Tag Archives: Lithium

New Ishigaki filter press starts up at Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora operation

Pilbara Minerals Ltd says it has commenced concentrate production from its newly installed filter press at the Pilgan Plant. The development is part of the Plant Improvements Project being undertaken at its 100%-owned Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum operation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The filter press in question is provided by Ishigaki and will handle approximately 1,500 t/d of concentrate, Pilbara Minerals’ Managing Director and CEO, Ken Brinsden, confirmed.

The Pilgan Plant Improvements Project is expected to de-bottleneck the facility to increase plant operating time and throughput, reduce final product moisture (minimising solar drying) and further manage product recovery performance. These improvements are ultimately expected to realise additional production capacity from the facility, and particularly from the fines flotation circuit.

A total of approximately A$22 million ($16 million) of capital will be invested, with the project expected to be fully ramped-up during the December quarter 2021 to 360,000-380,000 t (dry) of spodumene concentrate. When combined with Ngungaju Plant’s ramped-up capacity of 180,000-200,000 t (dry), which is expected from mid-2022, the total annual production capacity across the entire Pilgangoora operation is expected to increase to circa-560,000-580,000 t/y.

Brinsden said the commencement of production from the Pilgan Plant Improvements Project marked another significant and exciting milestone in the rapid growth of the Pilgangoora project.

“The team has done another amazing job in delivering this project on time and in line with budget,” he said. “Keeping it on track, in combination with the restart of the Ngungaju Plant, is testament to the delivery capability of our team – particularly considering that these works were achieved during a period when the resources industry is under considerable pressure in terms of securing people, resources and equipment.”

Pilbara Minerals enlists Contract Power Australia for Pilgangoora solar power plans

Pilbara Minerals Limited has announced a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between its wholly owned subsidiary, Pilgangoora Operations Pty Ltd, and Contract Power Australia that could see a 6 MW solar array built at the Pilgangoora lithium project in Western Australia.

The solar array is, the company says, an important demonstration of its commitment to implementing environmentally friendly power solutions, as a part of its pledge to transition to net-zero emissions (scope 1 and 2) in the decade commencing 2040.

Pilbara Minerals said it looks forward to continuing its working relationship with Contract Power and the broader Pacific Energy Group, which began in 2018 when the first baseload power station was installed at Pilgangoora. The PPA involves a 15-year contract to construct, operate and maintain a 6 MW solar array, which is estimated to displace 3.8 million litres/y of diesel fuel, saving an estimated 9,900 t of CO2/y over the contract period.

“A key factor in awarding this exciting new renewable energy project to Contract Power was their established track record and ability to design and safely deliver turnkey energy projects,” the company added.

It is anticipated that procurement for the project will commence imminently with commissioning expected in late July 2022, and commercial operation from the end of August 2022. The design facilitates the future expansion of solar capacity and potential inclusion of battery storage at Pilgangoora, as Pilbara Minerals creates further efficiencies around its power supply and storage solutions at Pilgangoora, it said.

The installation of the first phase of the solar farm is just one part of the initial rationalisation of power assets at Pilgangoora, as the company further integrates the Ngungaju Operation. A local power network will be created to join the Ngungaju and Pilgan Plants, and the Carlindi camp facilities thereby creating further efficiencies, Pilbara Minerals explained.

Pilbara Minerals’ longer-term objectives include integration with other northern Pilbara power and/or gas and renewables sources with a view to creating further efficiency gains on the path to net-zero carbon.

ERM on executing the mining sector’s sustainability strategies

With sustainability close to the number one topic shaping the business landscape, the mining industry faces perhaps more scrutiny today than ever before. From stakeholder engagement to employee welfare and the emissions generated from using mined commodities, there is a spectrum of issues on which mining companies are judged. Not just by traditional critics such as NGOs, but increasingly by policymakers, investors and consumers themselves.

As a result, mining companies are seeking the advice of consultants that live and breathe environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues to adapt to this evolving backdrop (see the mining consultants focus in IM October 2021 for more on this).

In this regard, they don’t come much bigger than ERM, which calls itself the largest global pure play sustainability consultancy. With a remit that goes into strategic, operational and tactical challenges, the company’s services have been in serious demand of late.

Louise Pearce, ERM Global Mining Lead; Jonathan Molyneux, ERM Mining ESG Strategy Lead; Peter Rawlings, Low Carbon Economy Transition Lead; and Geraint Bowden, Regional Client Director – Mining, were happy to go into some detail about how the company is serving the industry across multiple disciplines.

