Alliance Mineral Assets (ASX: A40) has achieved record monthly production of lithium concentrate from its Bald Hill lithium and tantalum mine in Western Australia.
The January record involved the production of 13,160 tonnes of lithium concentrate at an average grade of 6.15%, representing a 28% increase on December 2018 production.
The company processed 131,400t of ore in January at an average throughput of 237t per hour with 87.6% net utilisation. This equated to 30% above nameplate and 23% more throughput than the month prior.
Alliance managing director Mark Calderwood said the past week had also resulted in a record for the quantity of lithium concentrate shipped.
“A number of requests for lithium concentrate are currently being reviewed and we expect to ship or have ready for shipment an additional 30,000t of premium quality lithium concentrate during the quarter,” he said.
Production guidance for the half-year to the end of June 2019 remains at 65,000-80,000t of lithium concentrate.
Alliance became the sole owner and producer of the lithium operation at the end of 2018 following the merger with former joint venture partner, Tawana Resources.
Prior to this, the company had a 50% interest in the mine.
Bald Hill operations
Bald Hill has a reserve of 11.3 million tonnes grading 1.01% lithium and 160 parts per million tantalum for 114,100t in contained lithium and 4 million pounds of contained tantalum.
The mid-tier miner produced its first concentrate from Bald Hill in March 2018, with ramp up achieving 75% of capacity in its second month and lithium and tantalum recoveries “exceeding” initial expectations.
For the December 2018 quarter, Bald Hill’s production totalled 22,724 wet metric tonnes of lithium concentrate. This result marked a 20% decrease on the September quarter due to low feed grade.
The company is currently advancing work on the plants stage two upgrade, with detailed design progressing and the commissioning of the fines circuit earmarked for the September 2019 quarter.
The overall outcome of the expansion phase will be an increase in plant processing capacity from the current 220tph throughput to 300tph.
At the end of December, Alliance held $13.1 million in cash.
The company’s shares jumped 15.1% to $0.190 in afternoon trade.