Altura anticipates to enter the pivotal process plant commissioning phase as it continues to move toward first production from its flagship Altura Lithium Project in the Pilbara.
|(L-R) Altura's Registered Manager Phil Robinson, Global Lithium's Joe Lowry and Emily Hersh, and Altura Chief Operating Officer Chris Evans|
With construction and development now at an advanced stage, Altura has appointed a Commissioning Manager to oversee the final stages and drive the commissioning plan in conjunction with project teams and construction partner Civmec. The crushing circuit is scheduled to commence commissioning in March 2018, with the wet plant to follow in April/May, including both the Dense Media Separation (DMS) and Flotation circuits.
The recent progress has kept Altura on-track to meet its target of first lithium concentrate sales in Q2 2018.
In other plant development milestones, the majority of steel fabrication is complete and on-site, electrical installation works have commenced, the high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) mechanical installation has been complete and 50% of conveyors are in place.
Following a detailed review process, the Altura Board has chosen to adopt an owner-operator model for the process plant, rather than use a contractor. The Board felt the Company was better placed to recruit its own specialist team, some of whom are already in place, and maintain tighter control over the intellectual property regarding the operation of the plant.
The Operations team has commenced recruiting and has already been successful in filling key roles, including securing a highly experienced Processing Manager, a Processing Superintendent and a Maintenance Superintendent.
The Definitive Feasibility Study for duplicating the current forecasted output of the processing plant to 440,000 tonnes per annum is well advanced and remains on target for completion in April 2018.
A number of key milestones have been achieved, including confirmation of the location of the second stage plant. The design of the second stage plant, where required, has also commenced.
The Company has also commenced a revised mining schedule to support the upgraded production target.
Altura Managing Director James Brown said the operations team had risen to the challenge of the aggressive timetable set in place just 12 months ago.
"It is a testament to the hard work of the entire team that we now have the commissioning phase clearly in sight and taking this project to near term production from a greenfields site," said Mr Brown.
"Additionally, the DFS is also progressing well and will allow us as a Company to strengthen both the project fundamentals and the revenue which will be generated moving forward."