In demand

According to the four, there is increasing demand for services from miners interested in energy/battery minerals (lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, platinum, palladium and rhodium (PGMs)) on the back of rising numbers of new mines coming onto the scene, “shorter supply chains to customers”, the perceived need to secure domestic supply of these minerals, and requirements of “evidence of responsibly-produced certifications from industry organisations such as the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA)”.

Such trends have been underwritten by a shift in both the requirements and considerations around the extraction of these minerals, according to Molyneux.

“In the last five to seven years, the main ESG incentives for change have come from access to capital (ie investor ESG preferences, especially in relation to catastrophic incidents),” he said.

“Over the last three years, we have seen a strong rise in expectations from downstream customers, particularly leading brands.”

Jonathan Molyneux, ERM Mining ESG Strategy Lead

Automotive original equipment manufacturers like BMW and Daimler are placing sustainability at the centre of their brands, according to ERM. Their initial focus has been on ‘net-zero’ driving/electrification – and they have made progress on this with several major electric car launches. They then shifted to examining the carbon emissions and ESG, or responsible practices, of tier-one and tier-two component manufacturers. The last step has been a full analysis of the ESG credentials of input materials right back to source, ie the mine.

“We see a shift from the historic lens of customers managing supply risk by sourcing from organisations which ‘do little/no harm’ (eg human rights compliance, catastrophic incident avoidance) to supply partners that can contribute to the ‘do net good’ or ‘create value for all stakeholders’ (ie communities, workforce, nature positive),” Pearce said.

Such a shift has resulted in more clients considering “circular thinking” in their operational strategy, as well as carrying out risk reviews and transformation projects focused on a company’s social or cultural heritage. Tied to this, these same companies have been evaluating their water use, biodiversity requirements and, of course, decarbonisation efforts.

It is the latter on which the steel raw materials companies predominantly have been looking for advice, according to ERM.

The focus has been on ‘green’ iron ore, low-carbon steel and ‘circular’ steel, according to Molyneux and Bowden, with ERM providing input on how companies in this supply chain can integrate sustainability into their strategy and operations.

On the thermal coal side, meanwhile, it is a very different type of ERM service in demand: mine retirements, closure/local/regional regeneration transitions and responsible disposals.

Delivering on decarbonisation

The mining industry decarbonisation targets have come thick and fast in the last 18-24 months, with the latest announcement from the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) seeing all 28 mining and metals members sign up to a goal of net zero Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 or sooner, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

Many have gone further than Scope 1 (direct emissions from owned or controlled sources) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company) emissions, looking at including Scope 3 (all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain) targets.

Fortescue Metals Group, this month, announced what it said is an industry-leading target to achieve net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040, for example.

These are essential goals – and ones that all interested parties are calling for – in order to deliver on the Paris Agreement, yet many miners are not yet in the position to deliver on them, according to Pearce, Molyneux, Rawlings and Bowden.

“Miners need to look at decarbonisation at a holistic level across their operations and value chain, and cannot just delegate the net zero requirements to individual assets,” Rawlings said. “The solutions needed require investment and are often at a scale well beyond individual assets/sites.”

Much of this decarbonisation effort mirrors other industries, with the use of alternative fuels for plant and equipment, accessing renewable electricity supplies, etc, they said.

Process-specific activities can present challenges and is where innovation is required.

“These hard to abate areas are where a lot of efforts are currently focused,” Rawlings said.

Tied into this discussion is the allowance and estimates made for carbon.

There has been anecdotal evidence of miners taking account of carbon in annual and technical reports – a recent standout example being OZ Minerals inclusion of a carbon price in determining the valuation of its Prominent Hill shaft expansion project in South Australia – but there is no current legislation in place.

“We are seeing a broad spectrum of price and sophistication (targeted audience, knowledge level), but it is an active board level discussion for most clients,” Bowden said on this subject. “Most clients view this as market-driven requirements as opposed to a voluntary disclosure.”

This has been driven, in part, from the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, which many miners – including all the majors – are aligning their reporting with.

Some clients are also looking into scenarios to work around carbon regimes such as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which proposes a carbon-based levy on imports of specific products.

Having acquired several companies in recent months focused on the low carbon economy transition – such as E4tech, Element Energy and RCG – ERM feels best placed to provide the technical expertise and experience to deliver the sustainable energy solutions miners require to decarbonise their operations.

