The Asia Miner

JUN 2018

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 15 • issue 2 37 FEATURE: Lithium While the primary aim of the LSPP is to produce lithium chemicals, producƟon of by-products is also integral to its development. PotenƟally, by-products like potassium sulphate (K2SO4), sodium silicate (Na2SiO3), caesium (Cs) and rubidium (Rb) can also be produced using the SiLeach® process. "Our commitment to advancing the SiLeach® process to an industrial scale is a criƟcal element in the research and development required to bring a superior process into the lithium industry. Success will allow us to uƟlise mine waste in the producƟon of lithium chemicals, one of our great sustainability goals," said Mr Griffin. Lepidico Lepidico's L-Max® technology Brisbane and Perth-based Lepidico is a lithium exploraƟon company and the 100% owner and licensor of the L-Max® technology. L-Max® is a propriety and disrupƟve process which has the potenƟal to commercially extract lithium chemicals for the electric baƩery market. It is a hydrometallurgical process that involves the direct atmospheric leach of lithium micas, followed by impurity removal stages and the subsequent precipitaƟon of lithium carbonate. This differs considerably from the processing of spodumene, which requires high temperature decrepitaƟon and sulphate roasƟng prior to lithium recovery – a relaƟvely expensive process. Lepidico is seeking to commercialise L-Max®, which is characterised by employing low-cost, readily available reagents, industry standard equipment and is expected to have lower energy requirements. In addiƟon, L-Max® has the potenƟal to also recover valuable by-products from the Li-rich micas including potassium sulphate, sodium silicate and caesium/rubidium formate. LEADING COMPANIES IN THE AUSTRALIAN LITHIUM GAME Tawana Resources – Bald Hill Tawana Resources and Alliance Mineral Assets Limited (AMAL) operate the Bald Hill Lithium and Tantalum Mine (Bald Hill) in the Eastern Goldfields region of Western Australia. Bald Hill, a joint venture project between Tawana and AMAL, is the first Australian mine to commence spodumene producƟon since 2016. Ore commissioning through the newly - constructed Dense Media SeparaƟon (DMS) circuit has made significant progress in the first two weeks of operaƟon. The DMS circuit has performed to expectaƟons with nameplate capacity of 162tph achieved within the first two weeks of ore commissioning. The DMS circuit is scheduled to be ramped up to full producƟon rate during the second quarter of 2018. Concentrate stockpiles at Tawana's Bald Hill lithium operaƟons. Image source: Tawana Resources The first of three performance tests have been successfully completed, with 4,152 tonnes of ore processed over a 24 - hour period at an average processing rate of 173tph. IniƟal sampling of the primary concentrate returned a grade of 7.03% Li2O, 0.34% Fe2O3 and 1.12% combined Na2O and K2O, with the concentrates containing less than 1% mica. IniƟal sampling of waste material returned a grade of 0.10% Li2O. These iniƟal results have been achieved on low grade commissioning ore. The plant performance is consistent with results achieved in test work in the development and design phase of the project. Tawana's Managing Director Mark Calderwood said that the producƟon of concentrates with more than 6% Li2O, within the first two weeks of ore commissioning, exceeded "expectaƟons given the iniƟal low feed grade ore being used for commissioning start up". "Equally impressive is the excepƟonally low iron and mica contents. It is parƟcularly pleasing to see predicted plant performance being achieved in pracƟce. The high quality of concentrates appears to be testament to the favourable mineralogy - metallurgy of the Bald Hill deposit and the bespoke design of the DMS circuit," said Mr Calderwood. Altura Mining In Q1 2018, Altura Mining announced that it expected to enter the pivotal process plant commissioning phase as it conƟnued to move toward first producƟon from its flagship Altura Lithium Project in the Pilbara. With construcƟon and development now at an advanced stage, Altura has appointed a Commissioning Manager to oversee the final stages and drive the commissioning plan in conjuncƟon with project teams and construcƟon partner Civmec. The crushing circuit is scheduled to commence commissioning in March, with the wet plant to follow in April/ May, including both the Dense Media SeparaƟon (DMS) and FlotaƟon circuits. The recent progress has kept Altura on-track to meet its target of first lithium concentrate sales in Q2 2018.

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