Joint venture partners Tawana Resources and Alliance Mineral Assets have achieved commercial production at the Bald Hill lithium mine in the Eastern Goldfields, Western Australia.
Commercial production is a major milestone for the project, which commenced ore commissioning in February this year.
Three shipments of lithium concentrate have been made with a fourth due in the next few days. The project produced 18,800 tonnes (t) between March 14–June 30 and for the period from July to December 2018. Alliance and Tawana have set a production target of a further 60,000–75,000t of spodumene concentrate.
The project plant has been producing rates at an average of 206 tonnes per hour (tph), with a peak of 230tph, both well above the project’s 161tph rated capacity. The companies hope to raise the plant’s average to 240tph with increased optimisation.
Tawana managing director Mark Calderwood said the production confirmed the successful ramp up of the plant.
“Operational focus has shifted to plant optimisation and the review of options to further increase throughput in the existing plant and add a second DMS circuit in addition to a fines circuit,” he said.
“Bald Hill has established a reputation of producing quality lithium concentrates low in impurities including iron, sodium and potassium.”
Tawana and Singapore-based Alliance Mineral Assets are in the process of a $446 million merger that was given the go-ahead by the Australian Government in June.
The process is expected to be complete by mid-September, resulting in the formation of a new, dual-listed company on both the Australian and Singapore stock exchange (ASX and SGX).