Galaxy Resources Ltd will ship the first volumes of spodumene
from the newly reopened Mt Cattlin mine in December this
year, rather than September as previously indicated.
The company said a combination of factors mean that the
processing plant will not be fully operational until
November, resulting in the three-month shipping delay. These
factors included efforts to double the sites throughput to
1.6m tpa, heavy seasonal weather, alterations to project
management and changes being built into the
plant’s mica removal circuit.
Galaxy also indicated that, as a result of the throughput
increase and other modifications, total capital cost to
complete construction and commissioning work at Mt Cattlin had
been increased to Australian dollar (A$) 22.4m ($16.9m*), up
from the $15m previously forecast.
In a statement, Galaxy noted it had engaged an engineering
consulting group in the wake of its takeover of General
Mining, which had previously been operating Mt Cattlin on its
behalf, to review the site’s construction,
commissioning and production schedule. An analysis carried
out by the group resulted in the revised schedule.
The company added that despite the delays – of which
offtake partners and customers have been kept informed
– it is negotiating terms to provide additional
tonnage to customers in 2017 and beyond.
In a statement released 19 September Galaxy said the new
timeline remained accurate.
IM heard last month that new production of lithium
concentrate from Western Australia, where material is being
brought to the market from Mt Cattlin and nearby Mt Marion,
would be a key determinant of 2017 lithium contract prices.
Any delay would disrupt the market and may lead to a price
increase, market participants told IM.
Meanwhile, the nearby Mt Marion spodumene mine, co-owned by
Neometals Ltd, Mineral Resources Ltd and China’s
Ganfeng Lithium, is expected to make its maiden shipment in
Tianqi board approves WA lithium hydroxide
- Logistics key to selecting Australia
- Plan to up spodumene concentrate output
- Spodumente to be sourced at Greenbushes
China’s Tianqi Lithium Corp. has given the go
ahead to a 24,000 tpa lithium hydroxide facility in Kwinana,
The company expects to begin construction of the facility in
the next two months, at a total cost of Australian dollar (A$)
400m ($303m). Production is scheduled to begin in late
The spodumene concentrate to be processed at the plant will
be sourced from the company’s Greenbushes project,
which it owns through its 51% stake in Talison Lithium,
alongside fellow lithium major Albemarle Corp.
Tianqi said it would aim to increase the production rate of
Greenbushes in conjunction with Albemarle "to meet the growth
plans of both partners". The mine has an output of 575,000 tpa
lithium concentrate at peak conditions "assuming certain
operating conditions are satisfied", according to Albemarle,
which last month announced it was purchasing lithium processing
facilities in China.
A meeting of the local planning authorities on 31 August
unanimously approved the facility, according to minutes
published by the Western Australia Department of Planning on 6
Phil Thick, general manager of Tianqi Lithium Australia,
said in a statement that transport efficiency was a key factor
in locating the plant in Australia rather than in China.
Kwinana is around 210km north of Greenbushes.
"The plant’s close location to the mine is more
efficient than transporting the bulk product all the way to
China, which also reduces delivery risk so we can efficiently
and reliably get product to end markets," he said on 6
Thick also pointed to the availability of infrastructure and
technological expertise as other factors that influenced the
location decision and noted that the plant had been designed to
allow for future expansion, depending on market conditions.
The board decision is still subject to shareholder
*Conversions made September 2016