After just three months in operation, Galaxy Resources is ahead of its lithium production schedule at the Jiangsu plant in China’s Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park.
The company’s total production for August totalled 350 tonnes, or 25% of its output design. Sales for the month totalled 268 tonnes of predominantly technical grade product, generating income of Aus$1.6 million.
Galaxy has also commenced sales of battery grade lithium carbonate, which is expected to increase sales revenue. The company sent samples of the higher grade product to 30 potential Chinese customers and is awaiting their product qualification and feedback.
Galaxy’s managing director Iggy Tan says sales volumes are expected to increase rapidly in coming months as more customers fulfil regular offtake agreements. The company not only achieved an earlier-than-expected battery grade product but has also demonstrated major reductions in the sodium and sulphate levels of the product.
“The progress to date at Jiangsu is very much in line with our expectations. Jiangsu is a large chemical complex and we are pleased to have already successfully reached a number of key quality and production milestones. We aim to achieve further production targets in the coming months as we progress the 12 month ramp-up of the plant, and as we move towards achieving positive operational cash flows in the first quarter of 2013,” says Iggy Tan.
The company is continuing work on optimizing the process and driving the ramp-up of the plant to achieve annual design production of 17,000 tonnes as soon as practicable. A new pneumatic conveying system to replace the current drag chain conveyors is being installed, which will improve the quality performance and operability of the product end of the plant.
The product is made from spodumene concentrate extracted from the company’s Mt Cattlin mine in Western Australia.
Jiangsu is the first fully-automated lithium carbonate plant in China and one of the most highly sophisticated plants of its kind in the world. Galaxy has long term offtake framework agreements signed with 13 major cathode producers in China and Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan for 100% of the plant’s production capacity.