Tag Archives: Veolia

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.”

Salt Lake Potash nears SOP production milestone at Lake Way

Salt Lake Potash Limited remains on track for first production and sale of sulphate of potash (SOP) in the June quarter after declaring the commencement of process plant commissioning at its Lake Way project in Western Australia.

In a project update, the company said first time potassium-rich harvest salts, precipitated from lake aquifer brine, have been fed into an SOP plant in Australia.

These harvest sales were successfully fed into the feed hopper, conveyed to the surge bin, run through the lump breaker, and then into the attritioning feed tank at the front end of the process plant. This front-end plant commissioning was powered by 2 MW diesel generators, which will continue to be used to progress the process in the near term.

Over the coming weeks the utilities, conversion circuit, flotation circuits, crystallisers and dryer will all be commissioned ahead of full load commissioning and SOP production in the June quarter, it said.

Consultants from the plant designer, Wood Group, as well as vendors Veolia and Broadbent (among others) will be assisting in the commissioning process.

In the meantime, gas supply lines and the delivery station for the 10 MW power station have been fully commissioned, with “power on” scheduled for late April to support final commissioning activities and production commencement.

Lake Way is a 245,000 t/y SOP development with an expected mine life of over 20 years. Located in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, it is expected to produce a high-quality SOP fertiliser with the help of Veolia Water Technologies’ HPD® crystallisation systems, among other processes.

Orocobre and Toyota greenlight Olaroz lithium expansion in Argentina

Project partners Orocobre and Toyota Tsusho Corp have approved the stage-two expansion of the Olaroz lithium facility in Argentina.

The expansion, set to cost $295 million including $25 million contingency, will increase the facility’s capacity by 25,000 t/y of lithium carbonate, bringing total capacity to 42,500 t/y.

It will also see Olaroz produce technical grade (>99% Li2CO3) lithium carbonate, part of which will be used as feedstock for the proposed Naraha lithium hydroxide plant to be built in Japan.

The stage-two expansion involves construction of evaporation ponds, roads and camp upgrades, all of which have already commenced. Commissioning of both the stage-two expansion and the Naraha plant are expected in the second half of 2020.

During the development of stage two, the stage one plant will progressively migrate to 100% battery-grade lithium carbonate production, Orocobre said. Upon achievement of full production rates, the product distribution, post stage two, is expected to be:

  • 17,500 t/y of battery-grade lithium carbonate;
  • 9,500 t/y of technical-grade carbonate as feedstock for 10,000 t/y battery-grade lithium hydroxide production at the Naraha plant
  • 15,500 t/y of technical-grade lithium carbonate.

The expansion will be funded by a combination of project debt, operation cashflows and shareholder loans, Orocobre said.

Negotiations on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the proposed Naraha hydroxide plant were advancing rapidly between Toyota Tsusho as operator and Veolia the preferred EPC contractor, Orocobre said.

“As previously advised, the EPC contract is expected to be finalised during this quarter,” the company said.

The Olaroz lithium facility is in Jujuy Province, northern Argentina. After seven years of planning, developing, construction and commissioning, the first sale of lithium carbonate from the facility occurred in late April 2015 and volumes have been increasing since that time.

Olaroz hosts a JORC/NI 43-101 compliant measured and indicated resource of 6.4 Mt of lithium carbonate equivalent and is capable of sustaining current continuous production for 40-plus years with only circa-15% of the defined resource extracted, the company says.