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Bald Hill Li mine hits nameplate capacity

03 Apr 2018 12:24 (+01:00 GMT)
Bald Hill Li mine hits nameplate capacity

Perth, 3 April (Argus) — The Bald Hill lithium-tantalum mine in Western Australia has reached nameplate capacity of 162 t/hour of ore at its separation plant and is expected to ramp up to full production over the next three months.

Initial production results were achieved using low grade commissioning ore. But grades of above 6pc lithium oxide have still been achieved, joint venture partner Tawana Resources said. Low iron and mica content has also been reported. Tawana's JV partner is Singapore-listed Alliance Mineral Assets.

"The high quality of concentrate appears to be testament to the favourable mineralogy and metallurgy of the Bald Hill deposit and bespoke design of the DMS circuit," Tawana chief executive Mark Calderwood said.

Bald Hill is on track to export its first offtake shipment from the port of Esperance before the end of April. Tawana and Alliance Mineral Assets each have offtake agreements to supply 6pc lithium oxide concentrate at a price of $880/t in 2018 and 2019, with terms to be renegotiated for three years after that. They also have a tantalum supply agreement in place.

Lithium concentrate output is initially estimated at 155,000 t/yr alongside 260,000 lbs/yr of tantalum.