“With these companies, combined with ERM’s expertise, it means we can support clients on the decarbonisation journeys from the initial strategy and ambition development through to implementation and delivery of their roadmaps,” Rawlings said. “We can support clients from boots to boardroom as they assess decarbonisation options and technologies; help them understand the financial, policy and practical aspects linked to deployment of solutions; and access the financing necessary to support deployment.”

ESG dilemmas

There is more to this evolving backdrop than setting and meeting ambitious environmental goals, yet, in ERM’s experience, the advice provided by consultants – and requested by miners – has historically been focused on individual ESG domains.

“This has often been driven by their realisation that their (miner’s) in-house policies and standards require updating,” Pearce said.

Louise Pearce, ERM Global Mining Lead

A siloed or disaggregated approach to ESG strategy development often reduces risk, but rarely generates value for the enterprise at hand, according to Pearce.

“What we have learned is that in order for organisations to create value, they need to focus on value drivers for the corporation,” she said. “These value levers are typically influenced by an integrated suite of ESG dimensions. For example, this could be looking at carbon emissions, connected with water use and nature, connected with local socio-economic development.”

“Sustainability and ESG are about understanding the inter-relationships between our social, natural and economic environments over the longer term. It cannot be about addressing one topic at a time or responding to the loudest voices.”

This is where ERM’s ‘second-generation’ ESG advice, which is driven by data and opportunities to create value as well as manage risk, is fit for the task.

“We are also finding that, at its heart, the central issue to second-generation ESG performance delivery/improvement for our clients is not just the strategy, but a willingness of organisations to reflect on their core values, how these have driven their traditional approaches and decisions and how they will need to evolve these if they want to achieve a genuine brand and reputation for ESG and achieve impact on the value drivers they have selected,” she added.

Such thinking is proving definitive in ERM’s mining sector mergers and acquisition due diligence.

“We have multiple experiences where clients have asked us to carry out an ESG review of a target portfolio, only to find that there is too great a gap between the target’s ESG asset footprint to align them with the client’s standard – or, that the carbon, water, closure or tailings profile of the target carries a too high-risk profile,” Molyneux said.

This is presenting clients with a dilemma as they want to increase their exposure to certain minerals, but are, in some instances, finding M&A is a too high-risk route. At the same time, the lead time to find and develop their own new assets is longer than they would wish for building market share.

Such a market dynamic opens the door for juniors looking for assets early in their lifecycles, yet it places a high load on the management teams of these companies to think strategically about the ESG profile of the asset they are setting the foundations for to eventually appeal to a potential acquirer.

“This is, in itself, a dilemma because, typically, the cash scarcity at the junior stage leads management teams to focus on the immediate technical challenges, sometimes at the cost of also addressing the priority non-technical challenges,” Bowden said.

Those companies who can take a strategic view on the ESG requirements of the future – rooted in a deep understanding of how to deliver change on the ground – will be best placed in such a market, and ERM says it is on hand to provide the tools to develop such an appropriate approach.

(Lead photo credit: @Talaat Bakri, ERM)

Lycopodium builds on Talison Lithium relationship with CGP3 EPCM contract

Lycopodium says it has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services contract for Talison Lithium Australia’s Chemical Grade Processing Plant #3 (CGP3), to be developed at its Greenbushes site in Western Australia’s southwest.

Talison Lithium and its predecessor companies have been producing lithium minerals from the Greenbushes lithium operations since 1983, with the area recognised as the longest continuously operated mining area in Western Australia (circa-1888).

The mining and processing operations at Greenbushes have been upgraded and expanded over the decades to increase production and incorporate new technologies as demand for lithium minerals has grown.

The development of this third chemical grade lithium processing plant at Greenbushes will enable Talison to continue to supply the downstream lithium processing facilities of its shareholders currently being established in Western Australia and its facilities in China, Lycopodium says.

Lycopodium’s EPCM services on CGP3 incorporate engineering and design, including earthworks, civil, structural, mechanical, piping, electrical and instrumentation, as well as providing overall project management, including procurement and contracts management, expediting logistics and materials management, and construction and commissioning management services through handover of operational facilities to Talison Lithium.

Lycopodium is very familiar with the Greenbushes site and has an established relationship with Talison Lithium in the development of its Greenbushes operations including the previously awarded EPCM services for the new Mine Services Area project where Lycopodium is currently in the detailed engineering design, critical equipment procurement and pre-mobilisation phase for the project.

