Lithium

Lithium

ANZAPLAN is well equipped to develop flowsheet and process design following different processing routes for lithium-bearing minerals such as spodumene, petalite, lepidolite, lithium-rich clays, zinnwaldite, polylithionite, and amblygonite. Evaluation of numerous processing routes for the conversion of lithium minerals to battery grade carbonate or hydroxide compounds were already performed at various scales. Specific processing unit operations include comminution, selective fragmentation, sensor-based sorting, dry or wet magnetic separation, flotation, calcination, acid and caustic leaching, pressure leaching, precipitation, crystallization and bicarbonation.

ANZAPLAN’s hydrometallurgical facilities offers direct conversion into lithium hydroxide.

During process development, particular attention is paid to potential by-products such as tantalum, niobium or cesium, and also to industrial minerals such as quartz and feldspar which may be recovered during mineral concentration, leaching and purification.

Services

Main analytical services for lithium include:

  • Identification of trace elements by inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy (ICP) using matrix adjusted calibration
  • Identification of ionic species by ion chromatography (IC)
  • Identification of main elements by X-ray fluorescence (XRF)
  • Identification and quantification (Rietveld refinement) of lithium mineral phases by X-ray diffraction (XRD)
  • Particle size distribution (PSD)
  • Mineral liberation analysis (MLA)
  • Determination of specific surface area (BET)
  • Optical analysis by scanning electron microscopy (SEM)

Physical processing will include the development of a flowsheet targeting the concentration of lithium bearing minerals.

Main physical processing steps applied:

  • Crushing, grinding and classification of ROM
  • Sensor based sorting (SBS)
  • Heavy liquid separation (HLS)
  • Attrition scrubbing and desliming
  • Magnetic separation
  • Flotation

Hydrometallurgical processing will include the development of a flowsheet targeting chemical and battery grade lithium carbonate/hydroxide.

Main hydrometallurgical processing steps applied:

  • Calcination of lithium concentrate
  • Acid baking
  • Leaching
  • Electrolysis
  • Impurity removal (e.g. ion exchange)
  • Precipitation
  • Bicarbonation
  • Recycling of residual liquor
  • Direct conversion to lithium hydroxide

Advanced processing services include:

  • Flowsheet optimization 
  • Locked cycle tests (LCT)
  • Variability testing

Physical processing will include the concentration of lithium bearing minerals at pilot scale.

Main physical processing steps applied in pilot scale to produce mineral concentrates:

  • Crushing, grinding and classification of ROM
  • Sensor based sorting (SBS)
  • Dense Media Separation (DMS)
  • Attrition scrubbing and desliming
  • Magnetic separation 
  • Flotation 

Hydrometallurgical processing will include the production of chemical and battery grade lithium carbonate/hydroxide at pilot scale to provide customer samples and gain upscaling parameters.

Main hydrometallurgical processing steps applied:

  • Calcination of lithium concentrate
  • Acid baking
  • Leaching
  • Electrolysis
  • Impurity removal (e.g. ion exchange)
  • Precipitation of lithium carbonate
  • Bicarbonation
  • Recycling of residual liquor
  • Direct conversion to lithium hydroxide

Engineering services typically include:

  • Process design and flowsheet development
  • Confirmation of flowsheet through pilot plant testing program
  • Mass balance and energy requirments
  • Capital and operating cost estimates (CAPEX/OPEX)
  • Economic assessments including potential by-product scenarios.
  • Scoping, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies
  • Process plant revamping and plant audits
  • Optimization and trade-off studies 
  • Waste management

The ANZAPLAN team offers independent review and sign-off of technical studies including:

  • Preliminary economic assessment, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies
  • Design verification at various scale
  • Pilot Plant review
  • Troubleshooting
  • Geometallurgical review
  • Periodic operation monitoring
  • Project management

ANZAPLAN and Micon International have formed a joint venture M.Plan International to provide consulting and testwork services for seamless development in specialty mineral and metal projects from grassroots exploration through to feasibility studies including the following services:

  • Exploration program advice 
  • Site visits
  • Mineral resource/reserve estimation
  • Verification of drilling and QA/QC protocols
  • Audit and review
  • Mine planning
  • Preparation of technical report based on international codes e.g. JORC, NI 43-101
  • Project valuation and studies (PEA, PFS and FS Level)
  • Independent Engineer
     

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