On 14 January 2019, Altura Mining Limited (ASX: AJM) announced an update on the Stage 1 operations from its recent Altura Lithium Project located at Pilgangoora in Western Australia.
Altura Mining is a leading global mining company involved in the exploration and production of lithium. It is engaged in supplying raw materials for lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and static storage purposes. The company holds ownership interests in the world-class Altura Lithium Project at Pilbara region, Western Australia. The recently commissioned project has a capacity of producing high-grade 220K tonnes per annum of 6% grade lithium oxide (Li2O).
After overcoming some initial hurdles and procedural delays owing to the complexity of the process plant, the processing capability has yielded steady improvement in the performance during the last quarter and continued to improve.
The shares of the company zoomed by 4.3% on releasing key Lithium Project Stage 1 operations update, currently trading at A$0.172 (as at 2:01 PM, 14 January 2019). The company’s stock has generated negative performance return of 50.75% over the last six months.
The Company has completed a Definitive Feasibility Study for Stage 2 of the project targeting at potential expansion to 440K tonnes per annum. The Final Investment Decision will be undertaken following a review of the Stage 1 operations and ramp-up to nameplate production.
- Altura has shipped four cargoes totalling 24K dry metric tonnes to Chinese based converters during the December quarter.
- Shipments have surpassed customer expectations with high-grade Li2O (6.2%)
- Altura targets continuous shipment of at least one cargo per month, gradually increasing to two shipments when nameplate capacity is achieved
As stated by James Brown, Managing Director of Altura Mining, “The company is looking forward to process optimization and ramping up Stage 1 to produce high-grade lithium concentrate.”
The complexity of the plant posed challenges associated with the consistent running time of the processing plant and lost time due to adjustments to plant components identified during the commissioning and ramp-up phase. Post the modifications, the plant was able to deliver an output of up to 70% of nameplate over several continuous 24-hour periods.
The company leveraged the expert knowledge of external consultants, plant designers DRA Global and other processing specialists from Minnovo and Primero Group. The company has entered a continuing services contract with Primero Group, targeting improved productivity and scheduled maintenance of the process plant itself.
Crushing and Screening (C&S) plant attained approximately 93,000 tonnes or 72% of crusher capacity post completion of the modifications in December 2018. The Dense Medium Separation (DMS) Plant has been operating consistently, achieving a mass yield recovery of 13% or 81% of nameplate, with an overall improvement of 54% equating to 68% of design. The plant produced 7,500 tonnes or 83% of plant capacity output of 9,000 tonnes per month during December 2018. The company is targeting consistent throughput and production of material to the capacity of 9,000 tonnes per month for the Flotation plant, before the end of Q1 2019.
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