Lycopodium’s incorporated joint venture with Monadelphous (Mondium) is also currently delivering the Tailings Retreatment project at the mine.

Lycopodium Limited’s Managing Director, Peter De Leo, said: “We have been working in partnership with Talison for a number of years now, and having supported them through the development phases to optimise the CGP3 project, it is very pleasing to see it is now progressing to implementation.”

Talison Lithium is owned by two companies under a joint venture arrangement Tianqi Lithium Corp/IGO Limited JV (51%) and Albemarle Corporation (49%).

Primero bags Finniss lithium process plant EPC contract

Core Lithium has awarded Primero Group with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the Finniss lithium process plant in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Primero’s award status has been updated from the initial preferred status awarded in 2019 and continues the long-standing relationship in the development of the project with the Core Lithium team and follows on from the successful delivery of Core’s definitive feasibility study and subsequent study updates, NRW Holdings, the parent company of Primero, says.

The project will commence immediately and is fully funded with site works planned to commence in March 2022 with commissioning of the facility due to commence in October 2022, according to NRW.

Primero’s work on the Finniss dense media separation (DMS) plant will entail project management; engineering and detailed design; equipment and materials procurement; DMS plant construction; quality assurance and construction verification, and ore commissioning on receipt of first ore, according to Core.

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, says: “The Primero brand is synonymous with the processing and operation of battery metals and future energy and the Core Lithium project is another example of the quality of our processing knowledge in these industries. The working relationship with the Core team has been a four-year journey and we look forward to delivering on this contract and continuing the relationship with Core.”

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, added: “The NRW Holdings business continues to diversify its business streams into the future metals and energy space with another great award to the Primero Group team in the electric vehicle space with Core Lithium.”

The August definitive feasibility study on Finniss outlined a Stage 1 mine life of eight years with average production of 173,000 t/y at 5.8% Li2O.

MACA wins 12-month extension at Pilbara Minerals’ Pilgangoora lithium project

MACA Ltd has announced the extension of its mining services contract with Pilbara Minerals for a further 12 months at the Pilgangoora lithium project, in Western Australia, following Pilbara Minerals exercise of its 12-month option.

The Pilgangoora project consists of open-pit mining services including drilling and blasting and loading and hauling, and the extension is expected to generate approximately A$70 million ($51 million) in revenue for MACA over the 12-month term through to November 2022. MACA’s work in hand position as of September 21 is A$3.1 billion, it says.

MACA CEO, Mike Sutton, said “MACA is very pleased to be able to continue working with Pilbara Minerals at the Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project, having commenced operations on site in 2017. We strongly value the collaborative working relationship established with the Pilbara Minerals team over the previous four years and are proud to be an ongoing part of this project.

“For MACA, this extension secures our strong position in the Pilbara region and also provides continued involvement in the lithium industry.”

Primero rewarded with circa-A$290 million Mt Holland lithium concentrator contract

NRW Holdings’s wholly owned subsidiary Primero Group has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract related to the Mt Holland concentrator project in Western Australia for Covalent Lithium, a joint venture between Wesfarmers and SQM.

The Mt Holland project has been worked on in various development phases over the past 18 months between the Covalent and Primero teams, with the planning and works now culminating in the full award of the circa-A$290 million ($214 million) EPC delivery contract, NRW said.

Primero has been awarded the EPC contract that will process ‘run of mine’ ore at a rate of circa 2 Mt/y and produce an output of circa 400,000 t/y of spodumene concentrate to feed the company’s integrated lithium hydroxide conversion refinery situated in Kwinana.

The project scope covers the vertical delivery of engineering design of all disciplines, procurement of all equipment and materials, site construction, commissioning and performance testing of the spodumene concentrator at the Mt Holland site.

The full execution will commence immediately with site works planned to commence in October and an expected peak workforce of 350 personnel, NRW said.

Primero Managing Director, Cameron Henry, said: “The award of the Mt Holland EPC contract is the culmination of an 18-month journey with the Covalent Lithium team and demonstrates the trust and solid working relationship between the groups in the development of the project. This project is not only a flagship project for Primero and our parent company, NRW Holdings, but also a major project for Western Australia and the further development of the state’s battery minerals supply chain.”

