One of Australia’s newest lithium producers Tawana Resources (ASX: TAW) says it is on track to meet its output target and produce up to 75,000t of lithium concentrate between July and the end of the year from its flagship 50%-owned Bald Hill lithium and tantalum mine in WA’s eastern goldfields.
Tawana and its joint venture partner Alliance Mineral Assets (SGX: 40F) generated 21,975t of wet spodumene concentrate during July and August from Bald Hill.
The lithium concentrate was high grade and contained low contaminant levels.
Of the spodumene concentrate produced, the joint venture shipped 18,885t of dry material during the two months.
“The Bald Hill joint venture is continuing to make excellent progress at the Bald Hill mine and we are on track for our targeted production of concentrate by calendar year end,” Tawana managing director Mark Calderwood said.
“We remain fully focused on getting the project operating to its optimum level as soon as possible, and with the optimisation studies currently underway, we anticipate making further significant gains in throughput increases,” he added.
Tawana is carrying out a metallurgical and engineering review to add a fines circuit and boost throughput in the existing dense media separation plant.
With the review nearly complete, the joint venture anticipates the new fines circuit would process an additional 20% of feed that ranges in size between 0.5mm and 2mm.
As a result, the duo expects the nominal throughput rate would increase from 200t per hour to 300tph, which would enhance dense media separation recovery rates and prove a “significant concentrate production increase”.
However, the capital cost estimate for installing the fines circuit is still pending. But, the duo anticipates it will be “significantly less” than installing a second dense media separation plant.
Commercial lithium production
At the end of July, Tawana reported it had ramped up lithium production at Bald Hill to achieve first commercial lithium output from the operation between mid-June and mid-July.
Tawana announced it had produced its maiden spodumene concentrate in mid-March, with the initial samples returning 7.03% lithium, 0.34% iron, plus 1.12% sodium and potassium.
By late morning trade, Tawana’s shares were trading at $0.295 – down 3.28%.