Talison Lithium Limited has officially opened the expansion of the Greenbushes Lithium Operations, located in Western Australia. The expansion was begun in April 2011 and completed and commissioned in June 2012, doubling total nameplate production capacity to approximately 740,000 tonnes per annum lithium concentrate (approximately 110,000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE)).
|Lithium ore (spodumene) at Greenbushes is mined using traditional drill and blast methods from fresh, unweathered zones in the pegmatite that are exposed in the open pits.|
|Ore is graded and stockpiled according to its mineralogical characteristics and grade. Waste material is trucked to designated areas within the site where it is contoured and replanted as part of an ongoing rehabilitation plan.|
|The operation has two processing plants, one producing technical-grade lithium concentrates and one producing chemical-grade lithium concentrate. Ore containing 3.0% to 4.5% Li2O is upgraded in the plants via gravity, heavy media, flotation and magnetic processes into a range of lithium concentrates for bulk or bagged shipment.|
Talison sold 365,545 tonnes lithium concentrate during FY2012 (or approximately 54,000 tonnes lithium carbonate equivalent (LCE)). Talison said it designed the expansion to be large scale to both provide operational efficiencies and enable Talison to support the needs of the lithium market into the future.
Talison expects to progressively increase capacity utilisation of its expanded chemical-grade concentrate processing plant as the lithium market grows. However, the expansion also provides Talison with the capacity to respond rapidly to changing conditions in the lithium market.
Talison was, and remains of the view that lithium will be a major part of the world's new energy future, not just for mobile electronics such as iPads, but electric vehicles, grid stabilisation batteries, and solar storage. The expansion demonstrates Talison’s commitment to this belief and provides these new industries with confidence that lithium will be available to support the new energy future.
Looking forward to the future, this new expansion will also provide high-quality feedstock for our own plant to produce lithium carbonate for customers in countries including Japan, Korea and Europe.—Peter Robison, Chairman
Talison has been supplying a global customer network from the Greenbushes Lithium Operations in Western Australia for more than 25 years; the company says it has a 32% share of the global market (followed by SQM with 29%, Chemetall with 22%, and FMC with 11%). In addition to the Greenbushes expansion, Talison is advancing several growth projects including a 20,000 tonnes per annum lithium carbonate plant in Western Australia.