NRW CEO, Jules Pemberton, added: “We are pleased to see the continued growth of the Primero business and, in particular, the scale of projects and quality of clients they continue to attract to the group.

“The project has created opportunities for the combined businesses and provides a great platform for other clients to understand the depth, capability and capacity of the group as a whole from early project inception and feasibility through turnkey multi-discipline delivery and further.”

NRW Holdings recently acquired Primero in a cash and shares deal valuing Primero at around A$100 million.

DuPont Clean Tech to provide low emission sulphuric acid plant input at Rhyolite Ridge

ioneer Ltd has awarded DuPont Clean Technologies a contract for the licence, engineering and supply of proprietary equipment for the planned sulphuric acid plant at the company’s Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Specialty technology provider DuPont will work with engineering partner SNC-Lavalin on the plant design, providing best-in-class MECS® sulphuric acid production technology for a plant with a 3,500 t/d capacity, and controls that limit emissions to among the lowest in the world for this type of facility, ioneer says.

The DuPont contract is conditional on a final investment decision on the project by the ioneer Board of Directors, which is expected shortly.

In June, Rhyolite Ridge became the first project with planned sulphuric acid production to receive a Class II Air Quality permit in Nevada.

Employing advanced technologies, the plant will meet stringent NV Class II air quality standards and water pollution control, according to ioneer. DuPont will also supply its latest generation MECS Super GEAR™ catalyst and other critical proprietary equipment, with the plant set to convert sulphur into commercial-grade sulphuric acid, used to leach lithium and boron from the crushed rock.

The heat released in the process will be recovered to produce steam for electricity. The plant will generate an initial 35 MW of electricity, which is sufficient to power the entire Rhyolite Ridge operation and means ioneer will not draw electricity from the grid, the company says.

“Rhyolite Ridge will be an energy-independent operation, using primarily co-generated, zero-carbon power,” it added.

The heat generated will also be used for evaporation and crystallisation processes required to produce lithium carbonate and boric acid.

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. Pending final federal US Department of the Interior approval of the Plan of Operation, the project is expected to begin production in the second half of 2024.

Commenting on the contract, ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “Development of the Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project is a critical strategic step to enable US production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. ioneer’s core commitment is to produce essential materials in an environmentally and socially responsible and sustainable manner through lowered emissions, reduced water usage and a minimal surface footprint. We are delighted to welcome MECS-DuPont to our team. It is a world-leader in clean technology and emissions control and will work alongside ioneer to deliver this tier-1 project in the US.”

Global business leader of DuPont Clean Technologies, Eli Ben-Shoshan, said: “We have worked in close partnership with ioneer and SNC-Lavalin to be able to guarantee the precise performance and emissions control ioneer needs for its Rhyolite Ridge project to meet stringent environmental standards and production objectives. We are excited to be part of a project that helps ioneer cleanly produce lithium essential to advancement of electric energy markets and to be able to support it with our many decades of expertise in sulphuric acid plant technology.”

ioneer contracts Veolia Water Technologies for Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project

ioneer Ltd has awarded a major engineering and equipment supply contract to Veolia Water Technologies Inc for the development of the company’s wholly-owned Rhyolite Ridge lithium-boron project in Nevada, USA.

Veolia has commenced work on final detailed engineering design of the equipment package, which includes evaporation, crystallisation and dewatering equipment. It is the largest single supply contract that ioneer will award as part of the Rhyolite Ridge build, the company said.

The contract has been awarded on a limited notice to proceed basis. Phase one, the supply of engineering services for detailed design, has commenced while phase two, the supply of equipment, is conditional on a final investment decision on the project by ioneer’s Board of Directors.

The lithium and boron resource at Rhyolite Ridge is estimated at 146.5 Mt, including a reserve of 60 Mt. The company expects to mine and process 63.8 Mt over the 26-year mine life at an average annual rate of 2.5 Mt/y.

Veolia is, ioneer says, a world leader in the design and delivery of systems for purification, recovery and drying of inorganic chemicals using HPD® evaporation and crystallisation technologies. Furthermore, Veolia provides state-of-the-art research and development capabilities to facilitate the understanding of multi-component systems and their optimisation for efficiency, operability and final product quality.

