Cornish Lithium will Utilise Lepidico’s low energy consumption hydro-metallurgical process which employs low cost, conventional reagents along with industry standard equipment.
The processing plant at the TreLith Processing site will utilise two key steps to process the ore from the Trelavour Project. The first pre-concentration step will be via comminution and flotation to produce a lithium mica concentrate. This concentrate will then be fed into the second processing step, a hydrometallurgical process, using the patented Lepidico L-Max® and LOH-Max® processing technologies which Cornish Lithium has an exclusive licence for to produce lithium hydroxide.
The comminution section of the processing plant will comprise: feed bunker loading followed by the crushing carried out with a vibrating grizzly and a jaw crusher, clay removal via washing trommel, secondary crushing via cone crusher, rod milling with several stages of classification and desliming. Deslimed and milled material will be subjected to flotation and potentially magnetic separation to produce a lithium mica rich concentrate.
The hydrometallurgical section of the plant broadly consists of leaching, impurity removal, filtration and crystallisation. The primary product is currently planned to be lithium hydroxide, which will be crystallised from solution. The Lepidico processing technology is a low energy consumption hydro-metallurgical process which employs low cost, conventional reagents along with industry standard equipment. The process is undertaken at atmospheric pressure and modest temperature, followed by a series of impurity removal steps at progressively higher pH levels and the subsequent precipitation of lithium carbonate. The process contrasts with the far more energy intensive processing of spodumene concentrates, which requires high temperature calcination and roasting prior to hydro-metallurgical lithium recovery.
Cornish Lithium has worked with Grinding Solutions Ltd and Wardell Armstrong International, both based in Cornwall, together with Strategic Metallurgy, based in Perth Australia to complete concentrator test work on different samples of ore from the Trelavour pit. This work has been used to define the process flow sheet that will be used for the demonstration plant that will be constructed at the TreLith Processing Site and will be utilised to produce commercial samples of lithium hydroxide for evaluation by end users such as battery producers and automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers. In addition, the Demonstration Plant will produce samples of by-products such as gypsum, sulphate of potash, caesium and rubidium sulphate alum. The Company has already undertaken detailed metallurgical testing of these processes at pilot scale but will now build a demonstration scale plant to validate the scale up and commercial viability of the technology.
Following the recent completion of a scoping study for the Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium Project, the Demonstration Plant will form a critical input to the Company’s feasibility study. Subject to the conclusions of the feasibility study, it is the Company’s intention to build a commercial lithium extraction plant in Cornwall with the production of lithium hydroxide expected to commence in 2026.