Lithium Universe advances Québec processing hub concentrator engineering study

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Lithium Universe ASX Lu7 Québec processing hub concentrator engineering study

Lithium Universe (ASX: LU7) has reported solid progress on an engineering study for a multi-purpose concentrator at the proposed Québec lithium processing hub (QLPH) in Canada.

The company said contractor Primero Group had displayed an “impressive pace and quality to surpass industry norms” in preparing the study, which is based on a four-stage crushing, dense media separation and flotation unit with mica removal.

The study focuses on a standalone plant capable of processing up to 1 million tonnes per annum of spodumene ore at an assumed feed grade of 1.1% lithium oxide.

The plant is expected to output around 140,000tpa of spodumene concentrate at 5.5% lithium oxide to maximise recoveries.

Primero will define infrastructure requirements (process and non-process) for the concentrator as well as estimated capital and operating costs.

It will also address delivery and operating considerations including permitting and approvals, beneficiation, risk management, sustainability measures and product logistics.

Crushing process

The finalised design flowsheet for the concentrator outlines a process to generate crushed ore in sizes from 0.85 millimetres to 6mm.

Smaller fines will undergo processing in a dedicated flotation unit and the recovered spodumene will be filtered and blended with the final concentrate.

Any mica present in the crushed ore will undergo removal using a reflux classifier, with the material split into two streams (less than 3mm / greater than 3mm).

Both streams will be directed through two-stage dense media separation units and the recovered spodumene will be blended and stored.

Lithium Universe said the entire plant would be built to ensure functionality in the Québec climate.

Primero’s progress

Chairman Iggy Tan praised Primero’s progress, which commenced after its appointment in September.

“The pace and quality of work demonstrated by Primero has been exceptional… most companies conducting a study of this calibre typically take at least six to nine months to reach this point,” he said.

“Finalising equipment specifications and data sheets represents the next step [of this project] and enables us to approach suppliers for concrete pricing.”

Mt Cattlin design

The QLPH design closely resembles the Mt Cattlin spodumene plant in Western Australia, which produced 137,000tpa of product under the management of now-defunct Galaxy Resources.

The inclusion of a flotation unit aims to create a more resilient plant capable of processing various types of ore from the James Bay region.

This in turn enhances the hub’s capacity to handle a broader range of ore types.