Veolia and ioneer have been working together since 2018 to demonstrate the feasibility of the process design, including design and operation of ioneer’s full simulation pilot plant in Vancouver, British Columbia. Veolia has also conducted laboratory testing and simulated key unit operations including clarification, ion exchange purification, evaporation, crystallisation and precipitation at Veolia’s Phillip J Stewart Technology Center in Plainfield, Illinois, including the production of high purity lithium hydroxide monohydrate. The results obtained from this work further confirmed the design parameters, reduced the technical risks and boosted the project economics, according to ioneer.

ioneer Managing Director, Bernard Rowe, said: “We have been working closely with Veolia over the past three years during the pilot plant and definitive feasibility study phases and have developed a strong relationship and mutual respect. Veolia is a recognised leader in process design and engineering, with direct experience in developing solutions for lithium processing facilities. Veolia’s experience and capabilities are important to meet required purity standards in our production facilities.”

CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas, Jim Brown, said: “Veolia, as the leader in ecological transformation, is excited to be part of ioneer’s commitment to providing the materials necessary to further develop renewable energy and clean technologies by utilising our industry experience and state-of-the-art research facility to develop this resource. Our long-term cooperation working together with ioneer has been instrumental in bringing the project to this point.”

Compass Minerals looks to leverage new lithium resource at Ogden site

Compass Minerals says it has identified a lithium brine resource of around 2.4 Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE) at its active Ogden, Utah, solar evaporation site, and it was in the process of selecting an “extraction technology partner” that could help leverage the resource.

Included within the 2.4 Mt LCE resource was an indicated lithium resource within the ambient brine of the Great Salt Lake of 2.32 Mt of LCE within the ambient brine of the Great Salt Lake, which, Compass says, can be accessed through the company’s existing infrastructure.

For over 50 years, Compass Minerals’ Ogden facility has leveraged the high mineral concentrations within the ambient lake brine from the North Arm of the Great Salt Lake to produce sulphate of potash (SOP), salt and magnesium chloride products. The Ogden facility is the largest operation of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, according to the company.

Compass Minerals say it is now undertaking a strategic evaluation to assess development options available to service growing US domestic lithium market demand while maximising the long-term value of its lithium resource.

Kevin S Crutchfield, President and CEO, said: “We are aggressively evaluating multiple paths forward for this significant lithium brine resource to optimise shareholder value, in parallel with a reassessment of our current capital allocation strategy.

“In a market hungry for domestically-sourced lithium produced with minimal environmental impact, we believe a sustainable and readily available lithium resource like we have defined at our operations on the Great Salt Lake could be a true differentiator for our company. We look forward to communicating the results of our strategic evaluation and the selection of an extraction technology partner as we identify the most advantageous path forward for Compass Minerals.”

The resource assessment estimates total combined indicated and inferred lithium resources of approximately 127,000 t of LCE within the interstitial brine (IB) held in the accumulated salt-mass reservoirs at Compass Minerals’ Ogden solar evaporation site. This is on top of the circa-2.32 Mt LCE resource within the ambient brine of the Great Salt Lake.

After an 18-month assessment of multiple direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology providers, including two separate and ongoing pilot projects to demonstrate successful lithium separation from the company’s existing brine resource, Compass is now in the late stages of selecting a DLE technology partner.

The company is targeting an annual production capacity of around 20,000-25,000 t of LCE of battery-grade lithium, with up to 65% of the future production derived from brine that has already been extracted from the Great Salt Lake and in varying stages of concentration within the company’s existing ponds.

“Lithium concentrations within the ambient brine of the North Arm of the Great Salt Lake range from 55 to 60 parts per million (ppm), while concentrations in the company’s pond-derived magnesium chloride product reach up to 1,000 to 1,600 ppm after three years in the solar evaporation process,” Compass explained. “The lithium concentration in the IB ranges from 205 to 318 ppm. As such, the company anticipates being well-positioned to serve the widely forecasted increase in domestic market demand for lithium.”

In addition, the company is engaged in third-party testing of conversion options to battery-grade lithium hydroxide.

By leveraging existing operational infrastructure, permits and pond processes at its Ogden facility, Compass believes it is uniquely positioned to capture the now-defined lithium resource with nominal incremental impact to the beds and waters of the Great Salt Lake. It has contracted Minviro Ltd to perform a formal life cycle assessment (LCA) of the company’s lithium development scenarios currently under consideration. Based on internationally recognised LCA standards, the Minviro assessment is expected to help quantify any environmental impacts associated with the development of this resource, with Compass expecting to leverage the findings of the LCA to identify ways to further minimise the project’s environmental footprint.