Tawana Resources, with joint venture partner Alliance Mineral Assets (AMAL), has started commissioning of key infrastructure at the Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine in the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
The JV is targeting first production at Bald Hill, which is 50km south-east of Kambalda, in the current quarter.
In a major step towards this milestone, it has started commissioning of the dense media separation (DMS) circuit at Bald Hill.
Tawana today reported that the Bald Hill power plant is operational and the motor control centre has been commissioned.
Other activities the JV has started, or will soon commence, include: dry commissioning, crushing and stockpiling of ore, and wet commissioning. It expects to start feeding ore to the DMS plant in early March, if wet commissioning has been successful.
Tawana managing director Mark Calderwood said the project had reached the commissioning stage where construction transformed into operations.
“The plant will be ramped up to full production run rate over several months, however, we will be producing spodumene concentrates from the day ore is fed to the DMS circuit,” Calderwood said.
“This is a pivotal time for the project, as we make the transition from a developer to producer.”
Primero Group, which has developed the Bald Hill DMS and fines tantalum circuit, will operate the plant under an operations and maintenance contract.
The Bald Hill project, a 50-50 JV between Tawana and AMAL, has an indicated and inferred mineral resource estimate of 18.9 million tonnes (Mt) at 1.18 per cent Li2O and 149ppm Ta2O5 at a 0.5 per cent Li2O cut-off.