarter) orders received and the rest in its Minerals’ orders received.

Chris Urban, Vice President, Heat Transfer at Metso Outotec, said: “Albemarle is one of the largest lithium producers in the world. Commissioning and ramp up of the first two pyro lines delivered by us is currently taking place at the Kemerton plant in Western Australia, and we are delighted to now have received orders for two additional Metso Outotec pyro processing lines.”

The Kemerton plant initially consisted of three production trains, each producing 20,000 t/y of lithium hydroxide, with a potential expansion to five trains that will see production increase to 100,000 t/y by around 2025. The plant will be supplied with lithium concentrate produced at the nearby Greenbushes mine.

Zenith Energy gears up to supply 95 MW of hybrid power to Liontown’s Kathleen Valley project

Zenith Energy has converted the Letter of Award it signed with Liontown Resources to supply electricity to the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia into a Power Purchase Agreement.

The PPA will see Zenith supply the project with electricity for a period of 15 years as part of a 95 MW hybrid power station setup at the mine.

Zenith has, since the signing of the Letter of Award, announced in September, progressed the planning, engineering and design works for the hybrid power station, including the order of long-lead items such as the wind turbines.

With 46 MW of emission-free power generation capacity, the 95 MW hybrid power station is currently expected to be one of the largest off-grid wind-solar-battery storage renewable energy facilities in the mining industry in Australia.

The thermal components are designed to operate in “engine off” mode at various times, enabling Liontown to operate from 100% renewable energy during periods of high wind and solar resource, the companies say.

The hybrid power station is expected to start up around the same time as the Kathleen Valley process plant is commissioned, currently slated for the first half of 2024.

The plant will include wind generation from five wind turbines each capable of generating 6 MW. A 16 MWp fixed axis solar photovoltaic array coupled to a 17 MW/19 MWh battery energy storage system will provide additional clean energy, supported by synchronous condensers that provide critical system stability and resilience, Zenith said. The thermal power component will comprise 27 MW of gas generation and 5 MW of diesel standby generation.

Kathleen Valley is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade hard-rock lithium deposits and, with an initial 2.5 Mt/y production capacity, is expected to supply circa-500,000 t/y of 6% lithium oxide concentrate, according to the company. With first production expected in June quarter of 2024, the deposit will also produce tantalum pentoxide.

Monadelphous Group secures work with BHP in Western Australia, Chile

Monadelphous Group has secured new contracts and contract extensions in the resources, energy and infrastructure sectors totalling approximately A$110 million ($74 million).

The company says it has been reappointed to the BHP WAIO Site Engineering Panel for a three-year period to continue providing multi-disciplinary services at BHP’s mine site and port operations in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Monadelphous has also been awarded a five-year contract to provide pipeline maintenance services in the Queensland coal seam gas market.

In Chile, Monadelphous’ maintenance and construction services business, Buildtek, has secured several contracts with Minera Escondida. This includes two contracts at the Escondida copper mine, majority-owned by BHP, for improvements to the water capture and drainage system and repairs associated with the oxide tank. A contract has also been secured for repairs and improvements to water storage tanks at the Puerto Coloso Filter Plant. All work is expected to be completed in 2023.

Additionally, the company has secured a contract with Liontown Resources for the supply and fabrication of structural steel and platework for the Kathleen Valley lithium project in Western Australia. The work is expected to be completed by mid-2023.

Kathleen Valley is one of the world’s largest and highest-grade hard-rock lithium deposits and, with an initial 2.5 Mt/y production capacity, it is expected to supply circa-500,000 t/y of 6% lithium oxide concentrate. First production is expected in the June quarter of 2024.

Keliber to use Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive leaching technology at lithium refinery

Sibanye-Stillwater’s subsidiary Keliber has partnered with Metso Outotec to provide its sustainable soda pressure leaching technology for Keliber’s lithium hydroxide refinery, which will be built in Kokkola, Finland.

Keliber owns the advanced lithium project located in the Kaustinen region of Finland, which intends to be one of the first integrated operations in Europe to sustainably produce battery-grade lithium hydroxide using its own ore. In addition, Metso Outotec will provide key processes for Keliber’s concentrator plant, which will be located on the border of Kaustinen and Kronoby municipalities in Finland.

Following the approval for the Keliber lithium project by Sibanye-Stillwater’s board, as announced on November 28, 2022, the first and biggest technology contract has now been signed. The combined order value is approximately €120 million ($128 million), of which approximately €80 million is committed for the Kokkola lithium hydroxide refinery. The planned production of the lithium hydroxide refinery is 15,000 t/y of lithium hydroxide monohydrate.

Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery consists of the engineering and supply of most of the equipment for the lithium hydroxide refinery, as well as installation and commissioning services and training. For the concentrator plant, Metso Outotec’s scope of delivery includes engineering and supply of all the main equipment.

Hannu Hautala, CEO of Keliber, said: “Metso Outotec’s Planet Positive portfolio, which focuses on the most environmentally-efficient technologies, supports the potential for the Keliber project to be a world-class lithium hydroxide producer, that is among the most sustainable in the world.”

Metso Outotec has developed lithium hard-rock-related technologies for some 20 years, and collaboration with Keliber started already in the early 2000s.

Heikki Pekkarinen, Chief Project Officer, said: “The lithium hydroxide production process has been successfully tested with Keliber’s concentrate in Metso Outotec’s pilot plant during the last few years. Metso Outotec has also provided the basic engineering for the refinery, which has given us a well-based detailed technical and economic performance review of the plant. During the planning and piloting stages, new initiatives were also developed to improve the environmental and production performance of both plants.”

Markku Teräsvasara, President of the Minerals business area at Metso Outotec, said: “We are excited that Metso Outotec has been selected as a partner for Keliber’s world-class concentrator plant and refinery project. Our proprietary soda pressure leaching technology will enable exceptional material and energy efficiency for the lithium hydroxide refinery, contributing to the sustainability and profitability of the whole project.”

Atlantic Lithium brings in Primero for FEED flowsheet services at Ewoyaa

Atlantic Lithium has awarded the processing plant front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for its Ewoyaa lithium project in Ghana to Primero Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, Primero will provide services to optimise the project’s flowsheet, identify long lead items, look to maximise the project’s long-term profitability, reduce execution risk and ultimately support the advancement of the project towards becoming a financially and operationally robust lithium-producing mine, Atlantic Lithium said.

The value of the contract is $980,000; the consideration of which is to be paid in accordance with the three-stage earn- in agreement the company has with Piedmont Lithium Inc to fund the project towards production. This could see Piedmont invest up to $103 million in the project to eventually deliver a 1.5-2 Mt/y run of mine operation for a 27.5% stake in Atlantic Lithium’s Ghana portfolio.

Primero, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NRW Holdings Limited, specialises in the design, construction and operation of global resource projects. The group has extensive experience in delivering large-scale construction contracts, including in the lithium industry and in West Africa, demonstrating significant expertise, versatility and competence, Atlantic Lithium says.

Primero, the company says, has provided services for a number of lithium projects with comparable flowsheets to Ewoyaa’s, including Bald Hill (Tawana Resources), Pilgangoora (Pilbara Minerals), Finniss Lithium (Core Lithium), Mt Holland (Covalent Lithium) and Xuxa (Sigma Lithium).

Following the recent completion of the 47,000 m resource and exploration drilling program at the Ewoyaa project, Atlantic Lithium is currently working towards producing an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE), intended to be announced in the March quarter of 2023. The updated MRE will then be used to support a definitive feasibility study, expected to be completed by mid-2023.

Ioneer and Shell sign sulphur supply MoU for Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project

Ioneer Ltd has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Shell Canada Energy for the sale of sulphur to Ioneer for its Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Securing the supply of key reagents for ore processing is an important step along the critical pathway to developing the Rhyolite Ridge project, Ioneer says.

Under the MoU, Ioneer will purchase up to 500,000 t of high-quality sulphur annually from Shell, which would fulfil the estimated annual sulphur requirement for the project. The agreement follows a Letter of Intent signed by the two companies in December 2019. With a binding commitment to negotiate exclusively with one another, it is the intention of both parties to advance the MoU into a Definitive Agreement at the appropriate time, Ioneer says.

Once operational, Rhyolite Ridge is expected to produce 20,600 t/y of lithium carbonate, converting in year four to 22,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium hydroxide, and 174,400 t/y of boric acid.

Ioneer’s Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “With this MoU, Ioneer takes another key step to secure sulphur for the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project. Sulphur is a primary input for our process as it will be converted into the sulphuric acid required for leaching the ore as well as releasing heat which is recovered to produce carbon free power and steam for the facility. Shell is an ideal partner for this effort, and we look forward to furthering our partnership together on additional decarbonisation solutions while providing materials for a sustainable future.”

Peter Zissos, GM Global Sulphur & Thiogro from Shell, said: “We are excited to expand our partnership with Ioneer to include the sale of sulphur while collaborating on various decarbonisation solutions. Sulphur’s second largest use is for mining, including for the extraction of electric vehicle metals like lithium. With safe and reliable delivery of sulphur to customers like Ioneer, Shell Sulphur Solutions is delivering inputs critical for renewable energy production and management.”