M&M Commodities
Lithium

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With a global reputation for successful Lithium project execution that adds value regardless of location or size, we understand what it takes to successfully assist clients to meet their quality, cost and schedule objectives.

Our technical and commercial solutions for Lithium projects are built on:

  • Fit for purpose, cost effective design
  • Committed local and global teams with experience tailored to each project
  • Understanding that Li2CO3/LiOH purity is not the whole story – contaminant concentration and variability are equally important.
  • Lithium hydrometallurgy and pyrometallurgy project experience
  • Comminution, beneficiation, flotation, gravity separation and magnetic separation experience
  • Tailings management and design experience
  • Experience with spodumene, lithium micas and lithium clays
  • Ability to scale-up bench-scale and pilot plant test work to viable commercial scales.
  • Our experience and expertise includes many of the current Lithium projects globally and a broad range of relevant technical experience.

 Recent Lithium projects:

  • Sonora Lithium Project, Bacanora Minerals
    Year: 2015 – 2016 (Pre-Feasibility Study), 2016 – 2018 (Feasibility Study)
    Location: Sonora, Mexico
    Details: Stage 1 - 20,000 t/y Li2CO3, Stage 2 - 35,000 t/y Li2CO3
    Scope:
    • Environmental oversight and baseline water study.
    • Feasibility Study, flowsheet development, testwork management and coordinator of NI 43-101 report
    • Pre-Feasibility Study which included plant and tailings design for both conventional and filtered tails, and coordinator of NI 43-101 report
    • Highly technically innovative flowsheet- world first approach
    • Open-pit lithium mine located in Mexico
  • Talison Mineral Conversion Project, Talison Lithium Pty Ltd
    Year: 2013 – 2014
    Location: Western Australia
    Details: 20,000 t/y Li2CO3 from spodumene concentrate using roasting, acid bake, purification and precipitation
    Scope:
    • Phase 2 of Mineral Conversion Plant in Kwinana, Western Australia.
    • Detailed Estimate
    • Engineering Study
  • Cinovec Lithium–Tin–Tungsten Project, European Metals Holdings Limited
    Year: 2016 – 2017 (Pre-Feasibility Study), 2017 – 2018 (Testwork)
    Location: Czech Republic
    Details: 1.7 Mt/y
    Scope:
    • Support for FS testwork.
    • Pre-Feasibility Study for a 2 Mt/y beneficiation plant; 20,000 t/y Li2C03 recovery plant and the associated infrastructure
  • Goulamina Lithium Project, Birimian Limited
    Year: 2018
    Location: Mali
    Details: 2 Mt/y
    ​Scope:
    • Product amenable to conventional processing using dense media separation and flotation.
    • Updated Pre-Feasibility Study to quantify the technical and economic aspects of the project
  • Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project, Pilbara Minerals Ltd
    Year: 2017
    Location: Western Australia
    Details: 2 – 4 Mt/y
    Scope:
    • More widely, Ausenco personnel have also managed and led the process design for the Moblan and Nemaska lithium studies, and the Quebec Lithium EPCM.
    • Fixed Price proposal for the process plant.
    • One of Three contractors engaged in an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) Phase
    • Process input to Feasibility Study

More widely, Ausenco personnel have also managed and led the process design for the Moblan and Nemaska lithium studies, and the Quebec Lithium EPCM.

Specific expertise is detailed below.
 
Gravity Pre-Concentration

We’ve helped clients with all aspects of materials handling including high-fines content ores, including design and construction of London Mining PLC’s Tonkolili project in Sierra Leone and the Grande Cote’ Mineral Sands Project in Senegal. We also completed design work for Office Chérifien des Phosphate’s Phosphate Projects in Morocco, Brockman Resources Marillana Iron Ore Project in Australia and Kasbah Resources’ Achmmach Tin Project in Morocco.

Comminution

Our people have a wide range of knowledge and experience in conventional stage crushing and SAG milling circuit designs, and are at the forefront of modelling and engineering of comminution circuits based on High Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR) technology. We have significant experience in dealing with material handling of difficult ores such as clay, mica and abrasive quartz.

Flotation

Ausenco is recognised as a leader in low-cost concentrator design. Our innovative approach to engineering and construction has enabled projects like Phu Kham in Laos and Lumwana in Zambia to emerge as low cost producers. The Phu Kham concentrator provides the present benchmark for capital cost as a function of throughput with the lowest capital cost per tonne of throughput of any concentrator in the world.

Roasting

Our thermal, combustion and chemical engineering expertise supports client projects with direct or indirect fired kilns for high-temperature gas-solid and solid-solid reactions and associated cooling, drying, and dust and fume extraction and cleaning. Intimate knowledge of combustion engineering, high temperature thermodynamic and psychrometric calculations combine to provide a practical, holistic approach with innovative solutions. Ausenco has been involved with test work which has focused on understanding what is happening to the mineral from analysis using XRD, XRF, SEM, XDS and ICP.By understanding the roast at elemental level Ausenco has been able to provide superior outcomes in short time and considerable savings in cost.

Leaching

Our experience with leaching includes atmospheric leaching, high pressure, high temperature and biological leaching of base, precious, rare earth and platinum group metals. The team’s experience collectively covers most of the pressure oxidation / pressure acid leaching plants that have been constructed or studied over the past decade.

Purification and Precipitation

We understand the importance of precipitation and crystallisation of contaminants, products and by-products in hydrometallurgical processing of lithium to produce battery grade lithium carbonate process. The team has vast experience across a wide range of metals is able to apply this fundamental knowledge of chemistry to the more challenging problems that secondary lithium mineral pose. Knowledge includes the removal of fluoride and boron.

Geotechnical

Ausenco offers a complete suite of geotechnical–geomechanical–geological engineering services. We operate one of the leading geotechnical laboratories in South America and have undertaken geotechnical investigations and designed more than 100 tailings dams in more than 14 countries and more than 200 heap leach pad projects in 34 countries. Our team includes civil and geotechnical engineers, geologists, hydrologists, hydrogeologists, environmental specialists and soils technicians. Our depth of experience in soil mechanics, foundation engineering, rock mechanics and geology together with our knowledge of innovative applications of geosynthetics and our know-how in aggressive environments truly sets us apart from the pack.

Tailings management

Ausenco has designed and engineered long-distance pipelines to transport virtually every type of mineral ash from concentrates such as copper, zinc, lead and iron to crushed ore, bauxite, nickel laterite, phosphate, limestone and coal.

Cost-effective design

We provide cost-effective solutions that have reduced project cost for our clients’ mining projects around the world. We recognise that if capital cost is key to project financing and production, the approach to engineering, procurement and construction management is very different to that used where a project is optimised based on life of project outcomes. Our proven cost-effective plant design outcomes incorporate reduced capital costs through layout optimisation, value improvement scope adjustments and optimised project execution strategies.

Project delivery options

We have comprehensive experience in managing small and large scale EPCM and EPC projects. Our cost effective designs and project delivery approaches achieve the best outcome for our clients. We recognise that the greatest opportunities to optimise project value and capital expenditure occur during the concept development and early engineering design phases.

For more information on our lithium solutions, view one of the of the related featured projects or contact one of our Experts.

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