The first lithium carbonate has been produced at Galaxy Resources’ Aus$100 million Jiangsu plant which is in the Yangtze River International Chemical Industrial Park, northwest of Shanghai.
A successful hot commissioning of the country’s first fully-automated lithium carbonate plant took place last month, when the purification, filtration, drying, micronizing and packaging sections operated on a continuous basis and product was recycled back to the process. The calcination kiln was fired up to 1080 degrees Celcius and has been producing beta spodumene since mid-March.
Galaxy says the remainder of the plant - including the sodium sulphate plant, utilities and leach area - was brought online without incident. The sulphuric acid addition was established at the end of March, with the sulphation kiln producing sulphated beta spodumene which was then fed through the plant. All process flows were then brought on line across the entire plant, culminating in successful production of lithium carbonate.
Galaxy’s managing director Iggy Tan says the first product at Jiangsu was a major step for the company which has brought two projects into production in less than two years. “Producing first lithium carbonate at Jiangsu proves the success of the plant’s design and processes. Galaxy’s focus now is maintaining plant stability, achieving continuous operation and product quality.
“The product will need to move continuously through the process plant before we can get the quality to the required level. We expect a 12 month ramp-up of the plant to meet its annual 17,000 tonne design capacity,” he said.
Iggy Tan says the team at Jiangsu is to be commended for bringing a large and significant chemical plant online within a tight time frame. “This is truly the point where we have become a vertically-integrated lithium company.”
Galaxy mines and processes lithium pegmatite ore at Mt Cattlin in Western Australia to produce spodumene concentrate and tantalum by-product which is shipped to the Jiangsu plant.