NEVADA – Vancouver-based Western Lithium USA Corp. has begun the first of three planned demonstration campaigns for its Kings Valley lithium clay project 100 km north-northwest of Winnemucca. The 12-t/d calcination plant is now operational in Germany, but the leaching, crystallization and precipitation circuits are still under construction.
The completion of the facility is planned for November 2014, and the production of lithium compounds will continue into the spring of 2015. Results will be used to determine the engineering parameters and preferred equipment selection on which the definitive feasibility study will be based. The company plans to produce both lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide.
Two different open pit mining plans were discussed in the 2012 pre-feasibility study. Case one assumes the mining of 690,850 tonnes of ore annually for 21 years. Case two is built on 690,850 t/y in the first three years, increasing to 1.4 million t/y for another 17 years. Case one measured and indicated resources are 14.3 million tonnes grading 0.409% Li at a cut-off of 0.32% Li. The same cut-off used in case two puts measured and indicated tonnes at 27.1 million tonnes grading 0.399% Li. A major difference is that the amount of waste that must be moved is more than double in case two.
Western Lithium would like to reach an annual output of 26,000 t/d of lithium carbonate equivalent.
Follow the progress of the Kings Valley project at WesternLithium.com.