Altura Mining Ltd has announced that in the coming weeks it expects to enter the pivotal process plant commissioning phase as it continues to move toward first production from its Altura Lithium project in the Pilbara, Western Australia.
With construction and development now at an advanced stage, Altura has appointed a Commissioning Manager to oversee the final stages and drive the commissioning plan in conjunction with project teams and construction partner Civmec. The crushing circuit is scheduled to commence commissioning in March, with the wet plant to follow in April/May, including both the Dense Media Separation (DMS) and Flotation circuits.
The recent progress has kept Altura on-track to meet its target of first lithium concentrate sales in Q218.
In other plant development milestones, the majority of steel fabrication is complete and on-site, electrical installation works have commenced, the high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR) mechanical installation has been complete and 50% of conveyors are in place.
Process Plant Owner-Operator Model
Following a detailed review process, the Altura Board has chosen to adopt an owner-operator model for the process plant. The Board felt the company was better placed to recruit its own specialist team, some of whom are already in place, and maintain tighter control over the intellectual property regarding the operation of the plant.
The Operations team has commenced recruiting and already been successful in filling key roles, including securing a highly experienced Processing Manager (25 years minerals processing experience, including five years in lithium), a Processing Superintendent (20 years’ experience in minerals processing and the operation of wet and dry plants) and a Maintenance Superintendent (25 years’ experience in maintaining processing plants in Australia and internationally, including dense media and flotation).
Stage 2 Definitive Feasibility Study
The Definitive Feasibility Study for duplicating the current forecasted output of the processing plant to 440 000 tpy is well advanced and remains on target for completion in April 2018.
A number of key milestones have been achieved, including confirmation of the location of the second stage plant. The design of the second stage plant, where required, has also commenced.
The company has also commenced a revised mining schedule to support the upgraded production target.
Altura Managing Director, James Brown, said: “It is a testament to the hard work of the entire team that we now have the commissioning phase clearly in sight and taking this project to near term production from a greenfields site. This has been especially pleasing given some of the recent weather events in the Pilbara, where we only experienced minor delays and, importantly, no damage. Shortly we will be starting a night shift roster to provide protection in the event of further heavy rain.”
“Additionally, the DFS is also progressing well and will allow us as a company to strengthen both the project fundamentals and the revenue which will be generated moving forward.” “It was also pleasing to have internationally-recognised lithium expert Joe Lowry from Global Lithium visit our site recently. Following a comprehensive tour of the camp, mining area and processing plant, he was impressed with the progress and keen to see the project coming on line in June 2018.”